Press coverage can be very frustrating for receivers, coaches and quarterbacks. If a receiver does not know how to get off of a jam, the timing of the play is instantly disrupted.
How do you beat press coverage? Win at the line of scrimmage using your hands, feet and head. Footwork and handwork is essential to escape a pressing corner.
Before we learn how to beat press coverage, we have to first learn what press coverage is. Familiarize yourself with press coverage first here.
In a nutshell, press coverage is a way for the defense to disrupt both the quarterback’s and the wide receiver’s timing.
In the vIQtory series of exploring the arsenal of moves each positional group can employ, today we are taking a look at Wide Receivers and specifically how they can combat press coverage
Receivers are lined up in a 2-point stance separate from the Offensive Line, typical spread out toward the boundary of the field. They also can be lined up on the line of scrimmage or off, depending upon the formation. The formation can also call for multiple receivers to be one side of the ball. When a receiver is not the outermost receiver to his side of the field, he is said to be a “slot” receiver.
The standard approach is to have the inside foot forward in the stance. Coaches usually teach 80 percent of the receiver’s weight is on his front foot so that once the ball is snapped, the receiver cannot rock back or false step. With the weight heavily distributed on the front foot, receivers are now able to “roll over” their front foot and get into their route once the ball is snapped by driving the back knee forward and pushing off the ball of his foot.
Some more pointers:
- Chin over front knee (strong, forward-leaning stance)
- Hands at the ready (will need to engage with the DB)
- Feet are typically about shoulder width apart, but when facing press, some coaches will teach to narrow the base of receiver’s stance
- Feet must be able to come to parallel (this helps with balance)
Receivers need to be comfortable when trying to beat press coverage. Press coverage is just a technique and with proper coaching and drills (preparation), then it can be overcome.
- Take the time to get into the proper stance and be able to look down the line of scrimmage and to the Quarterback.
- Assess the DB, the technique they are showing
- Decide on the footwork and hand combat techniques you will be employing to run your route (detailed below)
- Execute at all costs and learn from what worked and what did not
Beat press coverage with your feet! Once the ball is snapped, the first thing that moves should be a receivers back leg driving forward. With the battle between the receiver and the defensive back beginning, below are some of the most common styles of footwork a receiver can engage in:
1. Foot-Fire Release
- While beginning to drive up field, the receiver’s feet go up and down at a rapid pace to generate movement to get into the stem of the route.
- See this link for a video that focuses on the technique
2. One-Step Jab
- As the receiver begins his route up field, he will plan to step opposite of where the route is intended. For example, a receiver would step outside on an inside route and inside on an outside route before making his break
- The idea is to have the defensive back turn his hips and shoulders on the wrong stride, which opens up the room for the receiver to run his route
- Check out this link to see it in action and a drill for it
3. Speed Release
- A speed release is a release at all costs. A receiver must now take whatever angle he needs to in order to get underneath or outside of the defensive back (depending on the route).
Beat press coverage with your hands!
The receiver’s hands have to work in unison with their hands. Quick and effective handwork can prove to be the most vital piece of beating press coverage.
Hand combat is essential because if you can beat a defensive back’s hands as they try to jam you, it will more than likely throw them off balance.
The more techniques a wide receiver is able to use, the better off they will be. A great place to start is with the following:
1. Hammer or Chop: The simplest of techniques a receiver can use. Using one or both arms, the receiver brings his arms up and slams his forearms down on top of the defensive backs hands.
2. Club and Rip: Much like hand combat used by defensive linemen, this move has two steps.
- Step 1 is to step toward the opposite of side of the direction you want to move toward. As that foot hits the ground, move your opposite arm to club the defensive backs hands down.
- Step 2 is to take your next step which is toward the direction you want to head and use your opposite arm to rip past the defender.
- Instead of using a “Club and Rip” move, a receiver can club and then use a swim move
- When “clubbing” a defensive back hands, another strike point can be the elbow, as it’s a bigger target
- The club move will get the defender off balance and should open the window for the secondary move to get separation
What do you think about our tactics to beat press coverage? How do you beat press coverage? How are you being taught/teach your receivers to beat the press? We love learning new ways to beat the press. Let us know in the comments below!
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