There are a number of different positions in the offense that at times can act as receivers. For the purposes of this piece we will concentrate on the wide receiver (split end) and the flanker (slot receiver).
Each receiver has their own ‘route’ to run for each play. This is where the relationship with the quarterback is vital, because the quarterback will also know these routes too. Because the quarterback cannot look all over the field at any one time and also because they don’t want the opposition defense reading their eyes, the receiver needs to be in a pre-determined position so they are ready to be picked out by the quarterback at the appropriate moment. In order to make this happen, the receiver’s movement is co-ordinated with the number of steps the quarterback takes. It’s vital they stick to their route and remember how it relates to the quarterback’s movement, otherwise the play will probably fail.
The wide receiver lines up on the opposite side of the line as the tight end, and is set away to the side so as not to be directly facing any member of the defense. The wide receiver does what he can to avoid the big hitters in the center of the opposition’s defense. He also acts as a good decoy, tempting the defense to leave their central positions and gravitate towards him and thus open up running lanes in centerfield.
The flanker normally lines up behind the back line. The flanker tends to be the position for the nimble and fast receiver because the starting position allows them the advantage of not being hit immediately. The flanker lines up on the quarterback’s right, so with most quarterbacks being right handed, they are in their line of vision for the majority of passing plays. A flanker will need to catch and will need to be tough enough to hold onto the ball when they get hit after the catch.
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