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Don't sleep on Steelers' Mike Wallace vs. Cover 2

Using video to breakdown Pittsburgh's Cover 2 beater vs. Indy. Matt Bowen

Print This September 29, 2011, 03:05 PM EST

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series

Cover 2 (or Tampa 2) beaters are pretty standard around the NFL. Run the Flat-7, 4 Verticals, Dagger, etc. Put stress on the safeties and produce vs. the 2-deep shell.

Today, let’s go back to Sunday night in Week 3 and check out Mike Wallace and the Steelers vs. the Colts’ Cover 2—because this is good route scheme to break down.

A quick set up: the Steelers are in Ace (or 221) personnel in a “Unit Wing Slot” alignment. Use pre-snap motion to form a stack WR look and attack the middle of the field from the slot alignment. Check out the replay and then we will get into some coaching points.

A couple of coaching points…

- Check out the TE to the closed (strong) side of the formation. An outside release, stem vertically and break to the 7 (corner) route. This will hold the SS on his landmark (top of the numbers) and prevent him from overlapping any inside vertical scheme.

- The open (weak) side route concept. Put two verticals on the free safety. With the pre-snap motion, Wallace will get a free release (no jam) off the line of scrimmage, stem his route to the post and use speed to split the defense.

- The Mike Backer. In Tampa 2, the MLB will open his hips to the passing strength and carry the inside vertical seam. However, he needs safety help vs. a deep route concept. And ghat teakes us back to the safety position. With the FS also playing over the top of Hines Ward to the open side (plus the SS removed by the 7 route from Miller), there is no help. A perfect concept to beat Cover 2.

- Speed. No question that is on display here. Even if the SS is able to work off the numbers to the post on the throw of Ben Roethlisberger, I still don’t believe he can make a play on the ball. Wallace can run past any secondary in the NFL.

This is just another example of how offenses will prep for core Cover 2 teams (Indianapolis, Chicago, Minnesota). Add some window dressing with the formation alignment, use some pre-snap movement and beat Cover 2 with vertical passing concepts.

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