You may remember 390 pound Baylor offensive lineman LaQuan McGowan taking a short pass to the end zone in the Cotton Bowl to give the Bears a 20 point lead. (Which they promptly blew, but that's what you get when you stop getting the ball to your 390 pound weapon.) If you thought this was the sum total of McGowan's offensive output in college, you were wrong - Baylor's got plans for this SUV of a tight end.
To say this presents a matchup problem for most teams is an understatement. But there are ways defenses can adjust to the threat of a player like McGowan, and we've compiled a few approaches that should neutralize him. Let's start with your basic 4-3 formation.
The problem's evident right away; if the tight end here weighs nearly 400 pounds, the linebacker can't handle him one on one, and the strong safety diagnosing the play as it unfolds may not get over to help quick enough. We then audible to "human wall."
Here, the entire defensive line, linebackers, and safeties have slid over to form a barrier of bodies in front of the supersized tight end. The presence of nine defenders disrupts the throwing lane and possibly causes the tight end to break his route off too early, leading to a bad pass. One cornerback covers the wide receiver on the weak side, and the other drops deep to warn our villages and military if the tight end somehow gets past the human wall.
Some coaches may not want to commit the defense so heavily to one player. In that case, a good alternative is a play we call Piranha.
Here, the strong safety drops down closer to the box, which helps cut off short inside throws to the tight end; he can also be given a blitz assignment. In his place, the free safety runs over and digs a sixteen foot deep pit and fills it with water and piranhas that haven't eaten in some time. Now that long touchdown run turns into a feeding frenzy.
The piranha can only live in warm climates, however, so this solution might not work for a team playing outdoors during a cold snap. Fortunately, we have Cover Ananke.
Cover Ananke is devastatingly simple: you sub out one of the linebackers for Ananke, one of the irregular moons orbiting Jupiter. With a mass of 29,973,368,661,943,900 kilograms, Ananke has enough surface gravity to alter McGowan's route and force Baylor to look to another, smaller option. (Ananke is currently enrolled at a junior college but expected to transfer later this summer.)