Jump to content

Let's Talk About: Something I Did Like Thursday... (sticks coverage)


Recommended Posts

Here's something from Thursday night that I did like.  I thought the zone coverages looked good for the most part.  Yes, it is preseason.  Yes, it's against backups, but there are small details going on here that look improved over what I saw early last season.  This is one I should probably be doing as a video because it's going to get confusing, but whatever.

As most of you know, the base coverage we play in Atlanta is Cover-3.  The thing I think that may escape some is that Cover-3 as it's played at higher levels is not a static coverage.  It morphs based on the formation and deployment of the receivers.  This is the part where young guys can struggle because they have to read and change assignments on the fly.  You stay with your guy too long, someone else comes wide open.  You pick a guy up too early and you're toast over the top.  That's a lot of what was going on early last season.

Let me throw up this example from the second Miami drive: 3rd and 8.  Miami is on Atlanta's 18.

Here is the offensive concept.  This is a solid call against a Cover-3.  Two routes attacking the seams with an out route at the sticks and a flat route to the same side.  And it's out of a trips formation.  Trips formations eat up Cover-3.

IMG_1961

 

Now in order to answer a Trips formation, you have to "PUSH" the coverage to the three receiver side by "matching" the routes.  Matching routes essentially will turn zone coverage into man.  So, this standard Cover-3 is going to look a lot different in a minute.

In order to totally illustrate what I am talking about I'm going to teach you to look at a formation from a defender's POV.  When an offense lines up in front of you, after the strength of the formation is called every defender in the back 7 counts the number of receivers to his side.  There are generally going to always be 2 eligible receivers on each side.  They may wind up being a TE, or a running back, or even an extra linemen, but they are counted as receivers.  The #1 receiver is the receiver lined up to the outermost part of the formation.

So, take a look at this picture... to the top of the picture, the receiver at the top of the screen is #1, next is #2, then #3...

To the bottom we start all over again.  We've got a tight end aligned snug.  He's going to be counted as #1 to that side.  The running back is #2.  Got all that so far? :ninja:

IMG_1962

Each defender, by alignment is responsible for a particular number... BUT that responsibility will change based on the routes.

 

 

 

Okay, now this is where things get complex, and this is where guys struggle with picking things up and why you see wide open receivers when it's not working.  Each defender is responsible for reading the deployment of a particular receiver.  I've tagged them with numbers to keep up.

To the top of the screen, the corner playing deep has the easiest job.  He just reads the #1 receiver to his side and drops deep.

#33 running to the flat -- he has to read on the fly.  He is aligned on the #2 receiver.  But his assignment is the flat.  He instantly passed off his man and has to pick up the #3 receiver running the flat.

#41 to that side is playing the hook assignment at 10 yards.  His first read is the #3 receiver.  But #3 is running to the flat -- THAT IS NO LONGER HIS MAN -- so his eyes instantly go to #2 who is running right at him vertical.  

IMG_1963

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

To the bottom of this screen we have Duke Riley #42.  He's the other flat defender.  But because we are in match coverage, he does not go to the flat at the snap.  That would be considered a spot drop.  Spot drops can wind up with defenders covering grass.  We are in a match coverage.  So he has to read both receivers on that side.  #1 to his side releases vertical and #2 the running back is coming right behind him.  These are the routes that usually kill zones.  So Duke has to be patient enough to not over-react to #1 and leave #2 wide open.

The cornerback to that side #30 is reading #1 the whole way.

 

 

 

I am almost totally certain that if you have read this far that you are just about totally confused.  Well good.  Just imagine being one of these guys down there trying to execute this stuff.  Luckily, the picture becomes a little more clear as the routes unfold.  Because everything has now essentially turned into man coverage.

At the top, the corner is matching #1 on a vertical.

#33 the flat defender has #2 running to the flat.  By the way, before the play started, #2 was #3.  Remember?  That's what I mean about assignments changing on the fly.  #88 for the Dolphins was aligned as the #3 receiver before the snap, but because he ran the flat route, he is now considered #2 and matched by the flat defender.

#41 has (his new)  #3 running vertial into the seam.

IMG_1964

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

To the bottom of the picture: #42 Duke Riley is yelling the ALERT passing off #1 to the cornerback and he is preparing to pick up the back out of the backfield, #2.

