The quarterback is a player on the offense who is the team's most valuable player. The quarterback starts with the ball on every play and can choose to pass the ball, hand it off to a running back, or run with it himself for a quarterback sneak.
A football down is one of four plays at the line of scrimmage the offense gets to advance the ball.
After the snap, the quarterback can:
- Pass the ball to a receiver
- Hand the ball off to a running back
- Run with the ball for a quarterback sneak
On a passing play the quarterback scans the field for an open receiver and then throws the ball to the receiver. It's a completion if the pass is caught. The pass is incomplete if the ball is dropped or thrown out of bounds.
The pocket is an area on the field created by the offensive line to protect the quarterback from being sacked. The pocket gives quarterbacks time to scan the field to find an open receiver to pass to.
On a running play the quarterback hands the ball to a running back to run with. This is called a hand off.
The quarterback sneak is a play where the quarterback takes the ball and runs with it on the field. On a QB sneak the quarterback will run towards the sidelines. Quarterback sneaks can be planned or happen if a player on the defense breaks through the pocket. In the second case, the quarterback is trying to avoid a sack. Quarterback sneaks are risky plays since the quarterback is at risk of being tackled and injured.
What Makes a Good Quarterback
Being a good quarterback at any level is tough. The position requires you to have exceptional abilities throwing the ball as well as have a great understanding of opposing defenses and your own playbook. Here are a few traits that are important in being good quarterback:
- Good Arm Strength
- Exceptional Throwing Accuracy
- Deep Understanding of Defensive Formations, Tendencies, Play Styles
- Ability to Recognize Certain Defensive Play Types Prior to the Snap
- Great Understanding of Own Team's Playbook
- Good Mobility Both Within the Pocket and Outside of it
Being a good quarterback is not just about how far or fast you can throw the football. In fact, most quarterbacks who don't tend to have success on the field is because of their lack of preparation on the mental side of the game. Those who practice, watch film, and learn the ins and outs of football are the ones who tend to have great success on the field.