Saturday, December 18, 2010

How to beat press man coverage

A few minor coaching points:

* All receivers must master -- and I mean master -- at least two of these release moves. At the NFL level, you need three if not more. But all receivers, college and high school, need to be masters of two and competent at three or four. Don't forget to use hands.

* The best release move in the world is useless if you don't get back on top of the defender. The receiver wants to run his route literally behind and through the DB -- as a result he wants the DB to move his feet, so that the receiver, although making moves, more or less runs in a straight line. If the receiver has to run in or out to get into his route he's losing.

* If you can stop, you can get open. All receivers must learn to stop immediately while in full speed. If you can stop in two short steps, you can always be open. On deeper routes, it might take three, but stopping -- slamming on the breaks -- is the key to cutting, breaking either direction, and just getting open generally.

* Ron Jenkins doesn't really discuss it, but one imperative technique is to learn to "lean into" the defense back at the top of the routes. If you're running an out against press man, once you hit about 10-12 yards you should be "leaning into" the defensive back before you break and separate away. Somewhat counterintuitively, on some of these routes you do want to be near the defender before breaking away at the last minute, and never too early. But this lean will get the defender's center of gravity and momentum going in the wrong direction. Mike Leach is famous for this coaching point.

* Some routes (and route concepts) call for sharp breaks, others for more rounded but quicker "speed cuts," which aren't quite as precise but the receiver doesn't slow down as much. Know the difference, and always know which is appropriate.


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