By: Chad Wilson
This blog is called All Eyes DB Camp so you know what I think is important when playing defensive back but the eyes aren’t everything, just the most important thing. Some guys when they are playing press pretend that their arms got amputated.
Yes, I know that the wide receivers are more skilled these days in avoiding jams. I also know that defensive backs have put in a ton of time studying what to do with their feet when playing press. Despite all that, the whole reason that it’s called press is because you need to use your hands to press your man. The very word press would indicate the use of one’s hands, unless you are in Spain stomping on grapes to make wine.
The art of redirecting a WR into what and where you need him to go is going to involve your hands. I always preach the order of importance when it comes to press coverage is eyes, feet then hands but they do include hands. What I have come to notice more and more are guys abandoning the use of their hands in favor of the mirror throughout the route. Sure, this can be effective but you’ll be just that more effective if you start incorporating the use of your hands more often to throw off the receiver.
The very thing that that the wide receivers want to avoid are the hands of the defensive back making contact with and disrupting their path. If you watch how they train and what they drill against, it’s the hands of the defensive back. Because they are training against it doesn’t mean that we avoid doing it. It simply means we must get better at using it. If you are a team that runs a lot of Cover 4, you don’t suddenly abandon using it because your opponent practices against it. What you do is get better at executing it.
So my message to my defensive backs out there as you head into your offseason training is while you are peppering yourself with foot drills and ladder routines, spend a good amount of time working on striking the wide receivers with either two hand or one hand jams. Boxer’s definitely train their eyes and their feet to be effective in the ring but they are nothing if they don’t know how to throw a punch. The message is the same for defensive backs who are asked to play both in man and some zone coverages.
I have some great tutorials on press man in the All Eyes DB Camp member’s area that talk you through how you should use your eyes, your feet and yes, your hands when playing press man. Consider joining.
Check out the video below for some advice on how to jam wide receivers when you are playing press coverage.
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.