The coverage that the base alignment lends itself to best is a simple Cover 3. Because of this, they’re tasked with dropping back pretty deep into coverage, so it’s important that they don’t mis-read a play as either a run or a pass, otherwise the defense could end up surrendering a big gain. It’s very important that each linebacker and player in the secondary stays disciplined, reads plays well, and doesn’t give into play-action passes or other misdirection plays…. Cover 3 allows a strong safety to drop into the box, which can also help against the run, and the coverage is also an excellent disguise coverage. The biggest vulnerabilities of the Cover 3 are the flats, seams, and any route combinations that can hold certain defenders in place, while other offensive players manipulate the coverage. Due to the single high Safety the 3-3 Defense bases out of primarily single high safety looks. cover 3, Mable, Push, Trips. They are lined up either on the offensive tackle’s outside shoulder or over the tight end if there is one on the field. Drive concepts, with a running back sitting just outside the tackle box will also create a three-on-two advantage for the offense against the hook defenders, as would a cross concept (similar to drive, but the shallow cross comes from the opposite side of the dig). It provides a good balance of short and … Adding a third person to the mix now cuts the field to cover by 17.76 Yards for each deep defender to cover. -  Designed by Thrive Themes Corners could also make an “under” call if the receivers run a route underneath five yards, which will just turn the coverage into a true cover-3 zone. The Mike linebacker will often line up a little closer to the line of scrimmage, as will the Will. 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The deep defenders are now splitting the field into thirds. There’s a reason why we’ve seen teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, and Jacksonville Jaguars have incredible defensive success in certain seasons, with the right personnel and coaching. There are two defensive ends on the field in a Cover 3 defense. But against off-man coverage, this is a good way to pick up easy yardage, if the timing is right. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. At the snap of the ball, the Will and the strong safety will split out wide to cover the area that’s left void by the two cornerbacks, who are responsible for deep zone coverage. The 5-2 Defense and 5-3 Defense have some obvious similarities. However, college and NFL defenses have become more complex. While the defensive linemen may use curls or stunts between the defensive tackle and defensive end on the same side of the field to cause some confusion, the primary duty of the position is to cause as much disruption as possible at the line of scrimmage. Whichever way the safety goes, the quarterback throws to the other seam route. Comments. This play above would be a half field read for the quarterback; he reads the strong safety, who is put into conflict because of the tight end’s out route and the running back in the flat. With good pass protection, a play like this can have multiple advantageous decisions for a quarterback post snap. The route combinations above are just some of the popular ways the offenses can find, or create, voids against the Cover 3 defense. A gap that can be exposed by deep crossing patterns. 3x1 sets can easily manipulate and flood Cover 3 with multiple routes where a defender’s choice will be wrong no matter what. Because of the nature of the 3-man front, and the ability to bring anyone from anywhere, the coverage zones in the 3-5-3 have a slight difference from the traditional Cover 3 pass defense. Since it’s a deep comeback route, the corner may sit on the route, leaving the nickel to take the drag, which forces the free safety to cover the vertical slot. It’s Great Against the Deep Ball - With three defenders dropping back to cover the deep zone, the Cover 3 defensive alignment is great at protecting against the big passing play over the top. NFL defenses will show Cover 3 out of their base fronts to walk the strong safety down as the primary force/contain player in the run game versus these offensive personnel groupings: Regular/21 (2WR-1TE-2RB) Ace/12 (2WR-2TE-1RB) Tank/22 (1WR-2TE-2RB) Heavy/13 (1WR-3TE-1RB) The reads have to be quick by the quarterback, but this could be an easy six points if the defense takes away the cross and stick/flare combo. The natural zone coverage for the 3-5-3 Defense is the Cover 3. Much like the inside zone play and if a defense is a zone cover team, the first zone scheme they usually put in is cover 3. This defense protects against the deep passing plays quite well, but it’s also good against the run because the strong safety lines up near the linebackers and closer the line of scrimmage than he normally