Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Max Drop Tampa 2

Here is an example of an 8 man drop Tampa 2 coverage concept. The Jets are in a 
4-2-5 Nickel personnel with OLB bodies at DE on 3rd&7.

The Rush:
3 man rush with DT's on a interior twist game. The 3 tech is a penetrator while the Nose is 2nd looping over the top.

The Coverage:
8 man drop Tampa 2 

The initial pre-snap picture is a 4 man rush 2 high safety concept. The offense knows if the weak side safety says weak to play a cover 2 concept in a 4 man rush defense the place to attack is strong side. The safety working weak means the defense has the offense outnumbered weakside.

This is a problem area of 4 man rush Tampa 2 coverage vs. 3x1 formations. By playing the safety weak the QB's progression goes strong. In a 4 man rush Tampa 2 call there is a soft spot over the #3 receiver's initial alignment extending inside underneath the hole dropping LB. That area can be attacked by any of the strong side receivers depending on the route combination. The weak hook player can squeeze strong but doing so weakens the weak side coverage on any 2 man route combos between the X receiver & the RB. 

The Jets instead use a 3 man rush to mitigate the stress area in Tampa 2 coverage vs. a 3x1 formation. The Jets use the OLB aligned as the strong side DE to drop out on the #3 receiver. The 8 man drop is unexpected from the pre-snap even front presentation which is likely a man 4 pass rush based on alignment. Post-snap the coverage has a safety working weak which takes the QB's eyes strong. The OLB dropping combined with the Tampa 2 coverage is a strong side 5 on 3 advantage for the defense. When the strong side routes are denied by the overloaded coverage, the QB works back weak. The throw is late to the RB on the check release and an immediate tackle by the flat defending Corner for a gain of 14th down - Punt.

Good stuff from Gregg Williams to dial up an unexpected 8 man drop Tampa 2 to get off the field on 3rd down.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Kickoff Return

Left hash kickoff return scheme from the Bengals.

Front line is aligned at 49 with Ends splitting the hash and numbers. The Guards are on the hash.

Tackles are at the 47 splitting the numbers and hash.

Upbacks are at the 38 on the numbers.

Fullbacks are at the 20 on the numbers

Returner is on the Goal Line in the MOF

Drops & Responsibilities:

LE - 25 yl, 4 yards outside the hash, block #2
LT - 30 yl, 2 yards outside the hash, block #4
LG - 25 yl, on the hash, block #3
RG - 25 yl, MOF, block #7
RT - 25 yl, on the hash, block #8
LE - 25 yl, 2 yards outside the hash, block #10

LU & RU - 22 yl, MOF, double team #6

LFB - 18yl, MOF block #9

RFB - 10 yards in front of Returner, see the ball caught, lead on left hash block #5

Returner - Left Hash Return, stay on hash and inside blocks #1 is unblocked

All the landmarks are estimates from watching the film. The blockers do a great job of dropping full speed and getting to landmarks to create the proper spacing. Most of the blocks happen because blockers get to their landmark, move their feet, and keep their hips in good position/hands inside the framework. The blocks are not overwhelming physical dominance or crushing blows, just good athletic stalk block mechanics to cover up the kickoff coverage players. The double team gets good movement and vertical push. The returner does a nice job being patient on the hash before a quick inside cut behind the double then immediately back out to a hash - numbers - sideline course. 

Good stuff from Cincinnati Special Teams Coordinator Darrin Simmons. 

Bear Front Twist Pressure

Baltimore is in a specialized pass rush personnel on 3rd 10. The package is a 2-3-6 made up of 1 DT, 1 DE, 3 OLBs, 3 Safeties, and 3 Corners.

The personnel is in an interesting spacing the 3 OLB bodies listed in the diagram as R for Rush backers are all on the same side of the formation. The strong side edge rusher is a Safety body instead of an OLB body.

The Rush:
5 Man rush with 2 edge rushers and an interior 3 man twist game. Both down DL are slanting with a looping blitzer over the top.

