Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tampa 2 Pressure

Here is a concept used by Coach Schiano during his time with the Buccaneers. The pressure is a non-traditional 4 man pass rush. The coverage is a variation of Tampa 2. 

Traditional Tampa 2 uses the Corners in the Flat with 2 Hook droppers. The Mike LB is running deep to the Middle Read to help cover routes attempting to split the deep 1/2 safeties. 

The Buccaneers use a Nickel personnel to play a version of Tampa 2 coverage. 

The Rush:
Mike & Will - Aligned in A gaps reading the turn of the Center. When the Center blocks away the LB goes. When the Center blocks toward the LB drops off and spies/rushes. 

The spy/rush technique helps the defense control the middle check down route to the RB which is a stress area of Tampa 2 coverage. The spy can also help take away RB screen and QB scramble. If the RB blocks the LB can add to the pressure to create a 4 man rush.

DT - Rush through B gap to contain

The Coverage:
Corners - Flat
DE's - Hook
SS - Middle Read
Nickel - Pop the Top to the Deep 1/2
FS - Bluffs rotation to the deep middle and plays the Deep 1/2

The pass rush does a good job of attacking the RB in protection.

By showing the double A gap pressure the defense forces the RB to block an A gap LB on a clean run through. No matter who the Center blocks the other LB is attacking the back. Here the Center blocked to the Mike resulting in the Will getting to run through. The Mike then executes the spy/rush technique. Once the RB blocks the Mike adds to the pass rush to create a 2 on 1 vs. the RB. This is very similar to the overload situations created in Coach Schiano's Green Dog schemes.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Attacking Coverage with a Weak Side Triangle Read

The read progression:
#1 Curl - 3 step stick outside foot to an inside stem, snap off and come back at 12 yds
#2 Flat - get width before depth, gain depth to 4 yards. Settle outside numbers
#3 Shallow Spot - Release at heels of DL, climb to 5 yds as you cross center. Spot is over opposite OT.
#4 QB run

The route creates a weak side triangle read for the QB.

VS. 1 High Coverage

Against Cover 1 or a match up Cover 3 the throw should go to the #1 read Curl route. The H is gaining width quickly to open the window. The L should stick his outside foot on the 3rd step and stem inside. The goal is to get the corner on top the route, with his hips open and running before the curl breaks off. 

Against a 1 high zone coverage, the H back is again trying to open the curl's window. If the curl is available the ball is going there. This happens when the Hook defender (here the Will LB) does not expand.

The Curl-Flat defender may hang in the curl's window. In this case the throw goes to the #2 read H on the flat route.

In a zone if the Curl-Flat defender and the Hook defender both expand the throw is going to the Spot route on the inside of the triangle.

For the coverage to take away all 3 reads, the strong side Hook player must work weak with the Spot route. By check releasing the A back into the strong flat the QB has a natural escape lane.  The spot route controls the Strong Hook dropper (Mike) and the check release by the A back widens the strong Curl-Flat defender (SS).The 4th read is to tuck the ball and run. 

VS. 2 High Coverage

Against a weak side cover 2 or 2 read concept the corner has good leverage on the Flat route. The Hook dropper should be able to drop into the window of the Curl. If the Curl is open the ball is going there but it is unlikely. This most likely brings the read to the Spot route. 

Against a Quarters coverage concept there may be double coverage on the Curl. If the Curl does a good job of selling the stick and pushing the safety the curl may be able to break underneath the safety. If the curl is open that is where the ball is going.

More likely vs. Quarters the Safety will close the window to the curl. The flat player is expanding with the Flat route. This brings the read back to the Spot route. 

In a 2 high coverage the Spot route is 1 on 1 with the Mike. If the Mike works weak to take the Spot route the QB goes to his 4th read of run. 

VS. Pressure

The H back on the Flat route is the hot throw. The protection is a 6 man check release. The most common way to force a hot throw is to bring 2 rushers to the side of the A back.

If the coverage is man the weak side safety has the flat route 1 on 1.

If the coverage is a fire zone the LB is the Seam or Scif dropper vs. a 2x2. Again the H back is expected to win 1 on 1.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Greg Schiano Green Dog Pressure Concepts

Here are a couple of Coach Schiano's pressure concepts from his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I'm curious to see if these are similar to the pressure concepts that show up on film at Ohio State next season. This post focuses on green dog* overload concepts designed to create a 2 rusher vs. 1 running back overload. 

*Green Dog - 5 man rush using man free coverage. The player responsible for the RB in man coverage has the green light to become a pass rusher if the RB blocks in pass protection

The Rush: 
Ends - Contain Rush
Tackle - Long stick to opposite A
Nose - Loop to B
Will - Rush B Gap

The Coverage:
Sam - Man on TE
Corners - Man #1
SS - Man #2
FS - Free in MOF

Mike is the green dog player. His coverage responsibility is man coverage on the RB. As the RB blocks the rushing Will the Mike joins the pass rush. The effect is 2 rushers through the B gap and a 2 on 1 vs. the RB.

The offense is in a 7 man pass protection and should have good numbers to block the defense. To the right the offense has 4 (TE, OT, OG, C) to block the 4 possible rushers to the right of the Center (Sam, DE, Nose, Mike). To the left of Center the protection has RB for Will and the OT and OG for the DT and DE. 

The issue is the LG is setting on the DT and initially is responsible for the DT on the inside move to the A gap. Once the DT keeps going to the opposite A gap the Guard can pass him off. By the time the OG realizes the DT needs to get passed off, he doesn't have time to redirect and block the Mike. The protection uses 5 (G,C,G,T,TE) to block 3 (DT, Nose, DE).

Here is another example from a dime sub personnel package.

The Rush: 
Ends - Contain Rush
Tackle & Nose - Rush A Gap
Mike - Rush B Gap

The Coverage:
Corners - Man #1
SS & Nickel - Man #2
FS - Free in MOF

Dime is the green dog player. The Dime shows pressure in his B gap and loops to the block of the running back post-snap. The effect is again a 2 on 1 overload on the RB in the B gap.

The the offense is in a 6 man pass protection. The LG sets to block the Dime while providing body position on the DT in the A gap. The Center is in a bind here. He must snap the ball and hit a pass set with 2 DT's aligned on him. The Guards need to help him or risk an interior double bull rush in the middle of the protection. 

The rush plays out like a DL twist. Pass protections are unlikely to expect a Dime to be involved in a twist action post snap. The OL could squeeze the protection back to the right once the Dime loops. The issues are multiple:
#1 The G,C,G all have to work in unison
#2 The LG was body positioning and helping the Center, which left the RG 1 on 1 with the Nose. The RG took an aggressive set to block the Nose. Having the RG come off the aggressive set and redirect to the Dime is very difficult.
#3 The RG on a redirect would have to set through the traffic of the RB blocking the Mike.
#4 If the G,C,G screw up on the redirect the result is an interior DL on a run through to the QB. Basic rule of pass pro is to always protect the shortest path (inside straight line) to the QB. 

Here is an example using a deep safety as the green dog player.

The Rush: 
Ends - Contain Rush
Tackle - Rush B Gap
Nose - Loop to B Gap
Mike - Rush A Gap

The Coverage:
Corners - Man #1
Nickel - Man #2
FS - Free in MOF
Will - Man on RB

SS is the green dog player. SS adds to the rush from depth as the RB blocks.

Here is an example using the a DE as the green dog player.

The Rush: 
End - Contain Rush
Tackle - B gap to Contain
Nose - Opposite A
Mike - Rush A Gap (1st)
Will - Rush opposite B Gap (2nd)

The Coverage:
Corners - Man #1
Sam - Man TE
FS - Free in MOF
SS - Man on hip aligned wing

DE is the green dog player. 

The offense is in a 7 man protection and has the numbers to block all 7 possible rush threats in the core.

By looping the DE the protection is forced into very difficult blocks. The guard ends up 1 on 1 against the rushing Mike because the Center is occupied with the Nose. The Will and End have a 2 on 1 vs. the RB. The offense could again try to redirect to pick up this rush but the complexity level to identify what is happening is very high. Also redirecting to pick this pressure up would require tremendous athleticism by the OL.

Here is a good example of the defense using the green dog while doing a good job of disguising where the pressure is coming from.

The Rush: 
End - Long stick to A Gap
Tackle - B gap to Contain
Nose - Opposite A
Mike - Show Man on TE, Rush C gap to B
Corner - Contain Rush, peels to cover the RB in a route

The Coverage:
Corner - Man #1
Nickel - Man #2
Dime - Show Contain Rush, Man on #3
FS - Show coverage on #3, Free in MOF
SS - Man on TE

DE is the green dog player. The DE is aligned in a 2 point stance as has a edge rush demeanor. 

The offense is in a 5 man protection with the RB free releasing into a swing route.

The 5 OL must block the 5 most dangerous rush threats. In this case the defense bluffs pressure from the Dime. Here the Mike shows by alignment and demeanor that he is man to man on the TE. The SS is deeper than the FS who is cheated down with eyes on the #3 receiver. Every indicator is the the Dime and End are rushing off the edge with the coverage rotating to cover for the rushing Dime. The OL points and adjust accordingly to slide the protection to the Dime leaving the back side OT man to man with the DE.

During the cadence the SS tightens down to play man on the TE. The FS pops out to play the MOF. The Dime plays man on the #3 receiver. The Corner was rushing off the edge and peels to cover the RB on the swing or flare route. The corner must use this technique to avoid the giving the DE no shot to cover the RB on the swing. The OT is man to man on the long stick DE. There is no one to pick up the Mike rushing in the C gap. Once the OL had declared the 5 most dangerous rush threats it is very difficult for them to redirect an block rush threats coming from the opposite side. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Todd Bowles Middle Overload Zone Dog

This is a 5 man middle overload zone dog Coach Bowles dialed up when he was the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. The pressure is run from a nickel personnel.

The Rush:
Tackles - Working through B gap to contain
Mike & Will - A gap
SS - Midline

The Coverage:
The coverage is a 3 under 3 deep with both ends dropping into coverage
End - Seam
End - 3RH
*Both Ends are stand up 3-4 OLB players

Nickel - Seam
Corners - Tight 1/3

The pressure overloads the middle of the pass protection.

The expected reaction from the pass protection is for the OG and OT on both sides to fan out to block the DE and DT on either side. The Center has one A gap rushing LB and the RB has the other. 

The DT's working through the B gaps holds the attention of the guards. If the DT's immediately looped outside the OG could possible squeeze the protection back to the middle. The occupation of the OG's creates the 3 (Mike, Will, SS) vs. the 2 (Center & RB) overload inside.

The OT's are left pass setting to no one with both DE's dropping into coverage. It would be very difficult for the OT's to provide any help to the midline.

For the offense to squeeze the protection back inside, many reactions would need to happen very quickly. The Center, Guard, and Tackle would all have to redirect from their initial pass set. This would require all three to identify the DE is dropping. The ID would also force all three to communicate and react in unison to squeeze the protection. They must also must each physically handle the athleticism required to redirect their pass set and make an effective block. All this with full speed rushers coming at them.   

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Friday, May 27, 2016

3-4 Zone Pressure to Attack Pass Protection

Here is a zone dog that is a variation of America's Blitz . This article is a follow up to the post about 3-4 pressure to attacking the run game.

The Rush:
End - Long stick to A gap
Nose - Away A gap
End - Away Contain

The three down linemen are exactly like America's Blitz. The difference is path of the 2 rushing linebackers.

Mike - Go 1st and Rush contain. Also can be run by Mike walking up to show the pressure.

Sam - Rush flat off the edge at an angle to replace the heels of the rushing Mike. Spill any blocks (Never Kicked). This technique was covered in a previous post here.

The Coverage:
Corners - Tight 1/3
FS - Rotate to Middle 1/3
SS - Rotate down to Seam
Jack - Seam
Will - 3RH

Against 3x1 the the linebacker's bump to a stack alignment and the Mike and Will switch responsibilities.

This concept is good for attacking traditional 3 down line drop back pass protection schemes. This pressure is designed to get the Sam an opportunity to attack the protection. If the Sam is our best pass rusher we want to create 1 on 1  pass rush opportunities for him.  
Big on Big (Fan)

In a man protection scheme like BOB the offense will lock the Center on the Nose and fan the Guard and Tackle out for the Sam and End (2 blockers for 2 rushers). In that case the Guard is forced to redirect after setting out to block the long stick End. The OT is 2 on 1 vs. the Mike and Sam. Pass protection schemes typically want to block the inside rusher first because that player has the shortest path to the QB. In this case the order of rushers creates a situation where the inside rusher (Sam) is running through with the the RB as the likely blocker. 

Big on Big (Molly)

Molly is a form of man pass protection where the OT will lock the DE. The Guard has a dual read from ILB to OLB. Again the offense wants to protect against inside rush threats first. If the Mike rushes inside the Guard will block inside. If there is no inside threat the Guard will set over the top to the outside for the OLB off the edge. Here the Guard is forced to set over the top to the Mike which allows the inside rusher (Sam) the short run on the QB and a potential 1 on 1 with the RB. 

Half Slide

A zone protection scheme like half slide allows the offense to get a 4 on 4 vs. the pass rush.

