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Has the league figured out the cover 2?

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Old 12-22-2006, 12:22 PM   #1
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Has the league figured out the cover 2?

Interesting article in the Post today:

Williams: Offenses Have Uncovered the Cover-2
December 22
Washington Post: "Williams, the Washington Redskins' assistant head coach-defense, isn't exactly sure of it, but he believes the high number of big plays executed in the middle of the field, between the linebackers and safeties, may represent an important but disturbing trend: After years of confused quarterbacks being forced into mistakes, offenses may have caught up to and figured out vulnerabilities in the cover-2 zone defense, and its Tampa-2 variation, made popular by Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin."
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

This is the first year I can recall anyone saying that GW runs a lot of cover 2. Even this year, it still seemed that often there was a lot of man coverage from the strong safety, i.e. AA.
The positive of this article is that GW realizes that scheme had something to do w/the D's troubles this year & he's just the man to study it & come up w/some new stuff for 07.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:43 PM   #3
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

I read this article earlier this morning. Interesting take by Williams.

I'm a big GW fan, but I couldn't help but think that this sounded like someone making excuses.

I give him credit for his apparent humility he displayed and his willingness to change things up.

I also feel this "soft middle" talk has come out this week because Marshall gave up a few plays over the middle last week.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:45 PM   #4
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

Interesting read. Could also be why the Bucs are struggling on D as well this year...but I hope G-Dub gets his act together and provides the next gen in NFL Defenses.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:48 PM   #5
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

If this wasn't happening elsewhere we could write this off as an excuse, but Williams has never been much of an excuse kinda guy and the fact other teams are struggling with the same thing makes this a valid question, has the league caught up with the cover 2?

The league is always evolving, remember back in the 90's the zone blitz was a big deal and it was made famous by the Steelers. Now you don't hear about it as much. Teams are still running it, but offenses have adjusted and caught up with it.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:48 PM   #6
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

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Originally Posted by Citizens for 81 View Post
I read this article earlier this morning. Interesting take by Williams.

I'm a big GW fan, but I couldn't help but think that this sounded like someone making excuses.

I give him credit for his apparent humility he displayed and his willingness to change things up.

I also feel this "soft middle" talk has come out this week because Marshall gave up a few plays over the middle last week.
I think that's a misinterpretation on your part, at no point does it sound like an excuse to me. He realizes that it's his job to stay ahead of the offense. It just seems like he's analyzing and explaining what has happened to the D.

I'm just glad to hear detailed thoughts out of the coaching staff. Gibbs can be frustrating because he just coach-speaks all the time, never offers any football thought. I know he's good at analyzing stuff, but we don't get a glimpse of what he's thinking. This article on GW shows that he thinks he's found the problem. That puts him one step closer to figuring out what to do about it.
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:41 PM   #7
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

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I think that's a misinterpretation on your part, at no point does it sound like an excuse to me. He realizes that it's his job to stay ahead of the offense. It just seems like he's analyzing and explaining what has happened to the D.

I'm just glad to hear detailed thoughts out of the coaching staff. Gibbs can be frustrating because he just coach-speaks all the time, never offers any football thought. I know he's good at analyzing stuff, but we don't get a glimpse of what he's thinking. This article on GW shows that he thinks he's found the problem. That puts him one step closer to figuring out what to do about it.

Excellent point......GW also realizes by this being a copy cat league, everyone will continue to exploit your weaknesses until you find a remedy. It shows he's well aware of what's happening to his defense, and why. What's going to be interesting is what changes he's going to make in cover 2 to help make the center of the field less inviting to oposing offense's. He further intend's to solicit input from other DC's around the league in an atempt assist in his evaluation.
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:02 PM   #8
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

Does this mean the Skins will be implementing a new scheme? I would hope that this means a few wrinkles - I'd like to see the team just try to minimize as many changes to playersl/coaches/schemes as possible and build some continuity.

Also maybe bringing in a DL in the draft and hoping for starters to come back full time the Defense can return to form in GW's first 2 years.
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:07 PM   #9
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

I really don't think we played as much cover 2 zone in 04 & 05 as we did this year. Rogers gave serious cushion & Springs often did too once he got in the lineup. QB pressure can make an avg. secondary look pretty damn good, and we had little to none for most of the year. I think GW knows that if he can get pressure like we did last week vs. NO w/the front 4, he can scheme this D back to the top 10.
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Old 12-22-2006, 03:49 PM   #10
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

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Does this mean the Skins will be implementing a new scheme? I would hope that this means a few wrinkles - I'd like to see the team just try to minimize as many changes to playersl/coaches/schemes as possible and build some continuity.

Also maybe bringing in a DL in the draft and hoping for starters to come back full time the Defense can return to form in GW's first 2 years.
I think it means GW will tweak his current scheme a bit, but it's definitely not an overhaul by any means.

