Playbook: Victor Cruz vs. Eagles 'Cover 0' blitz

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

Click here for a breakdown of Cruz’s TD vs. the Eagles’ Cover 4 scheme.

Last week I talked about defensive technique in Cover 0 (blitz-man with no safety help). Play at the proper depth, maintain inside leverage and win with footwork. But you still have to tackle and avoid an explosive play.

Today, let’s go back to Giants-Eagles from the 2011 season and use Victor Cruz’s TD vs. Philadelphia's zero-man scheme to highlight some technique errors in the secondary and poor tackling in the open field.

Giants vs. Eagles
Offensive Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)
Formation: “Orange” (2x2 spread)
Route: Wheel
Defensive Scheme: Cover 0

Route: You will see this combo often from the Giants when they form a “stack” alignment (Cruz and Nix) to beat man-coverage schemes. The X receiver (Nix) will use a hard inside stem to get vertical up the field (seam route) with the Z receiver (Cruz) releasing outside on the “wheel” concept. Think of a “rub” route that can create space for Cruz vs. a DB that has to work over the top of Nix.

Cover 0 technique: The Eagles have the right idea here sending nickel pressure off the slot with safety Kurt Coleman rolling down into coverage vs. Cruz (never want two DBs on the same level in press-coverage). However, you want to see Coleman shorten his pre-snap depth to allow for a clean angle to defend the wheel concept. The Eagles SS is too deep at the snap of the ball and is late because of it. Remember, this is a 3rd and 2 situation vs. pressure. The ball is going to come out.

Have to tackle: I mentioned this above because it is crucial anytime you call Cover 0 in the huddle. Love the idea of using pressure here and forcing Giants QB Eli Manning to get rid of the ball. However, you still have to tackle (and wrap up) in the open field. Because of the pre-snap depth of Coleman, the Giants are going to move the sticks here. But you must make the tackle (two missed tackles after the catch), finish the play and go back to the huddle. No reason for the Eagles to allow a TD on a simple wheel concept vs. Cover 0.

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