Coach’s Corner: What Happens When Pass Protection Breaks Down?

THSF
Photo via John Glaser, TexasHSFootball.com

 

You see it while watching a game on TV. The QB drops back to pass, its 3rd and 8, a defensive player breaks through the protection of the Offensive Line and the QB is forced to scramble. What happens next should be just as practiced by the offense as their favorite play. There are rules amongst the chaos of a play when protection breaks down for the offense. Although it may not always look that way, there are a set of rules that come into play when the Quarterback has to break out of the pocket and scramble to buy himself and the play some time.

General Scramble Rules For Wide Receivers (to the scramble side)

The Wide Receiver running the deep route to the side the Quarterback is scrambling to stops and works back towards the Quarterback, running back short. (deep route goes short)

The Wide Receiver running the short route to the side the Quarterback is scrambling to turns and runs deep. (short route goes deep)

If there is a third Wide Receiver running an intermediate route to the side the Quarterback is working towards he stops and makes sure he stays at the same depth as he works in the direction of the Quarterback looking for a “window” or open space in the coverage to settle down in. (intermediate route works to find an opening at same depth)

General Scramble Rules For Wide Receivers Away From The Scramble Side

The Wide Receiver running the deep route away from the side the Quarterback is scrambling to turns and heads in the direction of the Quarterback working back short. (deep route goes short as he works across the field towards the Quarterback)

The Wide Receiver running the short route away from the side the Quarterback is scrambling to turns and heads in the direction of the Quarterback working deep. (short route goes deep, heading towards Quarterback)

If there is a third Wide Receiver running an intermediate route away from the side the Quarterback is working towards, he stops and makes sure he stays at the same depth as he works in the direction of the Quarterback looking for a “window” or open space in the coverage to settle down in. (intermediate route works to find an opening at same depth while running in the direction of Quarterback)

General scramble rules for Offensive Linemen

The number one rule for the Offensive Line is to not cross the line of scrimmage. While they are pass protecting they may not know right away that the Quarterback has scrambled out of the pocket. Once they see that the defensive rushers are heading in another direction they will need to just try and “find work” or look for someone to block as they attempt to locate where the Quarterback is moving.

General scramble rules for the Running Back

If the Running Back is protecting when the Quarterback has to scramble there are two general trains of thought for what he should do. 1.) “Leak” out and find an opening in the coverage of the defense and get into the Quarterbacks line of vision so he can see him. 2.) Continue to stay in the backfield and look for someone to block to help the Quarterback buy some time to find a Wide Receiver.

Running Quarterback Vs. A Drop Back Quarterback

The rules described above are typically laid out for a Quarterback that isn’t the best runner, or isn’t the fastest. If an offense is lucky enough to have a more mobile guy at Quarterback, they may just tell him to tuck the ball and run depending on the down and distance.

 

Brought to you by:

FBU-logo

Related Posts

Leave a Reply