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Old 11-28-2006   #1
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Default Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

...........................FS..................... .........................SS


...........................W....................M. .....................S

........CB......................DE.......DT.....DT .....DE...............................CB
..................................TE...T...G...C.. .G...T.................................X
.........Z........................................ QB...............

.................................................. .FB

.................................................. .TB


The base Cover 2 with a 4-3 front. The "Tampa 2". The defense that has shut us down. The reason why some have said Carr can't do this and Carr can't do that. The reason that coach Kubiak says we can't get vertical down the field. Let's break this down:

The strengths of the Cover two is that it potentially puts every defender into the run game defense. The two corners offer immediate run forcers cutting off the outside. The two safeties come off the has to support inside out and run the "alleys" (the two zones in between the wideout and the last man on the line of scrimmage). Seven men immediately in the box with three linebackers.

From this offensive set and the Texans' other well used set this defense does pose some major problems in getting the ball downfield.

AJ and Moulds left, tight end right, two backs in the backfield.

We get in this set a lot on third down.

Here are the problems and solutions:

PROBLEMS:

1. The Texans do not have anyone to stretch the field from a talent standpoint. AJ is not a burner and certainly Moulds is not either.

2. Kubiak mentioned a bunch of times about not being able to get down the field because of the running game or lack thereof. What he is really saying is that the vertical passing game for the Texans PRIMARILY comes off of the run game through play action. Those of you with TBO or who tape the games can go back and watch how many times on third and 5+ the Texans run play action. The linebackers don't honor the fake at all because it is bogus. This is a major problem. You have to be able to generate vertical threats through other means than play action. But a further look at the Cover 2 shows just how misplaced the Texan attack is:

If you look at the above set, you can eliminate three players immediately from the vertical game. The fullback, the tailback and the tight end. The Achillies heal of the Cover 2 is the deep middle. With receivers split to the outside on either side, there is no one to threaten the middle of the field. The tight end up the middle is the only option, but this is an extremely simple route to cover with a linebacker running with the tight end. Upfield, thus freeing up the safeties to help with the wideouts.

In addition, when the Cover 2 corner sees his receiver (#1 receiver) go vertical, he is backpedalling and eyeing the second receiver inside. In the above set, the tight end. When they both go vertical, he goes vertical. So the Cover 2 turns into Cover 4 and you aren't getting deep ball shots there. What you are getting is bogus play action and then the QB being told to take a shot and throwing the ball deep to AJ. The safety comes off the hash because there is nothing there to threaten him. The corner is also running with AJ and you have a ball forced. Or... you have Carr checking down and dumping it off into the flat to the fullback or the back out of the backfield. This is his read....EVERY TIME. There is nothing there. There is little variation from it. That is why we keep seeing the dump off. The Eagles do the same thing (dink and dunk)....BUT there is a difference. See later...

When we go to the second set with Moulds and AJ to the same side, the Cover 2 automatically becomes a Cover 4 to that side. The corner will bail and the safety will be responsible for that quarter of the field. You are not getting over the top of that. To the other side, it is completely lights out. The tight end isn't running over the safety to his side, who can now help out on a possible post from the inside receiver to the other side (which rarely happens with us because we don't run it much and secondly, Moulds doesn't have the jets to burn that route over the top). The corner now can come or play games with his outside linebacker and cover the tight end. This now frees the backside linebacker to fire.

3. Scoring is down throughout the NFL, but yardage is up. Especially in the passing game. The tough rules on DBs and not allowing them to put hands on receivers has really opened the door for more open passing attacks. But when you get down into the red zone, teams abandon the Cover 2 and go into man mode. This is where the Texans are hurting because they don't have the athleticism to get open down there.

SOLUTIONS

1. To beat the Cover 2, you must use trips sets and motion. The Texans use very little of each. This requires taking our fullback off the field. Sorry...this has been a source of frustration for me for quite sometime. Look at the difference for the defense now out of a trips set. Now this is trips with 3 WRs on the field. Not the trips set we use with Brunner, Daniels and AJ. That is what we call a triple set. MUCH different. Triple isn't giving you a deep threat, and it also causes you problems in the run game if you are not physically superior because it brings more big boys into the box.

