One area most receivers struggle is versus a good defender that knows how to play press coverage well. When a defensive back is in press coverage, the thing to keep in mind is that you have the advantage-you know what route you're running, and the Defensive Back has to cover the entire field.
A good DB in press 1 on 1 coverage tries to do 3 things to limit the amount of area that they have to cover you; they want to disrupt the timing of your route, shrink the spacing of your route at the line of scrimmage, and to make it harder for your Quarterback to anticipate where you're going to be.
With those things in mind, let's get to the 3 tips!
Tip #1: Don't Waste Time At The Line Of Scrimmage
One area WR's get in trouble vs press releases is wasting time at the line of scrimmage, trying to make the defender miss with their jam. When facing press coverage you want to focus on "winning your route" (creating separation) at the end of your route, not at the line of scrimmage.
Regardless of the release you use, a great release is when you are able to get into your route in the least amount of time possible, even if there is contact and the DB is able to get a hand on you. The other reason it's important not to waste time at the line is because, your QB will also come off you to find another WR in the progression if you're "covered".
PRO TIP: Anticipate contact, and make yourself small at the point of attack. Most DB's aim point is the chest/shoulder area so that they can slow you down, and impede your progress- by anticipating this and have a point of emphasis of making yourself small using a dip release, or swim release your able to get into your routes quicker.
Tip #2: Know When You Need To Be Open
This is HUGE especially in man coverage because you need to when your quarterback expects you to be open, and the picture that they are looking for that tells them your "open".
A common mistake I see with WR’s is that they are so focused on trying to beat their individual defenders that they run themselves out of the play, because it's not a clean look for their Quarterback.
By understanding the route concept (what your QB is reading, and in what progression) you're better able to know what your QB is looking for with each route, able to use the scheme to your advantage, along being able to put yourself in position at the right time to show your QB “I’m open”.
NOTE: When plays are being installed pay attention to the route progressions (the order that the QB is making their reads), as well as the overall route concept, so that you understand what the quarterback is looking for.
Understanding the big picture of the play design and the nuances of the play it makes it easier to execute.
Tip #3: Threaten Your Defender Vertically Up The Field
Another area WR’s get in trouble, and make it harder to execute is after the release at the line they allow the DB to dictate their angles. DB’s in press want to use the sideline as an extra defender, to shrink the amount of space that they have to cover you, on an inside release they will try to funnel you inside to Linebackers, and Safeties to disrupt the spacing, and timing with your route.
The third and probably most important tip is to threaten your defender up the field vertically. Regardless of the route you have (unless it's a crossing route) when you run straight up the field (as if your running at the 9 in the image above) you get the defensive back into a mode where they have to read and react to you, this is exactly where you want your DB as a wide receiver.
By attacking your defender vertically up the field, your defender has to respect that you can break in any direction at anytime. This one key will make getting open vs press coverage a lot easier!
TIP: When your lined up vs your defender, pick an aim point 10 yards directly in front of you that you arm aiming to get back to after the hand fight at the line, this helps emphasize attacking the defender vertically up the field.
For 4 More Tips To Beat Press Coverage Like A PRO download my FREE Guide Here: https://www.proacademy.io/1on1tips
What other tips would help you become a better Football player? Let me know in the comments below.