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cover 0

Cover 0 is an aggressive coverage that is usually tied to heavy blitz packages . It leaves zero deep defenders and utilizes man coverage. It’s a high risk and high reward play. The goal being to pressure the quarterback and force a sack or mistake.

Cover 2

Cover 0 Philosophy

The philosophy of Cover 0 is to create as much pressure and pass protection confusion as possible to disrupt rhythm and timing throws, create a sack, or force a bad pass. While not always paired with blitz packages, Cover 0 does always have zero deep help and use man coverage. By showing all-out blitzes, the defense can force the offense into predictable situations with hot routes and pass protection rules that they can then schematically exploit. Offenses will try to combat Cover 0 with quick hitters, crossing routes, bunch formations, and deep shots.

cover 0

Cover 0 Assignments

  • Inside or off alignment on #1
  • No run responsibility
  • Man-to-man on #1
  • No deep safeties
  • Part of blitz package or man-to-man on #2 or #3 receiver to their side

Nickel / Outside Linebackers:

  • Outside contain run support
  • Part of blitz package or man-to-man on #2 receiver to their side

Middle Linebackers:

  • Inside gap run responsibility
  • Part of blitz package or man-to-man on running back to their side
  • Can also be used as plugger in the middle of the field to wall crossers and prevent hot routes

Inside Zone

C over 0 Variations

While there are almost an infinite number of blitz packages off of Cover 0, the most common coverage variation is to drop first and second level defenders into zone coverage. Those players drop to the middle of the field to congest the passing lanes for the offense’s hot routes. This coverage is called Cover 0 Plug.

Cover 0 Plug:

Cover 0 Plug can drop any player in the front seven in an effort to take away the quick throw from the offense. Often, the defense will play off-man coverage outside so that the offense can’t take a quick deep shot down the field with no safety help. As a result, that leaves space underneath. Cover 0 Plug tries to occupy that space underneath, but at the consequence of bringing less people on the blitz.

cover 0 plug

This Cover 0 blitz look from the Chiefs against the Broncos is a great example of the secondary understanding what’s happening up front. The two safeties are deep and disguising the coverage, but are actually in man coverage on the receivers they’re lined up over. With the Broncos in an empty formation, the Chiefs know that they’ll have six rushers for the Broncos’ five blockers and get a free runner. That allows the safeties to play more flat-footed and aggressive since they’re in off coverage at ten yards. They know the ball will need to come out quickly, so the safety to the bottom of the screen jumps the route as soon as the receiver makes their first cut. The pressure gets home and forces the ball to be slightly behind which allows the safety to under cut the route and take the interception back for a touchdown.

The Dolphins are also in Cover 0 and are green dogging their nickel and corner to the bottom of the screen. As soon as those two players diagnose that the tight end and running back are staying in on protection, they join the blitz and rush the quarterback. The other Dolphins defenders are playing off coverage to prevent the Chiefs’ from taking a deep shot. The pressure forces an off-target throw and incompletion.

what is cover 0 blitz

Cover 0 isn’t without its risks. If you get beat quickly in man coverage , teams can break off big chunks of yardage on you or take advantage of poor coverage by the secondary. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles here make a quick decision and read the leverage of the corner outside. With the corner on top of the route, he quickly throws a back-shoulder ball before the blitz gets home and scores a touchdown.

Teams will also make defenses pay by running quick screens outside against the off coverage and blitz looks. With almost all the defenders inside, that means nobody is outside to prevent screen passes and quick outlet throws. All those players on the rush now have to change course and chase things down out on the sideline. With a missed tackle outside, that can turn into an easy throw and catch and a big gain.

As mentioned in Cover 0 Plug, defenses will drop guys into coverage after showing a heavy blitz look to take away slant and quick throw windows. That’s what the Dolphins are doing here. They’re showing blitz with everyone at the line and then drop two guys into the slant window. The 49ers want to hit the quick slant over the middle, but the plug from the linebacker takes away that window and the pressure gets home for the sack.

cover 0

Cover 0 Beaters

Cover 0 will have similar beaters as Cover 1 or any man coverage, however, the emphasis here is getting the ball out before the blitz gets home. As a result, some longer developing man-beaters won’t have time to get open before the quarterback is sacked. Teams will often run:

Pick routes

Mesh Concept

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Cover 0 brings pressure, big play potential, and forces the offense into predictable route concepts and plays. However, if one player misses a tackle or gets beat in man-coverage, it’s a big play opportunity for the offense. There’s no deep help or extra run support if someone is out of position, but the potential for a sack or errant throw can make the risk worth it.

