Steve Clarkson Dreammaker

Make A Play: Escaping the Pocket

When Pressure is coming, you’ll want to keep your eyes downfield and find the open man for a big play, or get the ball out safely.  Use these qb tips to learn how to handle a collapsing pocket the Steve Clarkson way.

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In Steve Clarkson’s 8th installment in the #QBQuickTips series he puts a new drill to the test. This test evaluates a quarterback’s ability to evade threats in a collapsing pocket and to be able to make plays on the run. A quarterback must be able to quickly adapt in any situation, as the pocket isn’t going to stay open forever. This drill can and should be practiced by any quarterback regardless of skill level. In earlier years many quarterbacks get used to having a nice pocket and plenty of time to be able to make plays. As you get older and start playing against a more skilled defense that pocket isn’t as cozy as it once used to be.

The first part of this drill is done without any other additional players. The purpose of this is to have the quarterbacks learn the proper movements when on the go when evading pressure. The key here is to snap your head around and always keep your eyes on the receiver. If you don’t snap your head around or keep your eyes down field the chances are it will take too long for you to locate your receiver again and possibly might not be able to see the guy that broke through your line of scrimmage and is coming straight for you. When this occurs anticipating it as early as possible is best.

The addition of the person chasing the quarterback is to help the quarterbacks get into the mindset of being in a game with an actual defensive player chasing you. When you practice, you can’t get into a full game mindset without having some of the actual pressure from a real game involved in your practice. In part two of this qb drill you can see the pressure gets the quarterback to move faster than when they were only against themselves. Without the pressure Steve Clarkson had applied in the drill, the quarterback did not react with the game time mindset.

A quarterback needs to keep their movements tight and be able to maneuver quickly. Keeping the cuts tight is very important in succeeding in this drill as well as in a game. If you don’t have precise, sharp movements you are putting yourself at a greater risk for running into a defender or getting tackled. When the second player was included in the drill you see how the fast movements were necessary or else they were going to get tackled if contact was allowed in the drill. It also shows how practicing the footwork patterns with the drill can help a QB to shake a defender who’s right on you. If the quarterbacks ran straight to the left to rather than running the route to avoid the collapsing pocket, they would have been tackled rather quickly. Shaking the defensive pressure is necessary or else a collapsing pocket will collapse on you as well.

When the pocket collapses the real pressure is on for a quarterback. There are the great quarterbacks who can make the play and average ones that collapse with the pocket. Knowing how to move and think during a collapsing pocket will allow you to make a play that very few would be able to do. To learn about how to evade threats in a collapsing pocket or to sign up for a qb camp and/or private coaching, contact Steve now!


Coach's Transcript:

okay got some leakage got a little in the A gap they get through you see through now you got to make athletic play all right?!

Eyes downfield snap your head around, every time snap your head around every time! There we go let’s go. They can come on snap your head around eyes down field eyes down field.

That’s it that’s a big boy throw! Leep yourself moving I’ll stand here.

Talk about right there Aerodynamics. Have a dip the shoulders dip the shoulders snap your head around.

Okay, so now what’s going to happen is you’re gonna run him down all right so he gets to so he gets at this point here you come run so now it’s tight now I got it’s a tighter ring around the rosy.
Now be moving out they’re right here we go.

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