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Understanding Coverages: Cover 3 Rotate (“Cloud” Force)

10 Sep

Three Deep – Rotate (“Cloud” Force)

The goal of this coverage is to take away the short passing game or protect against the wide side of the field when the offensive formation is strong into the boundary (short side).

The pre-snap read (PSR) is based on the alignment of the Strong Safety (SS) and the Corners (C). The SS must be deeper than normal in order to cover the deep middle or deep outside.  The read is a rotate by SS; for example, the SS is covering the deep middle or outside.

Also, in this coverage the C to the side of the rotation will be tight (up close) on the wide receiver as they have the flat.

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Understanding Coverages: Cover 3 Invert (“Sky” Force)

8 Sep

Three Deep – Invert (“Sky” Force)

Cover 3

The Pre-Snap Read (PSR) is based on the alignment of the Strong Safety (SS) and the Cornerback (C) on the strong side. Teams will typically define the Tight End (Y) as the strong side, however a scouting report will provide this information. If the SS is aligned with less depth than the C, the read is an invert by the SS; for example, the SS is covering the flat, if a receiver is in the flat.

Confirm 3-deep coverage by the alignment of the Free Safety (FS). If the FS is off the hash and favoring the middle, assume that it will be a 3-deep.

Also the QB must be aware of the weak side, if the Weakside Linebacker (W) is in a stack (lined-up behind a defensive lineman or end) or walked off the LOS outside the end man on the line, it denotes a soft corner, with him responsible for the weak flat.

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Defensive Back Techniques – Backpedal, Slide Step, Jam

1 Aug

Shakin’ the Southland

There are a few basic techniques that a DB will use on any given play to get into pass coverage.

At the snap of the ball, a DB will either jam a receiver and or he will drop immediately into coverage.  There are typically two techniques to dropping into coverage: the backpedal and the slide step.  These concepts apply to all pass defenders even though we will mainly focus on the defensive backs (DBs).


Backpedaling is usually the first move that a defensive back (especially a Corner) will make when the ball is snapped.  A straight backpedal is extremely common for man coverage techniques.

In a backpedal, the DB’s body is squared up with the receiver.   He will try to maintain as low a center of gravity as possible and still keep his weight over the balls of his feet.   This allows the defender to move quickly backwards yet still be in a position to change direction either forward or laterally.

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