To better defend the deep passing game, defenses will align the cornerbacks seven or more yards off the line of scrimmage (LOS), which sets up the perfect opportunity for offenses to throw a quick screen pass to the split end.
'Hot Potato' Throw
At the snap of the ball, the quarterback takes one-step back from the LOS, turns toward the split end, and quickly passes the ball.
The receiver takes a quick step forward (no more than six inches), gives a head-fake, takes two steps backward, and turns toward the quarterback. The receiver must be prepared to catch the ball immediately. Securing the ball, the receiver quickly runs up field.
Short Side Tackle
The tackle pulls toward the receiver, running hard to an area 1-2 yards in front of the receiver to block the charging cornerback. The eyes focus on the defender's midsection as a target.
The center and two guards take down block steps to the play side. If there are no immediate defenders to block, the linemen turn up field looking for linebackers or secondary players in pursuit of the ball.
Strong Side Tackle, Tight End, Slot Receiver
Immediately run into secondary to block down field.
Read Tackle's Block
After catching the football, the receiver will make a cut down field based on the pulling tackle's block of the cornerback. The receiver must not run too far inside, as he will run into the defensive end or linebacker.
- A receiver with good open field moves may not require the tackle to pull for blocking purposes.
- Move the receiver a half-yard closer to the end man on the LOS to cut down the distance of the pass.
- Instruct the receiver to fall on a dropped pass, as the play may be ruled a lateral by officials.
- If the cornerback is moving toward the LOS prior to the snap, have the quarterback throw the ball out of bounds or fake the throw and follow the center's block down field.