Running Back Tips: The Check and Release

Read the situation and run your route in order to become open and make a play.

If the play calls for you to check and release, then your first responsibility is to check and see if the linebackers are rushing. If they are, you need to pick them up on pass protection.

if they are not rushing, your second responsibility is the release. This means to run into your route, generally at the linebackers’ depth over the ball. The play call will determine your assigned route and where you run on the field.

Once you’ve reached the linebackers’ depth in the middle of the field, turn around, find a window, and look at the quarterback’s eyes in preparation to receive the football.

On a flat route, the running back may check two reads before releasing. This includes the inside read of a linebacker rushing up the middle, then scanning to the outside for a linebacker rushing off the edge of the line of scrimmage. If neither rushes, release outside of the pocket to the numbers near the sideline. You will chop your feet while looking back at the quarterback, ready to receive a pass.

By making the right read, you are able to assist with pass protection or become another outlet for your quarterback. Either way, be ready to make a big play to move the ball downfield.