Nobody these days can think of a football without a passing game. the game of football changed a lot after rules were changed and forward pass became an integral part in 1906. The change was made to make the game safer and it just exploded the game to a new level of excitement and entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a bruising Running Back rolling down the football field; escaping the linebackers, stiff arming the wannabe tacklers and high stepping into the end zone. Offensive linemen love run blocking as it their natural tendency to move forward and pull/push the defensive linemen to create holes for the running back.
But there is something magical about the forward pass. QB getting the snap from the center, Dropping back, looking for an open receiver and throwing the ball deep down for the receiver. Nothing is more prettier in a football game than a perfect spiral and receiver catching the ball in stride. That is why QBs are the the one that make or break a team and Wide Receivers are the Divas of the football game.
QB takes snap from the center, drops back, it can be a 3 step, 5 step or 7 step drop, scans the field and let the ball go. Offensive Linemen have to hold the pocket, and protect the QB from the Defensive linemen, linebackers and blitzing players. The pass blocking is not the natural motion for a lineman. They have to move back and hold ground against the big defense tackles and have to be speedy enough to counter the speed of a edge rusher. If the O-line can block for an avg. of 3 seconds, it gives ample time for the QB to make a play. 3 seconds does not sound too long of a time but when you are against 290 pound freaks who can run 40 yd in 4.5 seconds and bench press 400 pounds; 3 seconds do seem like an eternity. Pass blocking is the reason Left Tackle is sometimes the highest paid player in the team.
At pro level, the window to catch the pass and the throwing lane is incredibly small. That is why scouts look for an accurate passer. Lot of people get vowed by the fact that a college QB can throw 80 yards deep with flick of his arm but they forget that if he can't fit the ball in small hole; he won't be able to survive the league for much long. Accuracy and tendency to read the defense are the most important qualities a QB needs to have to play at pro level. At college level, the defenses are simple and not much studying is needed by the QB but at the pro level, each week the QB will see different schemes. Basic scheme might be the same but there are many wrinkles added to the scheme and QB is not studying hard, he will be exposed at the game.
Passing game has changed the landscpae of NFL. It has become a more pass happy league. 10 years ago, the mantra was "if you can't run, you can't win". Now it is all about passing, if you can't pass, you can't win or win the BIG one. West coast offense changed the way passing game is played. We will talk about west coast offense in another post. Get your popcorn ready and enjoy the upcoming season, even though it is few months away.