Follow these 8 rules for quarterback and receiver sight adjustment

By Bill Hewitt | Posted 9/7/2017

How many quarterbacks and receivers really understand sight adjustment rules? This can be a hard concept to master, especially at younger levels.

Let’s cover eight simple rules that players can learn, which will counter any type of blitzing combinations so the quarterback and receivers are on the same page.

  • 1. Know where the safeties are at all times. This means presnap and postsnap. Safeties will give away what a defense is trying to do.
  • 2. Watch how the defense moves. For example, if the strong safety moves close to the line of scrimmage, and the free safety moves to cover the slot or tight end, this is a good indication of a blitzing situation. If the corner plays bump and run, the quarterback can adjust the receiver to a fade route.
  • 3. If the free safety moves closer to the line of scrimmage, this is not normal. All receivers, especially the X, should run a quick slant post using inside leverage. It is possible to see two-deep or three-deep on the blitz. Quick check to the Y on a hook or Texas pattern. If the corner takes the inside away from X, go up top to a post or run the back out and up. The outside release will make it one-on-one with deep leverage. This has to be a quick three- to five-step throw.
  • 4. Always make adjustments to the receiver’s side – left or right. The quarterback and receivers should anticipate the safety blitz based on the defensive alignment. Check for a shallow Level 2 or players lined across the board. Those are dead giveaways. 
  • 5. When there is no audible called with any kind of safety blitz, quarterbacks must use only a quick three- to five-step drop. Release time is critical for countering the blitz.
  • 6. Teach replacement. This means the receiver will replace the area the blitz is coming from, and that route is automatically hot. The receiver will break inside the next defender using leverage. Catch first, run second. 
  • 7. If the defender takes the inside release away, there are two adjustments to make. First, take the post on top of the defender. In other words, run him over. The other is to pressure step with the right foot and pivot back to an open position. This means to drop the left foot back and look immediately for the football.
  • 8. The quarterback must release the ball by the third step whenever possible. Remember, there is no player to pick up the blitz because no audible was called. Some teams call a hot call, and the backs will stay in and block. This depends on the personnel groupings. 


Football is a chess match. A quick release and leverage will keep your offense on the move against any safety blitz.

Bill Hewitt is a former college football coach, NFL scout and film grader for the Buffalo Bills. He also is a retired physical education teacher. Follow him on Twitter @HewittCoach.