does (as we’ll see later). They have the ability to do this in a Cover 3 defense because the strong safety will be lining up at a depth similar to where the linebackers are normally positioned at the snap of the ball. The strong safety will line up wide of the Sam but inside the cornerback on that side of the field, at a depth similar to that of the Will. ... What is Cover 3. Boxing the outside receivers in is one of the bigger advantages to Cover 3. Strengths of the Cover 3 Zone. If you’ve decided to simplify your defense with a spot drop coverage, you’re probably looking at how to play cover 3 vs 4 verticals. Half field, 3x2 reads for quarterbacks are common against Cover 3. The strong safety would cheat his coverage outside, as the running back looks to be heading towards the flat. The bigger player of the two, who could be considered the nose tackle, will line up most of the time between the center and the guard, either on the center’s shoulder or the guard’s shoulder. Hitch seams are a staple of the 2x2 Air Raid against Cover 3 defenses. The tight end angles inward to catch the eye of the middle linebacler, who would then carry the tight end up the field. Slant/flats essentially do the same thing and can even pick the nickel and create a barrier (and become a blocker) for the running back to gain extra yardage after the catch. One of the more common ways to defeat zone coverages is to flood the zone with more receivers than the defense can handle. Date: June 10, 2017 Author: Damon McConnell 0 Comments. The other defensive tackle will then often shade between either the other guard’s shoulder and the other offensive tackle’s shoulder on his side of the field. Ideally, the X and Z would be lined up in plus splits here, to use maximum width of the field, which further stresses the defense. They have the advantage. Cover 3 is still, and should continue to be, an excellent base coverage for many skilled NFL teams that have the necessary personnel. Notice how our quarterback rolled slightly to the right to make the throw angle a little easier. This is to help with coverage against run plays that the offense might run. The corners play outside leverage and try to force the receivers inside towards the other zone defenders. It’s Simple - The Cover 3 defense gives each player a responsibility for a zone on the field. Also, by having your corners jam the wide receivers, you can slow up the deep routes with support over the top. As I stated earlier, the strong safety and nickel are put into a tough position to cover those curl/flat areas. The two Corners have the deep outside 1/3 and the Safety has middle 1/3. However, the Cover 3 defense isn’t without its shortfalls…. The two cornerbacks can line up either in a press coverage near the line of scrimmage in the wide receiver’s face or at a depth about five to seven yards off the line of scrimmage. One of the main goals of the defense is to force underneath throws that allow defenders to plant and drive downhill, effectively keeping the play in front of the defense, rather than behind it. Like any defensive formation, there are intricacies that an offense could exploit. Against a run play, the three linebackers and the strong safety will have primary responsibility for plugging open holes, funneling ball carriers to the middle of the field, and making most of the tackles on plays in front of them. The linebackers would be in the hook zone, while the deep defenders drop to their depth, just like we see below: Cover 3 puts an emphasis on the deep portions of the field. The defensive line in a Cover 3 defense is very similar to how the defensive line is aligned in other base zone defenses. That’s because it is one of the most basic zone formations around and one that’s good against both the pass and the run. A defense will name it using some variation of a word starting with "S" (Cover 3 "Sky" or Cover 3 "Slam"). Yet another play that can exploit the continuity of a solid defensive structure. The free safety in a Cover 3 defense will be lined up in center field, behind the Mike linebacker and the only player at his depth. It doesn’t ask any defender to do too much, no matter whether the offense ends up choosing a pass play or a run play. Cover 3 and any single-high coverage is designed to maximize the box players. This is a double two-man route combination that put defenders into tough positions. Cover 3 has its advantages for sure, but a good, well-timed, offense can pick the underneath defenders apart, especially with the right route combinations to manipulate specific defenders; this is one of the many reasons why speed is so essential at the linebacker position. Otherwise it could open up significant holes for the offense to exploit. In cover 3, the seam is usually exposed. The technique utilized by the underneath defenders can also be an advantage depending on