Finally, we are up to Cover 3. We are well into our offseason review of the various offensive and defensive principles used throughout the NFL. We’ve even shown you the details of the special teams playbook. Recently, our Jim Miller reviewed defensive coverages and how the QB’s recognition of what the defense is doing is critical to his success. We’ve shown you Cover 1 and Cover 2. Today, we’ve pulled out another segment featuring the RFN Glass Board that explains the zone principles that drive the Cover 3 defense and how he used it with his old Steelers teams.
Cover 3 is a zone principle that looks a lot like Cover 1 to start. However, as former Super Bowl champion coach Bill Cowher told us when he took to the RFN Glass, the Cover 3 is a zone coverage, not the man-to-man principle of the Cover 1. It’s a 4-under, 3-deep concept that has the strong safety and three LB’s covering the underneath zones, and the two cornerbacks and the free safety each covering a deep third of the field, which leaves one linebacker to rush the passer.
This coverage blankets the middle of the field. Where it is sometimes vulnerable is against the 10-yard out pass, outside the numbers. Most defenses will take that, because that’s a very hard throw to make and requires a strong-armed QB. But as you’ll see in this video, the offense can stress the coverage by changing their alignment and forcing the defense to adjust their coverage.
How would you challenge a Cover 3 look? Draw up your own offensive play with our Interactive Play Diagram tool in the Interactive Section.
You can also learn more about the in’s and out’s of the game by picking up a copy of Pat’s book, Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0. If you are interested in learning about everything that goes into playing QB in the NFL, check out the RFN e-book Quarterback: The Toughest Job in Sports.Add to My RFN