Football – The Big Set-Up

Did you ever notice while watching a professional football game, particularly when one of the teams has an aggressive defense that likes to blitz allot and pressure the quarterback, that eventually the quarterback while under pressure takes a three step drop and fires a bomb deep that goes about ten feet over the wide receiver’s head. We cringe and complain as obviously the receiver had the defensive back beat and a well placed passed would have resulted in a touchdown, however, if you read into it more you’ll realize that the play was much more than just an overthrown pass, it was a set -up play.

It was never the quarterbacks intention to complete that pass, it was his intention that after getting blitzed and pressured on every play to get the cornerbacks to back off a bit or pay the price of getting burned deep!

The play created the mindset with the defensive backs to loosen up or be beat!

Now the focus will turn to the stacking and blitzing middle linebackers and the inside pressure that probably has resulted in a sack or several hurried throws by the quarterback. Next, you’ll notice that there will be a short series of quick passes placed just behind the stacking or blitzing middle linebackers. After a few of these completions you’ll notice that the linebackers are backing off now and dropping into their zones.

The set-up continues. Now with linebackers dropping you’ll see the play selection include several runs up the middle for reasonable yardage followed by a couple of quick passes to the wide receivers who run a quick slant pattern versus the defensive backs that have been playing loose, followed by another run play up the middle. With the quick slants the corners have tightened up to defend it, with the quick passes behind the linebackers they have loosened up, and with the inside run plays called they are playing safe, dropping cautiously and then coming up for run support!

The defense is now vulnerable!

The offense by selecting the right plays for the situation have forced the defense to back-off and made them vulnerable, they went from an aggressive attacking and sacking defense to one that is now concerned with being more defensive.

Bring in the play-action. Now with the defense on its heels which results in more time and space for the quarterback, chances are you’ll see him now run a play-action pass for the kill. The offense will give them a run look, fake the hand-off to the running back as if the play is going up the middle, the defense bites on the run,and the quarterback will drop back and this time throw a strike right on the money to the wide receiver who clearly has beaten the defensive back.

A far cry from that overthrown pass earlier in the game!