how many good teams play man to man (1 Viewer)

Jackavelli

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just saw NFLN talking about the Raiders, and rod woodson said they play man to man defense and that it is hard to win in the NFL league while playing man to man defense. I'm sure teams can win while playing man to man (Packers I believe) but do the more successful teams generally stay away from overall man to man? wondering if Saints are hurting themselves by playing man to man to begin with.
 

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Fred Thomas and Jason David are lock-down type defenders - I see no problem playing man with those guys.
 

eels

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I just think you need a great pass rush to get away with playing man coverage. But when you don't pressure the qb consistently, that's when you start giving up big plays like we did. I'm a little surprised they are sticking with that scheme.
 

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Every team in the NFL plays man-to-man.

See the thing is that every team plays a variety of D schemes to fit the particular situation. No one plays just Cover 2 & no one plays just man-to-man. They all may have a dominant scheme, but they all also play a variety of schemes as well. Don't let the media (who loves to over simplify) fool you. It just ain't that simple. :)

So, the bottom line here is that no matter which of the many possible schemes you choose to implement as your main D scheme, you still must be able to play man-to-man or one of various zone coverages as the situation dictates.

And you must have the personnel to accomplish that variation.
 

LSSpam

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Every team in the NFL plays man-to-man.

See the thing is that every team plays a variety of D schemes to fit the particular situation. No one plays just Cover 2 & no one plays just man-to-man. They all may have a dominant scheme, but they all also play a variety of schemes as well. Don't let the media (who loves to over simplify) fool you. It just ain't that simple. :)

So, the bottom line here is that no matter which of the many possible schemes you choose to implement as your main D scheme, you still must be able to play man-to-man or one of various zone coverages as the situation dictates.

And you must have the personnel to accomplish that variation.
Pretty much.

The Raiders come as close as you can get to "all man-to-man" with a lot of press-man coverage. And Tampa-2 teams like Tampa Bay, Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, etc are as close as you'll get to "all zone".

But the overwhelming majority of NFL teams are somewhere inbetween. Philly may use more man coverage then Washington, but both mix it up.

Understand (not directed at you of course kooldak, general statement), "Cover-2" is a specific coverage, "Tampa-2" is a philosophy. All teams use variations of Cover-2 coverages. Only a few specific teams embrace a "Tampa-2" philosophy.
 

Danneaux

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Every team in the NFL plays man-to-man.

See the thing is that every team plays a variety of D schemes to fit the particular situation. No one plays just Cover 2 & no one plays just man-to-man. They all may have a dominant scheme, but they all also play a variety of schemes as well. Don't let the media (who loves to over simplify) fool you. It just ain't that simple. :)

So, the bottom line here is that no matter which of the many possible schemes you choose to implement as your main D scheme, you still must be able to play man-to-man or one of various zone coverages as the situation dictates.

And you must have the personnel to accomplish that variation.

And we should drop man-to-man as our primary scheme right away. We don't have a single CB capable of playing primarily man-to-man.

We absolutely should (and I think we will) switch to zone as our base pass defense.
Which makes me wonder... we sign Gay, who I believe is pretty good at zone coverage, and we have David, who is a pretty good zone coverage guy, we fire our secondary coach, we improved the speed at LB with Vilma...

I smell a switch to zones schemes as our base.
 

kooldak

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And we should drop man-to-man as our primary scheme right away. We don't have a single CB capable of playing primarily man-to-man.

We absolutely should (and I think we will) switch to zone as our base pass defense.
Which makes me wonder... we sign Gay, who I believe is pretty good at zone coverage, and we have David, who is a pretty good zone coverage guy, we fire our secondary coach, we improved the speed at LB with Vilma...

I smell a switch to zones schemes as our base.
Spam had mention in another thread that he thought that increased zone coverages might be the case as well. I concur.

But, with that probability in mind, I am a bit concerned about S coverage in some of the zone schemes that we'll run and am wondering if that means more playing time for KK.. Added pressure will certainly help, but coverage is not our S strong suits.

JMO.
 

bergeaux

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Most teams that are successful at a mostly man-to-man coverage scheme (in other words, play very little cover-2) have either "lock down" corners (more on that later) or a monster D-line. We don't have either and play mostly m2m. And it shows. It's easier to find good pass rushers than lock down corners. Most CBs that are considered "lock down corners" actually are on teams that put so much pressure on the QB that it makes them look good.

"Lock down Corner Backs" are almost mythical creatures. The only true lock down corners that I have seen who can be almost independent of pass rush have been Champ Bailey and Dion Sanders. And even they admit that they have a hard time when there is not good pressure.

Heck look at Champ Bailey in 2006 and 2007. Everyone was talking about how great he was in 2006, yet in 2007 he looked just "good". Dre Bly forced teams to throw against both sides instead of always away from Champ and the pass rush for Denver was not doing enough. Bly actually had more int and looked better than Champ at times.
 

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O.K., for those who are so in love with the zone defense, be sure to keep your blood pressure in check when Saints corners allow receivers to catch the ball in front of them and receivers appear to be wide open when they sit in the dead spots in the zone.

