Playing press corner is a demanding job. We are all aware of the kind of athleticism the position requires but what are some of the less notable requirements that one needs to excel? IN this article we will talk about exactly what those attributes are and how they help you win.
I consider this to be the most important of the attributes. (No shock, the name of the site is All Eyes DB Camp). As I’ve told the guys that have played for me and that I’ve trained, you can play the game with an ankle sprain. You can play with a cast on your arm but you can’t play if your vision is impaired. You can’t cover what you can’t see. Victory at the line of scrimmage awaits the player who has the discipline to focus on the proper area of the receiver once he moves. Virtually all corners playing press can line up and look the receiver’s hips before the ball is snapped. Less corners are able to keep their eyes in that spot once the ball is snapped and even fewer are able to maintain that focus as the routes move further down the field. The defenders that are really good at press all have that ability. Being able to maintain focus as the action starts allows you to mirror a wide receiver’s moves better. Eyes in the right spot allow you to notice the change of direction sooner and thus be in better position to react. If there’s one thing a defensive back should commit to improving it’s eye discipline. You could never have too much.
Solid Lateral Quickness
More and more these days, receivers are finding ways to move press defenders side to side at the line of scrimmage. They are also skilled at getting outside of a defender’s frame and exploding upfield. Lateral quickness has always been a necessity as a bump and run corner but never as much as right now. Along with the increased size and athleticism of wide receivers today, their knowledge of beating press is at an all time high. There is no shortage of receiving teachers impressing on their pupils ways to move away from aggressive press defenders and separate at the line of scrimmage. With that being the case, the ability to move side to side must match the improvements that receivers are making. On top of that, being able to suddenly change from one direction to another has never been more essential. Sure, developing speed should be a part of the defensive back’s development but doing so without the addition of acquiring lateral quickness is not ideal.
I’ve always called the hands the icing on the cake. Here’s we know about icing. It may be last but it sure is important. After the eyes and the feet have put a defender in solid position, it’s time to strike. If the strike is weak you run the risk of the receiver winning the rep. Weak hands make for weak jams. Thumping a receiver in the chest or shoulder changes his plans. Over the long term, it defeats his spirit and takes him out of character. Eventually the receivers’ moves aren’t as crisp and his timing is not as sharp. Wide receivers feel like they can deal with your body being in front of them but when a defensive back’s hands start thundering into their posture, route running stops becoming as much fun. The other place where strong hands make their mark is when the ball arrives. The stronger a defensive backs’ hands, the more balls he catches. The stronger a defensive backs’ hands the more force he generates when he punches through the hands on a reception to cause a pass break up. All defensive backs should aim to develop strength in their hands by training their grip and their press power (push ups!).
Finally, no man excels at sport without instincts. Physical traits are cool but if you want to stand on the mountain top your brain must lead your body. A defensive back that has a good idea of what’s coming either before the snap or during the route, stands a good chance of defending it. Route IQ is best developed through experience and repetition. However, through studying, a player can speed up the process. Watch film, watch games and study offenses to up your IQ. Gaining an understanding of how offenses work will give you the ability to defend them better. That’s just common sense. A punch anticipated is a punch avoided. Build your anticipation by studying the moves of your opponent. Be obsessed with knowing their moves, their thoughts and their plans. When you know them better than they know themselves, the fun as a press defender really starts.
If studying is what you want to do, join me in the All Eyes DB Camp Member’s Area. Nothing will up your IQ faster. Close to 200 videos on everything you need to reach elite status. Get more info here.
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.