Saturday, April 24, 2021

Limiting a Great Receiving threat in 12/21 Personnel

12/21 personnel groupings present a number of stresses to a defense. The obvious threat is run heavy structures using big personnel with a TE/FB creating extra gaps in the run fit. Heavier personnels often induce loaded boxes and 8 man front structures from a defense to handle the run game. Those loaded box defenses can also create single coverage for a star WR. This can lead to offenses using those heavy personnels/sets to attempt to isolate their best WR creating passing opportunities off max pro, play action, quick game, or RPO concepts. These personnel groupings also allow for a variety of 6,7,8 man pass protections. What is the solution in regular down & distance situations? How do we stop the run while controlling the star receiving threat? Here is a solution from the 3-4 spaced defense using quarters and halves coverage principles. Putting a cloud on the star WR can be a really inexpensive solution to mitigate some risk.

The coverage concept combines two coverages: Stuff and Roll. Stuff is a 1/4 1/1/2 concept while Roll is a double rotated Cover 2 concept. 

The point is an activated OLB as the 4th rusher. The Mike will make a Rome/London call to activate an OLB. We are going to activate the OLB to the side of the star WR. 

Vs. 21

Against a pro set if the star WR is to the defensive right the ILB will make a Rome call to set the point. The point OLB becomes part of the charge. The coverage will play Stuff coverage against a formation with the star WR as a single X. Stuff means half tool to the point and a quarter tool away from the point. Structurally this allows the defense to be sound numerically in the box vs. the run while putting a cover 2 concept on the star WR to disrupt passing concepts. Here the quarter Safety must trigger to become the 8th fitter in the box when the TE blocks.

When the star WR is strong the LB again will set the point to the star. Here London is the call with the star aligned to the defensive left. London activates the left OLB into the charge. The coverage will be Roll. The coverage shows as cover 3 rotated to the point with a Safety down and a Safety in the post. Showing a middle of the field closed look helps dissuade the offense from attacking the middle of field based on pre-snap coverage presentation. At the snap the post aligned safety rolls the coverage to a cover 2 concept strong with an inverted cover 2 concept weak. When the TE blocks the vertical hook down Safety become the 8th fitter for the run. Again this concept gives the defense an 8 man front spacing vs. the run with a cloud on the best WR. 

Against a single width twins formation the coverage again rolls. This again builds the 8 man front. The Corner to the nub will align at 8 yards in the C gap if the TE blocks the Corner will trigger to become the 8th fitter. The coverage still places a cloud on the outside WR, if the star is outside we have a cloud on him. If the star WR is in the slot the coverage has a Safety playing the vertical hook. The VH matches the #2 vertical and inside with safety help in the deep half. With a safety rolled down into the VH drop we feel we can match up with a WR. If the #2 is out the cloud corner will be squatting in the flat. Overall with the star outside or in the slot the coverage can help deny that player the ball while still building the 8 man box.

Vs. 12

Against a 2x2 ace formation the point will gain be to the star. The coverage is stuff with a half tool to the point and quarter tool away. The quarter safety helps build the 8 man box while the cloud helps deny the star.

 Against a 3x
1 nub set the coverage is again Roll. The coverage rolls against any single width formation. The coverage denies the star outside or in the slot similarly to the previous twins example. The ILB does have the TE vertical to the strong side in a match so that's a matchup we are always mindful of in this concept.

A backside wing is treated like a single width formation and we will Roll all single width. The coverage again plays like the previous single width sets. This time the LB to the wing must be mindful of the VH responsibility against vertical passing concepts from the 2 TE side. The nub side Corner is again the 8th fitter. 

With the star as the single X the coverage is Stuff. Half tool to the point with a quarter tool away. Here there are 3 receiving threats to the quarters side. That means the tool needed must be a quarter tool for 3 receivers. In this example the quarter tool is a mini 2 concept with the outside WR manned by the Corner. Inside the OLB/ILB/Safety are playing a 3 over 2 coverage on the 2 TEs. The Safety in the mini concept strong must trigger when the TE's block to add the 8th fitter in the run game.

With the star aligned strong in the formation the coverage Rolls. The Safety shows post alignment rolling at the snap. The point ILB must be ready to match 3 vertical. The VH Safety is again the 8th run fitter then the TE's block in the this concept.

Putting a cloud on a good WR in heavy personnel can be an inexpensive way to both be good vs. the run and deny the biggest receiving threat. Much of the coverage concept is built from coverage tools that most defenses already have in the their toolbox.