DB Drill Article – Training Corners to Read the 3-Step Drop

Jan 27, 2013 | Defending Pass Game

By Doug Langley

Head Coach

Avon Grove High School (PA)

Teaching your corners to read through the 3-step is a must, especially as the high school passing game gets better each season. I’ll start by asking this question: Do you want your corner to be able to react to the QB’s release on the 3-step drop and be able to tackle the hitch as it’s caught or even break it up? I know your answer would be "yes." You can’t take away everything, but if you could stop it in its tracks you would be happy, right? As you work your coverages according to your game plan you know you’ll complete a hitch or a slant but if you can tackle it or maybe take it away completely, that could change your opponent’s thought process! If you teach your corners to read through the 3-step drop you will be more confident to leave your best corner alone on the backside of trips. You will also be more confident in taking away the 3-step drop when you are not in a Two-deep or in press coverage.

Once the QB is beyond the 3-step drop point the coverage dictates the corner’s drop. I teach the corners to read through the 3-step drop in Quarters coverage and in Cover Three. Teaching them to read through the 3-step drop is something that requires attention to detail but is not difficult to execute if it is taught correctly and consistently practiced.

Pre and Post Snap Technique

To teach the corners properly, you need to start with a good stance and back pedal. If you allow a lazy stance and back pedal, even if the corner gets a good read off the QB, he won’t be able to transition and make a good break.


1. Narrow base; feet under arm pits 2. Outside foot up; toe to instep stagger 3. Weight on balls of feet; soul of shoes have full contact w/ground 4. Bend in waist; pads over toes 5. Bend in knees; hands at knee level 6. Hips square to the line of scrimmage 7. Eyes focused on the QB


1. Controlled backpedal (3 read steps), while keeping the receiver in peripheral vision and reading the QB for an on or off the line of scrimmage read. 2. Upon the release indicators, snap head to receiver, transition (come out of back pedal) and close.