Before his NFL career blossomed, Haason Reddick entered the league as an explosive, twitch athlete but was considered a non-pass rusher.
The NFL world, let alone the blockers who ended up dealing with him, now knows Reddick as one of the more destructive sack masters of the 2022 season. But for Reddick to hit his 16 sacks, then continue his destruction into the postseason, he had to add to his “toolbox,” which he revealed with Pro Football Network while sharing his “Sack Hunger Initiative” through his partnership with Campbell’s Soup.
Haason Reddick Shares Move That Played Into Breakout ’22
After getting around blockers off speed or a straight bull rush, he added a move that’s grown popular across the league for edge rushers like him.
“One of the moves I’ve added to my toolbox that I haven’t had before is the cross chop,” Reddick said. “It’s a big move that’s become an extremely popular move across the NFL.”
Reddick, again, entered the 2017 NFL Draft class as a defender who hadn’t yet mastered hand techniques. His first three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals didn’t see him rush as much — with just a combined 7.5 sacks across his first three seasons.
But as he’s gotten older in the NFL, Reddick acknowledges that defenders like him can’t just be reliant on speed alone…but must resort to their hands.
“Most definitely, this is what the league has transitioned to,” Reddick shares. “There’s a saying: You beat the ends, you beat the man.”
What Is the Cross Chop?
It begins with what appears to be an all-out bull rush, which gets the tackle thinking he has a clear shot at a defender’s chest to control the block.
But then comes the cerebral attack. The defender can attack with an inside fake with the right leg (facing a right tackle) or left (facing the blindside protector). Then comes a karate-like maneuver — as the edge rusher chops down on the tackle’s arm extension to rattle their block attempt. Then it follows with a club (or pull through) with the opposite/free hand.
Super Bowl-winning defensive end Osi Umenyiora is credited for helping start the cross chop. In looking at Reddick’s 16 sacks from last season, his first sack shows him beating the edge with the move. Reddick additionally resorts to the move in road contests versus the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.
He previously told PFN’s Adam Beasley before Super Bowl 57 that he’s always had that hand move, but “I just never really utilized it.”
But as he evaluated his own self, Reddick began to realize he needed to dip more into his personal box of tools to take on blockers.
“You know, it wasn’t part of my game before. But before this year started, I watched all of my rushes from last year. I was just looking for ways I could open up my game a little bit more, open up my toolbox a little bit more,” he said. “Putting a power rush in there a little bit more consistently, I felt like that could open up my game, which it has.”
Reddick’s Next Opponent on His Sack List?
Reddick is now a part of a lineup of defenders looking to sack hunger. He’s linked up with names ranging from Kayvon Thibodeaux of the New York Giants, Tremaine Edmunds of the Chicago Bears, Alex Anzalone of the Detroit Lions, and others as part of Campbell’s “Sack Hunger Initiative.” Reddick shared what the partnership entails.
“Campbell’s and myself have partnered to try to tackle the food insecurity across the nation with the Chunky Sack Hunger initiative. Our goal is to give $2 million for meals across the nation. So for every Chunky bowl that is purchased during the season, we will be donating a meal to those in need,” Reddick said.
More information about the initiative and how to purchase can be found here.