One of the most feared and dreaded releases by wide receivers is the outside release when you are in press man coverage. Why? Because it just might be that go route. In this article will talk about a drill that you can use to help defend yourself against the outside release.
There was once a time when an outside release basically meant only two routes. You were either getting a go route or a comeback by the wide receiver. That time seems like so long ago. Here’s what an outside release means in today’s game of football. It could mean a go route. It could mean a comeback. It could be a stop route or it could mean a back shoulder fade. Hell, nowadays you can get a dig route from an outside release. So with all these things being at play just off of this one release, it has become more and more important to be in the proper position when this release occurs.
The common term for being in the proper position against an outside release that’s pushing up the field is known as “being in phase“. While being in phase is only half the battle in defending all of the routes that I named, the truth of the matter is that if you aren’t in phase you simply aren’t going to win versus the route. With that in mind, it is important to focus some of your work on just being in the proper position before we get into all of the other factors that would lead to you defending the routes.
Using the Get in Phase drill will provide yourself or the DB that you coach the opportunity to get reps on this critical phase in covering routes that come from an outside release. As I’m sure you are aware of, repetition is the key to automating your moves when you are in competition. When things get hot and heavy, an athlete reverts to his training.
One of the things I like to do in training is run this get in phase drill so that we automate the process of getting in the proper position against the wide receiver when he takes this type of release. The focus in this drill is not on what is happening immediately at the line of scrimmage nor is it about what happens once the ball arrives. The focus is on what is happening in between. Again, getting in phase is the most important part of defending the routes.
In the Get in Phase Drill, we are working on proper angles versus the wide receiver’s release and working towards getting either hip to hip or slightly up field on the receiver so that we can defend all of the routes that could come our way.
One of the most common mistakes that defensive backs make when in the situation is taking an improper path versus the release. This puts them at the low hip of the receiver. Or the defender ends up leaving too much space between himself and the receiver leaving him in a poor position to defend the ball when it arrives. The focus in the Get in Phase drill is to take the proper initial angles and then work into the correct positioning on the receiver. This allows the defender to either be in a good position to make a break if necessary or defend the throw with his hands if that is what is taking place.
Take a moment to watch the short clip below from my YouTube channel that shows several reps of this drill. Notice the position that is being taken by the defenders in the drill. Also notice that there is no emphasis on what is happening at the line of scrimmage nor will you see the defenders turning their heads to make a play on a mythical throw. The focus of the drill is the focus of the drill and we have to cut those other areas out. This has been done for a reason. Sometimes in your drill work you really do need a narrow focus. Adding the element of turning the head can take away from the focus on getting in phase.
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Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp and author of "101 DB Tips". 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.