Sunday, July 26, 2020

Cover Zero Man Blitz

The Patriots are in Nickel personnel dialing up cover zero man coverage blitz concept on 2nd 6. The Nickel personnel uses OLB bodies as DE. The front spaces as an odd instead of the expected even front spacing.

The expected spacing of this type of Nickel front is an even front, something like this over front spacting diagram. The Patriots instead space as an odd front with the ILBs bumped strong. The spacing is similar to a 3-3 defense with both stack LB's walked up on edges.

The Rush:
Both edges have the 5 technique aligned rushers working outside to contain with the edge aligned rusher going Up & Under. The DT aligned at Nose is working weak with the blitzing ILB working strong to attack both A gaps. 

The Coverage:
Cover Zero with Corners over. The DB's lock & level the bunch. The coverage is disguised as Cover 1. The down Safety appears to be the man coverage player on the TE with the deep Safety in the post. The coverage assignment puts the down Safety on the RB with the deep Safety handling the TE.

The offense is in a 5 man chip protection. The RB is virtually free releasing only giving a quick chip on 53 off the edge before entering his route. The defense is rushing 6 vs. a 5 man protection creating the run through for the +1 rusher. The coverage disguise shows Cover 1 which indicates likely a max 5 man rush. The QB is responsible for the unblocked rusher with a hot throw. The Patriots may have planned this type of pressure knowing the QB is a backup in week 3 of the season and making his first career NFL start. This pressure forces an inexperienced QB to handle the free rusher and throw hot under immediate interior free rush pressure.

The pressure design helps make the run through happen efficiently.

The 4 most likely rushers in the defensive personnel grouping are the 2 Rush LBs & 2 DTs. The OL turned the protection to the most likely threats. The strong side B gap blitzing LB was the responsibility of the QB.

If the offense chose to treat the front like odd and instead used a Fan/Fan protection pushing the Guards & Tackles out to the outside rush threats the unblocked rusher would have been in the A gap.

The pressure is a nice design vs. either of the most likely 5 man protection schemes.

Good pressure design from Bill Belichick.

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