the offense that they’re going up against. It’s a basic coverage that relies on 3 players eliminating the deep thirds of the field, while the remaining 4 players focus on underneath coverage (assuming 4 defenders are rushing). (We’ll discuss the strong safety in this section soon instead of the secondary). Cover 3 is one of the most common coverages in the NFL today. In the following, "cover" refers to the "shell" that the defense rolls into after the snap of the ball, more specifically the number of defenders guarding the deep portion of the field. More players lined up at a medium depth doesn’t leave nearly as much room to run or for shorter passing plays than, for example, the Cover 2 defense. These types of route combinations are very common against Cover 3, and it’s one reason why you’d probably should check out of Cover 3 if you’re going against a 3x1 set. Since we’ve already discussed the strong safety as a linebacker in this system, that leaves only the two cornerbacks and the free safety. They need to do this because their coverage responsibility is the deep zone on their side of the field. And it’s why more and more teams at advanced levels like at the college and professional ranks are starting to do so as well. We usually utilize both with the older kids. It’s Versatile - The Cover 3 defense is good against both the pass and the run. The Cover 3 defense is one of the more popular zone-based defensive alignments in football. This is an excellent way to gain an advantage, but the throw must be quick, since the deep middle safety can drive down on the seam once the linebackers get sucked up by the running backs. Hook zone defenders are not averse to being high-lowed either: Both hook zone defenders are in conflict here, but especially to the weak side. There are multiple ways to get into different coverage looks but the defense is most sound when it is in some form of single high coverage. Cover 3 is also susceptible to horizontal, underneath, pass routes and the quick passing game. The Cover 3 is probably the most popular coverage scheme at all levels of football. Could be Susceptible to Play Action - If the offense is able to trick defenders into thinking they’re a running play, and makes a defender or two take a step forward instead of steps back, then there could be opportunities for big plays over the top. At one time, it was thought of as only a defense that youth football teams and teams at the high school level would utilize often in a game. Typically the deep zones are both corners, with the free safety in the middle of the field. More on that later. The benefits of running a Cover 3 is that it's a balanced defense that works well against the run (assuming you have competent linemen) because you have 8 defenders in the box. We went over the Yankee concepts in the Cover 1 article last week, the Yankee Concept is particularly effective against Cover 3, with a play action, because the deep crosser ends up in the vacated area left by the corner who is covering the 9 route. The alignment can be implemented out of a base formation with not a lot of wrinkles, blitzes, or changes, or it can be tinkered with to confuse offenses even more. An NFL field is 53 ⅓ yards wide, so having four underneath defenders guarding that much distance can be difficult. On this specific play, Earl Thomas gets held by the cross, which allows Will Fuller to easily beat the outside coverage for a deep touchdown. The third read would then be the backside boundary receiver who runs his streak angled towards the goal post. The Cover 3 defense is one of the more popular zone-based defensive alignments in football. If you’re aware of the technique being played on a star receiver, then you can utilize your other receivers to take advantage of a coverage that is trying to take away the most dangerous threat. Texas concept, a very good route against man coverage, can also have its advantages against the hook zone defenders in a Cover 3 defense: We see the strong side running back with a bit wider split, to give him an extra step on his route. In the passing game, they are looking to overload the 3 receiver side of the coverage or isolate their player in a one-on-one match-up on the single receiver side. The defensive backfield is in a “Cover 3” which means the DB’s each have 1/3 deep coverage. Cover 3 can also be manipulated deep with a sound play action game. The free safety is forced to make a decision on jumping the horizontal cross, or allowing the 9 route wide receiver to angle his stem inward, giving him leverage against the cornerback. "The Ultimate Guide to Football Defense" Booklet (254 pages). By that point, the quarterback would have made his decision and the middle of the field safety is put into conflict. If the corners are athletic enough and good in press, they can jam and bail, which could prevent quarterbacks