Sure, you might get away without reading your assignments for class, but if you don’t read them for the gridiron you’ll get embarrassingly exposed—especially if you’re a wide receiver. Below, Kansas City Chiefs WR Chris Chambers schools you with tips for reading coverages and evading DB jams, so you can stay ahead of the class.
“Recognition out of the huddle.”
When you break the huddle, scan the entire defensive alignment, not just the guy who’s covering you. Pre-snap reads allow you to instantly create your next strategy to beat the D.
“Read your coverage.”
Sounds basic, but sometimes secondary coverages can easily be disguised during a game. Knowing how the D is planning to cover you will make it easier for you to release off the line into your route. To help you recognize coverages, take note of these simple alignments:
Man: cornerback is in a press position and there’s a single safety in the middle of the field
Cover two: CB lines up slightly outside of you as two safeties split the field in half
Cover three: the corner is sitting off of you and there’s one safety in the middle of the field
“Back up or lower your stance.”
If you know that you’re going to get pressed by the defender, take a step back from the line to give yourself room to maneuver. Obviously the defender is not going to adjust his position, but you can, as long as you don’t move forward and get offside. If shifting position on the line doesn’t work, lower your stance to create leverage for a better chance to get off the jam.
“Don’t mess around at the line of scrimmage.”
With your move in mind, once the ball is snapped, fire off the line to avoid the defender. Don’t use any unnecessary motion, such as chopping at the line or false steps. Needless moves will alter the rhythm and timing that you’ve developed with your quarterback.
If you want to break to the outside, step inside first to make the DB bite, then quickly accelerate to the outside to get on top of the defender. Avoid false steps; a little trickery will ensure that the DB can’t get to your chest and blow you up.