How to Handle a Quick QB

4 08 2010


 I play in a passing league (so no blockers or rushers) where the QB can only scramble if someone rushes in.  What do we do about a really fast QB? Just give him all day?                                                                      – Jake, NM

“Swift is the flight of the chased. The samurai lies in wait.”

– Master’s Journal


 There are many flag football leagues like yours, some with as many as 8 players, but mostly 4man or 5man style.  But you make an excellent observation about a tough decision made from the sand-lot all the way to the pros.  What to do about a quick QB?

 Cost/Benefit: If your league is 4man or 5man, there is a real cost-benefit analysis to be done before going after a speedy QB.  Leaving him alone gives you and extra man in the defense, but also allows him lots of time to make a throw. 

 How’s His Gun? The first question is what are the QB’s strengths?  Is he just fast, or does he also have a strong arm? How about accuracy?  If speed is far and away his greatest strength, you’re probably better off letting him try to thread the needle in your stacked defense than trying to flush him out.  Most passing leagues also have some sort of time limit to throw.  But if he is dangerous throwing the ball as well, the choice gets more complex.

 Man it Up:  By sending a rusher or blitzer after the QB (especially in 4man or 5man), you do a couple of things.  First, you commit to man defense. It will be extremely tough to run a zone defense with 3 or 4 guys while sending another. And second, in addition to manning up on receivers, you are manning up on the QB as well. 

 Managing Talent: Do you have the athletes to pull it off?  There are some teams whose best player is their QB, (plus rushing in fast after a quarterback gives him the upper hand to make a move and get free), so you may want your best athlete matched on the QB.  If you do that, will the result be a big mismatch on their 6’ 6” TO look-alike receiver?  Remember, though, that if you rush your best athlete, in theory, he should make the job of the other defenders a lot easier by putting real pressure on the QB.

 The Swivel:  Make sure that the other defenders keep an eye on the QB. If he makes a move past the rusher, you’re going to need support to keep him from funning for a huge gain.

The Mega Rush:  Also, sending 2 men will work only rarely.  If they have a completely useless receiver, or if their QB is not very good, you may be able to fake coverage on two bunched receivers, but with a QB who is even close to decent,

Making the Call: So if you think you’ve got the men to pull it off, rushing the QB will result in forced offensive errors, but remember it creates opportunity for the QB to make a big play on the ground as well.  If you try it and the QB gets free a few times, change personnel or abandon the rush.   If the QB is fast, but not a great ball slinger, let him sit back there and try to make a tough throw. 

By The Flag Football Ninja

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