Two Hand or One Hand Jams in Press Man?

I often get asked this question about press man coverage.  “Coach do you prefer two hand or one hand jam in press man?”  My answer initially is typically one people don’t like.  “It depends”.   This article explains.

First of all,  when it comes to coaching defensive backs,  every coach has his own way.  Some coaches are sticklers for their particular technique.  Others will let you do your thing as long as it is working.  Today,  I am going to talk to you about what worked for me as a player,  what I taught as a coach and what I instruct now as a trainer.

My mode of thinking on this is simple.  When a receiver is close enough to you for you to touch him,  whether or not you use one hand or two hands to jam him depends on his positioning.   If the wide receiver is within your frame (i.e. directly in front of you) then use two hands to jam him.  For those worrying about your hips getting locked because you threw two hands,  understand that this does not matter because the wide receiver is directly in front of you.  We don’t know whether he’s going right or left.  Obviously,  using two hands allows you to gain better control over the wide receiver than using one.  The logic is that if he is directly in front of us,  use all that we can to control him.  This is an ideal position.

It makes little sense,  in my opinion,  to use one hand to jam a WR directly in front of us when we don’t know which way he’s going.  Throwing one hand in that situation almost commits us to opening one way and that way could be the wrong way.

So now that we have established that,  when do we use a one hand jam?  You don’t have to be a genius now to figure this one out given what we’ve just discussed.  We use one hand on the jam when the WR has exited outside of our frame (i.e. moved outside of our shoulders either to the left or right).  To get into their route,  a WR will typically exit outside of you left or right unless he’s a tight end who his trying to run right over you.

So with that in mind,  when the WR exits and he is close enough,  it is time for us to use one hand in our jam.  Which hand do we use?  We use our off hand (i.e. the hand further away from the WR).  Why do we use the off hand?  We do so because it is now that we do not want to lock our hips.  By using our “off hand”,  we allow our hips to open so that we can kick slide at a 45 degree angle and move in a way that keeps us in close contact with the WR.

If we use the hand nearest to the WR,  our hips get locked.  When that happens we can not slide at a 45 degree angle and we put ourselves at a disadvantage when it comes time to open up and run down the field.  If we shoot the near hand to make contact with a WR that is outside of our frame, we will lose precious steps upon our turn should the WR continue up the field as expected.

The purpose for us in jamming once the WR exits our frame is to touch him if he’s close enough while also keeping our body in a position to turn and run effectively should the route continue on that path.

Fairly cut, dry and simple.  I have included a video below with more on this to give you a visual and a few more tips on using your hands to jam at the line of scrimmage in press man.  Enjoy it and should you have any questions,  feel free to reach me via email at cwilson@alleyesdbcamp.com

Author: Chad Wilson

Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp. He played college football at the University of Miami and briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. Over his 15 year high school football coaching career, he tutored over a dozen Division I defensive backs and as a trainer has worked with NFL All Pros, first round draft picks, college football all americans and Top 10 ranked high school football prospects.

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