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Football Advantage

  • Cover 0 Defense (Coaching Guide With Images)

By Coach Martin | Football Defense

  • You are here:
  • Football Defense

cover 0

Cover 0 defense is simply a fancy term for man-to-man coverage.

The 0 in the name of the defensive scheme refers to the fact that there’ll be no deep help over the top from either the free safety or strong safety.

There are various "Cover" defensive schemes, and the number after that word generally refers to how many players will provide deep over-the-top help.

In this way, all of these defenses are referred to as zone coverage, since players will be responsible for covering a zone on the field rather than a specific offensive player.

This is where Cover 0 differs greatly from the other zone defenses such as Cover 2 , Cover 3 , Cover 4 , and more.

With no extra deep help over the top, Cover 0 is a true man-to-man defensive scheme.

Every defender has a specific player on the offense that he’s assigned to cover.

All other players are tasked with blitzing the quarterback.

This is why Cover 0 defenses are often used in passing situations in which the defense wants to put extra pressure on the quarterback.

While this extra pressure is a great thing, it also comes with its downfalls as well.

Let's take a closer look at the Cover 0 defense, including who should run it and how it's run.

Cover 0 Diagram

Who Should Use the Cover 0?

Cover 0 defense can be used by any defensive team. It's an extremely simple defense to teach, as it's simply man-on-man.

As a coach, you don't have to teach more complicated zone defensive schemes.

You only need to tell each defender which offensive player they're responsible for covering and let them do their job.

Again, all other defenders who don't have a man coverage assignment will just blitz the quarterback.

To run a Cover 0, though, you’ll need quick and speedy defenders, especially defensive backs , who can keep up with fast wide receivers.

You'll also often need at least one of your linebackers to have the ability to keep up with tight ends and running backs who can go into coverage.

With no extra help over the top, all your defenders must be able to cover their assignments.

If they don't, the offense could gain a big play.

1. Simple to Teach

Again, Cover 0 is very simple to teach and install.

There aren't complicated reads you need to teach.

You don't need to have players cover all offensive players who enter their zone.

Instead, simply give each defender an offensive player to cover, and let all other players blitz freely.

2. Forces Quarterbacks to Make Quick Decisions

With many defenders blitzing him, quarterbacks have to make quick and accurate decisions against the Cover 0.

Many young quarterbacks especially don't face a lot of pressure, so they might not be as good at responding. 

3. Doesn't Allow for Deep Patterns

When the defense is blitzing at least six defenders, it doesn’t give the quarterback a lot of time to wait for longer passing routes to develop.

As such, he often has to dump the ball off on shorter routes and hope his receivers can make a move to gain extra yardage.

1. Puts Pressure on Defensive Backs

Each defensive back on a team that runs Cover 0 must be very good at pass coverage.

There really can't be a glaring weakness here, as a mistake by one player can result in a huge offensive play since there's no extra help over the top.

2. Clears Parts of the Field

When defenses decide to blitz in Cover 0, they’re sacrificing coverage on the field.

That means there’ll be more space, especially over the middle of the field, for receivers to run routes, catch passes, and make moves to gain big yardage.

3. Requires "Sure Tacklers"

Because of the one-on-one nature of Cover 0, defenders need to be solid at tackling.

When passes are completed against Cover 0, the defender covering the receiver who caught the ball is often the only one around him.

It's important that he makes the sure solo tackle or at least slows the ball carrier down long enough for help to arrive.

How a Cover 0 Defense Is Run

Stage 1: the defensive line.

Cover 0 Defensive Line

For our example, we'll say that the offense is lining up with four wide receivers, no tight ends, a running back, and the quarterback out of the shotgun formation.

The defense, meanwhile, will counter with four down defensive linemen, two linebackers (a Mike and a Sam), a free safety, strong safety, two cornerbacks, and a nickelback.

The defensive linemen have a fairly simple job in Cover 0 schemes.

On almost all plays, their job is to get into the backfield as quickly as they possibly can.

They’ll all be assigned one-gap coverage and will do everything in their power to get through that gap en route to the quarterback.

The defensive ends will line up on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle to try to spread out the offensive line a bit.

They’ll have C gap responsibilities.

In addition to bursting through that gap, they must also keep outside contained, in case the offense runs a pitch or a quick screen to the running back.

The defensive tackle on the weak side of the field will line up on the offensive guard's outside shoulder, toward the offensive tackle.

