The football safety is a vital defensive position. The safety is the last mine of defense when playing defensive back during pass coverage. The football safety also must have the ability to play as an extra run defender when the offense tries to grind yards out on the ground. A safety must consistently work on tackling and pass coverage drills to improve his game.
A football safety must be able to pick up wide receivers in man to man coverage. A safety will often be responsible for the slot receiver or tight end in a defensive scheme. Practice man to man coverage by lining a safety a yard or so off the wide receiver in a cornerback type alignment. Have the wide receiver run a range of pass routes with the safety in pass coverage. Begin the drill by having the safety know which pass route is going to be run, this will slow the defensive back to work on footwork at full speed. Progress this drill to the wide receiver running a pass route unknown to the safety, and the safety being forced to cover him under game like conditions. Start each repetition 20 yards away from the end zone and award the wide receiver a point for each complete pass, and 10 points for a touchdown. The football safety is awarded one point for each incomplete pass, and 10 points for an interception. The first player to 20 points wins.
This football safety drill helps develop ‘ball hawking’ abilities by working on intercepting deflected balls. The drill begins with a middle linebacker 10 yards in front of the quarterback, and the safety in position a further 10 yards behind the linebacker. The quarterback throws a pass just above the linebackers head, and the linebacker deflects the ball. The linebacker communicates that the ball is in the air and the safety adjust his feet and looks to intercept the ball. This drill should work with tips high in the air that go behind, to the left and to the right of the safety. Difficulty can be increased by the ball being deflected more downwards, forcing the safety to adjust quickly and sometimes have to dive to intercept the pass before it hit the ground. Finish the drill of by having the safety simulate running the interception back behind the linebackers block.
Tackling is a crucial skill to cover in a football safety drill. A defensive back who can tackle is a valuable addition to run defense. Set up a 10 yard box and have the football safety on one line, with a running back directly opposite. The running back tries to cross the line the safety having to tackle him to ground before he reaches the line. You can increase difficulty by giving more width to the box allowing the running back to change direction more. Adding a lead blocker will also increase the difficulty and make this drill more game realistic.