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The Cover 2 Defense - How to Beat the Cover 2
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The Cover 2 Defense - How to Beat the Cover 2

Before we can successfully attack the Cover 2 Defense we need to have a basic understanding of what the Cover 2 is and how it is used.

The Cover 2 Defense derives it name from the number of deep safeties employed to cover the deep receivers. There are two deep safeties covering the deep threat, in a zone defense, each taking half the field.

The Cover 2 has three linebackers and two corners playing in a zone defense, each taking one 5th of the field, on the line there are 4 rushers.

Depending on what the defense sees, the 5 defensive back will play zone or play man to man.

The QB can have a difficult time making the right read, whether it is man to man or zone. The Cover2 is easy to disguise what its going to do, making it difficult for the offense.

Variations of the Spread Offense are more prevalent in college and high school play, a very effective offense to attack the Cover 2.

Frequently when offenses see the Cover 2 Defense, they will use a 4 vertical receiver attack, sending 4 receivers down the field, stretching the safeties. If they are running the underside D backs in a zone defense, there will be holes in the zone.

This will expose any defensive weaknesses. If they are not running the Cover 2 properly they will be exposed. The offense has the opportunity to complete a big play against the linebackers.

Using a high-low vertical stretch attacking the corners is another effective attack on the Cover 2 Defense.

When the Cover 2 is in the zone the corners responsibility is to cover the outside 5th of the field, protecting the flat.

The outside wide receiver runs full blast off the line selling he is running a post corner pattern. His goal is to sell the safety that he is running a deep inside post route. The goal is to freeze the safety or get him back pedaling. Once the safety is frozen the receiver breaks back to the outside for the corner.

The safety has to stay inside protecting his inside half of the field preventing the receiver from crossing inside him.

This will force the corner to sink and try to protect the hole created on the outside between the safety and the corner.

The offense then can release a running back or tight end into the new gap. The corner is caught in a hi-low stretch in his 5th of the field. Which ever target the corner covers opens up the other receiver for a possible big play.

The last strategy for attacking the Cover 2 Defense we will look at is called an In-out Horizontal Stretch on the corner back.

Typically this play is run against the corner and the SAM or Wil linebacker, defeating the Cover 2 by creating a gap between the linebacker and the corner.

The wide receiver releases to the outside forcing the corner to come up and try to jam and widen as he tries to keep the receiver from releasing out side, stretching the safety. As the corner comes up to jam the receiver the corner is now flattened out and widened exposing the inside.

As the corner widens with the wide receivers outside move, the offense takes advantage of this situation by sending the number 2 receiver either the tight end or running back inside to the hole the corner has left between himself and the SAM or Wil linebacker.

In conclusion the Cover 2 Defense is a very effective defense; I can be used as a zone defense or man to man. The challenges it presents the offense is how well it disguises itself between man to man and zone.

The Spread Offense is very effective in defeating the Cover 2 Defense using the vertical and horizontal stretches on the corners, linebackers and safeties.

Teams that have running quarterbacks with the spread can very successful against the Cover 2 Defense. The linebackers and corners covering the receivers leave gaps the quarterback can exploit on QB keepers.

Visit Attacking Cover 2 With the Passing Game this video shows how to attack the Cover 2


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