The Coverage:
Coverage Zero with a hole dropping ILB

The bear front spacing would force many protections into man blocking making every OL 1 on 1. Instead the Bills full slide the protection with the RB cross blocking for the edge rushing Safety. The looping blitzer is able to pressure the space between the slide of the OL and the RB on the edge forcing a difficult redirection block for the OT in the slide. The outside rushers build edges while the interior twist pushes to collapse the pocket. The twist is unexpected. The likely 3 man twist from bear front is to have the Nose and a 3 tech penetrating and one 3 tech looping. The Ravens using the off the LOS linebacker as the looper is a nice variation. 

The coverage does an excellent job. The bunch side corner mans the outside receiver and gets help from the dropout LB in the hole. The safety manned on the RB also flashes through the window to help deter throws inside against a Corner who is out leveraged on inside breaks. The Nickel presses the point rerouting before manning the off the LOS receiver. The jam on the point helps the deep safety pick up the point receiver's route and disrupts the timing of the overall route combination. Backside the off man tech of the corner denies the X.

This type of bear front pressure with an interior three man twist has been popular for a long time. Here are three examples of a similar concept featured in the past from AlabamaGeorgia, and Virginia Tech.

Really nice variation of a tried and true pressure concept from Wink Martindale and the Ravens.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pressuring Wing-T

Here is an interesting 5 man rush concept vs. the wing-t. The pressure is going to the 3 man surface regardless of if the 3 man surface is a TE or Guard over unbalanced. The defensive spacing is a 4-2-5 field under. The front has the 3 technique to the boundary.

Example 1:

The concept is to simple plug pressure to the three man surface with a read out element.

With motion to the 3 man surface the pressure is a simple B gap plug. The blitzing LB follows the pulling guard on the jet sweep scheme helping disrupt the play chasing it down from behind as the force player builds the wall outside.

Example 2:

The next pressure is again set to the 3 man surface. This time the 3 man surface is into the boundary. The ILB will plug the open A gap. There is a read out on motion opposite the 3 man surface.

The Will reads out on the motion snap blitzing the opposite A gap. The pressure allows the Mike LB to fast flow with the playside A gap filled by the backside pressure.

Example 3:

The pressure is again set to the the 3 man surface on the unbalanced formation. 

Before the OL shift the pressure was going into the boundary where the 3 man surface is initially located. Following the shift the pressure resets to the field and the new 3 man surface. The LBs are visible communicating and resetting the pressure. The ILB has motion coming to the 3 man surface and plugs with no need to read out.

Example 4:

The pressure is once again set to the 3 man surface

The ILB reads out on motion away snap blitzing to the opposite A gap. The snap pressure disrupts the run on the fold blocking scheme. 

Interesting concept to help account for a wing-t team that likes to shift the OL and change the location of the 3 man surface. Good stuff from Kevin Porter and Fort Valley State. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Cover 1 Rat Pressure

Wisconsin is in a 4-2-5 personnel with OLB's at DE. 

The Badgers are in Cover 1 with the Nickel matched up on the slot and the boundary safety spun down into the box. The Safety and two ILBs make up the 3 on 2 funnel technique against the TE and RB.

The Rush:
The 4 man front is in the pass rush. The Safety and Mike have the TE and RB when they block to boundary side. Both green dog and add into the pass rush.

The Coverage:
Cover 1. The Nickel is playing outside leverage man on the #2 expecting inside help from a Rat dropper out of the funnel. The Will LB becomes the Rat in the Hole with the two man coverage threats (TE and RB) working to the boundary side and being manned up by the Safety and Mike.

Really nice job by the Mike mirroring the the flow of the backfield. When the RB works back outside the Mike reacts and changed course. The Mike makes a nice jump cut to get into daylight as he adds on the green dog. Against a 7 man protection the rush is still outnumbered 6 on 7. The Mike's technique to find daylight makes the pressure work. The DT's each eat a double team leaving the Mike free on the run through. 

Good execution from the Badgers. Always well coached defense from Jim Leonard.

Monday, June 22, 2020


I did my first CoachTube video. This is a mini-clinic about the safety technique in 2 under 3 deep hot coverage. The video is FREE and takes about 8 minutes. I wanted to test out CoachTube for posting coaching videos. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Weak Side Overload Pressure

Weak side overload pressure from TCU. The Horned Frogs are in a  4-2-5 personnel spaced in a over front with 2 high safety alignment pre-snap.