He’ll have B gap responsibilities on that side of the field.

If he can also get a little chip on the offensive tackle to free up some room for the defensive end, that’d help, too.

The nose tackle will line up on the outside shoulder of the center. He’ll have A gap responsibilities on his side of the field.

His job is to blow up the interior of the offensive line.

If he can make contact with the other offensive guard, that's even better, as it’ll open up space for a blitzing linebacker.

Stage 2: The Linebackers

Cover 0 Defensive Line and Linebackers

In this defensive example, we'll have a Mike (middle) and Sam (strong-side) linebacker on the field.

The Will (weak-side) linebacker will be subbed off for a nickel back.

Some defensive coaches will decide to take their normal Will linebacker and ask him to play the Sam position on this play, as he might be the better blitzer.

The Mike will align himself between the center and the offensive guard to his left.

He’ll have responsibilities for blitzing through the A gap on that side of the field.

He won't have a coverage assignment at all, so all he has to worry about is getting through the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible.

The Sam linebacker will line up between the offensive guard and the offensive tackle on the other side of the field.

He’ll have B gap responsibilities.

Again, just like the Mike, he won't have a pass coverage assignment, meaning he can just worry about getting through the line of scrimmage as quickly as he can.

Stage 3: The Secondary

Cover 0 Defensive Line, Linebackers, and Secondary

The pass coverage matchups will all happen in the secondary, which will consist of five players in this case.

Each defender in the secondary will match up man-to-man with one of the five eligible receivers the offense has (the four wide receivers and one running back).

The two cornerbacks will line up out wide against the X and Z wide receivers, who’ll align themselves on the line of scrimmage.

These two cornerbacks will play an inside shade, trying to force their receivers to run routes toward the sideline.

This will cut down on the area of the field they have available to run.

The free safety and the nickelback will have coverage responsibilities over the Y and H wide receivers.

Both of those receivers will be lining up off the line of scrimmage, about halfway between the outside wide receivers and the offensive tackles, from sideline to sideline.

The nickelback will often have coverage responsibility on the Y wide receiver since he's often the "third best" receiver on the offense.

The nickelback will line up a little closer to the line of scrimmage than the free safety will, in almost press coverage.

This is to make it a little tougher for the Y to get off the line.

The nickelback will line up around the same depth as the two linebackers.

The free safety, meanwhile, will give himself some extra depth of about a yard or two behind the linebackers.

This will give him some extra time to backpedal if the H runs a deep route.

The H also will often run shorter routes, allowing the free safety to use his forward sprinting ability to make up the extra ground he's giving up by lining up deeper.

The strong safety will have coverage responsibility over the running back.

He’ll therefore line up on whatever side of the field that the running back does. In our example, this will be his right.

The strong safety will give himself some extra depth, just like the free safety.

He'll also need to make sure he lines up between the Sam and the defensive end so that he can keep his eyes on the running back at all times.

Unlike the other defenders in the secondary, he’ll need to look over and through offensive and defensive players before and after the snap to keep an eye on his coverage assignment.

Offenses will often try to sneak the running back behind the offensive linemen and then quickly out for screen passes against Cover 0.

They're hoping to take advantage of the fact that the strong safety has a more difficult job of picking up and staying with his coverage assignment.

Cover 0 is an extremely simple defensive scheme to teach players.

That's because it's a man-to-man defense in which each player in the secondary is given a specific receiver to cover.

All other players are usually just asked to blitz.

While there are variations that can be made to the Cover 0 defense to include some zone coverage for linebackers, the easiest version of the scheme is a blitzing defense.

It's a great defense to run against a spread offense because it puts pressure on the quarterback and forces him to make a quick decision.

At the same time, if you want to run the Cover 0, you need to make sure that all your defenders in the secondary can cover really well since they won't have any extra help over the top from safeties.

They also need to be sure tacklers, as they won't have help in that department, either.

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Football’s Ultimate Guide To Cover 0 Defense

Teams that often use cover 0 defenses are looking to generate a quick turnover or sack. Cover 0 can be a super effective way to pressure the quarterback into making a mistake. But it also leaves the defense vulnerable to a big play if the quarterback finds an open receiver.

You may also know it as the zero blitz or all-out blitz. But what does it entail?

A cover 0 defense is an aggressive, all-out defense in which the defensive backs don’t drop back into coverage. They instead come up to the line of scrimmage to defend the pass, leaving no deep help.

This guide teaches you everything you need to know about cover 0 defense, including key concepts and best use cases. By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of this complex yet highly profitable strategy.