GW needs to dig into the game tape and see if it really is the cover 2 scheme that's the problem across the league, or if the problem is just the poor safety play. Here in DC, teams have been attacking the middle of our defense mainly because Archuleta was there and couldn't cover Britney's crotch. For us it's probably partly the scheme, but I think more than anything it was just Archuleta sucking.

If it were me running the D, I'd tweak the cover 2 just a bit. The WR in the slot is generally the guy you want to attack a cover 2 with because he typically gets matched up with a middle LB while the two safeties retreat into a zone to defend against the 2 WRs on the outside. The LB usually can't run with the slot WR, and voila, you're attacking down the seam of a cover 2. But you know how basketball defenses run a box-and-one, putting their best defender man to man against the offense's most dangerous scoring threat? If I saw a 3 WR set I'd roll in a 5th DB on any down. I'd take my absolute best corner and put him man to man on the slot WR. I'd then leave the safeties and 2 outside CBs to play the traditional cover 2. Heck, that 5th DB would be put to good use when you consider the guy who'll be coming off the field: WARRICK HOLDMAN.

That's a lot of DBs on the field with their primary concern being the defense of the 3 WRs. To make that work, you need an excellent run stopping defensive line. You'll only have 2 LBs on the field, so you better have four D lineman who really eat up blockers that allow your two LBs to flow to the ball to shut down the running game when they run from the 3 WR formation. Give me Alan Branch and it could be done.
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Old 12-22-2006, 03:56 PM   #11
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

The other thing, with more and more extremely athletic TEs coming into the league, teams have more weapons with which to attack the middle of a cover 2. You've got that slot WR, and you've got your speedy TE. Unless you want to go with 6 DBs, you have to either break away from the Cover 2 or allow a LB to cover the speedy TE. None of the options are good. You bring in 6 DBs, they're going to audible to a run. You break out of the cover 2 and go with man, it makes it very tough to cover everyone because of the enforcement of the illegal contact rules. And if you allow a LB to cover an Antonio Gates, and well, you're in trouble.

That one part that I put in italics represents an opportunity. If you have the CBs, you can hold up against great WRs even when faced with the illegal contact rules. But those CBs are getting harder to find.

I hope GW will come to a lot of these conclusions and realize he needs that DT and CB we keep talking about on these boards. I think he already realizes that he needs improvement at SS, sure would explain why Archuleta is on the bench.
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Old 12-23-2006, 01:30 AM   #12
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

I really don't understand what's so difficult about the "cover 2". It's all about mismatches as well as one on one coverage. With both Safeties helping out over the top, the obvious chink in the armor is the middle of the field. Send a back or tight end up the seam. Very few linebackers can cover for that long. It's a big play waiting to happen. It's chess, not checkers!
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:14 AM   #13
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

Yeah, that's why we are 30th in the league or whatever in defense. It's not our talent level, or the underperformance of our players that's the problem. The league got wise to the cover 2.

I don't object to what Williams is suggesting, but I just hope that he doesn't think that with the right amount of studying and some subsequent scheme changes that he will be able to propel our defense back into the top 5 through the force of his genius alone. If we go into next year with the same secondary as this year, we are gonna be in the bottom third of the league, regardless of what new wrinkles Williams implements.
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Old 12-23-2006, 10:03 AM   #14
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

I think that Cover 2 is still very effective against the West Coast guys. (Holmgren, Reid etc.) It was never that effective against Norv Turner and his ilk, especially when he had a tight end like Novachek. To the extent that teams are beating the cover 2 it is because they are discarding the finesse approach of Bill Walsh and embracing a.) a power running game and b) a vertical, timed passing game.

Having said that, I believe that Cover 2 is still the best way to defense a team like Dallas with it's two great WRs. Take away Owens and Glenn and hope you can stop the run with 7. Whitten and Barbour will make some plays but they will not crush you like their outside guys will.

Ditto Indianapolis.

Cover 2 would be worthless, IMO, against San Diego or Denver or New York. Each team would run for 250 yards.
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Old 12-23-2006, 11:18 AM   #15
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Re: Has the league figured out the cover 2?

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Originally Posted by djnemo65 View Post
Yeah, that's why we are 30th in the league or whatever in defense. It's not our talent level, or the underperformance of our players that's the problem. The league got wise to the cover 2.

I don't object to what Williams is suggesting, but I just hope that he doesn't think that with the right amount of studying and some subsequent scheme changes that he will be able to propel our defense back into the top 5 through the force of his genius alone. If we go into next year with the same secondary as this year, we are gonna be in the bottom third of the league, regardless of what new wrinkles Williams implements.
We were pretty good last year though. Mostly the same guys. Why couldn't he tweek things and expect a much better defense? I believe that this year was the anomoly.
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