The Rush:
6 man rush with both the Will and Corner in the pressure. The DL is slanting away from the pressure.

The Coverage:
Strong side 3 over 2 quarters with man away. The WS replaces the blitzing corner on the X receivers. The pressure is designed to eat the RB.

Pre-snap the blitzing corner does a good job showing bail and hiding his intentions. The WS also does a good job holding the look. The WS doesn't tip the Corners pressure and aligns in a location that would allow him to potentially poach the #3. The pre-snap sight picture for the QB is unclear. 

The protection is half slide to the field/strong side forcing the OG to set to the Nose. Once the guard sets inside the ILB pressuring in the B gap is a very difficult pickup. The OG has to redirect to pick up a full speed blitzer. The RB sets wide to the Corner leaving the OG 1on1 with the Will. 

If the OL went full slide the OT could have set to the Will. This would have left the DE and Corner 2on1 overloading the RB.

Nice pressure design to overload the weak side from Chad Glasgow. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

QB Power Option

Navy using a interesting QB power variation. 

The formation is a nub trips spacing. The A back goes in rev motion returning to get into pitch phase. The QB flashes the F before the F becomes the lead blocker on QB power. The two receivers are 2 for 2 against the Safety and Corner blocking the perimeter. 

The playside DE is unblocked and takes himself out of the play going flat down the LOS. The pulling OG does a great job bypassing the DE to block the scraping ILB. The edge is well blocked also. The #2 receiver ID's the corner triggering to pressure and cuts him down while the #1 works to the safety. 

The pitch phase helps to hold a force/pitch player stretching the defense horizontally to create space for the QB to hit the hash-numbers-sideline course off the edge. In this case the pitch phase turns into a lead blocker once the QB keeps.

If the DE attacks the QB, the ball can be pitched to the A back. The numbers on the edge are there to block the other threats. If the DE plays the QB the ball is out on the edge fast.

The interesting part if the play is an option is if the DE crashes down getting the spill of the puller the play is still viable. The QB could potentially outrun the scraping backside ILB or pitch once pressured getting the ball out on the edge.

Really nice play designed from Navy's Offensive Coordinator Ivin Jasper.

Attacking with Weak Side Pressure

Here are some examples of UCF attacking FAU this season with a variety of weak side pressures.

The Rush:
WS off the edge with the weak DE working slow under

The Coverage:
3 over 2 quarters concept strong with man on the weak side

The two off the edge  pressure and loaded box kills off the zone read while the strong side coverage denys RPO options.

The Rush:
WS off the edge with the weak DE working slow under

The Coverage:
 3 Under 3 Deep Firezone

Same pressure as example one. This time the offense is running power read. The strong DE is up the field building an edge and forcing the QB into a keep read. The two off the weak edge creates problems for the back side of the power. The OT gap hinges and is occupied by the DE leaving the WS free off the edge for the TFL. 

The coverage initially looks like the FS is down and the WS is either going to play the post of help weak. This subtle disguise helps deter RPO throws strong with the FS showing down as well as protects the isolation of the X on the Corner with the WS body presence weak. The FS pops the top and the WS pressures attacking the run. 

The Rush:
Will backer walked outside off the edge. DL slanting away from the pressure

The Coverage:
3 over 2 quarters concept strong with man on the weak side

The design is very good against a TE cutoff run scheme. The WS and Mike load the box forcing the OL's combos to work inside and up to the interior threats. The DE aligned inside the TE is a difficult cutoff and the slanting interior DL force the ball to cut back/jump out. The Will walked on the edge becomes the responsibility of the cut split X receiver. The ILB vs. WR is not a great matchup for the offense combined with the very high degree of difficulty to make a block from WR on a walked up edge blitzer. The ball is forced to the unblocked Will for the TFL.

The Rush:
Odd front spacing with the Tackle and DE working a twist game. WS is pressuring late in the space created by the twist game

The Coverage:
Flooded Cover 3 concept

The twist and WS combine to create pressure and get the QB off his spot. The coverage is interesting. If this coverage concept was a normal Cover 3 Firezone the Mike would have been the 3RH dropper while the Will should have dropped to the weak seam. The Will should be dropping in FZ concept on the RB. Here the defense instead floods the coverage strong. The SS, Mike. and Will are all dropping strong to the trips. The Will even rolls back into the #3 to deny the weak seam route. In a typical 3 flood coverage the WS drops relating to #(RB) to the 1st crosser. Instead the defense uses a 5 man pressure to eat the RB while still playing the flooded coverage concept to deny the trips route combinations.

