We know many of our AF fans will be sitting down to watch their favorite NFL teams battle it out every weekend till someone hoists the Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis early next year. Seeing as our creative director Gibran H. was an NFL quarterback for the better part of 7 years we've asked him to post an entry on the AF style bog every Saturday morning pertaining to educating our fans on the intracacies of the game.
Think of it as football for dummies AF style! Enjoy.
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY : "TAMPA 2"
Cover 2 is name for a zone defensive strategy executed by nearly every football team from H.S. to the NFL. While some use it more than others, every team considers it a must have on the defensive side of the ball.
A version of this defense aptly named "Tampa 2" was brought to the forefront in the early 2000's by Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. As it turns out, as both men will acknowledge, the defense is extremely similar to one used by Chuck Noll during his days leading the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. If I were to describe it in one sentence it would be the ultimate bend-but-don't-break defense.
Here is an image of what Tampa 2 looks like when drawn up. We've highlighted the weaknesses of the zone. If this is one of this first times or even the first time you've looked at a defensive football play here is a rudimentary legend to tell you who everyone is.
As you can see the safeties are responsible for their 1/2 of the field. They act as the last line of defense against deep passes in their zone. With so much field to cover safeties in Tampa 2 need to be fast and like to hit people HARD seeing as many times they are getting to where the ball is thrown at the same time as the receiver and need to make a hit that will jar a nearly completed ball loose.
The Middle Linebacker ("M" or "Mike") is responsible for the middle of the field, enabling the safeties to venture further to their respective sidelines. Seeing as the "Mike" is often asked to cover an incoming wide reciever he better pretty much be a fast, aggressive, and smart player. Essentially you need a beast of a football player - think Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, etc.
The weak side linebacker and strong side linebacker, a.k.a. "Will" and "Sam", need to be able to effectively cover their passing zones as illustrated by the arrows above but most importantly need to to be able to provide support against a running play seeing as the Mike vacates to cover the deep middle of the field.
Pretty much as usual the defensive line - ie the defensive ends and tackles need to put pressure on the quarterback to take away his time to make decisions and hopefully force him into a mistake throwing into one of the well covered zones above.
- Intended to limit big plays - force the offense to take short gains
- Takes away short passes to the sidelines
- Disrupts timing between outside receivers and qb "jam technique" (corners disrupt timing by essentially getting into a collision within the first 5 yards of the line of scrimmage")
- Effective at stopping running plays to the outside or toward the sideline
- Runs up the middle
- Patient offenses and quarterbacks
- Deeper passes down the sidelines in the void areas of the coverage