 

 

 

Everyone is plastered.  The play is dead.  That's why the quarterback is escaping even though he's still got time.

Now to the bottom, it looked like Duke slightly over-ran a step and the back got inside him.  It's not a blown coverage but that's something he's gonna have to clean up.  He can get away with that on 3rd and 8, but not 3rd and 5.

IMG_1966

^^^^^^^^^^^

Also, the other hook defender was never threatened so he's free to help out the corner and bracket the #1 receiver to that side.  This picture is just about ideal.  This is just about how you want 3rd and 8 to look if you're running zone.

 

 

By now the T/E stunt the Falcons ran is working and the line is coming through.  Quarterback looks to the sideline to try to get his receiver coming back to him.  This is what zone coverage looks like when you've got athleticism on defense.  There really isn't a throw there that'll convert.  #41 shows good awareness guarding the sticks.  He'll let the receiver run back to the ball all he wants.

IMG_1968

 

And all the quarterback can do it make a desperation throw.

giphy.gif

 

Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great post, I touched on this play in my film review for its design and execution but your analysis takes a step further. At first glance when I saw the formation I thought the Falcons were in a 3-3-5 under alignment with nickel package, then I counted the personnel. Four DLs, four DBs, and three LBs. 

Miami attempted to spread the defense with a trips right look and Falcons respond with base 4-3 personnel! That's why it's important to have linebackers who can play in space because you don't have to sub a third corner and you can disguise your coverage. 

Great call and design by Manuel. Falcons defense is gonna be a terror!

Edited by Kung-Pow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Duke got caught running to the spot where he thought the receiver was going, and allowed the RB to create some brief separation before Duke's speed and change of direction allowed him to recover. But by then the play was already to the opposite side of the field. Something he needs to clean up, but I'm impressed for his first action. He's gonna be a good one with more experience and coaching.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, Kung-Pow said:

Great post, I touched on this play in my film review for its design and execution but your analysis takes a step further. At first glance when I saw the formation I thought the Falcons were in a 3-3-5 under alignment with nickel package, then I counted the personnel. Four DLs, four DBs, and three LBs. 

Miami attempted to spread the defense with a trips right look and Falcons respond with base 4-3 personnel! That's why it's important to have linebackers who can play in space because you don't have to sub a third corner and you can disguise your coverage. 

Great call and design by Manuel. Falcons defense is gonna be a terror!

The Falcons were actually in nickel personnel.  The only linebackers on the field were Riley and Reynolds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Kung-Pow said:

Duke got caught running to the spot where he thought the receiver was going, and allowed the RB to create some brief separation before Duke's speed and change of direction allowed him to recover. But by then the play was already to the opposite side of the field. Something he needs to clean up, but I'm impressed for his first action. He's gonna be a good one with more experience and coaching.

Yeah, it wasn't a huge bust, he wasn't totally out of position.  And like you said, he showed really good athleticism there changing direction.  But that's something the better quarterbacks will take advantage of.

Like, I don't know if you mentioned the Campbell pick in your post -- I thought about breaking that one down -- but going back and looking at that, the receiver was open early in the hook zone as the linebackers bit up on play-action.  The QB didn't let it rip and let Campbell recover.  I liked the way the defenders wound up plastering but the regular season QBs are going to let that throw rip without hesitation.

Also, another thing to factor in with Duke, as I was looking at it, that I'm not totally sure of is if, as the flat defender, he's been taught to stay on the outside hip of the receiver since he theoretically should have help inside from the other hook defender.

I've seen it done both ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

Yeah, it wasn't a huge bust, he wasn't totally out of position.  And like you said, he showed really good athleticism there changing direction.  But that's something the better quarterbacks will take advantage of.

Like, I don't know if you mentioned the Campbell pick in your post -- I thought about breaking that one down -- but going back and looking at that, the receiver was open early in the hook zone as the linebackers bit up on play-action.  The QB didn't let it rip and let Campbell recover.  I liked the way the defenders wound up plastering but the regular season QBs are going to let that throw rip without hesitation.

Also, another thing to factor in with Duke, as I was looking at it, that I'm not totally sure of is if, as the flat defender, he's been taught to stay on the outside hip of the receiver since he theoretically should have help inside from the other hook defender.

I've seen it done both ways.

Great points and I even admitted that to myself that better QBs would have made him pay in that moment 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...