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. Double moves also prove to be dangerous against the coverage, so the deep coverage has to be in sync with one another to effectively guard concepts like a scissors combination. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Teams at more advanced levels, especially in college or the professional ranks, can also deploy a lot of wrinkles to the Cover 4 defense. The play above, run from a 2x2 set again, is a way to manipulate both an inside deep defender and an outside one, but an offense must have good protection to allow all of this to develop. True coverage corners are hard to find — good luck finding three or four of them — so Cover 3, a zone defense, is typically the coverage of choice for NFL defenses. The safeties will read their run/pass keys, but against the pass they’re responsible for watching the release of the No. Could be Susceptible to Play Action - Since the safeties are tasked with reading the play first and then reacting in coverage, offenses could find some room deep on the field by using play-action passes. Military, law enforcement, or firearm enthusiast, we have a solution for you. However, it’s also a defense that has staying power... As you go higher up the experience ladder to high school, collegiate, and even the professional ranks, the Cover 4 defense can be very effective as coaches begin to implement new wrinkles and play calls to keep offenses on their toes. The No. The two safeties are in the middle of the field, while the corners take the quarter of the field to their side. Corners can line up in press and bail at the snap, confusing cornerbacks with a disguised Cover 2. In the specific case above, the Mills concept is to the right and it puts stress on the strong safety. The coverage would mostly be run out of nickel/dime sub-packages. This type of teamwork can allow those two players to trust each other’s positioning and provides more flexibility to the back end coverage (bracket/inside out combinations). Get The Ball Out Of Your Hand If you are going to use Cover 2 as your primary coverage, you will need physical corners who can jam and funnel a receiver. 1 goes outside the corner takes him, if he goes inside the safety, etc.). In American football, the 3–4 defense is a common defensive alignment consisting of three down linemen and four linebackers.It is a called a "base defense" because it is the default defensive alignment used on "base downs" (1st and 2nd downs). There’s a copious amount of strain on the underneath defenders to the curl/flat and quick hitches from a 2x2 set would basically be a gimme for the offense. The stick route by the No. 1 runs a slightly deeper post. The double move by the No. If there is no vertical threat, the defensive backs are free to help another defender. Some defenses will substitute the Sam linebacker for an extra cornerback, or nickelback in this case, to help with the coverage of the outside underneath zone when offenses bring four wide receivers onto the field. For a well balanced defensive team, the cover 3 is a solid scheme that can work against the run and the pass. Cover 2. Because of the need to drop deep into coverage at the snap of the ball, a lot of Cover 4 plays will have the cornerbacks line up off the line of scrimmage about five to seven yards back. 1 receiver to that side breaks inward. Both the deep middle of the field defenders are put into conflict here. The free safety and corner must be in line with what’s going on and if one of them makes the wrong decision then it’s a blown coverage and a huge gain for the offense. On a run play, he must support contain.S: Man to man coverage on the (TE). Lead writer. There are two defensive ends on the field in a Cover 4 defense. That’s when you hit the corner with a double move while his momentum is closing downhill on what he expects is another out route. If so, you'll love my daily "Football Coaching" emails. This is important against uneven sets, BUNCH, or TRIPS formations where the covering players can make a “box” type call where the coverage has more man principles, while still executing zone coverage initially (if the No. If the offenses runs less than four deep routes on any play – and this happens a lot – one or both of the safeties can shade their zone coverage to the side of the field to provide extra support for the cornerbacks. The Cover 4 defense can be run by just about any team, no matter what level of experience. The cover 4 defense is basically the same thing as a prevent defense and is hardly ever used. There are many three-step route combinations (slant/flat, curl/flat, speed-out/curl from wider splits, tare route from a 3x1, spacing concepts, double slants, etc.) Cover 1 is similar to cover 0, although instead of bringing a blitz ( 6 man pressure), the defense will bring a dog (5 man pressure). The corner’s presence could prevent the quick flat throws, but the corner must be athletic enough to drop to his deep responsibility, too. To the right, the offense runs a sail pattern which features a streak from the outside receiver and a 7 route from the inside one. Defensive backs will play man coverage on vertical routes while linebackers play zone underneath. 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. To the average fan, Cover 4 may sound like a passive, prevent-type defense, while to the more nuanced fan, it may seem like an aggressive coverage that can bring 9 defenders into the box. A defense with good communication would force the left side cornerback to switch his assignment once the No. As alluded to earlier, play action passes can be deadly against aggressive Cover 4 teams and the yankee concept is one of the passing combinations that can leave deep defenders scrambling. On the opposite side, the strong safety is put into conflict. It’s Versatile - The Cover 4 defense can also be modified for any experience level to implement extra wrinkles, blitzes, and even different personnel depending on the game situation or the team a defense might be facing. The Cover 4 defense is often referred to as the “Quarters” alignment, because each member of the secondary is responsible for a quarter of the field on the deep section. Aric DiLalla. Cover 4 Cover 4 or “quarters” is a coverage shell with four deep defenders. With seven players in the cover 2 defense, five defenders should each have a zone that covers throws within 5 to 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. When run using strictly base zone rules this makes for an excellent coverage for defending the deep ball. This video explains and diagrams basic rules for a cover 4. Reason being is safeties are brought up closer to almost play in the box and are asked to play a bigger role in the run game to … Still, most teams that run a cover 4 play a little softer on the outside, but still is far from a cover 4. Each linebacker is responsible for a third of the field width wise. A common zone coverage that focuses on eliminating the deep portion of the field is Cover 4. 