from making quick easy throws to the flat. A Cover 3 defense is an alignment that should be in every defensive coach’s repertoire, no matter what level of experience you’re coaching. Defensive linemen in a Cover 3 scheme are tasked with putting as much pressure in the backfield as they possibly can. The concept of the Cover 3 defense is that seven defenders drop back into coverage in two distinct zones: a. Weaknesses: By dividing the field in half, you require two players to cover a lot of acreage. Tagged. Any type of out or immediate flat routes can expose the coverage and go for a good gain (daily fantasy fans: think of the Atlanta Falcons defense’s propensity to giving fantasy points to running backs in the receiving game). We had instances or situations where we would play a mixture of man to man and zone coverage. That’s why it’s imperative that these four players have the speed and strength to clog up the line of scrimmage and break through to create pressure in the backfield. Understanding the Cover 3 Zone Defense in Football Positions in the Cover 3 Zone. That means you don’t need multiple players available to shift on and off the field when your team is either running, or not running, a play out of the Cover 3 alignment. Cover 3, Defense, Pass Coverage. In that case, the nickel and strong safety would be tasked to eliminate the curl/flat (remember curl/flat means curl to the flat, so the defender’s first responsibility is the curl and then the flat). While blitzes can happen more frequently in a base Cover 3 alignment than they will in a Cover 2 base alignment for example, the four defensive linemen are often the only players on the field who are tasked with applying pressure on the offensive line. The field is divided into five underneath zones and two deep zones. Four players covering the short and middle zone. 2700 West Anderson … We have the most success … 1806 N Loop 1604 W; San Antonio, Texas 78248; 210.479.9700; Geoffrey Smith; General Manager; COVER 3 Round Rock. Enter your email below to get access for free: 100% Privacy Guarantee. This opens the door to vulnerabilities that a smart offensive scheme will exploit. It’s also a reason why both the Mike and the Will are the ones most often asked to blitz, if the defensive coach decides to bring extra pressure on any given play. This will prompt the free safety to bite down on the cross, a difficult task against a speedy wide out. By covering the 2 deep pass threats with 2 players, you have one more man as opposed to a cover 3 zone. It’s Easy to Adjust - Because of the way the strong safety lines up at the same depth as the linebackers, it’s easier to adjust to a running play than other forms of zone defense. Curl/flat combinations from the offense are also tough to handle: The nickel is in conflict above and has to make a choice between the hitch/curl or the running back flare, and this is from a two-receiver set. There are many variations of the Cover 3, but it mainly consists of three deep and four underneath zones. In particular, if this is not going to be your base coverage, or if you are working with young athletes (middle school or younger), spot dropping is the way to go. Here, the Broncos employ the best Cover 3 beater of all, which is Four Verticals.Simply, all four receivers run go routes. The basic Cover 3 Defense is, in my opinion, just as effective with Spot Dropping as it is with pattern reading. Quick game half field lateral reads are a very effective way to attack the defense. They will be joined at this level – both in terms of where they line up pre-snap and where they go post-snap – by the strong safety. Since Cover 3 plays with outside leverage, and the free safety bites downward on the cross, then that receiver has space, leverage, and one-on-one coverage outside. However, that idea has changed dramatically over recent years. By spinning, the defense has created overhangs and cover downs to the slot players. Since those curl/flat defenders have to get lateral quickly, the inside two-on-one and three-on-two isolations really favor the offense. For example, Cover 3 cloud disguises as a Cover 2 defense and it’s a way to play three deep, with Cover 2 technique at the line of scrimmage from a corner (typically the strong safety would rotate deep, with one corner jamming and bailing to the deep 1/3); the defense can play underneath a backside receiver and over the top. The middle (Mike), strong-side (Sam) and weak-side (Will) linebackers in a Cover 3 defense will all be tasked with covering a quarter of the field width wise. COVER 3 San Antonio. The four defenders underneath are spread out wide, and since the cornerbacks typically bail deep, the outside underneath defenders are put into a tough position to cover the flat. The Cover 3 can also be exposed by four-verticals which would obviously create a four-on-three isolation. Another