Typically, the quarterback will hand or pitch the ball backwards to a halfback or fullback on a running play. The quarterback is nearly usually the one responsible for attempting to send the ball downfield to an eligible receiver on a passing play. Some quarterbacks, such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, are capable of throwing long passes with accuracy and purpose. Others, such as Alex Smith and Jay Cutler, are not.
All offensive players other than the quarterback can run with the ball. A quarterback who is also a runner can make any non-QB player a bigger threat by opening up holes for them in the running game or by taking himself out of plays by keeping the ball. Many great quarterbacks have been successful because of their ability to avoid getting sacked while still being able to create enough time for themselves within the pocket to find an open receiver.
The wide receivers are the most important group on offense because they are typically the first players that the quarterback looks for when he gets the ball. Although tight ends sometimes get more attention because they are closer to the line of scrimmage, most good quarterbacks can find their receivers even if they aren't looking at them. It's also worth mentioning that fullbacks often see significant action as runners and receivers out of the backfield.
On defense, the quarterback is usually the leader of the defense team. He is responsible for calling the defensive plays during a game.
The quarterback will pass the ball to a running back on running plays. This might be done with a direct hand off or a short underhand pass known as a lateral or pitch. The quarterback's primary responsibility is to pass the ball. On running plays, he will usually call an audible and change the play at the line of scrimmage.
On most running plays, the quarterback will take a direct snap from the center. He will then either hand the ball to a running back or signal for him to run after the play has been called. On some running plays, the quarterback can also throw a forward pass to a receiver who is running toward the middle of the field. These passes are often called "hot" snaps because they are acted upon by the referee once he receives them. Quarterbacks who wish to use this strategy should wait until the last possible second before the snap so that they can avoid a false start penalty.
On other running plays, the quarterback uses a lateral pass. On these plays, the quarterback hands the ball to a receiver, who then rolls into the end zone or outside shoulder of the opposing defender. Lateral passes are useful for keeping the ball out of the arms of the defense when there is no time left on the clock and for opening up running lanes for a player downfield.
Positions of Offense On the field, the quarterback is generally in charge of calling the offense. LB (halfback): Lines up in the backfield and is usually in charge of carrying the ball on run plays. The primary function of a running back is to run the football; however, he may also be employed as a receiver at times. QB (quarterback): Responsible for calling the plays for the offense and directing the game from the sideline. Includes the position of punter or placekicker when not playing offense.
Positions of Defense The defensive positions are divided into three groups: CB (cornerback), DL (defensive line), and LB (linebacker). A cornerback is involved with the action on the field who is assigned to cover the opposing team's best receiver. A linebacker is a defensive player who makes runs toward the ball carrier as well as covers passing lanes. They are typically larger than defensive linemen. A defensive end would be a common name for a defensive lineman. There are several different positions on the defensive line including nose tackle, 3-4 outside linebacker, 4-3 outside linebacker, and 4-3 defensive end.
CB (cornerback): One of the two players on the field who is assigned to cover the other team's best receiver. Typically, the cornerback lines up within 10 yards of the pass catcher and is responsible for either stopping the pass or catching it himself.
The quarterback can catch it and run with it if he tosses it and the defensive line bats it back. They are then given credit for completing a pass and receiving a reception. Trick plays may entail the running back taking the snap or a lateral throw, but the ball can wind up back in the quarterback's hands after a pass. If so, they will usually get credit for both a pass and a reception.
In modern football, most quarterbacks are not known for catching passes, although this ability is useful for coaches to use during game planning or as a way to keep their best players involved in the offense. Some professional and many college quarterbacks do have experience as receivers and can make strong throws on the run or from the pocket. However, because they are usually focused on throwing the ball, they often do not work on other parts of the game such as route running or blocking.
During World War II, the US military used baseball players as placekickers because normal players were needed for combat roles. These players included the famous Lou Gehrig; his career with the New York Yankees is considered one of the greatest ever. In addition to sports stars, school teachers were also hired as placekickers during this time period. One of these individuals was John Van Der Meulen, who had been an English teacher before joining the military. He was working as a placekicker for the Chicago Bears when he died while serving in that capacity during a game against the Detroit Lions in 1945.
After the team has formed a line, the center will toss the ball to the quarterback (a process called the snap). On a pass play, the quarterback will usually throw the ball forward to a receiver.
This is one of the most common mistakes new quarterbacks make. They think they have to take every snap themselves. This is not necessary; you should always have someone else run some plays if at all possible. Even if you are the only player who can hand the ball off, have another player join your team as a receiver or avoid contact if you are afraid you might get hit.
New quarterbacks should never be afraid to ask for help from their teammates. It's better to know these things ahead of time instead of trying to figure them out in game conditions.