Kooldak and Spam have it right... NFL teams run a variety of defenses that change based on the opponent and they also change the coverages from down to down.

Your personnel dictates your coverage schemes. MM is a good, physical man-press defender. Fred Thomas, Jason Craft, etc. are better suited to zone coverages, but their physical skills have declined to the point that they are nickel/dime guys at best now.

In Thomas' prime, he could be just as scrappy and physical as anyone -as were corners like Fred Weary, Kevin Mathis, etc.

HOWEVER, what Payton and company found out pretty quickly was that Bullocks lacked the instincts to play zone effectively, and KK lacked the speed to cover the field as a centerfielder (in small areas, he did quite well).

And finally, as has been repeated ad nauseum here, the absence of a significant pass rush made the secondary look a lot worse than it really was.

It's not the scheme or schemes that were wrong, it was a lack of players who could run the schemes effectively... bringing in more pass rushers, solidfying the linebacking corps and bringing in a younger corner who is instictive to replace your aging nickel/dime guys (and can start if he has to) is a good start.

I feel there is still a good weakside linebacker in FA (Boss Bailey or Ian Gold) and possibly a corner (Andre Dyson -not as a starter but someone to throw in the mix), but the draft will be key to get a couple of young defensive tackles and groom some corners.
 

BigHossTheBoss

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I think the point that Woodson was trying to make is that the Raiders are in man to man almost the entire game as opposed to changing up their defense. Having Asamougha on one side really helps you do that, and their other corners (Washington, Carr, Route) are lightning fast. If you watched Tony Dungy's round table on NFL Network, he said that the Colts play exclusively Cover 2. Some teams are just like that, but they are in the extreme minority.

79 Saints is exactly right, NFL teams switch their defenses often in the game, and the players are what makes the defense work. The Raiders have a big physical corner and a bunch of very fast corners that help them run their scheme along with two pass rushing specialists who come in on passing downs (Burgess and Clemons, who just left them).
 

kooldak

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...If you watched Tony Dungy's round table on NFL Network, he said that the Colts play exclusively Cover 2.....
I do not remember that comment, not saying he did not say it, I just don't remember it. Either way, if he said it, he was simplifying for the audience, because it is not accurate.

I haven't missed watching a Colts game since the advent of NFL Sunday Ticket. There are many variations on his basic Cover 2 that place the corners in man-to-man. A specific example would be certain S blitz packages that place the corners into man-to-man. Perhaps what he meant is that he runs all of his defensive schemes out of a Cover 2 look. For the most part (although there are exceptions to that as well) that would be true.

But for Dungy to say they run Cover 2 exclusively is misleading at best and I am sure that he did not mean that literally. :)
 

'79 Saints

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And what Spam said is true as well... Cover-2 and Tampa cover-2 become interchangable in these types of discussions...

Since Dungy helped create the "Tampa cover-2" defense, he tends to refer to that philosophy (without mentioning his former team) when talking about the Colts defense.

But here's an interesting point: in the old Tampa cover-2, the plays were funnelled to the linebacker, Derrick Brooks. However, in the Colts' defense the linebackers are pretty much interchangable.

And while John Lynch was important to the Bucs defense, Bob Sanders is critical to the Colts -almost assuming the Brooks role.

So the philosophy remains the same, but Dungy adjusts his defenses to suit his personnel with the Colts.
 

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I do not remember that comment, not saying he did not say it, I just don't remember it. Either way, if he said it, he was simplifying for the audience, because it is not accurate.

I haven't missed watching a Colts game since the advent of NFL Sunday Ticket. There are many variations on his basic Cover 2 that place the corners in man-to-man. A specific example would be certain S blitz packages that place the corners into man-to-man. Perhaps what he meant is that he runs all of his defensive schemes out of a Cover 2 look. For the most part (although there are exceptions to that as well) that would be true.

But for Dungy to say they run Cover 2 exclusively is misleading at best and I am sure that he did not mean that literally. :)
When we got Jason David, I re-watched every NFL Replay of every Colts game from 2006 (I have everyone from the last 2 years on DVD) and the Colts DID play man-to-man. They did a LOT more cover2, but there were definitely times that they played M2M.
 

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Spam (or somebody) please correct me if I'm wrong.

If you're going to adopt the Tampa-2 philosophy, one of the things you need is a D-line that can stop the run. The LBs are going to be dropping into their underneath zone areas until they read run. That means that on running plays they're going to be getting to the ball carrier a step later then if they were playing run first. And that means that the line must stop or at least slow down the play until the LBs can react and get into the play. When you hear people talking about a team "running their opponent out of Cover-2", this is what they're talking about. If you can establish a good run game, it forces the defense to bring in the LBs (and SS) to help out and that disrupts the entire scheme.

The other responsibility placed on the D-line is that on passing plays, they have to generate pressure on the QB without help from the LBs, for the most part. There are things you can do to create more pressure, such as zone blitzing but in the straight-up base defense, the D-line must collapse the pocket on their own. And I think this is the reason you don't see the Saints running a lot of Cover-2.

