As a wide receiver, shedding the opposing defender can help you set a play up for ultimate gains. Many of these battles can be won in the first few steps, which is why having a quality release off the line of scrimmage can be vital to your performance on the field. Releasing isn’t just a singular move, however. You can’t become predictable at the line, or your coverage can easily cue off of your foot patterns, squandering your threat level downfield.
Professional wide receiver Davante Adams has battled a plethora of lockdown defenders and has used his releasing skills to rack up all-star statistics. To keep his opponents on their toes each play, Adams says that instead of lining up as a one-trick pony, he has an arsenal of release options at his disposal.
“My mindset coming out of the stance, I like to have a plan,” Adams says. “I like to be aware of where the [defensive back] is.”
Adams says that he has a number of different releases he can use once he’s identified the coverage in front of him. If a defensive back is lined up one yard off of him, he has a drop-down menu of releases he can run. If a defender is five or even 10 yards off, Adams says he has other plans for creating separation at the line.
Having different releases at your disposal can help give different looks for different situations. This can help you confuse your opponent’s coverage, leaving you open for a smooth pass.
Understanding which release to use in certain defensive coverages can be a difference-maker when it comes to getting open. “You just have to have a plan, that way you’re never caught off guard,” Adams says.
BONUS PRO TIP: Receivers aren’t the only ones who need to be well-stocked in release options. Tight ends can get in on the fun, too, for an added target downfield. Be sure to read our tips for tight ends looking to train these moves off the line here.
Gain the yardage and keep your defenders guessing by approaching the line with a plan this football season.