So let’s get started.

What is the Cover 0 Defense in Football?

Cover 0 is a defensive scheme in football involving no deep defenders . Instead, a team relies on a solid pass rush to pressure the quarterback into making a mistake.

There are limitless amounts of cover 0 blitz packages. The most typical coverage variant is to drop 1st and 2nd level defenders to zone cover. These players move to the center of the field to clog up the passing opportunities for the offense’s hot paths. The name of this coverage is the “cover 0 plug.”

Any member of the front seven can get dropped by the “cover 0 plug” to keep the offense from making a quick throw.

The defense frequently plays off-man defense outside. This way, they help prevent the offense from making a quick deep shot across the field without any safety help. Therefore, there’s room underneath. This variant makes an effort to fill this space, but as a result, fewer people join the blitz.

Advantages of Cover 0 Defense

The cover 0 defense can force the quarterback to make quick decisions with the ball. This pressure can lead to turnovers if the quarterback isn’t careful. 

The terror of witnessing six defenders attack the quarterback, especially at lower levels, is enormous. Quarterbacks untrained in these cases frequently panic and toss the ball into the air to rid themselves of it in blitz scenarios.

Often, untrained quarterbacks attempt to flee the blitz, which costs them a significant amount of yards. When facing this kind of quarterback, the defense has the upper hand.

The Defense Advantage on Pass Rush

Another benefit is that a cover 0 can put pressure on the offensive line and force them to make mistakes. It can disrupt the offense’s timing and make it difficult for them to execute their plays.

The blitz of six defenders is frequently used with cover zero. If a team uses a spread offense, they often keep six blockers to safeguard their quarterback. This formation makes it possible for each blitzing defender to face one opponent.

For defensive linemen, one-on-one situations are superb since they relieve them of the worry of one opponent blocking them. Additionally, it significantly increases the burden on each lineman to maintain their block.

Teams leave the running back to impede a blitzing linebacker or defensive lineman when they send six members on a pass rush. Running backs are seldom effective blockers, which favors the defense based on a pass-rush perspective.

Disadvantages Cover 0 Defense

A cover 0 defense is exceptionally aggressive. Hence, it can lead to big plays being given up if the defense doesn’t get to the quarterback or ball carrier in time. Timing can be a problem against quick offenses that have many playmakers. 

Another disadvantage is that cover 0 leaves the middle of the field wide open. Good quarterbacks and receivers can exploit this loophole to earn their team points. 

A defensive player who isn’t as competent as the receiver may find themselves in a match-up disaster when playing cover 0. Teams frequently have wide receivers that can overwhelm defensive backs emotionally and physically. It’s asking for trouble to leave such receivers alone with less-skilled defensive players.

Defense coaches must insist that linebackers and defensive linemen run at full speed to impede the quarterback. Swiftness prevents the defensive backs from spending too much time covering quick receivers.

Finally, cover 0 can be super tiring for the defense. They have to be constantly on the move and ready to make a play.

Positions Needed In Cover 0 Defense

Cover 0 is a defensive scheme in which there’s no free safety. All defensive players are responsible for covering an area of the field. This technique allows the defense to be more aggressive, as there are no players deep to help prevent big plays.

Each team has its own set of specialized guidelines and methods for playing cover 0. Typically, the defensive backs and secondary stay engaged in coverage. Meanwhile, the linebackers exert pressure from the box and push the quarterback into making a split-second decision.

Here’s what each player deals with during a cover 0.

  • Left and right cornerbacks – Man-to-man coverage on the end receivers. Prepare for anything short and don’t count on any safety assistance.
  • Free Safety : Covering the slot receiver man-to-man. Prepare to break on any short distance.
  • Strong Safety: Covering the tight end man-to-man. Prepare to break on any short distance.
  • Weakside inside linebacker: Rush through the left gap. Use the late pre-snap blitz.
  • Middle linebacker: Rush through the right gap. Use the late pre-snap blitz.
  • Strongside linebacker: Cover the running back man-to-man. If the back is capable of providing protection, apply pressure.

Who Should Use the Cover 0 Defense?

The cover 0 defense can be excellent for any team when executed right. This defense is superb when facing an offense that’s unable to establish a consistent running game.

The cover 0 defense allows the defense to put extra defenders in the box to stop the run. This pressure can force the offense to throw the ball more than they want to.

The cover 0 defense can also be effective against a quarterback who isn’t able to make quick decisions. This defense can pressurize the quarterback and force him to make mistakes. The cover 0 is also good against mobile quarterbacks who may take off and run with the ball instead of passing.

