Football Press Coverage

What is Press Coverage in Football?

Press coverage, often referred to as "bump and run" coverage, is a type of coverage in which defensive backs play very closely to offensive receivers to prevent them from making catches. Defenders do not allow the receivers any sort of cushion when playing press coverage, using extra physicality and matching the offensive player's movements step-by-step.

Press Coverage Techniques

There are two techniques to keep in mind when playing press coverage, both of which are listed below.

Mirror Technique

This technique includes mimicking the receiver's every movement by backpedaling, making sure to keep the shoulders square to prevent from opening up the hips and allowing the receivers to run up the field

Jam Technique

The technique requires punching at the receiver's chest with open palms, making it more difficult for the receiver to gather speed off the line of scrimmage


Press coverage is very effective at disrupting the routes of wide receivers. Especially when the defender jams the receiver, it takes an incredible amount of quickness and strength to stay on path and create enough separation to catch a pass.

How to Beat Press Coverage

The best wide receivers know how to consistently beat press coverage, either by using a stutter step that causes the defender to overreact and fall out of position or by pushing through a jam to create leverage.

Press coverage tends to be high risk/high reward. When it works, it prevents the quarterback from throwing to his desired receivers and forces an errant pass. If the receiver manages to break press coverage, however, the defender has little chance of recovering and is likely going to give up a deep pass completion.


In order to prevent defenders from constantly making contact with the receiver prior to the ball being thrown by the quarterback, there is a five yard bump rule in place. Per the rule, defenders are allowed to initiate contact with the receiver (i.e. hand jamming) within five yards from the line of scrimmage, after which any contact that occurs before the arrival of the ball is a penalty. The penalty is known as defensive pass interference, with the offense being granted an extra 15 yards and an automatic first down once the call is made.