Key Points Covered

  • Vertical stress in the passing game
  • Putting a single player in conflict
  • Reading the defense
  • Knowing where to go with the football
  • The importance of being aggressive

Reading a Defender

Hey dads and coaches, this is Coach Mac with Authority Football. Welcome to Whiteboard Wednesdays. Now, the most common problem I see with quarterbacks and coaches trying to coordinate their passing game is athletes not knowing where to go with the football because they don’t know where to put their eyes.  

Most often they’re looking at receivers waiting for a guy to get open. What they want them to do is to read a defender to single out a single key read, and make him wrong. And there are only three ways to do that in the passing game. From the lowest level of football to the highest level of football, they’re actually only three simple ways to do this.

The first is a lateral stress, the second a vertical stress and the other is a leverage or personnel stress. Last week we spoke about the lateral stress.  Stressing someone inside, outside, left, and right.

This week, we’re going to talk about the vertical stress. We want to put a single player in conflict. He can’t be in two places at once, and this takes a lot of pressure off of our quarterbacks.

Let’s say we put this corner back in conflict high and low.

Vertical Threats

Coach Mac showing vertical threats on a whiteboard

First, we want to stress him vertically. Of course, that’s the thing he’s most afraid of is not getting deep… So we want to always threaten that, and a vertical threat is probably the most important element of the passing game.

So what we do is we take a quarterback, we tell him simply you’ll read in this combination in this play is to number one read the cornerback. And we want to throw it to our guy if he wins.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Throw it to him unless, there are some different ways and some different things we’re reading about him looking at his hips, and so forth.

Our eyes are on this corner and we know my guy is going to beat this guy most of the time, ’cause he’s at a disadvantage because he’s back-peddling.  So, throw this vertical. Attack that. Unless he bails out, turns the hips, keeps his cushion and stays on top.

And it’ll be obvious if there’s grass if he’s on top and there’s grass between our receiver and that defender then he’s taken the vertical. But by taking the vertical and by going high, he’s left open the underneath area in this flat, so we send her out there. And we simply take what he’s given us.

Be Aggressive

Vertical stress playbook

The most common mistake I see young quarterbacks and coaches make is they aren’t aggressive, they wait to see if this guy is going to win.  If you wait to see if he’s won, it’s too late.

We want to see that he’s going to win, that we want to be aggressive. Go after the vertical.  Take your shots. Let your kid take a shot. As we stress and he turns those hips, he starts giving us these open routes where we can get the ball to our athletes.

So, simplify what you’re asking your kid to do.  Have him put his eyes on that read. Have him be aggressive, go after this route, there’s no harm in missing it, there’s very little damage to be done if we missed this route, and then take what they give us. If they give us this, take it.  If they give us that, we’ll take underneath. That way, he’s always wrong, you’re always right.

Don’t forget to check us out next week, we’ll be talking about the leverage and personnel stress and how to beat the secondary.

Whiteboard Wednesdays

Hey, this is Coach Mac.

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Check in again next week for next week’s Whiteboard Wednesday.

Quarterback Training – How to Read and Beat Defenses with Vertical Routes | 1.2

by Coach Mac | Whiteboard Wednesdays

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