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Old 12-30-2009, 08:43 PM
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coastereight coastereight is offline
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Default Tampa 2, Coverage Sacks, 3-4 Defense Explained

Originally Posted by Irishman Part Deaux View Post
Have you seen anything that resembles coverage from our guys?
That's the point of the Tampa 2 as opposed to a defense like John Tenuta's. To say that we can't get coverage because of last year's secondary or we can't get to the QB with only 3 or 4 rushers completely undermines the purpose of a Tampa 2 defense and what it's meant to accomplish.

The Tampa 2 is essentially a blanket coverage that allows for the highest possible amount of the field to be covered, and also allows the defense to watch the quarterback's eyes. A well run Tampa 2 significantly reduces the amount of time that defenders spend with their backs to the ball, because they are responsible for their zone.

Traditional Tampa 2
Had to combine these two images because I'm limited to 4 pics/post, sorry.

The traditional Tampa 2 defense is run out of a 4-3 formation and looks like this (top image).

In the event that a team decides to attack the secondary with multiple deep WR, it is up to the Middle linebacker to adjust to this and essentially create a cover 3 on the fly (bottom image).

Coverage Sacks and Less Big Plays

The 4 linemen are attacking the QB of course. So there's the issue of how to get pressure with only 4 rushers. This is where coverage sacks come in to play. The idea is that with a blanket coverage the QB should have a difficult time finding someone open down field, thus creating more time for the defensive line to create pressure on the QB. That's why they're called coverage sacks: they are sacks generated not by getting excess pressure, but by having excellent coverage that does not allow the QB to find someone open. This also significantly decreases the chances of a big play, and with the good tackling team that we assume Kelly will have, will create very little yards after catch.

Diaco's 3-4 Version
I support a 3-4 version of the Tampa 2 for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that the O-Line never knows where the 4th rusher is coming from. This can make them uneasy and have a harder time picking up blocks. This can also make them take more penalties for a sort of "fear" of not knowing where that extra rusher is coming from, or from holding due to being behind the rusher's first move.

It also allows the defense to only rush 3 if they wish and still have better athletes on the field. With 8 men in coverage, this creates an even better blanket coverage and reduces the size of the zones that each player must cover. It also leaves an extra defender to defend the extra deep receivers, thus leaving a man underneath to protect against the check down passes.

The next couple diagrams are, yes, out of a video game but they are legit and were the best ones I could find.

Here would be a typical Diaco Tampa 2 type play, where any of the linebackers could be the rusher (or, rarely, multiple), this being one example:

Now you wanna rush 3 and drop 8:

Have fun throwing through that, homeboy...

It should also be noted that the LBs can all keep their eyes forward at the snap to play the run, which is another benefit I like of the 3-4 Tampa 2. It allows for faster athletes to be on the field, eyes forward, reacting to the run.

Now for fun, here's a typical John Tenuta type play from last year:

See where the problem might be?

Tenuta said never let the QB set his feet. Well John, I say let the QB set his feet. Let him set his feet and look, and look, and look, and say..."oh damn, what do I do" he's drilled from behind by a DE who had that extra time to get there. Especially since most good QB's don't need to set their feet to make a good throw. See Tate Forcier...

Last edited by coastereight; 12-30-2009 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:22 PM
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Tenuta actually learned last year to tone down the blitzes a lot. That major problem our D had was that they would get virtually no pressure with a 4 man rush. A coverage sack will usually occur at about the 4 or 5 second mark; we were taking about 6 or 7 against decent to good pass blocking teams. Any competent wr will get open in that amount of time. However, if we brought 6, which Tenuta likes to do, the wr would get open too quickly making the blitz moot. He eventually learned that bringing 5 seemed to be the only way to get pressure, yet still have enough guys in coverage. It still wasn't any good, but seemed to be the best option last year.

(I think that's why Weis brought in Tenuta in the first place. He knew we were going to have a couple thin years at DL and figured Tenuta's blitz-heavy scheme would provide the best method for getting pressure on the qb. It was a logical decision, but it turned out to be incorrect.)

I am a big fan of the 3-4 defense in college, though it does require a big NT to be effective. I really hope we grab 2/3 guys in this class to compete for that position. They don't have to be top quality guys; just guys that will work hard and can occupy blockers. Without a true NT, a 3-4 is little more than a sieve: rb's will have tons of running space. With a true NT, the mlb's can be bigger guys that look to stop the run first and the confusion caused by the unknown 4th rusher will cause most teams major headaches. It's what the Weis era missed, provide the opposition the opportunity to make major mistakes by simply screwing up.
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