Monday, June 21, 2010

Using Sprintout to Pressure the Defense

The sprintout passing game helps protect your QB and helps to put maximum pressure on the perimeter of the defense. It helps protect your QB by varying the launch points, or where he releases the football. This makes it so defenses cannot just pin their ears back and rush a certain point in the pocket where the QB throws the football. They have to be aware of these changing launch points. For more information on moving the QB launch point and pocket, check out this video from Once the contain of the defense is broken, tremendous pressure is put on the playside defenders. It does this because the defenders need to be aware of the run threat the QB is posing. This wouldn't be the case if the QB was in a traditional pocket.

Other Advantages of Sprintout:
1) provides the QB with more of a chance to make something happen when receivers are covered
2) it provides the opportunity to neutralize excellent pass rushers by sprinting away from them
3) it shortens the throw for the QB, giving the defense less chance to make a play on the ball
4) it provides natural passing lanes and increased vision for the QB

Sprint out protection:
These basic protection rules, I got from this article an article on Sprintout and Half-Roll passing from

Backside Tackle: Turn and Hinge
Backside Guard: Turn and Hinge
Center: If covered or shade to callside, reach. If uncovered with no shade to callside, turn and hinge.
(Get depth as you turn and hinge)
Playside Guard: Reach, plug hole/backside
Playside Tackle: Reach (Note: On any reach block, if you are unable to reach, ride your man out to the sideline. Don't get beat outside trying to reach hopelessly. A man pushed out of bounds and kept on the LOS is just as effective.)

RB: Take two steps to callside, looking at outside rusher. Look for OLB or outside rusher to come shooting, block first color that shows. If none show, check middle and then backside. You are the QB's bodyguard. Step to rush, do not wait for him to get to the QB.


Sprinting right from under center:
The QB's first step should be at 6 o' clock to help him gain depth, he should then take 4-6 more steps (depending on how you protect, where you contain point is, how long the routes take to develop, etc) before sticking his right foot in the ground attacking the LOS. To clarify, the QB should stick his right foot in the ground on his 5th or 7th step. I recommend placing a cone where you want the QB to stick his foot in the ground and attack the LOS. Both a left handed and right handed QB should carry the ball on his right shoulder, which is away from the defense.

Sprinting right from the gun: Instead of 5 or 7 steps, the QB should stick his foot in the ground and attack downhill on his 3rd step. The first step should still be at 6 o'clock to provide depth and maintain consistency with the under center footwork.

Sprinting left from under center: Everything remains the same as sprinting right from under center for the first 5-7 steps, except the ball should now be held on the QB's left shoulder. Like I mentioned earlier, this carries the ball away from the defense. After sticking the left foot in the ground to attack the LOS, the QB should transfer the ball to his right shoulder to a good pre-pass position.

Sprinting left from the gun: same as sprinting right, only the QB transfers the ball from his left shoulder to his right after the 3rd step.

Other coaching points on the QB:

1) Because it is natural to have a forward lean when running, the QB should fight to stay vertical from the waist up in order to support his elbow to the get to right position on the throw.
2) When the QB cannot attack the LOS because he is threatened by defenders, sticking his right foot in the ground and extending on the throw is critical

Basic Sprint Out Concepts:

Curl-Flat- the right side of the picture below demonstrates a curl-flat concept

All Curl/All Hitch

Flood- the right side of the picture below demonstrates a traditional flood concept


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quarters Coverage- What is it and what gives it fits?

Unfortunately, for offensive coaches like myself, the days of the spot dropping cover 4 are pretty much over. In it's place has come a new quarters concept, which allows for the defensive to cover less grass and more receivers. The quarters concept is based upon the safeties reading the release of the #2 receiver to their side. I would consider quarters to be part of the robber family of coverages, as the safeties are "robbing" depending on the route combo. You can read one of my earlier posts on robber coverage here. First, let's look at why defensive coaches tend to be playing more and more of this coverage.

  • It provides a 4-deep look to take away four verticals from the offense

  • Safeties can be heavily involved in the run game, providing 9 run defenders

  • There is not much adjustment to different formations and motion

  • It prevents the secondary from covering grass instead of receivers by a defender doubling another defender when his "zone" isn't threatened

  • It provides the same look pre-snap

  • It forces the offense to throw short and outside

  • Easy to get into other coverages from a similar look

In quarters, the safeties are reading the #2 reciever and reacting according to what they do. The #2 receiver can only do one of four things: block in the run game, release vertical, release inside, and release outside. Here are the general rules and reactions according to what the #2 receivers does.

  • #2 blocks in the run game- the safety to that side will fill his run fit

  • #2 release vertical (10 yards)- the safety will cover him man

  • #2 release inside- he will make an "IN" call to the LB's and help with #1 to his side

  • #2 release outside- he will double #1 inside and the OLB will cover #2 man

For diagrams of playing different concepts in quarters, visit here. Also on Chief, Washington (IL) head coach Darrell Crouch explains their quarters coverage in this video.

How to beat quarters coverage:

Quarters coverage begs offensives to throw to the flat for 5-6 yards at a time. Many, will make a cover 2 adjustment after the snap if they are getting hurt continuously with the quick game to the flat. However, speed outs, hitches, and other quick game concepts are great answers to quarters. If you're in a 3rd and medium or long, or a situation where you have to get the ball down the field there are some options.

Double moves by the outside receivers:

Because the corners have limited help in the flats, they are reading the #1 receivers for short breaking routes. This leaves them vulnerable to hitch and go and other double moves.

The "fishing" concept:

A concept created by Steve Axman, the fishing concept attempts to "bait" the safety into taking the #2 receiver on an anchor/curl route leaving a large area of field behind him uncovered. #1 runs a post, with basically man coverage. The following video isn't great because you cannot see the route development and the reaction of the secondary, but after the pass is thrown you can see the post coming very open and the safety covering the #2 receiver on an anchor route at about 12 yards.

"In and up routes":

At the 2:25 mark the Colts use an "in and up" concept to get into the end zone versus the Jets in the AFC championship game. Austin Collie, lined up as the #2 receiver releases inside and makes the top side safety think he is running a crossing route. By rule if the #2 receiver goes inside he helps with #1. Collie then turns his route vertical where the safety has vacated for a TD.