Understanding Coverages: Cover 0 Man (“Zero Man”)

17 Sep

Cover 0 Man

This coverage is a straight man-to-man with no safety help.  The pre-snap read (PSR) is based on the alignment of the Safeties.

Usually in Man coverage, the Strong Safety (SS) will play head up on the Tight End (TE) and the Free Safety (FS) will play shallow on the weak side. Typically, there is no safety in the middle of the field.

You can confirm this coverage by the inside leverage alignment of the Corners (C) on the wide receivers. The C’s need this alignment as they have no inside help.

The Quarterback (QB) should anticipate pressure from a blitz. The QB must identify whether a blitz is coming and throw the ball to the defenders vacated spot or a crossing receiver; for example a “hot read”. The QB can audible to add pass protection.

– Strengths

  1. Pressure (blitz capability) and penetration from a six to seven man rush
  2. big play potential
  3. clog up the running lanes inside
  4. force the offense to throw short

– Weaknesses

  1. Poor run support
  2. mismatch with the backs versus linebackers
  3. hard to disguise versus motion
  4. three deep zones are not covered
  5. no under cover
  6. crossing routes
  7. no deep help
  8. gamble defense
  9. “bunch” and “snug” type sets

– How to attack it

  1. Empty Formations — all receivers are one-on-one (but free rusher)
  2. tough to cover slants – nobody in the middle
  3. running plays – force and secondary force weakened
  4. should have somebody open if QB has time

With special thanks to Ron Jenkins from TopGun QB/Receiver Academy for his insight and illustration: http://topgunqbacademy.com/.

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