Understanding the NFL Passing Game

An Introduction to the NFL Passing Game:

Every Sunday we see quarterbacks throw passes for hundreds of yards.  However, for the typical fan the passing game is magical event.  The quarterback drops back to pass and the ball magically appears in the receivers hands.  In these articles I hope to be able to better explain how the passing game works.

I will start off by explaining passing concepts.  Passing concepts are how the routes that the wide receivers run are classified.  While NFL coaches are known for having playbooks that are thousands of pages long all of the vast majority passing plays can really be broken down into less than twenty passing concepts.  Now before dismissing this claim keep in mind that each passing play can contain multiple passing plays and that the way these plays are run in the game is meant to confuse even NFL defensive coordinators.  Below is a description of these passing concepts as I can best tell.

Then I will describing passing schemes, these are combinations of passing concepts and formations that combine to form general scheme and game plan.

Lastly, I will explain some basic pass protection schemes.

Now keep in mind that I am not a coach or player at any level, just a college student who loves the game of football.

Table of Contents:

1.) Passing Concepts

1.) Four Verticals

2.) Three Verticals

3.) The NCAA Pass (or the Post-Dig)

4.) Levels

5.) Smash

6.) Shallow Cross/Drive

7.) Mesh

8.) Double Slants/Slant Shoot

9.) All Curls

10.) Y-Sail/Flood

11.) Spacing

12.) Stick

13.) Texas

2.) Passing Schemes

1.) Air Raid Offense

2.) West Coast Offense

3.) Run-and-Shoot Offense

4.) Erhardt-Perkins Offense

5.) Air Coryell Offense

6.) The N.F.L. Offense

3.) Pass Protection Schemes

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