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. The quarterback would roll right with the offensive line moving the pocket in that direction. This would give the quarterback a three-tier read, putting the defense into conflict. 4-3 Over / Cover 4 Defense Set on February 25, 2013. Deep defenders become manipulated pretty easily with clear out routes, followed by some kind of replacement route. Low-profile carry holsters with exceptional performance and retention. Google it. Both of these videos are outstanding and have helped us as we switch from an Under 4-3/Cover 3 defense to an Over 4-3/Cover 4 system. It’s a four-deep, three-under zone defense in which the three linebackers are responsible for splitting the underneath section of the field into threes. The play action would suck the defense close to the line of scrimmage and then the quarterback would have a two-tiered read. This is a base Cover 4 defense out of a 4-3 above. Hand-crafted in Mount Vernon, Iowa. The Cover 4 defense is often referred to as the “Quarters” alignment, because each member of the secondary is responsible for a quarter of the field on the deep section. We focused a lot on how to manipulate the deep middle of the field, but the outsides are vulnerable, too, just like we see above. The "2" in cover 2 comes from the two safeties that are responsible for the two deep zones, or "halves," starting at about 13 yards from the line of scrimmage. That’s because the cornerbacks in a Cover 4 defense line up off the line of scrimmage most of the time, leaving a lot of space in underneath routes. 2 to the right clears out the strong safety and may garner the attention from the free safety, while both outside receivers run snag routes in the holes and before said safeties. It’s a four-deep, three-under zone defense in which the three linebackers are responsible for splitting the underneath section of … 2 receiver’s speed out will garner the attention of the near-side linebacker to the left, which opens the throwing window to the snag that goes over the top of his original position. 1 receiver then the running back’s flare route will be wide open with space. However, many defensive coordinators are now teaching the defense to read the release of the #2 receiver to gain extra defenders in the run game while they matchup vs route combinations. These combinations are very common in the NFL and against defenses’ like the Cover 4. The hitch may be open, depending on the speed of the linebacker, but the goal is to get the corner to jump the hitch, opening up the deep 7 route. To the left, there’s an under route from the No. The outside underneath defender’s zone becomes flooded by the mirrored concept and it becomes a 4-on-2 advantage for the offense. The under route also demands the attention of at least two underneath defenders. Copyright text 2018 by Football Advantage. They’re lined up either on the offensive tackle’s outside shoulder or over the tight end if there is one on the field. The close alignment of the four deep players allow the coverage to be disguised very well with other zone, and even man, coverages. 2’s streak, which opens up the void for the right side cross to come into the zone manned by the free safety. The outside flat zones are open for business against a Cover 4 defense, so any type of hitch or speed out will be very hard to defend, if the corners bail to their responsibilities at the snap. That makes it imperative that the defensive linemen are able to make a strong push at the snap of the ball. Each player on the team is responsible for a zone on the field which means they don’t have to worry about making too many reads at the snap of the ball before they know what their responsibilities are. We continue breaking down defensive coverage schemes. If there’s a hiccup there, the free safety is forced to take the No. This opens up a huge void where the strong safety is supposed to be and quarterbacks usually hit the dig in stride here, especially with the free safety taking the No. Depending on whether you want to run Cover 2 or Quarters behind your 4-3 Defense, you need to have some physical cats in the secondary. This is an excellent way to play chess against a Cover 4 defense. Both underneath and deep zone defenders are susceptible to being manipulated either through route combinations drawing defenders to desired locations or just by high-lowing certain defenders. 1, with a streak to occupy the free safety, which opens up more room for the dig to the other side. On the right side, there’s a smash combo, which is a simple high-low where the inside receiver runs a 7 route and the outside receiver runs a quick hitch. One of the more popular wrinkles to a Cover 4 defense happens with the linebackers, especially in obvious passing downs. The cover 2 defense in the NFL requires four defensive linemen to rush the quarterback while the other seven defensive players play zone coverage. Cover 7 is man-to-man match quarters; 4-on-3 strongside / 3-on-2 weakside. The No. The four defenders in a Cover 4 alignment are responsible for covering the deep zone, split into quarters from sideline to sideline. The No. Cover 4 is still a solid coverage against 2x2 sets where the offense needs to gain a lot of yardage. On any given play, each player is responsible for a zone on the field, and whoever enters that zone is their responsibility. Each side will match according to the split of the formation and game plan. This gives them a head start on backpedaling to their deep zone on the field. The right side combination is called a fish concept because it baits the deep player and it acts as another high-low read for the quarterback. The No. The tight end would then run a quick slant behind the linebackers. Deep Defenders: 2. However, the four defensive linemen in this formation are often the only players tasked with putting pressure on the line of scrimmage. If the strong safety bits on the right side cross, then the left side cross will come into his zone. The defensive line in a Cover 4 defense is very similar to how the defensive line is aligned in other base zone defenses. If the defense is facing a strong running team, the cover 3 will be less than ideal unless it has great strength in the trenches, the common term for the defensive line positions. So, a lot of times, it’s tough to decipher between Cover 4 and Soft Man. In a zone defense out of a 4-4 alignment, each linebacker will cover a quarter of the field, sideline to sideline, and be responsible for covering whatever receiver enters their zone. There are three linebackers on the field in a base Cover 4 defense: The primary duty of each of these players is to cover the underneath zone on the field, which stretches sideline to sideline from the line of scrimmage to a depth of about 10 yards back.
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