Finally, the big weakness of Cover-2 has always been the seam in between the two safeties. Teams learned to exploit this weakness by sending the TE on a skinny post route right down the middle of the defense. So the defense needs a MLB that is athletic enough to hang with a TE running that type of seam route. Urlacher comes to mind. I think it's pretty clear that the Saints have not had that player for quite a while. Maybe Vilma is that player, I don't know.

As I see it, the one piece of the puzzle we're missing is a disruptive, penetrating DT that can push the pocket from the middle. So if somehow we can find a way to land Dorsey or Ellis, then I think we might be able to shift to a Tampa-2 philosophy. But if we draft a high-priced corner in the 1st round, I think that means that we're planning to stick with a primarily man-to-man philosophy.
 

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If you're going to adopt the Tampa-2 philosophy
It'll probably be easier to just address this broadly.

First of all, again, Cover-2 is just a coverage. Tampa-2 is an actual philosophy :) "Cover-2" just means "2 men deep". It can be, actually, just about anything. 2 safeties deep, the rest man (Cover-2 man). The two CBs deep and the safeties dropping into an undernear zone (a Robber coverage). You might blitz a CB and roll the safeties over the top to that side. etc etc

So "Cover-2" is, technically, worthless to say on it's own. However I understand nowdays it's become "shorthand" for "Tampa-2", but it's still important to keep this in mind.


Let's tackle the Tampa-2.

First of all the Tampa-2 is a little different then a strictly normal Cover-2 zone. The MLB drifts a little deeper on a passing play, almost into a sort of Cover-3. The Safeties as a result slide a little to the sidelines, and the OLBs end up with more ground to cover.

Running this a lot requires some specific personal, and the Tampa-2 turns from just a "coverage" into a "philosophy".

Most importantly, you're only rushing 4. So your front-4, first and foremost, has to independently generate a pass rush. They mostly play 1-gap, the focus is on penetrating and getting up field as quick as possible. Your ends in particular tend to be undersized, don't worry about the run one lick, and just get up field on the LT. A great 3-tech DT is also a huge, huge help as Warren Sapp demonstrated because if your ends are constantly going wide you need to collapse the pocket from inside.

Interestingly Dwight Freeney's infamous "spin move" allows him to get in closer to the LT and basically avoid getting pushed real deep in his rush. Which helps out the interior linemen because there's not as big a "pocket" formed. Freeney often beats the QB to the spot of his drop back.


Anyways, the result of this is you end up with linebackers who are basically having to read-react to any run plays. Along side that is also the space they have to cover in coverage. Consequently they also tend to be focused on "speed" and consequently, often times, undersized (Cato June, Derrick Brooks, etc). However, since the CBs are playing an underneath zone facing the QB, they serve almost like safeties and can help the LBs in run support. Consequently you need bigger CBs who can by physical, but can afford to get guys who maybe don't have the "hips" and can't turn and run in man coverage as well.

Lastly you need Safeties who can cover a lot of ground quickly. One of the core focuses of the Tampa-2 is "no big plays". It's happy to give up an 11 play drive because it's at it's best in the redzone (when the zones tighten up because the field is shorter) and thrives on forcing "mistakes" (because everyone faces up the QB it produces a lot of INTs, plus the pressure from a good Tampa-2 line). You can just about always move the ball on a Tampa-2 defense but you have to be mistake free. That's taxing mentally and very difficult to pull off.


One of the things you should notice is how "atypical" the players are for a lot of those positions. It was one of the core ideas behind it when Dungy first installed it in Tampa. He could go after guys most other teams considered tweeners (like Derrick Brooks who was "too small"). He could draft 4th round CBs and have them work out just fine (because the key attribute of a man CB, his "hips" is a relative non-issue). You can use those 250lb undersized DEs. etc

Of course, some of the Tampa-2 "philosophy" has since leaked into the rest of the NFL, even if they don't adopt it wholesale. Consequently you don't have the personal advantage that Tampa had at the end of the 90s.


All of that put together. The most important thing we lack for any "Tampa-2" philosophy are undersized rush ends. And McCray isn't an answer there either. We'd have to draft someone like Ghoulston to even consider it. So you can probably toss that out the window. As far as attacking it goes. The general undersized nature of the Tampa-2, and in particular the defensive line, means yes, running right at it is often successful. The key for a Tampa-2 team to stop the run is a penetrating DT who can disrupt the run and the handoff and get it going east-west from the start. Which puts the LBs in pursuit which they excel at. Tampa with Warren Sapp was a great example of this.
 

SoggyBottomBoy

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The general undersized nature of the Tampa-2, and in particular the defensive line, means yes, running right at it is often successful. The key for a Tampa-2 team to stop the run is a penetrating DT who can disrupt the run and the handoff and get it going east-west from the start. Which puts the LBs in pursuit which they excel at. Tampa with Warren Sapp was a great example of this.
Hence the reason Deuce has had a career against Tampa. Good post, Spam.
 

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