By Quarterback Coach Ron Raymond
April 8th 2013
As a QB coach, I’ve witnessed many types of mechanics and habits Quarterbacks develop while throwing or doing their footwork. However, two points of interest that seems to carry most conversations with coaches and players: QB drops and base stance out of shotgun.
Ask any Quarterback coach and they will tell you, the older your Quarterback, the harder it is for them to change. IMG Academy and former NFL QB Chris Weinke was on the NFL network last week and he was talking about Tim Tebow’s release and he said something that really confirmed something I’ve been preaching. I don’t have the exact wording, but the main part of the conversation was; “once they get to a certain age, you can only fix and change their habits from waist down”.
Ask any QB coach who has trained older players; when they’ve identified a kink in their mechanics and ask them to try something different, they will give it a shot and most times you will hear; “but coach, I’ve always thrown this way, the way you showed me doesn’t feel comfortable.” Once an older Quarterback has over 10 000 reps in a movement procedure, deprogramming their instinct is very difficult for them.
Therefore, couple of things you can do is work on their footwork and the mental part of the game. Wasted movements are obvious to many QB coaches and getting gunslinger to adapt to change, is always the tough part.
Which brings me to our two points of interest; the 3-step drop from shotgun and base stance out of shotgun? Should a QB take a Cross over step or use a straight back shoulder squared up to the Line of Scrimmage drop back?
Like any “Research & Development” training, you have to look at the pros and cons of both techniques.
On a cross-over drop, once a QB takes his first open step, crosses over with the 2nd and 3rd step, the hips are already “torqued” and ready for the elbow to wind-up and progress with the throw. However, when a Right Handed Quarterback makes his first 3 steps, the head and eyes are already aiming slightly to the right, which invites or tips off the Free Safety and Linebackers during their initial read. Furthermore, I feel it’s tough for the QB to see the backside coverage of the field when he’s taking his 3-step drop with a cross over step.
If a Quarterback were to take what I call the “old school” straight step drop back with shoulders square to the line of scrimmage approach, Quarterbacks would have a better peripheral vision of the field and would be able to direct the Safety and Linebackers in the opposite way he would like to go. However, the hips would be squared up field and the first movement prior to the throw would be to rotate the hips to the sidelines and progress with the rest of the throw.
Again, what’s right or wrong is not the point of this article, it’s just to bring awareness to conversation many QB’s and QB coach are having at the fields.
Secondly, I’ve had some healthy discussions about base footing out of shotgun; should a right handed Quarterback start with their Left, straight, or right foot forward?
If you’re a right handed QB, starting with the left foot forward allows a Quarterback to receive the snap, push off the Left Foot and turn the hips sooner. Starting with the Right Foot forward approach, allows the quarterback to take one extra step deeper in the backfield, as he can step 2 yards further, before opening their hips.
Using the pigeon toed approach like Peyton Manning is good for balance in case the QB receives a bad snap.
No matter what foot you start with, everything starts with the snap from center! If you watch a College or Pro Football game, most times the QB will have to start with some form of a punch step then get into the process of taking their drop steps and turning their hips.
In my view, the key to both points of interest I’ve talked about today “drops and base stance”, Quarterbacks must have what I call “loose hips” and great “cat like” feet.
I’ve always stated: Great footwork + Balance = Accuracy
Coach Ron Raymond