A strategy on offense in which a large number of players are kept in on pass protection to keep the defense from reaching the quarterback. While pass protection normally involves the five linemen, max protect usually involves keeping a running back and a tight end in to assist with pass protection. Max protect sacrifices options in the passing game in order to deny the defense pressure on the quarterback.
Teams will generally use max protect schemes when the other team is putting a great amount of pressure on the quarterback. A max protect scheme will involve seven or eight pass blockers. The upside to a max protect strategy is that it is very difficult to get to the quarterback against it, but the downside is the small number of receivers available in the passing game. Since many players are back pass blocking, there are only two or three receivers available for the quarterback to complete a pass to. Generally, this strategy is only used when the defense is putting a great deal of pressure on the quarterback, or when an offense wants to minimize the chance of a sack on a certain play.