By Grant Caserta
Press coverage is a tool that has many great benefits for the defense. From taking away easy throws, to challenging receivers, to altering route releases, press coverage can make things hard on the offense. With a few basic coaching points, corners can be equipped with the techniques and confidence to be successful at the line of scrimmage.
Stance and Key
There are two main items we focus on to help us achieve a proper stance: feet and eyes.
When teaching corners a stance for press coverage we always start with the feet. The first thing we look for is balanced weight distribution in the feet. We want equal weight on each foot, and equal weight on the ball and heel of the foot. This posture allows us to move quickly in reaction to the receiver in any direction.
We want the corner’s feet to be around shoulder width apart, or slightly wider than shoulder width. Each individual body type may be comfortable in a slightly different stance. Longer legged corners may feel more comfortable with a wider stance, while shorter corners may feel better with a narrower stance. I am a strong believer in the idea that an uncomfortable player will likely be a non-efficient player, movement-wise. The only requirement we have for a corner’s stance is that he must be balanced and stable after taking his first step. We want the corner’s first step to put him in an athletic position that allows him to respond to the receiver quickly. We do not want the first step to overextend the corner’s base so he cannot react to a counter move by the receiver. We also do not want the first step to be too short, where the receiver cannot be cut off on his initial release.
Just like defending a ball handler in basketball, we want to focus our eyes on the midsection of the receiver. It is very easy to be fooled by head/shoulder fakes and arm movement. By keying the midsection, we give the corner the best chance of responding correctly to the true release of the receiver. It is the onus of the receiver to get around the corner; therefore, the more patience the corner can show initially, the better shot he has of forcing the receiver to declare where he is going. This can be best accomplished by keeping the eyes keyed on the midsection of the receiver - ignoring head fakes and other superficial attempts to get the corner’s hips opened up too early.
Two keys to winning at the Line of Scrimmage
We teach two key elements to the start of press coverage technique.
- Working on 45-degree angles to cut off the receiver and
- Protecting the “cylinder” by striking the receiver. These help us to disrupt timing of routes, prevent free releases and stay in the proper position to defend.
45 Degree Angles