Breaking down the Saints red zone Cover 2

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Today, let’s go to the red zone and talk some Cover 2. Rams at Saints from the 2010 season. St. Louis has their Ace (212) personnel (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB) on the field vs. New Orleans’ base 4-3 defense.

Corners in a “soft squat” and the two deep safeties in a position to break downhill at an angle to make a play on the football. First let’s go to the video replay and then get into some detailed coaching points of Malcolm Jenkins’ “pick-six” vs. Sam Bradford on the double-move.

Coaching Points:

Red 2: In the red zone, Cover 2 (or Tampa 2) will change because of the limited space to work with. With the field reduced, CBs will play that “soft squat” I talked about above (play in an off position, no jam, sink vs. vertical release) with the safeties sitting on their landmarks (top of the numbers). Why? Because route schemes will develop quicker inside of the 20-yard line, and with the end line as an extra defender, the secondary can play more aggressive.

Route scheme: The Rams and Bradford are taking a shot at the end zone here. Both No.1s (X, U) will stutter at 5-6 yards (typical depth of a double-move) and convert their routes vertically up the field. Use 7-man protection (TE and RB stay in) and try to beat the deep half safety in Cover 2.

Safety technique: Already talked about the landmark in Cover 2, but we should also mention the Mike Backer. In Tampa 2, the Mike will drop vertically to create a three-deep look (as you can see on the replay). This gives Jenkins protection to the inside (think post or “Bang 8”) and allows him to break even before the ball is thrown. Plus, with the proper depth, the angle he takes to the ball puts him in a position to make a play.

Bradford’s mistake: Working vs. Cover 2, the Rams’ QB has to keep the ball to outside vs. a defender playing from inside-out. Think of the term “back shoulder fade” that we discuss with a WR working vs. a man-to-man CB. That pass has to be thrown away from the defender’s leverage. No different here as it applies to the “hole” in Cover 2 between CB and FS that has to be exploited. Keep the ball to the inside and you are asking for a turnover.

More Jenkins: Another quick coaching point here. We talked about the inside help from the Mike Backer, but also look at the route scheme. When you are a deep half safety and are only threatened by one vertical concept, go make the play. Work top down and treat this like a man-to-man situation.

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