Randy Shannon put on a master class in weak side pressure planning in this game, really good stuff. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Buck Sweep with Option Presentation

Here is a dressed up version of buck sweep from the gun. 

The offense aligns in a TE Wing 3x1. The weak side orbit motion presents an option threat. The option presentation is counter to the hand off on the buck sweep to the TE surface. 

The option action in the backfield helps hold the Mike and Will as well as forces the man coverage safety to run. With the Mike slowed down the TE is able to climb vertically to the Sam. The TE’s block builds a wall effectively blocking the Sam and the pursuing Mike. The front side guard gets a nice log block on the DE while the backside guard goes around the world to block the safety. 

Nice way to dress up a wing-t staple run like buck sweep with an option presentation from Lenoir-Rhyne. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Attacking Bonus Protection

If you like to bring 4 from a side overload pressure (come on who doesn't) at some point you are likely to encounter an offense that employs bonus protection.

As there is no universal terminology in football, we will begin with a definition and a rationale for bonus protection. 

The defense brings a 4 from a side overload backstopped with cover zero. The offense could be in BOB or Half Slide; the protection problem is the same. Any two blitzers from the side of the turn of the protection (where the Center is working) is a problem for the offense. The 2nd blitzer is the QB's responsibility. Here the defense is presenting (SS, E, T, M) vs. the offense's 3 (OT, OG, C). The QB has to throw hot off the unblocked SS. The RB cannot scan across the formation if the Will uses a rush to cover (green dog) technique in man coverage. The Will has the RB man to man, at the snap the Will steps up and goes to his man. The RB feels threatened by the Will and stays on his side to pick the up the Will in pass protection. This action holds the RB from scanning across the formation to block the Mike or SS keeping the overload intact. 

The QB is forced to get the ball out quickly or get hit by an unblocked edge blitzer. While possible for the QB to get the ball out, this scenario is specifically problematic on 3rd & Long. The goal offensively is to throw a route to get a first down. A hot route will likely be thrown and caught short of the line to gain. Now the QB must be quick and accurate under pressure and added pressure falls on the receiver to break a tackle to get to the first down yardage. 

One possible protection solution is to use a bonus protection scheme. Bonus is the concept of putting the RB on the same side of the turn of the protection. In a standard 6 man pass pro the offense is 3/3 meaning it has 3 (OT, OG, C) and 3 (OT, OG, RB) on each side of the Center. In a bonus concept the offense is 4/2 by having (OT, OG, C, RB) and 2 (OT, OG) on either side of the Center instead. This allows the offense to pick up the 4 from a side pressure making longer developing route concepts more viable.

The offense may use a hard count or fake clap to get the defense to show pressure and check to bonus at the LOS. The QB can easily communicate to the RB to block as the bonus to the pressure side.

Other teams get to bonus by alerting the RB to flip quickly pre-snap to get to his work as the bonus working to the side of the OL's turn.

In either situation the Will can still rush to cover and create an overload on the RB. The overload will happen later as the LB has longer to travel. This may buy enough time for the QB to step up and throw deeper routes giving the offense a better chance at a first down.

Bonus protection is more commonly checked into at the LOS by the offense as opposed to being hard called in the initial play call.

This type of protection adjustment creates opportunity to attack Bonus protection.

Defensively the structure can present the 4 from a side overload to put the offense into bonus protection. Post snap the pressure is a standard quarters concept. Likely the coverage tools need to be 2 Read/Palms in order to protect the qtr flat players (SS, E) from being outleverage by the #2 receiver fast to the flat. The concept is a non-traditional 4 man rush. The protection is not expecting the Will on a fast rush in the A gap likely creating quick midline pressure. The expected cover zero is now a quarters concept giving the defense a different matchup vs. longer developing routes. Quick effective pass rush and good coverage is a tried and true combination. 

