Football is littered with specialized terminology. From punt gunner to 0 technique, commentators and writers rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary takes you inside part of the game you may be missing.
Hip Fluidity is a key physical trait for cornerbacks and other pass defenders, allowing them to change direction while maintaining balance and proper footwork. A cornerback with loose hips can rotate his lower body quickly, enabling him to bail and run with the receiver on a deep route, or mirror quick cuts and movements on shorter routes. While hip fluidity is most commonly associated with defensive backs, loose hips also help wide receivers with their route-running.
Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson (#9) backpedals, then opens his hips to the left in response to the receiver’s feint outside. When the wideout cuts inside, Johnson reacts instantly, pivoting his hips to face the same direction as the receiver’s in-cut. Through all of this motion he stays low, balanced, and in control, so he is able to drive as soon as the receiver makes his cut.
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Alan Ball (#24) of the Chicago Bears is a cornerback that shows “stiff hips” by NFL standards. Ball’s height (6’2”) is an asset in press coverage, but he struggles to stay with crisp route-runners in space. James Jones (#89) of the Green Bay Packers runs a five-yard out, and Ball reacts to the move. However, he can’t swivel his hips fast or far enough to take the proper closing angle, and Jones continues to build separation. The pass ultimately goes to another receiver, but the veteran receiver was open for an easy completion.
Cornerbacks in off man coverage, like Johnson and Ball above, need loose hips to react to receivers’ moves in space. Hip fluidity is still important for press man corners, however, who must “bail” from facing the receiver to running step-for-step with them downfield.
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All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass & DraftBreakdown.com.