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Football teams use tight ends in different ways, depending on each squad's offensive system. In some offenses, tight ends are mainly blockers, lining up next to one of the offensive tackles and blocking for both runs and passes. In other offenses, tight ends are primarily receivers who line up in the slot or may be set wide. Most tight ends have dual roles, blocking linemen or linebackers on running plays, then running pass routes when the quarterback drops into the pocket. If you wish to play tight end, be sure to work on both your blocking and receiving skills.
Learn to pass block while lining up on both the right and left sides of the ball. At the snap, take one step back with the foot that's farthest from the ball and assume an erect stance with your knees flexed, your feet shoulder-width apart or a bit wider, and your hands held in front of your upper chest with your palms facing away from you. Strike the pass rusher high on his chest when he approaches, then drop back a bit. Overplay a bit to the inside. If a pass rusher beats you to the outside you can still push him wide and delay his rush, and the quarterback can step up in the pocket to avoid a sack. But if a rusher beats you to the inside, he has a direct route to the quarterback.
Drive forward off the line of scrimmage when you're run blocking against a lineman. Keep your head up and your weight forward as you push your hands into the inside of the defender's upper chest. Stay low and keep your legs driving straight forward while blocking; don't take a crossover step because that will limit your mobility.
Run to your assigned position to make a block at the second level, typically against a linebacker or safety. Once you encounter your target, bend a bit from the knees and waist and employ the same techniques you used when blocking at the line of scrimmage: stay low, strike upward with your hands against the defender's upper chest and keep pushing forward.
Fake a block, then run a short pass route. Take one step back at the snap, as if you were pass blocking, then push off with your back foot and take a couple steps forward. Continue on your assigned pass route. On a drag route, for example, you'll go 4 or 5 yards past the line of scrimmage, then cut inside and run parallel to the line of scrimmage.
Fire off the line of scrimmage to run a straight route, without faking a block. Tight ends commonly run hook routes against zone defenses, sprinting 6 to 8 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, then planting one foot and turning toward the quarterback. The tight end is often responsible for finding an open spot in the zone or for making his cut in front of linebackers who have dropped back into pass coverage.
Watch the point of the ball when it's thrown to you, but try to catch the ball in the middle, using your hands, rather than trying to trap the ball against your body. Reach forward whenever possible and catch the ball with your fingers.
Practice catching a variety of passes. Have your quarterbacks or coaches purposely throw the ball high, low, to your right and to your left.
Tuck the ball into your chest as soon as you catch it and grasp it with both hands, because the tight end frequently catches the ball in traffic. Turn your body away from the closest defender so he can't poke the ball loose.