Teach Receiver Releases First With 7on7

By FirstDown PlayBook on Jan 5, 2019


FirstDown PlayBook got in a conversation the other day about teaching receivers how to release first when teaching route running. It’s our contention that too many receiver coaches get right into the route running before they thoroughly teach releases. Eventually what happens is their receivers run into defensive backs who know how to disrupt releases at the line of scrimmage and the receivers pay a huge price for it. So anyway, we thought this blog that we wrote a while back might help you 7on7 coaches on both sides of the ball. Enjoy and please travel safely on your way to AFCA in San Antonio.

Ask any receiver what things he hates to see from a defense and you can bet that getting jammed at the line of scrimmage is going to be near or at the top of that list almost every time.

Teaching a defender to walk up on the line of scrimmage to get his hands on the receiver as he releases seems like it’s a lost art at times and that is a shame because it is the equivalent of doing one small thing early in a football play that pays big dividends as the play develops.

Here at FirstDown PlayBook we are big fans of this technique and that’s because we spent a lot of our time coaching tight ends. Tight ends normally play the point in bunch formations and you can bet at the NFL level the point receiver in a bunch formation rarely gets a free release.

So as you coach up your defense here are some things to think about:

Receivers Do Not Work On Releases A Lot

Releases are a receiver’s least favorite thing to work on, particularly when you’re talking about a young receiver in high school or college. Most receivers want to release off of the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped and get into their route to do what they love to do most and that’s catch the ball.

So when you walk a defender up in their face you can almost bet that this is not what they have been practicing the most unless they are extremely well coached.

Disrupting One Receiver Can Often Disrupt The Entire Play

Most good passing games revolve around timing and if one receiver is not where he or she is supposed to be that screws the entire play up.  If the offensive formation happens to be in some sort of bunch formation you can actually disrupt three receivers by jamming the point receiver.

Once the quarterback does not see the pattern and timing that he expects as he drops back then odds are that he is going to pull the ball down and cut his losses. This can often result in sacks for your defensive line and negative yardage plays in general.

Being Physical With Receivers Is Almost Always A Good Thing

When a defensive back or linebacker walks up in a receiver’s face and wears him out at the line of scrimmage it has lasting consequences. If that play happens to be a run play then that’s one more win for the defense as the run block has just been destroyed.

This also sends a message to the receivers that before they can catch the ball that day they had better be focused on getting into the route first. This wears on receivers mentally and physically as the game goes on. If the receiver is not tough minded he may just shut it down for the night if he is not coached well.

So as you are using FirstDown PlayBook you will notice that we often have schemes that jam the point in a offensive bunch formation and we will even jam receivers with our flag football defenses because we know that most flag football players are not spending a lot of time working on releases.

This short video illustrates how FirstDown PlayBook incorporates this technique into some of our defenses.

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