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Old 01-13-2008, 06:37 AM   #1
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Default Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

The term "Cover 2" derives from the defensive strategy of separating the deep half of the field (starting at about 15 yards from the line of scrimmage) into two zones. Each of these deep zones is played by one of the safeties. Bud Carson, defensive coach for the Steelers "Steel Curtain" teams is said to have been the originator of this scheme. The four defensive linemen rush the quarterback, while the three linebackers and two cornerbacks separate the part of the field in front of the safeties into five smaller zones. Therefore, the Cover 2 is an entirely zone defense (no man-to-man coverage) that is deployed out a basic 4-3 personnel set (4 linemen, three linebackers).

The major weakness of the base Cover 2 was the middle of the field once you got beyond 10 or 15 yards from the line of scrimmage. Tony Dungy, now a Super Bowl winner and coach of the Indianapolis Colts, adapted the Cover 2 he learned while playing for Carson. In his new Tampa 2 (he instituted the system while coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), the middle linebacker's zone of coverage would extend deep into the middle of the field, closing off that opening. In essence, this makes the system a "cover 3", as in the deep part of the field is separated into 3 separate zones. With the faster, more athletic linebackers of today's NFL this is much easier to pull off. Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears is the perfect example of the type of player that makes the Tampa 2 shine and achieve maximum success. Depending on the routes run and number of receivers used, the cornerbacks in this scheme will generally try to force the receiver toward the center of the field where more coverage awaits.

The Tampa 2 was originally designed to defend against the West Coast Offense - lots of short passes, quick routes and a minimal running game. The first remaining flaw in the Tampa 2 is the soft spot on the each sideline, between the shallow zone of the cornerback and the deep zones of the safety. The second flaw is that you are completely reliant on your four defensive linemen to create pressure on the quarterback. With athletic and smart players, and the right grouping of personnel, these flaws can be reduced significantly. The best remaining way to beat the Tampa 2 defense is with a power running game. Building off the running game and creating play-action scenarios (faking a running play then dropping back into a passing play) makes the middle linebacker and safeties draw in closer to the line of scrimmage, leaving openings downfield.

Every single team in the NFL has and uses some form of the Cover 2, or Tampa 2 as a defensive strategy. Many of those teams employ that style of coverage as their base defense, meaning that is what they use the majority of the time. As is the case in the NFL, times change and teams adapt. As more offensives become equipped to beat the Tampa 2 defense, more defenses will change, creating the unending cycle of evolution that the league is famous for.
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

Nice post.. good information
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

In an effort to keep our members the most informed of any forum...I thought this article would help explaine the Tampa 2 that we hear so much about...Articles and commentators are almost always referring to it when they mention Tomlin, but they never explain it very well.

Two things that I thought were interesting from the article

1) The cover 2 started here...and may eventually have worked its way back to us in the near future...From Carson to Dungy...Dungy to Tomlin...Tomlin back to Pittsburgh.

2) IF we ever move to a Tampa 2...o we currently have the MLB needed to make it work?. Timmons ran a 4.66...which isnt bad, so moving him to the middle makes sense. (Dansby, as a FA pickup, has ran in the 4.54 range, and at 6'5 would be a freak in the middle for a Tampa 2 team)
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

Any idea what type of contract someone like Fansby will likely get? Can we afford him?
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

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Any idea what type of contract someone like Fansby will likely get? Can we afford him?
I was thinking that Dansby would stay in Arizona...but word is that Suggs wants to play for the Cardinals...which takes at least one counter-bid out of the equation. He will still be expensive..but if ONE FA player could make a difference for us outside of CB on defense..he could be it.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

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Any idea what type of contract someone like Fansby will likely get? Can we afford him?
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

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That is pretty funny!


However, I gotta say, if there is anyone out there I would want to MAKE room for, it would be Dansby.
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

if it aint broke don't fix it... but u can tweak it a little bit...

we shouldn't be running a BASE cover 2 or tampa 2 but we could be using it on a couple series or even against specific teams... if that would give us an edge... i say we stick with the 3-4 but if push comes to shove nd it becomes necessary we should be preparedto run it... this means draftingand getting versatileplayers that can play in either scheme... woodley could be an end and an OLB and timmons could either be an ILB or OLB in both... so those two picks were a good start...
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

Nice read, and clearly illustrates why we could never quickly convert from a 3-4 to this defense. Even if we could "fake" the MLB position, we lack the requisite pass rushing DLmen to make this work.
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Understanding The Cover 2 Defense

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Nice read, and clearly illustrates why we could never quickly convert from a 3-4 to this defense. Even if we could "fake" the MLB position, we lack the requisite pass rushing DLmen to make this work.
And that will take far more drafts since there isnt enough money for FA pick ups.
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