way to manipulate the deep free safety is to run hitch/seam patterns. If so, you'll love my daily "Football Coaching" emails. All four guys can't be covere… The cornerbacks’ often take their first few steps back in a sideways, shuffle form in a Cover 3 defense, so they can identify whether the play is a pass or a run at the snap of the ball. | Powered by WordPress. He can also either shade to the third of the field to his left or his right if a deep pass is thrown near either sideline. Leave a comment. The two defensive tackles in a Cover 3 defense will line up anywhere between the offensive tackle and the center. Cover 3 is a zone defense where three defensive backs ‒ typically two outside cornerbacks and a free safety ‒ divide the deep portion of the field into thirds, with four defenders (a combination of the strong safety, linebackers, and any nickel- or dime- backs) underneath. The defense will initially show a two-deep safety look. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to keep the Broncos in 2-by-2 alignments throughout these diagrams, but as Andy Benoit pointed out, the Broncos can really cause matchup problems by going to 3-by-1 looks. Again, the throws and reads need to be quick because corners can plant and drive downhill fast on the outside hitches. This will, of course, lead to more underneath check downs, but could also force quarterbacks into turnovers. Similar to the curl/flat, a play like this forces the nickel back into conflict. The Cover 3 defense can also be installed with many variations, including different blitzes and various forms of the zone coverage that can keep the offense guessing. While the free safety does provide some extra support in coverage to the two cornerbacks, that possibility won’t be there if an offense runs three or four deep routes on a play. Cover 3 defense is one of the basic defensive coverages that teams use. Lateral read routes are very hard to defend in a Cover 3 and they can really put defenders into conflict, especially those outside defenders. Quick hitches out of a 2x2 set create ta pair of two-on-one isolations against the nickel and the strong safety. These shorter completions aren’t much in any one particular play, but they can add up here and there to be enough to sustain a long drive for the offense. The Mike and the Sam will drop back into the middle of the field to cover their respective “quarter.”. The inside receivers stay on their seams and can slightly bend inside at about 20 yards. Coaches are realizing the value of the spot drop cover 3’s simplicity but offensive coaches are licking their chops to attack it, too.. All told, the 4-3 defensive alignment is something every coach should have in his or her defensive playbook. I'll teach you the tips, tricks, and secrets used by some of the best football coaches at the youth, HS, and pro level. The Sam linebacker will most often line up a little bit deeper than the Mike and the Will on his side of the field, at a depth equal to that of the strong safety on the field opposite him. This is a continuation in how to effectively run the 3-4 defense. Cheers to your health! Could be Susceptible to Spread Formations - Offenses that run the spread formation with multiple speedy running backs and multiple wide receivers might be able to take advantage of the fact that all three linebackers will be asked to go out in coverage. The dig/snag combo attacks the OLB’s zone and puts him into conflict. Their responsibilities lie in the deep third of their respective zones. Welcome to COVER 3 - it's service with social distancing. Coverages in the 3-3 Defense. Might Be Open for Chunks of Yards at a Time - Since the cornerbacks’ first steps will be back away from the line of scrimmage, the wide receivers will have a few yards of cushion to roam free. The strong side receiver runs a comeback to occupy the corner, and the running back would have a huge alley with the middle linebacker following the tight end’s route and the outside linebacker gaining depth on the weak side post. At its core, Cover 3 is a simple way to get an 8-man front against the run (after you explain to them that 11 total players minus 3 deep defenders = 8, of course) and keep the ball in front of you at the back end. ur X/square receiver on the post has lots of space for us to make the throw. How to Run a Cover 3 out of a 3-4 Defense. Shown below is a diagram of the basic 3-5-3 defense. The corner is occupied with the vertical and the middle linebacker is too far away to make a realistic impact on the flood. Your email address is safe with me, Cover 3 Defense Football Coaching Guide (Includes Images), Cover 4 Defense Football Coaching Guide (Includes Images), Defensive Tackle Guide for Serious Football Players (Tips and Tricks), Cover 0 Defense Football Coaching Guide (Includes Images), Quarters Coverage Football Coaching Guide (Includes Images), Understanding the Zone Blocking Scheme in Football, How to Kick a Field Goal in Football (7-Step Guide). If it’s the deep corner, then the nickel is left by himself with the comeback and the drag. We are one of the few teams that actually use cover 3 zone defense with our youth football team . The defense, when executed properly, can be very effective, but it still has its vulnerabilities. First off, the strong safety is forced into a two-on-one isolation in the curl/flat, but let’s say the middle linebacker and strong safety communicate and the strong safety flares to the flat, while the middle linebacker takes on the tight end (with poor leverage). Most notably, Since Cover 2 usually leaves a hole down the middle where neither safety is playing, Cover 3 is a different scheme so that the hole is taken away. There are a lot of different types of Cover 3 defenses, so variations can take away one type of offensive concept, but that leaves something else open to attack. This week I would like to talk about the cover 3 zone defense. When an offense aligns in a Trips (3×1) formation, they are attempting to gain an advantage in either the run or pass game. A lot of linebackers are taught to carry the seam route to a certain depth, which gives the free safety an opportunity to recognize and put himself into position, since the seams tend to be vulnerable against Cover 3. As the name would imply, the cover 3 zone deploys three deep defensive backs to cover their respective 1/3 of the field. Cover 3 Zone Defense. Most of the popular zone coverages such as Cover 2, Cover 3, and Cover 4 will run out of a baseline 4-3 formation. If that’s the case, the quick slant acts as a replacement route and a window should be open underneath the deep inside linebacker who carried the seam. To spot drop means for your players to drop to an area of the field when they get a pass read, rather than to move towards a particular … The base Cover 2 is a zone defense where every defender is responsible for an area of the field and not a specific man. In a typical Quarters defense, at least one linebacker will be in “conflict.”. They can blitz without the fear of getting beat over the top. By running two angle routes to the middle of the field, with a tight end bending his seam to get behind the linebackers, before the safety, the offense creates a 3 vs. 2 isolation against the linebackers. Cover 3 means there are 3 men back, each defending a third of the field, and is more successful against deep passes down the middle, where the reciever would have split the cover 2 in half. Creating two-on-one or three-on-two isolations, along with high/low reads, while putting players in conflict is one of the essences to manipulating any type of zone coverage, so Cover 3 is left vulnerable when an offense does this effectively. Attacking the seams and the flats are the easiest ways to take advantage of cover 3. The quick game can slice and dice Cover 3 badly, and this is why slant/flat, curl/flat, quick hitch, double speed out, and any other type of quick lateral read concept can be deadly to the coverage in the underneath game. 2800 N-IH 35; Round Rock, Texas 78681; 512.693.2393; Jimmy Zumwalt; Operating Partner; COVER 3 Anderson Lane. Especially with the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” defense utilizing it all the way to a Super Bowl title recently. The quick hitches will draw the corners upward and can be hit right after the snap before the curl/flat defenders reach outside. In cover 3 defenses, the cornerback responsible for the deep 3rd of the field on the right gets distrcated by our B/circle receiver on the out route. How you defend Trips … Football is a puzzle and coverage pieces can be manipulated, especially from overloaded sets like the 3x1, but there are ways to gain advantages against a base Cover 3 defense. Cover 3 is a zone defense, which means defenders can be high-lowed and flooded, so these are concepts that will be utilized all the time against any type of zone defense. Essentially, it was a way to play Cover 3 and Cover 1 at the same time, but was predicated on communication and decisive decision making from the defense based on the routes run by the offense. It’s a defense that is often used in early downs on a drive because it’s good against both the pass and the run, and offenses are often less predictable on first and second downs than they are on third downs. One of those two routes should be open no matter what, but the MLB is also in conflict. Thank you for supporting COVER 3. This is an excellent way to clear-out the middle of the field and allow a running back like Saquon Barkley to catch the ball in space against a zone defense. Both the corner and the curl/flat defender would be occupied with the outside receivers deep curl.
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