There’s no need for intricate zone defensive strategies in a cover 0. Simply specify which offensive player each defense is in charge of defending. Every defender not assigned to man coverage can blitz the QB.

However, quick players, particularly defensive backs able to keep up with speedy wide receivers, are necessary for a cover 0. At least one linebacker must keep up with running backs and tight ends that can go into coverage. All defenders must complete their tasks without any more assistance.

However, if the offense can establish a consistent running game, the cover 0 defense spells trouble. Moreover, an offensive quarterback with quick, superb decisions makes this defense ineffective.

How to Run the Cover 0 Defense

Executing the cover 0 defense is an all-around effort. The defensive linemen, the linebackers, and the secondary unit should all be in proper positions.

Defensive Linemen

Let’s assume that the offense lines up with the QB out of the shotgun, four wide receivers, a running back, and no tight ends. The defense responds with sam and mike linebackers, free plus strong safeties, a nickel back, two cornerbacks, and four defensive linemen.

The defensive linemen should enter the backfield as soon as they can on nearly all plays. They all get one-gap coverage and must use every effort to cross that gap and reach the QB.

The defensive ends position themselves on the outer shoulders of the offensive tackle to stretch the offensive line a little. They need to sprint through the C gap. They also need to keep the outer area under control in case the offense executes a quick screen or pitch to the running back.

The field’s weak defensive tackle queues in the offensive tackle’s direction on the offensive guard’s outer shoulder. The defensive tackle is in charge of the B gap. The defensive tackle getting a small chip on the offensive tackle helps make space for the defensive end.

The nose tackle positions themselves on the center’s outer shoulder. He’ll handle the gap on his part of the field. His responsibility is to destroy the offensive line’s interior.

It would be best if he makes contact with the opposing offensive guard. That allows a blitzing linebacker to move into the open field.


Let’s have Sam and Mike linebackers and sub Will for the nickel back. You may also use Will instead of Sam if the former is better at blitz.

The Mike linebacker should be between the offensive guard on his left and the center.  He must quickly move through the A gap on that end of the field.  He won’t handle any coverage. So, his only concern is moving beyond the scrimmage line as swiftly as he can.

On the opposing side of the field, the Sam linebacker should stand between the offensive tackle and the offensive guard.  He’ll deal with the B gap. He won’t handle pass coverage as well. So, he can focus on moving as rapidly as possible beyond the scrimmage line.

The Secondary

All pass coverage matches occur in the secondary, which in this instance, consists of five players. Each of the offense’s five eligible receivers will align against one defender in the secondary in a man-to-man matchup.

The extreme-end wide receivers should organize themselves on the scrimmage line. Meanwhile, the two cornerbacks should be out wide in opposition to them.

The two cornerbacks should play an inside shade to compel their receivers to take paths toward the edge.  Their available running space on the field reduces due to this.

The coverage duties for the wide receivers second-closest to the edges on either side fall on the nickel back and free safety. Both receivers will queue up off the scrimmage line about midway between the offensive tackles and outside wide receivers, from one side of the field to the other.

The wide receiver second-closest to the left sideline is typically the offense’s “third best” receiver. Hence, the nickel back should be responsible for his coverage. In man coverage, the nickel back should be a little closer to the scrimmage line than the free safety. This formation makes it a little more difficult for the above receiver to cross the line.

The two linebackers and the nickel back should be at roughly the same depth. The free safety should position himself a yard behind the linebackers.

The strong safety will cover the running back. Like the free safety, he should give himself some more depth. He must also position himself between the defensive end and Sam to have constant sight of the running back.

The strong safety must scan the field pre and post-snap to keep tabs on his coverage duty.

How To Beat Cover 0 Defense

For a better chance to beat a cover 0 defense, identify it in time and plan for it. Only then can you execute your move right and exploit the defense’s vulnerable deep position.

Determining a Cover 0 Defense

There are a few ways to tell if a defense is in cover 0. First, look at the alignment of the defensive backs. If they are all lined up close to the line of scrimmage, that is a good indication that they are in man coverage.

Should you put your running back on a route, one of their six to seven defenders splits off during a cover 0. The defensive backs cover the remaining space. Because of this, your attack lacks sufficient blockers to effectively neutralize every defense.

Even if you don’t instantly detect seven defenders displaying aggressiveness at the scrimmage line, you’re likely receiving cover 0.

There are several pre-snap orientations that give away a cover 0. Sometimes you’ll see all defenders in press-man. Some can be in the press and some of. If all are within five yards, but there’s no safety, you’re up against the cover 0.

Planning for a Cover 0 Defense

Because it’s challenging for a wide receiver to escape a jam, the defense frequently succeeds with a cover 0 scheme. Players can’t move too far because of crowding at the scrimmage line.

This jamming alters the timing of the courses and places the quarterback in an undesirable throwing situation. The time needed to toss the ball is often between one to two seconds, and when a blitz is approaching, every second counts.

Train your skilled players to adapt their approaches on passing downs and to recognize cover 0 defenses in the pre-snap. If several of your plays include cover 0 adaptations, run those plays against defenses that are using zero coverage. Only execute those until you pull them out of it.

Since every failed tackle results in an exciting play, there is an equal probability that you’ll score if you obtain the ball against cover 0.

Attacking a Cover 0 Defense

One way to beat a cover 0 defense is to properly train the quarterback to stay calm during the blitz. The quarterback needs to make quick, yet sound, decisions under pressure and be accurate with his passes. If the QB stays collected and makes good decisions, the offense can move the ball down the field and score.

Another way to beat a cover 0 defense is to have an excellent running game. If the offense can run the ball effectively, it’ll take some of the pressure off of the quarterback and make it easier for him to make plays.

The offense needs to have good playmakers who can make plays when the quarterback gets them the ball. If the offense has receivers who can make plays after the catch, they can pick up yardage even if the quarterback is under pressure.

Football Cover 0 Defense FAQ s

Is cover 0 a zone coverage.

Cover 0 isn’t zone coverage. Defenders in the zone focus on the QB. In cover 0, players check the running back, tight end, and wide receivers.

What’s Better Zone or Man Coverage?

None is better between zone or man coverage as choices depend on a team’s skill and opponents. Each of these two has subcategories, which further have specific merits and cons.

When Should I Use Cover 0?

Use cover 0 during longer down and distance scenarios. Also, ensure your cover defenders are superb, as this technique is high-risk.

When it comes to defensive football, there’s no more feared strategy than cover 0. This aggressive style of defense leaves no margin for error, as it relies on a complete offense shut down by the defensive backs. Even if one player is beaten, it can often result in a touchdown.

If you’re looking to add some excitement to your defense, then the cover 0 defense is worth a try. But get prepared to give up some big plays if the quarterback is able to find an open receiver.

Need more tips on defenses? Check out our guides on cover 2 , cover 3 , and cover 4 defenses.

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  • Tuesday, April 9, 2024
  • Football 101

ITP Glossary: Cover 0

Football is littered with specialized terminology. from onside kick  to veteran minimum benefit , commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. inside the pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about., related: check out the primer on reading defensive coverages ..

Cover 0 is a coverage scheme with zero deep defenders. This is an entirely man-to-man coverage shell that involves a heavy pass rush ‒ normally six or more defenders. Accordingly, Cover 0 is also called a “zero blitz.” The goal is for pressure on the quarterback to disrupt the timing and progressions of the passing game, resulting in a sack or an errant throw.

Here the Bengals send eight rushers ‒ four defensive linemen and four blitzers ‒ at the Titans, forcing Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker to make an early, inaccurate throw on a wheel route to the left side:

Teams often use Cover 0 in goal line situations, where there is no deep field to defend. It is rare in other situations, as the risk of giving up a big play is great with no safeties deep:

On 3rd and 10 on their own 20-yard line, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (#11) lines up in a stack on the offensive right with Ted Ginn Jr.  (#19) just inside him. Ginn fires out while Fitzgerald runs a slant behind. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher (#24) doesn’t drive on the slant aggressively and Fitzgerald secures an easy catch.

Ginn’s route walls off safety Malcolm Jenkins (#27) and Fletcher takes a poor angle, springing Fitzgerald open to the end zone. This is the risk of Cover 0: a missed tackle resulted in an 80-yard touchdown rather than a more modest catch-and-run.

Dave Archibald created this entry; you can find his primer on identifying pass defensese here .

Follow us on Twitter @ITPylon .

Inside The Pylon  covers the NFL and college football , reviewing the film , breaking down matchups , and looking at the issues , on and off the field .

All video and images courtesy the NFL and NFL Game Pass.

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Joe Daniel Football

Coach Simple. Play Fast. Win.

