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Primary Receiver and Passing Sticks

Coach Shawn

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I have been thinking of this for a while. 

Basically it is a way to simulate a QB going through his receiver progressions.  

His first look is to the primary receiver.  If he is covered he goes to his next receiver and so on and so on.   Now In my idea I only break the “looks” into two groups; the primary receiver, and all the rest.


After the defense is set you simply determine which player is your Primary receiver.  In solitaire I will randomly determine this, but in head to head the offensive coach will simply declare his choice.

Now once the play is started the offensive coach decides which receiver he will actually target.

  • If the primary receiver is indeed the target then use normal rules for stick passing.
  • If any other receiver is used then you must go up to the next longest stick from the one you measure out.Thus a white stick pass to a primary receiver stays a white stick.


Thus a white stick pass to the primary receiver stays a white stick. However if a white stick pass is targeting a secondary receiver then it becomes a “white stick with pressure”.   (If you don’t use the QB pressure stick rules then it would become a blue stick).

If you target a secondary receiver AND the QB is under pressure then you must use a ball placement stick TWO levels longer.

In this case a white stick pass becomes a blue stick pass.

Ball placement sticks that I use (shortest to longest):

  1. Red stick
  2. Red Stick with pressure 
  3. White stick
  4. White stick with pressure 
  5. Blue stick
  6. Blue stick with pressure
  7. Blue stick with Orange stick added

What I hope to achieve with this is to make passing a little harder.  Also To reward teams that can get their primary receiver open, ie Travis Kelce.

Time will tell if it adds anything or whether it is not worth the trouble.

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15 minutes ago, Coach Shawn said:

If any other receiver is used then you must go up to the next longest stick from the one you measure out.Thus a white stick pass to a primary receiver stays a white stick.

The last sentence in the quote should say “Thus a white stick pass to a secondary receiver becomes a white stick with pressure. “

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We use passing sticks, and I've thought about adding in the QB pressure element.  But our completion percentages are pretty realistic, so we decided not to make them any harder.

One thing we did was limit the defense to pivoting only one player to react to the pass.  Previously, defense could turn all unengaged players to react. 

We also eliminated any defensive reaction if the receiver was wholly within ten yards of the LOS and fully between the numbers, in order to make throwing short over the middle possible.  It did do that, but we are going to tweak this rule.  On old fields especially, there's a LOT of grass between the numbers.  One thought is defense can pivot one defender to react when the receiver is in said zone, but he has to be farther from the placed ball than the receiver is.  We're still thinking about it, and any suggestions are welcome.

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In our league tweaking skills have continued to improve and as they did we changed certain rules to meet the new standards.

Currently we are confident in our receivers and have little hesitation in going for the longest stick passes, in our league this would be the Blue Pressure Stick.  The greatest deterrent to passing is the speed and placement of the defenders. 

We have developed several ways to get short passes open.  One method I use for Slants across the middle is to sub out my DE with a DE that has a backward base.  I then use one of my pivots to angle the receiver to slant to the back of the D-line.  So when the board starts the DE will move backwards and this draws defenders across from him forward across the line creating a vacancy the receiver slides through.  See my terrible drawing. 


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Backwards movement is another technic to get opponents out of the way.  You can’t do it the whole game ad your opponent will figure it out, but you can usually get s few critical plays in before he does.

i use this on sweeps too.  The WR has a backwards base and the CB will chase him leaving the side open for the sweep…just know what his looper does.  So sweep inside his loop or go wide around the looper.  Or just have a strong TE block the looper if you can.   I added a drawing of one version of this sweep.8E2FEF16-A572-45F2-9E4B-60A7247A789D.thumb.jpeg.fad6e8623eb0dd1efdc8dbdf0c5031c7.jpeg

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