...........................FS..................... .........................SS



.....................................W............ ....M.....................S

................CB................DE.....DT.....DT .....DE...............................CB
..................................TE...T...G...C.. .G...T.................................Z
.................................................Q B...............H............Y

.................................................. S


This is the common adjustment to trips for Cover 2. Advantage? Definitely Offense! What this set does is moves a linebacker out of the box and into coverage. The Sam (S) must walk out on #2 (Y) to respect the pass. The best run stopper, Mike (M), must now also be a two way player and be aware of Wr #3 (H). The third MAJOR problem with the defense is that you now have your Will linebacker (W) or the weakest linebacker of the bunch in a very strong location. He has a tight end to his side and an uncovered lineman. This is what my team refers to as "insert, thrust... repeat". You wear out that left side with middle zone. The corner sticks his nose into the action and you leak the tight end out into the flat. You run inside zone to the right and the tight end is coming down inside to the Will linebacker and the backside guard and tackle are doubling to no one. Frontside guard and center double EASILY up to the middle linebacker who is removed. It is run game paradise on the backside.

From a passing perspective, you now have lienbackers trying to cover wide receivers. Hundreds of route combos to work out here. My favs:

-Z Curl, Y Out (turn up if not open), H post. The H holds the linebacker off of the curl and the out and up takes the top off of the safety as does the post. The curl is easy pickings.

- Post and corner games with two combos of receivers. Crossing and overlapping the routes and getting to the zones. We do NONE of this. Cover 2 does not like trips and does not like overlapping routes. It requires the defense to be very disciplined in their drops.

2. The use of motion gives you advantages at the point of attack and requires the Cover 2 to convert. Most Cover 2 teams will check to Cover 3 or four to the trips side or the motion to trips. If you motion to trips, you get advantages in four ways.

+First, the defense is often slow to rotate and out of position.
+Second, the defense blows a check and somebody misses thier assignment.
+Third, the defender is moving out to the motion and you run a guy under him. Now he has to stop and reverse field instead of covering the route from a standstill. Much more difficult.
+Fourth, it gives you advantages in the run game by forcing the defense to rotate and show their hand.

We do too much standing around and come out in too many vanilla, balanced sets. You have to incorporate more unbalanced sets because you will never beat the Cover 2 attacking it with balanced sets. The only team that can really do that is Indy and they do it because their tight end is more like a wide receiver and Manning has six days to throw.

3. To go vertical, you must develop a vertical passing game without resorting to play action. Play action actually compromises your protection. If a team is blitzing on a play action, the defense essentially is dictating the quick throw right now or it is a sack.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I do not want this to be a Carr or anti-Carr thread. Because my take on Carr is that I have seen him improve and make better decisions. I really can't judge the guy based on some of the things I seen him deal with this season. There is not a quarterback in the NFL who is going to be competent on 3rd and 5 or more when he comes out of the huddle looking at two tight ends, a fullback, a tailback and one wide receiver. It is silly and frustrating to watch.


I will end with this thought... I know a number of offensive coordinators on the college and professional level. It boggles my mind to see the number of plays that they put in their playbooks. When it come right down to it, they do not get to half of them in a game. There is something to be said for simplifying things and running your good stuff. Most pass games in the NFL are on a tags. Meaning, when we run a play at our place we call it
Trips Rt. 90 Curl.
All the receivers know their routes and the QB knows his defender to throw off of. In the NFL, that same call is
Trips Right Montana BOSS Z4 Razor Y Angle S Jet
Same play. You tell me. Can you see where a QB might be in a quandry when trying to decipher where his read lies? Can you see the ridiculous nature of this when you call
Trips Right Ohio Dance Z4 Rip Y Stay S Jet?
In this second play, the back is not staying in to block, he is taking the place of the second receiver who is now running his Rip route.

