Using the Swap Tag in the Passing Game

One of the easiest ways to keep things simple in the passing game is through the use of tags. We use tags off of our base plays that allow the players to trade responsibilities. The effect is that the players are learning a new path to their route as opposed to a completely new route. In addition the read for the Quarterback changes very little.

Using the Swap Tag in the Passing Game

One of our most popular tags is the Swap Tag. This tag will tell the inside receivers that they are going to change their responsibilities. This creates a natural rub which can cause problems for press defenses. It also creates issues for the zone defenses because the player coming into a zone will be coming from a different angle. When a pass defender is locked into a pass route the Swap route can be the tool you need to attack him from a different angle and open up a completion.

4 Verts SWAP TAG

Using the Swap Tag in the Passing Game

One of our most popular routes to use the Swap Tag on is Four Verticals out of Trips. When we use the Swap Tag on Four Verticals the #3 receiver is now responsible for running up the near side hash while the #2 receiver is responsible for getting across to the opposite hash. This route tends to open up in three different spots. The first spot is as the number two receiver comes under the number three receiver. Many times, the alley player will look to wall the number three receiver and keep him outside. This leaves the number two receiver open for an easy completion underneath with space to run and attack the defense.

Related Content: Passing Concepts that Work in Youth Football 

The next places this route opens up is the number two on the vertical. This is especially true against a 1 high defense like Cover 3. If the Free Safety comes up to take number three coming across his face he leaves number two all alone running down the hashes for an easy completion. The final spot this route opens up is on the outside. If the Defense is in some sort of Quarters or Even coverage when number two comes across the formation it can have the effect of taking the Safeties eyes in and he will lose track of number one. The effect is a receiver running free down the sideline and a long gain.

Drive Concept SWAP TAG


Drive Concept Swap Tag

The other route where we use the Swap Tag is our Drive Series. In our Drive series the number three receiver will be running the Drive route looking to get across the formation at a depth of 6 yards. At the same the #2 receiver will be running a Dig route where he gets to 10 yards, breaks in and then looks for the window that is created when the linebacker chases the drive route.

Drive Route Tag

On it’s own the Drive concept is a great way to get a high low read on the Linebackers and get the ball to a playmaker but when you add the Swap Tag you can begin to change who is likely to get the ball and play with the defense’s rules. When the Swap Tag is called the #3 receiver now has the Dig. By going 10 yards vertical he will pull a linebacker out to Wall him. This opens up an easy completion for the #2 receiver who is running the Drive route right under the Dig.

Related Content: Smash Passing Concept out of 3 X 1 Spread 

The Swap Tag can be used with any passing concept and any formation. While the examples we have show it out of Trips, it’s just as easy to use the Swap tag out of a Doubles formation to have the inside receivers change their responsibilities.

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