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    • By Destino in ES Coverage
      Good afternoon Redskins nation!  I’m in beautiful Landover, MD with Spaceman Spiff who has been pulled away from Instagram models and tailgating and sent down to the field to do what he does best (roll around in the mud).
      Let’s get down to business...  Can we block them?  There are other story lines entering into this game but worrying about them feels largely academic.  The Texans have two terrifying pass rushers and the Redskins intend to block them with optimism and underdog stories.  Alex Smith isn’t a statue but he does take time in making decisions and getting the ball out.  This combination looks disastrous.  The sort of thing that has us all after the game consoling each other with things like “well, it was just a bad matchup" and “we caught them at the worst possible time.” 
      Or... we could walk away wondering just how the heck this team managed to pull off another improbable win.  Last week the gave up something like twelve thousand yards of offense to the Bucs, I’ll have to check those numbers to be sure, but only three points.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Maybe we can enjoy an outrageously unlikely result again.  Not probably, not likely, but you know... maybe.  I’m saying there’s a chance.   
      I’m here for that chance.  (and you know... the free food and climate controlled free seats) 

      1st Quarter Update
      Redskins are running their bend and break defense, and I’m not sure a little over three quarters is enough time for the Redskins offense to close a 10-point gap.  I’m having flash backs of week nine, but having human emotions is considered “disruptive behavior.”  I'm fine.  Everything is fine. 
      That Quinn celebration, whatever that was, was the highlight of the 1st quarter. 
      2nd Quarter Update
      Is there a better way to start a quarter than by scoring a touchdown?  There is, if you follow that TD drive with a forced turnover on defense.  Things are looking good! 

      So much for that.  A great start was quickly ended up canceled out by the Redskins offense.  With a chance to take a lead Alex Smith throws a pick six in the red zone and takes the air out of the stadium.  He followed that up by throwing another interception on the very next drive.  Alex Smith almost made me forget about Vernon Davis dropping that pass.  Almost. 
      Texans missed a field goal attempt and the lead remains frozen at 10. 
      This quarter feels like a giant blown opportunity.  
      Halftime Update. 
      I should have stopped at one hotdog.  I deserve this.
      3rd Quarter Update
      You know the feeling where you say and think all these bad things about a player and then he breaks his leg and you immediately feel bad about it?  I live there now.
      Colt McCoy has freed me from that place of sadness! 
      As much as I love this defense, they have to start forcing teams to punt at some point.  Is there a stat for defense tha thas forced the fewest punts?  We have to be near the top of that list.  Texans have punted just once today.  Holding them to three was good, though.   
      The lead is down to six and Colt McCoy has arrived to save us.  (Please let that be true.) 
      Personal Note:  Someone just stomped, loudly, out of the press area like a while muttering at his phone.  Laughter and comparisons to toddlers followed him.  The media's laugh is an evil laugh!  Good times. 
      4th Quarter Update
      Colt has brought us back.  Welcome to the first lead change of the season, Redskins fans.  You like that?!  (Yeesh, was that always so lame?)  I guess you could say Adrian Peterson contributed by actually scoring the touchdown.  I bet Colt told him to score though, so you have to factor leadership into things.
      Once again, the defense cannot force a punt, hard to feel great about holding a team to a field goal when that field goal gives them the lead in the 4th quarter 
      Remember that whole "can we block them" thing?  The answer was absolutely not on the Redskins 2nd drive of the 4th quarter.  Watt and Clowney each sacked our man Colt, and ended that drive before it really had a chance to begin. 
      Horrible, no good, very bad holding called on Norman gifting Houston a first down at the worst possible time for it.
      Colt chooses to throw deep at an inopportune moment resulting in a 60+ yard attempt for an injured kicker.  Heartbreaking end to a game that cost this team entirely too much (via injury) yet still seemed to be within reach several times. 
      I'm off to the post game press conference and locker room, check back later for updates.
      Final Thoughts
      I’ve always found it preferable to watch my favorite team simply get destroyed, than to feel that they were the better team and still managed to lose.  The Redskins gave this game away with mistakes in the 2nd quarter.  Fred Davis makes a routine catch and Alex Smith doesn’t throw a pick six, and the scoreboard shows at least 7 fewer points for the Texans.  Even if the Redskins had settled for field goals, that’s a 13 point swing in 2 point game.   
      Losing the game wasn’t even the worst part.  Losing Alex Smith, for at least the remainder of the season, is likely enough to push the Redskins past the point where they can continue toughing their way through key injuries. 
      We'll all feel better after a win against the Cowboys next week. 


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The Art of Coverage: The Cover 2

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As many (most) of us know, there are a variety of coverages used in the game of football. They range from man, zone, to a combination of the two.

For this thread, I want to focus mainly on the cover 2.

The names imply how many men are deep in the play. In the cover 2, there are two men deep, they split the field and are each responsible for half. In the cover 2, in a basic 4-3 scheme, these two men are the safeties. Generally, in a cover 2, safeties are taught not to let any receivers get behind them. An example of a safety letting a route get behind him is Schweigert in the Hall of Fame game on the play that everyone blamed Tryon for. That was clearly Schweigert's zone.

The cover 2 is a basic 4-3 alignment. The corners are responsible for the flats, which is the area pretty much from the hash to the sideline on their side of the field, but as a coach you really want your corner to be able to cover from the last man on the line of scrimmage to the sideline. The zone is not deep. It's a very shallow zone. It's more of a horizontal zone than a rectangular one.

Since they are responsible for the short portion of the field, pretty much where they line up, corners play up on the receivers and jam them.

To clarify the jam, a jam isn't a straight tackle. You're really not knocking the man down. All you have to do if give them a few good hits to nudge them off their routes.

On top of that, when the corners jam, they want to push their man inside. Why? To deny an outside release. Remember, in the cover 2, the weakspot is going to be just behind the corner and just in front of the safety. If you allow an outside release, the receiver is headed right for that spot on the field. So you want to deny that.

After the jam, the corner then looks to the flats to see if anyone is coming. It could be any combination of routes coming their way from pretty much anyone running a route. a SE on the opposite side of the field could come to their zone on a shallow crossing pattern (drag). Once the corner determines nothing is coming their way, they cautiously creep back to defend against a post corner, a corner, a comeback or anything to the weakspot of the zone scheme. They must keep their eyes on the flats, however, in the case of a delay pass. They are only responsible for that portion of the field, nothing more. Whatever else they do is bonus.

The outside linebackers have hook to curl zones. This area of the field is pretty much where they start out to the hash. It's a bit deeper than the flats, therefore the two zones don't overlap. The backers drop back into coverage, checking for the hook. If they see no hook they immediately widen to the curl zone.

Remember our corner funneling the receiver inside? This is why. They funnel the receiver to the outside linebacker so that he can cut off throwing lanes from the quarterback, thus making the QB either check down or force a throw.

The middle linebackers are in charge of "The Hole" or the middle of the football field. This zone is pretty much exactly where they line up. They are looking for anything coming across the middle that isn't in the hook to curl zone.

This is the basics. There are times when guys have to choose to cover one route or the other because of the offense flooding a specific zone.

The reason I bring this topic up is I've seen alot of people blaming Tryon for that hall of fame game play.

Just because a defensive player lines up directly over an offensive player, doesn't make that man their responsibility. Blitzes can change responsibility, zones make you responsible for an area rather than a receiver, etc.

The cover 2 can be run from formations other than the 4-3, but in its most basic form it is run from the 4-3 :)

I've attached a (bad) diagram of the cover 2.

W=Weakside Backer

S=Strongside Backer

FS=Free Safety

SS=Strong Safety


The elipses are their zones.

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