Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gir's Weekly Column: Volume 81

[Image: gvd6.jpg]

Gir's Weekly Column: Volume 81

By Gir Todafunk
Special To The Daily Magi
August 25, 2056


Hey everybody, it's me, Gir Todafunk, back with another weekly column for the Daily Magi and Magi Football Blog. As we get set for the BYU Cougars tomorrow, I want to wrap up my thoughts of the 3-4 defense. The 3–4 defense generally uses four defensive backs. Two of these are safeties, and two of them are cornerbacks. A cornerback's responsibilities vary depending on the type of coverage called. Coverage is simply how the defense will be protecting against the pass. The corners will generally line up 3 to 5 yards off the line of scrimmage, generally trying to "Jam" or interrupt the receivers route within the first 5 yards. A corner will be given one of two ways to defend the pass (with variations that result in more or less the same responsibilities): zone and man-to-man. In zone coverage, the cornerback is responsible for an area on the field. In this case, the corner must always stay downfield of whomever it is covering while still remaining in its zone. Zone is a more relaxed defensive scheme meant to provide more awareness across the defensive secondary while sacrificing tight coverage. As such, the corner in this case would be responsible for making sure nobody gets outside of him, always, or downfield of him, in cases where there is no deep safety help. In man coverage, however, the cornerback is solely responsible for the man across from him, usually the offensive player split farthest out.

The free safety is responsible for reading the offensive plays and covering deep passes. Depending on the defensive call, he may also provide run support. He is positioned 10 to 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage, toward the center of the field. He provides the last line of defense against running backs and receivers who get past the linebackers and cornerbacks. He must be a quick and smart player, capable of making tackles efficiently as well as reading the play and alerting his team of game situations.

The strong safety is usually larger than the free safety and is positioned relatively close to the line of scrimmage. He is often an integral part of the run defense, but is also responsible for defending against a pass; especially against passes to the tight-ends. 

The 3–4 has two basic defensive variations the one-gap and the two-gap. In a two-gap system, the linemen are charged with tying up two blockers. This allows the linebackers to "flow downhill" and make tackles without shedding blocks. The one gap, on the other hand, distributes the responsibility for gap coverage evenly between the linemen and linebackers. Each player had a few "key reads" after the ball is snapped. For example, the middle linebacker may be covering the strong side A gap (gap between center and strong side guard). If he sees the guard move right, then he flows with the guard. If the guard moves left, he attacks downhill and "shoots his gap." Responsibilities in the one gap vary depending on the defense.

Very few teams use purely one or two gap systems in today's NFL. However, the majority of teams, such as the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers primarily use the two-gap 3–4. The Houston Texans primarily use the one gap 3–4. The New York Jets use a versatile, hybrid defense combining one and two gap looks.

Check in with yours truly next week on the Magi Football Blog and Daily Magi for my thoughts on how we did against the vaunted Cougars, and our preparations for Minnesota. Yes, we're facing THOSE GUYS again. I'm Gir, Mr. Wonderful, signing off. You Are Not Alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment