Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Firezone Coverage vs. Action Passes

This post is continuing the coaching points for 3 under 3 deep Firezone coverage. These coaching points come from the 2003 Kentucky playbook of defensive coordinator Mike Archer

Firezone vs. Boot

  • Corner to the action - Cover all of #1 out or vertical
  • Seam player to action - First to the flat
  • 3RH - Find and cover the crosser
  • Seam player away from the action - Throwback. Alert or the running back or crossers coming back 
  • Corner away from the action - Cover all of #1 vertical
  • Post Safety - Alert for the deepest crossing route


Call alerting Safety and Backside Corner #1 strong is in a crack alignment. 
Vs. flow pass, FS will rob dig if TE crosses and backside corner will drive to the post

Flow Pass = Play Action pass with both backs to the TE and the TE running a crossing route

Against a play action flow pass with a crack alignment of of #1 the defense will make a Zombie call pre-snap.

When the #1 receiver strong goes in crack motion the Corners and Post Safety must communicate with a "Zombie" call.

The Zombie call allows the the Post Safety to rob the dig. If the 3RH player is fooled by the play action fake the defense is still able to cover the levels route from the offense. The Zombie call tells the backside corner to overlap to the middle of the field and double cover the post with the other corner when #1 on his side runs a dig.

The defense would make the same Zombie call vs. a #1 aligned in a reduced split crack alignment.

Here the offense aligns with #1 in a reduced split. The defense makes a Zombie call to alert the Corners and Safety of the reduction of splits. The post safety robs the dig when the TE runs the crossing route. The Corner overlaps when his #1 runs the dig and double covers the post.

Zombie can be a good solution in a 3 deep coverage concept to handle play action and cover the levels route combination. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Firezone Coverage Seam Technique Coaching Points

Long time Pittsburgh Steeler Defensive Coordinator Dick Lebeau (currently with the Tennessee Titans) is known for his firezone pressure package. Coach Lebeau’s 3 under 3 deep firezone coverage concept has been the topic of multiple posts on Blitzology in the past. This post is a continuation of those same concepts. The following information is from the 2003 Kentucky Defensive Playbook. The defensive coordinator was Mike Archer. Before his time at Kentucky, Coach Archer served as the linebacker coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996-2002. With Coach Archer coming from the Lebeau coaching tree much of the firezone terminology and techniques are similar.

This post focuses on the Seam Drop. Coaching points for this drop from Coach Lebeau were covered previously on Blitzology (Here).

The Seam technique from Coach Archer follows many of the same coaching points.

The basic structure of the 3 under 3 deep coverage is:

3 Under
3 Receiver Hook

3 Deep
FZ 1/3 Corner
Lean Post Safety
FZ 1/3 Corner

The diagram shows in the simplest form the responsibilities of the Seam player. If the #2 receiver runs:

Outside = Match
Vertical = Carry
Inside = Deliver

Coach Archer defines the Seam drop in the playbook. 

Seam Drop – Played in 3 underneath 3 Deep zones. Align inside or outside of the #2 receiver. Match-Carry-Deliver the deepest and outside of #2 or #3. Vs. a removed #2 with over split between he and #3 align inside and drop inside the #2 receiver and work to his outside shoulder – maintain vision and break. 

The seam player aligns 1-2 yards inside of #2 and 6 yards deep vs. a wide split between #2 and #3.

Coach Archer goes on to define Match-Carry-Deliver

  • Match #2 / #3 outside leverage on any flat release. 
  • Carry #2 / #3 outside in vs. any vertical route. 
  • Deliver #2 / #3 outside in on any inside release until forced to come off with either a call or another eligible crosses your face from the inside out

Here are some example diagrams.

Carry - Cover the deepest / outside of #2 /#3

The Seam player is working from inside to the outside shoulder of the vertical release of #2. The Seam player will only collision the #2 outside in and never inside out. All of the Seam player's help is inside from the 3RH and the Lean Post Safety.

Leverage with width and vision

The Seam player drops with width and then squeezing inside.

Match = Leverage first to the flat of #2 / #3

The Seam player is playing with depth over the first to the flat (#3). This should keep the Seam player in the window of any route by #1.

Against two releases in the same direction play deep to shallow.

By keeping depth over the first to the flat the Seam player is still in body position to play deep to shallow on the #2 and #3.

 Deliver #2 inside until another color crosses your face outside.

Match & Carry
Match the first to the flat of #2 / #3
Carry any flat and up

Vs. Flood = Lock #2

Flood = 3 Receivers releasing into routes to the weak side of the formation

Lock – Puts a defensive player “locked” on a receiver regardless of receiver’s release 

If the #3 receiver is releasing away from the Seam player the Seam player locks on the  #2 receiver and covers him man to man.

Against any D area motion the Seam player locks the #2

Under Front Weak Side Blitzes

Here is a package of complementary blitz patterns from the same under front alignment. These blitzes are from the 1999 Texas A&M Defensive Playbook. The Aggies used a 3-4 personnel but these blitzes are easily applicable to a 4-3 or 4-2 defense.

