On some plays, you’ll need your QB to drop back, survey the entire defense, and find the open man. But on certain plays a QB can figure out which man will be open by simply keying in on one player. That play is your standard playaction bootleg, and that player is the corner on the side your QB bootlegs to.

Football Drills
Playaction Bootleg - Keying the Corner

When your quarterback runs the bootleg, the area of the field he’s going to key in on is the flat. As he runs out, he’s going to check and see if the corner who started off in that position has stayed there, zoning up the flat, gone high, taking the deep zone, or stayed on a man. Each different situation will key your QB to begin a read from either High to Low, or Low to High.

If the QB comes out of the bootleg and the corner has stayed in the flat zone, he will complete his read from High to Low; looking for his deep ball along the sideline, and working his way through all the other routes down to the flat on his side.

If the QB sees the corner has gone up to take the deep zone, he’ll work his reads from Low to High; looking to make the short pass to the back or tight end in the flat.

And if the corner is in man coverage, the QB will make the read from Low to High as well.

You can change up the routes, but the idea on a boot is to have multiple routes on different vertical levels on the roll side. Learning whether to move up or down in their reads can make the quarterback’s job quite a bit easier!


That’s it for today’s post. If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, make sure to comment just below! And iIf you need more drills for your QBs this offseason, check out this post on improving throwing strength!