Joe Daniel / January 12, 2023

Man Coverage Blitzes | FBCP S1302

Live and die by the sword! Okay, maybe not the sword in this day and age, but Defensive Coordinators have replaced the sword with blitzes, and living and dying by the blitz is very true of some coaching philosophies. The man blitz, or blitzing with any man coverage behind you, is a fairly safe and targeted blitz call to live and die by.

On this episode, Joe and Daniel discuss the ins and out of man blitzing, why you need to install a few, and how you can mix them into whatever you’re running now.

man coverage blitzes

What is a man blitz?

  • Man blitzes are simply any blitz with a Cover 0 or Cover 1 man coverage ran behind it.
  • These blitzes can be called to stop any play, run stopping blitzes and pass pressure blitzes are both very common.
  • Any player can blitz in a man blitz, from ILB to CB, but they do fit better from some fronts than others.

Why do you need them in your scheme?

  • Man blitzes allow you to get extra bodies to a particular place right now, allowing you to change the picture post snap.
  • You can game plan to attack the oppositions’ pass pro with simple blitzes.
  • As a coach, you can remove a player’s indecisiveness with a fairly safe blitz. Speed up their play by removing the read, or getting them moving forward.
  • You can change angles for the opponent’s offensive line to have to block.  

How do you mix them in with your base scheme?

  • Base is good at everything, but great at nothing. If you’re playing a team that’s great at something, you need to have a call to stop it.
  • Use a blitz like TigerCat to bring maximum pressure while still covering all receivers.

Related Links

  • In season 10 we discussed using blitzes to adjust your defense.
  • Coach Daniel talks about coaching up your linebackers to effectively blitz on this episode from season 2.
  • Joe talks about 4 Reasons to Call a High Risk Blitz in this article from 2017.

[00:00:46] Daniel Chamberlain Welcome back, coaches. This is The Football Coaching Podcast. I’m Daniel Chamberlin, co-host here with Joe Daniel as always.

[00:00:52] Joe Daniel How is it going Coach?

[00:00:53] Daniel Chamberlain Can prepared for the holidays already did our travels. Everything else is within a two mile radius.

[00:00:59] Joe Daniel We traveled last two weeks ago to right so you know I know we’re after the holidays when this episode goes out. That’s true. We did travel two weekends in a row to my dad’s, which is about a five and a half. Well, now the baby, it’s about a six, six and a half hour drive. And then we flew to Florida to Longboat Key, which is near Sarasota. Was cool place, went down there with my wife’s family. So it was a lot because there was also a shoulder surgery in between for Britney. So there’s been a lot of a lot of stuff happening. But then the upside is we will be home for the next few. So Christmas, which is usually like, you know, going down during my family, going to her family is we’re just going to be home. So, yeah, which is cool.

[00:01:54] Daniel Chamberlain That’s the way to do it. I used to try to see all my friends and holidays and all that stuff because I’ve just continuously moved north in the state of Oklahoma since I was a wee lad. But we started doing Christmas in July and that’s when we just have all our friends together and that way I don’t owe them any time. And December.

[00:02:09] Joe Daniel As we call.

[00:02:10] Daniel Chamberlain It, is pretty cool. One year we went all out and like turning this year down to like 55 and more Christmas pajamas and did gifts and I was getting deployed. So it was kind of a yeah, a hodgepodge. I think we had a Christmas and New Year’s in the same night. We counted down to midnight of some random night and dry. So might.

[00:02:27] Joe Daniel As well. Sounds like you I mean, seems like a good idea. Yeah. As a July you can, you know, you don’t have as much going on.

[00:02:33] Daniel Chamberlain No, absolutely. Everybody’s kind of free, so it’s good.

[00:02:38] Joe Daniel And I went to this is my last, last holiday thing. I was stunned. I’m not stunned. I went to go grab something here at Short Pump, which is where the mall the big mall is mall area. And I’m not even thinking, you know, it was it’s a Tuesday afternoon and I got stuck in traffic and I’m like mall traffic. Well, what are these people do you you don’t have to go through this anymore. You can order all of your gifts in 30 minutes. That’s right. From the comfort of your lap.

[00:03:13] Daniel Chamberlain From your Friday, even from like April to December. It’s always Black Friday.

[00:03:19] Joe Daniel Do you get all your shopping done in an extended bathroom session like and then it’ll just all show up. Done shopping, Done? Yeah. What do you do? Well, what are you doing? I want to know.