This type of concept is something a defense can easily be watching for in the box on any 4 from a side overload call. The spotters can easily see if the offense is throwing hot or checking to a bonus protection. If their solution is bonus the defense can come back with a complimenting piece to attack the bonus protection as an in game adjustment.

This thinking is also important as more defenses adopt 2 under 3 deep pressures into their playbook.

The basic premise of the 2 under 3 deep concept is the pressure will overload the protection forcing a quick hot throw or the QB will take a sack. If an offense begins checking the protection to a bonus concept the protection can pick up the 4 from a side overload. The ability of the offense to buy time against 2 under 3 deep is a problem for the coverage. The longer the routes develop the more holes are exposed for receivers to exploit in this type of aggressive zone concept. 

Having a complimentary bonus protection scheme exploiting the light protection opposite the bonus is a must to avoid an offense having a plan for overload pressures.

Another example:

Defense goes dime personnel with OLB bodies at DE. The concept is 4 from a side overload backstopped with Cover 1 Peel expecting the rush to handle the RB on any route. This pressure can force a hot throw and deny many intermediate routes. An offense isn't going to simply get gassed up every time this pressure is run on 3rd & Long. Two solutions may be to bonus the protection and slot fade. As a complimentary piece:

Same presentation with a Tampa 2 coverage concept. The weak side twist is designed to attack man protection and hopefully exploit the 2 on 2 with the OG/OT. 

Having a section on the call sheet for bonus protection adjustments and carrying them into every game is a good way to protect 4 from a side overload in a defensive scheme. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Radar Defense Part 6

Here are some film clips of Coach Yakapovich's 1969 Kenmore West team running the radar defense.

The clip appears to be Defense 1. I was surprised by the tilt of the on the LOS defenders. The book shows the players drawn as tilted but to see the technique on film was still a surprise at the angle of the outside tilt.

In the clip the F3 (#52) appears to have his eyes inside. The OT is pulling outside with the TE blocking down. My initial reaction was #52 should be playing lateral outside crossing the face of the TE's down block. Inside he takes the inside space on the pull to make the TFL. Not sure if this is just the F3 making a play with the open space or a called stunt.

Outside flow runs was an area I was curious after drawing up plays on paper. Could the offense get quickly to the edge with so many defenders near the LOS in gaps?

One of the selling points of the defense in the book is how naturally and quickly players are able to pursue. This clip shows it off, the defender's technique puts players quickly into pursuit. The defense does a good job of forcing the ball outside using a spilling type fit. The Corner and Safety clean it up once it gets outside the 4 man.

Here is a short yardage example of Defense 4. The LOS players use the 3/4 point stances and attack with penetration. The Safety and Corners are in cheated down alignments.

Here the 2 men are in a tilted penetrating technique. The F1 does a good job getting across the blocks to be in position before missing the tackle.

Nice example of F3 (#33) crossing the down block of the TE. The double team of the OT and TE ends up with both blockers falling over one another and on the ground. B1 is attacking the mesh point quickly from the backside A gap. Defenders quickly disrupting the mesh point is a proven recipe to cause mesh point ball security issues, here a forced fumble.

Here is a good example of the overlap in pursuit. The F1 (#45) is able to overlap the F2 (#52).  When F2 gets caught by the down block F1 is able to get playing lateral and get involved in the off-tackle play.

Another adjusted call against the offense in a backed up field position. The tilted 2 men really create problems when penetrating. This is one of the challenges of the Radar concept. Are the players read/react or attack/penetrate? Here the tilted B2 is unblocked for a TFL.

Nice example against a drop back pass. This looks like the Sprint stunt with the penetrating 2's and a 1 wrapping over the top to create pressure.

This is one of the concepts that on paper looks like a concern. With lighter stand up players, the offense electing to get low pad level and run wedge dive concepts. Fire off the ball and attempt to knock the stand up defenders off the ball.

This looks like a Defense 3 example with the 4's activated as edge rushers. The defense does a good job of spilling the ball lateral to the unblocked corner.

Really interesting to see the film of the defense from 1969. Huge shoutout to Sean Bruso for making me aware of the film. Coach Bruso coaches in western NY state and shared a link to the YouTube video of Kenmore West that was digitized from 16mm film reels. If you are interested in the full film here is the link.