I haven’t done many Xs and Os articles recently, and this one isn’t going to be explanatory in and of itself. Instead, its going to be a set of links pointing to Tampa 2 and Cover 2 resources. I’d like this to be a living document, at least over the short term, which means I reserve the right to rewrite, amend, and add to this list. If you are a coach or interested amateur, feel free to let me know more sources and resources that I can add.
What you’ll see here in order is a link, perhaps a short summary of the scope of the link, and perhaps a short quote from the link. I might borrow a diagram or two from the link, if I think it will help the reader.
Obviously this is driven by the hire of Monte Kiffen and Rod Marinelli by the Dallas Cowboys. Rob Ryan was fired recently. The reasons are part of still heated discussions, but given subsequent hires, it’s easy enough to suggest that the powers that be among the Cowboys want better execution all round. That the Cowboys offense was more prone to penalties and miscues than the defense is a position many Cowboys fans take, and that faction treats the firing of Ron Ryan as a kind of scapegoating.
Whether true or false, we’re just trying to gather under one roof, resources on this defense, notes useful to fans and coaches alike.
Before beginning, we’ll mention some things that should be any any defense aficionado’s bag of tricks: the multipart articles on defense by Jene Bramel, a copy of the Jaworksi, Cosell and Plaut book, and of course, Tim Layden’s quality introduction to modern football concepts. If you have never seen the Smart Football blog, you should, and if you’re looking for information on stunts and modern zone blitzes, the Blitzology blog seldom disappoints.
A variety of other Xs and Os links are on the sidebar.
Scope: introductory. Diagrams may not be accurate, as they display an even front.
Scope: Introductory. Matt Bowen was a NFL defensive back, and knows coverages well.
Scope: introductory. Article is self contradictory on the history of the defense.
The personnel used in the Tampa 2 are specific in position and required abilities. All positions in this defense place a premium on speed, and often the result is that they are all undersized by league standards. The defensive linemen in this scheme have to be quick and agile enough to create pressure on the quarterback without the aid of a blitz from either the linebackers or the secondary, with
the defensive tackle in the nose position having above-average tackling skills to help stop runs.
Scope: Introductory. Jene Bramel’s coverage of the Monte Kiffin system.
Scope: nicely done introductory level discussion of the back 7 responsibilities in the Tampa 2
While they will generally all be tailored to one gap attacking from the 4-3 front … the back seven will have to display a wide variety of skills in order to execute the full defense.
This is distinct from some 3-4 systems (and other 4-3s), where the varied looks and confusing schemes imply a high degree of
flexibility from all players, but in fact does not require as much individual diversity at key positions.
Scope: news article, reporting teams moving away from Cover 2 because safeties can’t hit as hard anymore.
Scope: Introductory, newspaper blog. Bears-centric. Reporter repeating what a coach has told him.
Scope: Introductory, with emphasis on the Colts and their history with 1 technique DTs in the Tampa 2.
Scope: Introduction. Some discussion of where current Cowboys fit into a Tampa 2 style scheme. Historically accurate.
In terms of the Tampa Bay personnel compared to this current Cowboys squad, think of DeMarcus Ware as Simeon Rice, Bruce Carter
as Derrick Brooks, Sean Lee as Shelton Quarles and Barry Church as John Lynch, with Jay Ratliff as Warren Sapp. I don’t believe
the coverage part will be a problem for Carr and Claiborne, but how physical they can be trying to do those things I spoke of
in funneling runs inside or playing the run when he gets to the outside will be important.
Scope: coaching thread on message board.
That middle position isn’t manned by the true MLB type that the Miami 4-3 was predicated on. Like these guys have said, he’s 6 yards back and has different responsibilities too.
Scope: Coaching blog, and article. MLB, CB, and S responsibilities.
It is not a viable every-down coverage, due to the fact that you basically are giving up the entire 0-10 yd zone from hash-to-hash without resistance, so if a team just hits the TE & RB’s over the middle, they can kill you with 8 yd gains every snap.
I was surprised when I found out that The Tampa 2 wasn’t the same thing as the 4-3 Over Cover 2. Went to a COY clinic in Orlando a few years ago and Monte Kiffen was the speaker. It looked more like a version of the WT-6(*) than a version of the 4-3 Over. I’m still not real sure about that thing.
Not Tampa 2 specific, but interesting in contrast
Scope: Introductory to intermediate.
Offensive Football, busting the Cover 2
Scope: intermediate, with plenty of video.
Almost any article by Chris Brown of Smart Football has football coaches as its primary audience. Advanced fans can glean some insight as well.
* presumably, wide tackle 6.
We got the Split-60 from Coach “Erk Russell” in 1984. It was the WT-6 on the Strongside and the Split-4 on the Weakside. They called it the “Junk Yard Dog” defense. Coach Russell said that it took the best of the WT-6 and the Split-4.
We got it, squeezed down the Strongside into a 50 that we were more used to and I’ve used it every since as a Gap 5-2. Wish I’d put it in print, but I was just a coaching pup then and just thought it wasn’t anything special.
Now they call it the 4-3 Under and say that Monte Kiffen is credited with it. Same defense that Coach Russell ran at Georgia with a few little wrinkles. I guess some things never change.