The blitz concept is from the Aggie's 53 front. 

Call DE  - 5
Away DE - 3
Nose - Call side 1

Sam & Rush Linebackers walked up

53 Dip

The Coverage - Cover Zero

Corners - #1's
SS & FS - #2's or #3
Mike - Running Back

The Rush 

Sam - Contain 
End - C gap vs. the run, Psycho B gap vs. Pass
Nose - A gap
End - B gap
Will - Tuff alignment on OT, Contain Rush
Rush - Loose alignment, Rush A gap

Psycho Technique

Against the run to the strong side the defense plays gap control. Against the pass the End executes a psycho technique to the B gap.

The DE rushes from the C gap to the B gap. This technique helps keep the End from being in the way of the contain rush of the Sam linebacker.

53 Blade

The Rush

Away End - A gap
Will - Tuff alignment on OT, X-It* to contain
Rush - Loose alignment, Rush A gap

*X-It technique is the Will attacking the tackle before looping to contain

53 Ox

The Rush

Away End - A gap
Will - Tuff alignment on OT, Contain Rush
Rush - Loose alignment, Rush B Gap

This package of blitzes gives the defense flexibility to attack the offense in 3 different ways from the same alignment. The defense could also choose to switch the alignment and responsibility of the Rush and Will.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Creating Pass Rush Opportunities for the DL in the 3-3-5 Defense

One of the questions that inevitable comes up in any game plan meeting:

How does our defense get our best DL into optimal pass rush opportunities?

One solution is to combine a blitz and a twist concept in one call to create a one on one pass rush opportunity. Here is an example of this concept from a 3-3-5 defensive alignment.

The Rush
DE’s – Long stick to A gap
Nose – Slow to go, attack Center, loop to contain
Sam – Contain Blitz
Mike – Blitz B Gap

The Coverage
Corners – Tight 1/3
FS – Middle 1/3
Will – 3RH
SS/WS – Seam

vs. 3x1
Corners – Tight 1/3
WS – Middle 1/3
FS – 3RH
SS/Will – Seam

Against a half slide pass protection to the blitz:

The center is the key. If the center holds space on the Nose the defense has a 3 (Sam, Mike, DE) vs. 2 (LT, LG).

The more likely outcome is the center sets aggressively to the blitz. 

The guard opposite the blitz is forced to aggressively set to the Nose. The aggressive pass sets of the center and guard create a large pass rush lane for the DE on the inside move.

Against a half side the OT has the DE opposite the slide 1 on 1. With a huge amount of space for the DE to operate the OT has a very difficult block to make. This is especially true if the 1 on 1 DE is the defense’s best defensive lineman.

If the OT is able to handle the DE in the 1 on 1 block, the Nose has a short porch to loop for contain.

One solution offenses may employ is to have the RB chip the DE. An easy solution for the defense, is to call the same blitz with a different coverage. Here the defense uses a cover 1 concept. 

The non-blitzing LB (here the Will) is man to man on the running back. By using a rush engage coverage concept the defense is able to create an overload blitz to the RB.

The concept of combining a blitz with a twist can be applied to other blitz patterns.

Any 2 linebacker blitz can be complemented with a twist concept away. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

4-2-5 Read Out Blitz vs. Empty Formations

When facing an empty formation the offense has 5 potential pass blockers. It doesn’t take great mathematical abilities to realize the defense can simply blitz 6 and get a free rusher.

Here is a blitz concept to get the same guaranteed free pass rusher while only rushing 3.

  • LB’s in B Gap, with blitz demeanor
  • DT’s in A gaps
  • DE’s in C gaps

The DE's and LB's are bracketing the OT's, the DT's are bracketing the Center

  • DE and Mike read the block of the OT
  • Tackle and Nose read the block of the Center
  • Will and DE read the block of the OT

The Read:
The read is simple. Get off the ball and attack your gap. If the OL doesn’t block you keep rushing. If the OL being read attempts to block you drop out. 

Key coaching points:
  • Great get off on the snap. Attack then React.
  • Assume you are a rusher until the OL attempts to block you
  • Engage the OL before dropping out
  • Drop to max depth of 5 yards. You can be slow to go and still get there.

If the OL uses a half slide protection.

Both OT's block the DEs so both DE's drop out. They are looking to drop into any hot throw by the most inside receiver. The Mike is unblocked and gets a free run to the QB. The Nose is dropping directly over the center.

If the offense uses a full slide protection.

Here the End is unblocked and gets a free run to the QB. The DE, Tackle, and Will drop out into possible hot throws.

The interior droppers allow the DB's to play outside leverage on the receivers. An unblocked rusher guarantees a quick throw from the QB. The interior droppers should take away any inside breaking hot throws. The outside leverage of the DB's should limit any outside breaking hot throws.