The images above show Homer Smith’s 1997 Arizona playbook. You can see that Smith believed in calibrating route and getting the ball out at precise times. This is a fundamental of the passing game that has been around a long time, though it’s taken on different names and presentation.
The premise is that the ball should be out on the the last step of a 5-step drop in 1.8 seconds and on a hitch-up step in 2.4 seconds. In this way the route and the quarterback’s eyes and feet are in sync. In looking a Smith’s diagrams you can see that speed outs, spot routes and curls and deep corner routes are out in 2.4 seconds. Being able to calibrate your system in this way allows for the ball to be out before many protections break down. This is a sound way of developing a passing game. To learn more about this type of progression and passing game, check out Dan Gonzalez’s The Need for Change and The Blue Print. Gonzalez has been a proponent of this type of progression as he spent time learning and corresponding with the late Smith. This principle remains as sound today as it was when it was first developed decades ago. Gonzalez has been able to package it for use in today’s offenses.
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