The Five Keys to Drop Back Pass Protection
© August, 2008
by Ted Newsome Offensive Line and Special Teams Coach Portsmouth High School (OH)
Teaching fundamentals of drop back protection can be broken down into five phases. These five areas are the set, relative position, body position, lateral movement, and separation. In this article I will break down each of these phases in detail and provide a sound and proven fundamental approach to each. Before I go on I would like to say that this information has been gathered over several years of listening to and visiting with some of the top offensive line coaches in high school, college and at the professional level.
I. Win The Set
Everything in football begins with the stance. Pass protection is no different. A great stance should be one that allows you to easily move forward, backward, right or left. The stance must allow an offensive lineman to get set with the least amount of wasted motion. A stance that allows for this kind of movement is one with the feet at shoulders width, or a bit wider, with a toe to instep relationship and the weight should be on the insteps of both feet. The down hand should be placed straight out on the ground just inside the right knee (for players in a left-handed stance this would be reversed). On the down hand, I like to have all five fingers on the ground. I believe this forces a player to get more knee bend, which in turn creates a flat back and locks in the lower back allowing for explosive movement. This stance allows you to evenly distribute your weight and makes for easier movement in all directions. It should be noted that I am not advocating a stance without any weight forward, but rather a stance that evenly distributes the weight on the insteps of both feet and the down hand. In order to win the set an offensive lineman must be able to set quickly and firm and get his eyes on his target before the pass rusher attacks. Being in a poor stance greatly inhibits the chances of setting quickly enough to react to a pass rusher with superior athletic abilities.
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