Tag Archives: Pass Defense

Understanding Coverages: Cover 1 Man (“Man Free”)

15 Sep

Cover 1 man / Man-to-man with Free Safety help.

This coverage is man-to-man underneath with a Free Safety (FS ) sitting in centerfield to help over the top.

The pre-snap read (PSR) is based on the alignment of the Corners (Cs) and Linebackers (M, W and S) on the receivers. The C’s will be head up or in an outside alignment because they have help from the FS. This allows the C’s to take away the outs.

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Understanding Coverages: Cover 2 Man

12 Sep

Cover 2 Man / Man Under Two-Deep

This coverage is man-to-man with help over the top in the two (2) deep zones. This coverage allows the defense to bracket or double two (2) receivers.

The pre-snap read (PSR) is based on the alignment of the Corners (C) on the wide receivers. If the Safeties give a 2D look (Safeties near the hash marks, aligned deeper than the C’s) and both C’s are up tighter or looking primarily at the receiver instead of the QB, then Man Under Coverage (“MUC”) is confirmed.

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Understanding Coverages: Cover 2 Zone

11 Sep

Cover 2 Zone

The pre-snap read (PSR) is based on the depth of the Corners (C) and Safeties (S).  The C’s will usually be outside of the wide receivers and the S’s will be near
the hash marks, aligned deeper than the C’s.

If the ball is on the hash, look to the strong side defensive back for their alignment because the Safety will naturally be on the hash. If the Defensive End (E) drops to the curl, then all six (6) underneath zones are covered.

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Learning Basic Coverages

10 Sep

Video explaining how to recognize basic coverages — from Top Gun Academy.

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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Technique – Defensive Backs

2 Aug

Five minute video on stance, backpedal and replacement steps.   Homegrown video but good stuff.

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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Terminology: Bump and Run

3 Jul

A successful passing attack is routinely based on the timing between a Quarterback and his receivers.  However long it takes him to set up and throw equals the time it takes the receivers to work their routes.

Bump and run is about disrupting that timing.

The “bump” part is when the Cornerback “jacks” the receiver at the line to prevent his clean release.  The “run” part is the man-to-man defense he plays after.

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