Definitely need to simplify and bring in the third receiver. Kevin Walter is no dud. I would rather see him than Jamel Cook.
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Last edited by coachdent; 11-28-2006 at 05:36 PM. Reason: PICTURE NOW
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Old 11-28-2006   #2
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

You should use "......." in your set-ups:

.................SS.......FS...........

.............OLB.....MLB....OLB......

CB......DE....DT.......DT.....DE......CB
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Old 11-28-2006   #3
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

i admit it, this post brought a tear to my eye. good walkthrough coach.
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Old 11-28-2006   #4
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

Good post. I will agree with #1. Andre is fast, big and strong, but he is not a speed demon. That's why I think getting Mathis back might help. Kubiak had stated that when Jerome gets back, he will be asked to do more than just return.

*light goes off* Send Mathis deep to stretch the "D"
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Old 11-28-2006   #5
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

1. The Texans do not have anyone to stretch the field from a talent standpoint. AJ is not a burner and certainly Moulds is not either.

Coachdent , AJ came in 2nd in the NFLs fastest man competition . He was also the indoor 60 meter champ at Miami . If thats not a burner what is .
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Old 11-28-2006   #6
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

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Originally Posted by Honoring Earl 34 View Post
1. The Texans do not have anyone to stretch the field from a talent standpoint. AJ is not a burner and certainly Moulds is not either.

Coachdent , AJ came in 2nd in the NFLs fastest man competition . He was also the indoor 60 meter champ at Miami . If thats not a burner what is .
Jerome Mathis (healthy of course).
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Old 11-28-2006   #7
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

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Originally Posted by Honoring Earl 34 View Post
1. The Texans do not have anyone to stretch the field from a talent standpoint. AJ is not a burner and certainly Moulds is not either.

Coachdent , AJ came in 2nd in the NFLs fastest man competition . He was also the indoor 60 meter champ at Miami . If thats not a burner what is .
If I remember correctly, it was Mathis who came in second at the NFLs fastest man competition, not AJ.

Mathis lost in the finals to DeAngelo Hall of the Falcons.
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Old 11-28-2006   #8
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

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If I remember correctly, it was Mathis who came in second at the NFLs fastest man competition, not AJ.

Mathis lost in the finals to DeAngelo Hall of the Falcons.
That may be true, but I thought AJ participated the year he went to the Pro-Bowl too.
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Old 11-28-2006   #9
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

They both came in 2nd ... AJ lost to Allen Rossum .
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Old 11-28-2006   #10
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

Great post, coachdent!

We need more football talk like this in the forum.

What I don't understand is how Kubiak - an offensive mastermind - is unable to counter this defense. I know we lack talent, but we should still be able to exploit the cover 2's weaknesses. We've had some games that generated the run, but it's been inconsistent. The key for Kubiak is to find the problem to our inability to run the ball week in and week out.
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Old 11-28-2006   #11
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

both sides are right. aj is a burner, he's just a bigger guy and takes longer than a little guy like deangelo hall or jerome mathis to get up to full speed (he was gaining quickly on rossum after 20 yards). a bomb to aj needs to either be a floating jump ball, or 60 yards down the field.
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Old 11-28-2006   #12
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

Dre is fast enough to go deep and strong enough to break tackles. Mould's looks like he should be ablt to break tackles. We have a couple tight ends that should be ablt to exploit the middle. Why don't they? Maybe the same answer as the trouble with our run blocking.

A lack of belief in the system may be why players appear to quitting. If they didn't get the ball early in the year they may not be putting out max effort right now.


Why did Sage look so amazing on his special teams tackle? Because he was really trying hard - he was all out. We aren't used to seeing that anymore.
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Old 11-28-2006   #13
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
an offensive mastermind = is unable to counter this defense.

Maybe half of this equation is wrong?

Maybe it is the lack of talent available.

Maybe it is the failure to correctly identify and exploit available talent.

Maybe a little of all three.
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Old 11-28-2006   #14
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

I thought we brought in Putz a TE for this but then Daniels beats him out so I assume he's a good athelete .

