5 Step Passing Game

Along side a quick passing game (discussed here), all offenses need a 5-step passing game. These passes aren’t just for when you’re facing 2nd or 3rd and long, but are also great to back DB’s off of your quick game or running game.

Your 5 step (3 step in the shotgun) passing game will usually have a different protection number or name, mostly as a signal for the QB and/or because different protection schemes work for different pass timing. Let’s say our 5-step passing game is labeled with 50’s.

An example of a 5-step passing combo for us would be 4-verts. We’re going to employ 4-verts (“6” as Mike Leach calls it). Our outside WR will run up the #’s and our inside WR’s (includes the TE) will run up the hashes.

Q oiler


This is a good example of a frontside post. The arrow will chase a LB off into the flat, possibly take a safety’s eyes off the post and a vert to pull the CB away from helping the safety. One the backside we will run a hitch or quick slant. If the CB plays 5-8 off the X, we will throw the slant/hitch to the 1on1.

T Florida

We also have a backside post (BSP) in our offense. On the left we’re running the backside post, on the right we’re running a vert/out combo as an off-set. You could run slant/vert, hitch/vert, smash, or other combos opposite the BSP.

Q Bama


Here you can see a smash route on the right side. We run a quicker hitch (5 yards) and a nice deep 7 yard corner. On the left side we will offset the hitch with a slant/vert combo. This gives us a 2/4 and a 1/3 breaker.

Q smash