Although there is tremendous value in building a repertoire of pass-rushing ‘moves’, it is commonly the case that excellent pass rushers develop a ‘go-to’ move or two over the course of their career. One move that tends to draw a lot of attention when a player is able to use it effectively is a spin move, and it’s probably best associated with future Hall of Famer Dwight Freeney.
It’s not wonder that Melvin Ingram developed a spin move of his own. A year after the San Diego Chargers drafted Ingram in the first round in 2012, they signed Freeney, and the two spent the 2013-14 seasons together, where Ingram got to watch a master at work, learning the tricks of the trade—even if he couldn’t explain them.
Missi Matthews recently asked him what makes the spin move so effective when he sat down for an exclusive interview for the team’s website. “To be honest, I really don’t know”, he told her. “It’s really just me out there playing”, before explaining the why behind his using it.
“You know what’s so crazy is, growing up as a young player, there’s one person that had an impact on my spin move: Dwight Freeney”, he said. “He was a guy that came in, and I was blessed with the opportunity to play with him, and just watched him do the spin move. I watched people know the spin move is coming, and still couldn’t stop him”.
“It always was like, ‘dang, how does that work?’, and I still can’t tell you how mine works”, Ingram continued. Asked if he hears that from other players as well when he goes up against them, he responded, “yeah, people say it every game. They say it all the time on the field”.
He has already pulled the spin move a handful of times through his first two games with the Steelers, which he pulled off to help him notch his first sack as a member of the Steelers on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders.
“It’s definitely a feel, and it just happens”, he said when asked when he knows to use it, adding that there is no difference between his being able to employ it in Pittsburgh versus his nine years working at it in the Chargers’ system. “I’ve been comfortable using it. It doesn’t matter where we’re at, I’m always comfortable using it”.
Of course, the spin move is far from the only weapon in his arsenal. Among other things, he can generate speed-to-power pressure with relative ease, and frankly, appears to be even stronger than he actually looks. At the end of the day, it’s about getting quarterbacks on the ground and making their day suck, regardless of how you get there. But it doesn’t hurt if you can get there with a flourish.