The biggest change is on the outside. We will be playing more man on the outsides this year. No matter what talent we have on the outside. The technique will be “press” coverage and bump-and-run. The Cornerback lines up 2 yards off the line of scrimmage, the receiver lines up 1 yard behind it or right on it. You’ll see about 2-4 yards between the CB and the WR pre-snap. After the snap the CB will try to get his hands on the receiver and do a few things. 1) Disrupt the route. 2) Break the timing of the offense. 3) Force the route into the teeth of the middle zone.
Last year we played 5-10 yards deep on the outside giving receivers a “cushion”. The CB lines-up off his man and starts in a backpedal reading the QB’s eyes. When the receiver breaks into his route, the CB closes in on him. If possible, the CB uses the sideline as an extra defender, or influences the route into the middle of the field for safety help. Our safeties struggled to cover the yardage they were given and our OLB’s had to drop into pass coverage in the flat often enough because of that. The downfall of that over the last 3 years is that hole in the middle of the deep zone where you can catch the ball in stride and kiss the baby.
In the middle we are playing a cover one zone. We are using our MLB’s more in pass coverage to cover the short zone. I predict a youth movement at MLB this year to cover quicker tight ends lined up in the slot or the backfield. Since the MLB is covering the zone or picking up a man one-on-one due to motion, the OLB is free to rush the passer. This is important later on. The CB’s will be locked up for a few seconds, so the zone has to hold.
I don’t want to say much about last year. When blitzing, we had huge gaps in our coverage. Some of our genius ideas took Ware into coverage to blitz a safety. This is important later on. There were a lot of sets where Ware was lined up on the weak side most of the game, and you could motion an H-Back or a RB to the weak side and peel Ware into coverage. This is important later on. Finally, the overall technique and play of the Defensive Backfield was nothing less then atrocious for most of the season. Will a new Coach turn these guys from Toast into Treasure?
Now, the important part.
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