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Here's What Ticks Me Off!


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There is nothing in football that ticks me off more than seeing a linebacker or safety stand like a statue in position as a RB, TE or WR hitches up 5 feet away from them and there is no reaction until the ball is released.

It doesn't take long to pick up on what is the primary concern of a defensive operation, specifically when it comes to coverage mentality. There are a number of ways to run coverage schemes which stress primary zone, primary man or combo coverages but there are also a couple of different ways to play those coverages that speaks to the mentality of the defense.

Anyone who was a fan of this team during the Ed Donatelle era on defense knows the 'bend but don't break' zone scheme employed then. This type of zone is played using your linebackers and safeties more as 'pre-positioned tacklers' rather than positive cover guys. The mentality is to not be 'influenced' by routes and get out of position. This mentality assumes that if you require an offense to take 10 or 12+ plays to score, a mistake will be made by them at some point, just don't give up the big gain. Always be there to make the quick no YAC tackle. Since the mentality is that turnovers will occur naturally, you rarely hear turnovers stressed by the coaches as a primary goal.

The other style zone is the "basketball style zone" that encourages cover men to adjust or react on any routes entering their zone so as to place themselves between the ball and the reciever. This style on occasion can open zones to 'influence ' or 'clear out' routes but the primary goal here is the turnover and you will hear the coaches hammer the idea of getting the turnover to their players.

We've seen a lot of this team in practices and behind the scenes in games and one thing concerns me at this point. There appears to be a lack of emphasis about defensive turnovers. I know we don't see much and it is all edited but the goal of HBO is to portray an overall mentality of the group to the audience. If you go back to previous hard knocks you will hear Rex Ryan for instance constantly making statements like, "Get me that ball back defense, it's mine and I want it back". I'm not sure I even heard the word turnover used in the 5 'hard knocks' episodes this year.

You don't beat Drew Brees by hoping he makes mistakes. You also can't beat him in my opinion without a couple of turnovers. I hope to see a reactive, aggressive underneath coverage or it will be a long long game.

Edited by slider
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