You Can’t Or You Won’t Stretch The Field
By FirstDown PlayBook on Jun 14, 2018


It is the age old problem. The defense is breaking up on all of your short passing game and sitting all over your intermediate routes. This is making your passing game as well as your running game a frustrating task as you face eight and nine man boxes.

It even happens with 7on7 where there is no run threat. It’s like the linebackers and defensive backs have been taught to disregard the deep threat.

You know what? That’s actually true. The linebackers and defensive backs are often taught to respect the danger of a vertical route only once the receiver gets to a certain depth.

Now there are several solutions to this. One is to evaluate your intermediate routes with great scrutiny as well as the defense that you will be game planning for. Do your receivers get to the required depth when they run a curl or an in route or do they shorten the route every time? Do they have great body language at the the top of the route that sells the fact that they may just run right by the DB if he sets his feet.

Maybe the most important thing to look at is are your receivers getting off the ball on the snap? I mean are they EXPLODING off of the ball or is their release full of false steps and has no sense of urgency? It’s the little things like this that if not coached properly will give the defense permission to sit on your routes.

Now before all of you receiver coaches go out there this afternoon and beat up on your players understand that there is definitely a responsibility on the coach to back the defense up also.  It is our contention that sometimes the secondary is not backing up because you as a coach have not made them back up.

With all of the deficiencies your quarterback and your receiving corp might have the defensive coordinator is going to take note of not only CAN you stretch the field with your vertical passing game but also DO you stretch the field?

This is why it is important to have a vertical passing game in your attack regardless of your teams talent level. Trust us when we say it will affect the secondary’s play. The only thing worse than getting beat deep is getting beat deep by a slower receiver.

As we mentioned earlier a lot of this comes from coaching take off and releases as well as effort on every vertical route that is called. Just as important is the emphasis put on running every route initially like it is a “take off” or a “go” route. Finally, the vertical threat can only exist if it is called early and at least periodically through out the game.

Our suggestion is to make this point of emphasis early as you are installing your passing game. Install the vertical routes first and demand execution from your QB and receivers and then expect every intermediate and short route you install later to look like it is a “go” ball on the first five to fifteen yards of the route.

The FirstDown PlayBook Vertical Concepts area is a great place to find a ton of ways to stretch the field. This package not only includes many ways to threaten vertically with three or four players but it will also show you some creative ways to get to it and ways to give your QB an out if the deep routes are not open.



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