Running after the catch is a very important element to any pass offense. However, it does not need to be left completely up to a player's natural talents. There are specific things they can work on--both simple and advanced--that can help improve them as runners after they catch the ball.
Here are some simple coaching points.
Get small - Catch the ball in your hands but then ball your body up. This helps you handle and bounce off of contact.
Get upfield immediately - Don't run laterally. Especially on crossing routes. Many receivers catch the ball coming across the field and continue to move laterally. Get upfield quickly.
Get up the sideline - On the sideline you have one guy to beat. When you cut back to the field you have to beat 10.
Practice Scoring - Coaches, set your drills up so that your receivers practice catching the ball and exploding upfield.
****SPLIT DEFENDERS: How often do you see guys catch the ball in the open field, and then run right at someone? It's amazing. Unless you're Jerome Bettis or you're getting a few extra yards at the end of the run, run between defenders and away from them, not into them. Touchdowns happen by splitting defenders and running right inbetween them.
This includes running right at some defender and trying juke him. Most people would prefer not to have to completely fake out every defender they come across in order to get yards, so run away from him and split guys.
Accuracy - Hit guys in stride. Keep them moving, and work to be extremely accurate. One foot in front of the numbers is a good starting point.
-When throwing to receivers who are settled in zones, throw the ball to them and hit them at the corner of the numbers away from the defenders. This is so they can catch it and in one motion turn upfield and run.
-Throw the ball away from defenders, not to receivers. This will always help the receiver.
Hustle! The play is not over!
An effective block is when you create extra yards before the receiver comes in contact with a defender. If you can let the receiver get 10 yards further downfield before encountering a defender, you're doing your job. You do not need to pancake guys every time.
If you miss a man go on to the next one. Don't chase, you won't get there.
A 20 yard gain is better than a 70 yard one that is called back. Don't block in the back or hold unnecessarily. (Especially blocks away from or behind the ball. No reason for this!)
Advanced techniques for pass catchers:
Have a plan to score. - Think of it like one on one basketball; set up the defender, and have decisive moves ready for use, on top of reacting naturally. Practice these moves.
1. If you run two slants and catch and continue running inside, think about the next time catching the slant, stopping on a dime and reversing back to the sideline as the DB flies past you to the inside.
2. When catching hitches or curls, catch it and burst inside, then, once you've caught a few of these and gone inside, the next time turn your head and shoulders and half step like you are going inside, and then spin back to the sideline. The DB usually bites way inside and you can get up the sideline.
Learn and understand coverages. - The great receivers have a thorough knowledge of coverages, and not only use it to get open, but to run with the ball after the catch. Understanding where the safety is, or if its cover 2 or cover 3 can tell you where defenders will be when you catch it, even if you can't see them or haven't looked directly at them. Use this to your advantage as you split defenders.