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Old 10-14-2007, 09:38 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

Cover-2 helps Steelers' defense flourish

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mike Tomlin said his Steelers played more Cover-2 defense than normal against Seattle. The Seahawks were held to a season-low 106 net yards passing in the Steelers' 21-0 win.
"It's what you do when you play West Coast offenses," Tomlin said. "The ball comes out extremely quickly. You know how they script, particularly their first 15 (plays). It was what the week called for."
What Tomlin didn't say was how the Steelers were also successful stopping Seattle's ground game while playing the Cover-2, which is news in itself.


"We always ran it," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "I guess ya'll looking at Coach Tomlin as a Cover-2 guy. But (defensive coordinator Dick) LeBeau always ran a little bit of Cover-2.

"Coach LeBeau mixes it up. I can't say what we run a lot and what we don't run a lot."
The Cover-2 is a zone defense designed to prevent big plays over the top in the passing game. Cornerbacks and linebackers play underneath and safeties play deep.
Seattle's Shaun Alexander rushed for only 25 yards. The Seahawks averaged 3.1 yards per play and finished with 144 total yards.


"When you can stop the run out of the Cover-2, it's a great coverage to play," free safety Ryan Clark said. "We can play it and hold guys like Shaun Alexander to two yards a rush."


"If you can stop the run in the Cover-2," cornerback Deshea Townsend said, "it makes your day pretty easy."


Anthony Smith, who started at safety, said the Steelers' Cover-2 has been effective against the run because "we've got corners that can come up and hit. They can stop the run and play the pass."


In the shutout against Seattle, Taylor and Townsend combined for seven tackles. Taylor also had four passes defensed and one interception.


"We play (Cover-2) a little different than other teams. It's not a passive, sit-back type thing with us," Clark said. "I think what makes it different is the attacking style players we have. We want to make plays."


Conversely, Steelers' opponents haven't produced many big pass plays this season.
There have been 15 pass plays of 20-plus yards and four pass plays of 30-plus yards.
Overall, Steelers' opponents average 9.7 yards per completion while completing 51.5 percent of their attempts.


Last season, Steelers' opponents averaged 10.6 yards per completion while connecting on 60.3 percent of their attempts.


The Steelers lead the league in total defense.


"We haven't changed a thing," Clark said of the Steelers' improved defensive play from a year ago. "We're doing the same things. We've just been playing in situations where (Cover-2) works well."
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

Great read thanks stlrs4life.
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

I think the defense looked TOP against the Seahawks (live! - sorry, had to).

On a serious note, it adds one more thing that opponents have to account for. What are the Steelers going to bring? Blitz on the strong side? Blitz on the weak side? OLB blitz? Cover 2? Safety blitz?

I like it. :)
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

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Originally Posted by Jman View Post
I think the defense looked TOP against the Seahawks (live! - sorry, had to).

On a serious note, it adds one more thing that opponents have to account for. What are the Steelers going to bring? Blitz on the strong side? Blitz on the weak side? OLB blitz? Cover 2? Safety blitz?

I like it. :)
I do too---I had to laugh watching the game. It was aparent pretty early that our coverage was great, because Hasselback had nowhere to throw. All the announcers could say was how much time the Seahawk oline was giving Hasselback, how well they were playing blah blah blah. They didn't mention that we were only bringing three guys on the pass rush.

Sometimes I really wonder how these guys ever got their jobs.
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

Sounds like our coaches are winning the chess matchups. Thats good to see.

Sometimes its not necessarily about the scheme, but how you disguise the scheme.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

And the thing is...the best is yet to come.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

Let's see how this "new" D works against Palmer, Mcnair/Boller, Cutler, and Brady boy before I cast any judgments.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

I like it. The more looks we can give the opposing offense the better.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

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Originally Posted by Counselor View Post
I do too---I had to laugh watching the game. It was aparent pretty early that our coverage was great, because Hasselback had nowhere to throw. All the announcers could say was how much time the Seahawk oline was giving Hasselback, how well they were playing blah blah blah. They didn't mention that we were only bringing three guys on the pass rush.

Sometimes I really wonder how these guys ever got their jobs.
Hasselback looked totally befuddled out there because of all of the D schemes Lebeau & Co. was throwing at the Waaaaahawks' O. I am loving all of the new looks and how well the D is mastering them! Onward to Denver!
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cover 2 helps Steelers defense flourish

Worked against Seattle. Some felt Hasselbeck just "looked bad" or that "we weren't getting any pressure on him". No, we made him look bad because he had nothing to throw to early. After we solidified a nice lead, then we started bringing the house on him and the rest is history........21-0.

That's why that game wasn't "luck" or that the Seahawks just looked bad or that we just caught them on a bad day. Game planning and excellent coverage by our corners.
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