The offense has the numbers and angles to block the pressure from a half slide protection. Half slide is a strategy that can block 3-4 America's blitz variations. If the defense is planning on attacking BOB man schemes but the offense is using zone half slide protection instead having a couple in game pressure adjustments can help keep the heat on. 


Bluff is a pressure disguise concept that was discussed in a previous post about disguising pressure in the 3-3 stack and applies to 3-4 pressure too. 

On a bluff call the non-rushing backer opposite the pressure shows in the B gap. 1/2 slide protection rules typically dictate the 1st uncovered OL starts the slide. In this case by covering the guard opposite the pressure the guard is forced to be part of the man 1/2 of the protection as is the Center. By forcing the Center and Guard into man protection, bluff can get the pass rush numbers back to 3 (End, Mike, Sam) vs. 2 (OT & OG) to the pressure side.  

When the offense is in 3x1 the defense adjusts with a switch call. On a switch the Jack is the non-rushing LB away from the pressure and shows in the B gap to control the 1/2 slide protection. 


X is a tag that adjusts the away side of the pressure.

The X tag adds a twist by the End and Nose away from the pressure. When the offense chooses to slide the protection to the pressure, the OT opposite the slide is in man vs. the DE. If the defense has a good pass rusher at DE, the X tag can be a good way to create a 1 on 1 inside rush opportunity for him. The Nose attacks the midline initially to force the guard to set aggressively and widen the B gap for the End. The Nose rushes the midline until the End enters into his vision on the inside pass rush then loops to contain.   

Carrying adjustments like bluff and X are good way to build a pass rush plan. A primary plan may be to attack an offense's base man pass protection scheme. Having simple adjustments ready for when the offense adjusts to a zone protection scheme is an easy way to build a 2nd pass rush plan for in game adjustments.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Carolina Panther Overload Zone Dog vs. Empty

Here is an overload zone dog used by the Carolina Panthers in 2013. The dog is backed up by 3 under 3 deep zone coverage.

The RB motions to empty and the Panthers run an overload to the defensive left side. The rush sends two through the B gap.

The Rush:
End - Contain
Tackle - 3 Tech, Long Stick to Opposite A
Tackle - 3 Tech, Work to Contain
Will - Rush B gap to A Gap
Safety - Rush widest part of B gap

The Coverage:
Mike & Nickel - 2 droppers
End - 3 dropper
Corners - 1/3
Safety - MOF

The Panthers rush 5 against a 5 man pass protection scheme. The offense has enough blockers but the rush scheme violates the rules of the protection.

Initially the Guard and Tackle are forced to set to the right to block the DT and DE. That leaves 3 blockers to the left (Center, Guard, Tackle) to block 4 rushers (DE, DT, Will, and Safety). 

The offense could pick up the rush if the OL was sliding to the pressure.

The offense doesn't know the End is going to drop off into coverage. Therefore it is impractical for the offense to slide to the pressure and risk leaving a DL unblocked.

If the OL slid when the Panthers were rushing 4 down linemen, the DT and DE would have an easy 2 on 1 vs. the RT.

The RG initially set to the DT. Once the DT worked outside to contain, the guard was able to redirect and block the long stick DT from the pressure side. Once the RG redirected the offense had 4 blockers for 4 rushers. The challenge for the offense is the Center has to travel back with the long stick DT. The Center set to the pressure initially and has no way of knowing the End opposite the pressure dropped into coverage. If the Center let the long stick DT cross his face, there is no guarantee the guard will be there to help. Pre-snap the protection rules are the RG and RT need to block the DT and DE. The Center has no way to know that is no longer true. Once the Center traveled back the defense created a 2 on 1 for the LG. The guard is also forced to travel back with the Will. The LG has Center help allowing him to pass the long stick DT to the Center. The Will rushes the B gap and the guard sets to him. Once the Will makes an inside move; the guard is forced to travel back with him. The guard can pass 1 inside move to the center, he cannot pass 2 inside rushers. That leaves the safety rushing from the secondary on a clean run through for the sack.

This pressure is a good reminder about the nature of bringing pressure. There is a balance between coverage and pass rush. The more coverage the more time the rush has to get home. The more pressure the less time the coverage needs to cover. Some coaches are tentative about dropping a DE into coverage, thinking he will be a major coverage liability. The expectation of the DE as a pass rusher sets the OL's protection rules. Dropping the DE into coverage allows for an overload rush that attacks those protection rules. While 3 under 3 deep zone coverage is not perfect, dropping a DE does allow for overload pressures that can cover up those imperfections.