If this talent issue is the case ... then we have no talent at the skills positions because I've never seen so many dinks in my life .
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Old 11-28-2006   #15
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

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Maybe half of this equation is wrong?

Maybe it is the lack of talent available.

Maybe it is the failure to correctly identify and exploit available talent.

Maybe a little of all three.
yep, probably so.

I hate "looking forward to next season" when we've still got 5 games in this season. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!!

But that's all we've got. Stick a fork in this season, it's done. Hope we can pull a win (or two) out of our remaining games, but I'm not sure how that changes anything other than our draft order. [/cynical]
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Old 11-28-2006   #16
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

I think Sage told Flanigan ... Hey you step on my thumb and I'll kick you in the ribs .
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Old 11-28-2006   #17
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

The easiest way to beat the cover 2 defense:

Run the ball up the middle effectively & the LBs will respect play action which opens up the middle of the field for the TE & post routes for the WRs.

If you can do that then you can beat it. The problem is that we cant run up the middle very well & neither Carr or the RBs try very hard to sell play action anyway.

I like Carr & I think he is improving but watch him on play action. He doesnt even try to sell it. The only time he did was in the Miami game and the result was he went in untouched on the bootleg TD run.
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Old 11-28-2006   #18
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

Over the past couple of years we have had several guys who claimed to be coaches who spent a great deal of time telling many of us that we don't understand stuff, but never bothered to give a detailed explanation of some technical side of football. This is excellent posting.


On a more general note, while the Broncos have been more successful than the Texans in getting deep, i pretty sure that I heard a similiar criticism of thier offense a couple of games ago.

Also, I am thinking that Kubiak does not trust his personnel to perform the tasks you described in detail. At least, that is what I hope. If not we have a coach who is very conservative and the Texans will be left to winning only by superior execution (insert your own Capers joke).
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Old 11-28-2006   #19
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

The NFL is a fickle world. Today's offensive and defensive genuises are tomorrow's bums and *****s.

Brian Billick was the offensive genuis in Minnesota than suppossedly couldn't coach an offense in Baltimore.

Jim Johnson in Philadelphia orchestrated the highly feared Eagles defense and this year they are pathetic.

I don't think anyone really regarded Kubiak as some genius. I don't think he is a complete waste of time either. I think he needs to use his personnel better and stay truer to the concepts of the zone run game that I referred to in another post.

He also needs to stop putting the quarterback in situations where you are telling him to quote, "just make a play". Carr had a major setback to his growth with Cris Palmer. One of things that Palmer preached was just that. Give AJ a chance to make a play. We threw the hell out of the fade. When coaches are in a bind and they don't know what to do, they tend to just say, "run three verts" or "throw the fade and see what happens". AJ is talented enough to make great plays, but these are high percentage plays. More germaine to the point, we throw the SAME deep balls game after game.

Carr's mentality has been molded to throw and force that ball into AJ and he reverts back to that from time to time. Less and less I am happy to say, but it still happens. As a coordinator, you know your man's weakness and you just don't give him that option by not calling the route!
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Old 11-28-2006   #20
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Location: Houston. Mediocrity Lives Here!!
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Default Re: Cover 2 Zone - Why the Texans Can't get Vertical

Quote:
Originally Posted by bah007 View Post
The easiest way to beat the cover 2 defense:

Run the ball up the middle effectively & the LBs will respect play action which opens up the middle of the field for the TE & post routes for the WRs.

If you can do that then you can beat it. The problem is that we cant run up the middle very well & neither Carr or the RBs try very hard to sell play action anyway.

I like Carr & I think he is improving but watch him on play action. He doesnt even try to sell it. The only time he did was in the Miami game and the result was he went in untouched on the bootleg TD run.
Run the ball effectively which will get the LB's attention? Absurd. I tried to suggest that the other day and the 'experts' let me know how wrong I was.

I saw a weak sell on the play action late in the game last Sunday, when it was like... "ummmm I don't think anyone is biting on the play action, when a) we couldn't run the ball all day and b) the clock is running out..."
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