CSF Football101: Common Misperceptions

Football is not rocket science. It is built on a bunch of basic concepts, that by themselves are easy to understand. But football is a game full of fast moving parts. The basic complaint about football is that it stops and starts and there are too many breaks in the action. In games like basketball, hockey and soccer there is an almost never ending fluidity of the game that is absent in the game of football. Football though is like a fast acting drug. There is such a rush of action, so much goes on in short bursts of pure adrenaline and its hard to quickly digest every component of the experience. As we continue CSF Football 101, lets examine a few common misunderstandings about the game of football. In the next installment of football 101 we will continue with more.

1.) Sacks are not always the offensive line’s fault. If the quarterback holds the ball too long, that is on him. Just as the blame does not always go to the o-line sacks are not always because of great pass rush. A coverage sack is when the pass rush finally gets to the QB who ran out of options due to great coverage. Running backs are often involved in pass protection. If the back cannot pick up the free blitzer or mixes up his responsibility then some blame goes to him.

2.) Bad throws are not always the fault of the quarterback. This sounds wildly counterintuitive, but let me explain. Often times throws that seem to be targeted for no one are the result of miscommunication. Often times the receiver runs the wrong route. It is the players responsibility to adapt to the defense. Imagine the QB sees soft coverage on the outside. He expects the receiver to sit and comeback to the ball. The receiver however runs the go route and the ball lands in the grass with no one around it.

3.) Special teams are important. You can say whatever you want about field goal kickers but when they kick the game winner they’re everybody’s best friend. Special teams literally is one third of the game. Field position is one of the biggest factors in any football game. Good punt teams, Kickoff teams and kick and punt return units are essential. I get it nobody cares about special teams, but it is so important. Games are won and lost by big plays on special teams.

4.) The wildcat is not a gimmick, it just cannot be a base offense. The wildcat offense was all the rage a couple years ago. We still see it from time to time. As a wrinkle to the offense there is nothing wrong with it. I don’t like taking my quarterback out of it, but for teams without a good passer it makes sense. Having a wildcat-only quarterback or running back adds another blocker to the running game. Now in theory you have 10 blockers for the ball carrier. You also can create the threat of plays like the jet sweep from the other back who starts from the wing and comes into the center of the backfield. Though it is not a gimmick, it is easy to get to cute with it. Used sparingly it has a function. It is a good way to run the ball with 8 men in box.

5.) Have you ever wondered why reverses work? A reverse is a running play in which the running back takes a handoff and hands it to a receiver running the opposite way. People think reverses work because of the speed of the receiver. While speed certainly helps the reason a reverse is successful or not is how the defense plays it. If the players responsible for outside contain and the cutback are out of position, the reverse will be a big play. In this case they over pursued because the run was going the other way originally.

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