[00:03:32] Daniel Chamberlain I know that my like my mother in law, she’s a What do you want for Christmas? I sent her an internet link. Like, here’s the website. This is what I want. She’s like, Nope, I have to be able to touch it. I’m like, What? She’s like, I need to know it’s quality or I need to have to put hands on the item. And like that greatly reduces the amount of stuff that you’re going to get for me. So because I don’t I don’t know. And I just look at read reviews and watch videos and I that’s how I shop. I don’t touch stuff anymore. That’s weird.

[00:04:00] Joe Daniel But yeah, some of the thing, like I try to ask for things that I wouldn’t buy for myself because like, if it was up to me, like if I just went to go get, if I, if I just sent you like, like we have a secret Santa in our family, and if I just put on there what I want it like it would just be links to like steam games, right. Like, and you would never. But I know that the person that’s buying that, especially if it’s like my mother in law, like she does not want to buy me a download link to a get like to.

[00:04:29] Daniel Chamberlain Right.

[00:04:30] Joe Daniel To her that’s buying nothing, right? It’s you cannot see it. She’s not above buying anything on Amazon. But I try to pick out things that like I can wear so that she can see it right. It’s.

[00:04:44] Daniel Chamberlain I need to show it off. Yeah. I got you. Yup. Holiday gift going for in malls.

[00:04:49] Joe Daniel Is it also like, if I want something, I go buy it most of the time. Like if it’s not, you know, if it’s not so expensive that I wouldn’t ask somebody else to buy it, I probably bought it.

[00:05:00] Daniel Chamberlain That’s my problem. It’s exactly. I’m pretty sure I went shopping for myself two weeks ago, like, Yeah, first light’s having a sell. I need camouflage. I don’t. I have plenty. I needed nothing, but I got it anyway. So it’s hard.

[00:05:14] Joe Daniel To find the stuff that, like, I need tools because I have the tools that that my parents bought for me when I got my first truck in high school. So they’re. They’re great. I mean, you know, they’re craftsmen in there. But through however many moves I’ve now lost, like almost all of my, you know, have these nice tools and then sprinkled in like, you know, some whatever I needed a socket for me. Bought it at AutoZone. Or something. So I need tools, but it’s not one of those. You know, I have enough that I can get the job done so I never go and buy them. So I’m not really going to be don’t.

[00:05:50] Daniel Chamberlain Go to Lowe’s if you’re a Lowe’s person. I got to Lowe’s and I buy something every time until section. I know my addiction. I put it out there on signs. Then you shop.

[00:05:59] Joe Daniel Here we have a Home Depot, which is basically across the street, like, I don’t have to get on a road, a main road of any sort. So I go to Home Depot and I like Home Depot. I’m from Atlanta. I have a preference for Home Depot, so I tend to go to Home Depot, but I will go to the Lowe’s or something I have to go to Lowe’s for I forget what it is that I always I always go to Lowe’s to get it. There’s a Lowe’s nearby. Oh, the Keys.

[00:06:23] Daniel Chamberlain Yeah, they do have a good keeping.

[00:06:25] Joe Daniel Lowe’s has that key kiosk and I don’t talk to anybody. I just stick key in there.

[00:06:30] Daniel Chamberlain And I just.

[00:06:31] Joe Daniel Depot wants me to wait for somebody to come over there and talk.

[00:06:34] Daniel Chamberlain Make the keys for a guy who talks for a living. I don’t want to talk to anybody. I love it.

[00:06:44] Joe Daniel Thing I’m not a gynecologist.

[00:06:46] Daniel Chamberlain Speaking of speaking of talking to people, do you want to I mean, for a living. You want to pay the bills, the new modified paying the bills for.

[00:06:57] Joe Daniel Now, the the the modify paying the bills are is right now I don’t have anything to to sell you that I know of as of when this episode comes out JDFB Coaching Systems is closed down for a little bit. Not that closed I’m sorry enrollment to get a membership right now is is not available. It will be back soon again, since we record ahead of time. I don’t have any exact details on it, but it will be back soon. Kind of. You know, one of the things that we we realize and I realized is over time I have added and added and added and added and that has added time for me and work for me all because I want to make sure that you guys have everything that you need. And, you know, to be honest, at some point we had to sit back and go, I’m doing a lot more work now. So so we’re changing our pricing structure. There’ll be some new things added, there’ll be some new it will kind of get that out in the coming weeks. That I think will be real cool. And of course, we’re we’re due for, I guess this year the 33 STACK will get the update. It is the only one that hasn’t been updated. And then and then we’re going to kind of look at how to organize those because, you know, one of the things about the defensive systems or 254, three 33 stack three four, I really want to get the point across. And that’s one of the things I’m going to be doing in in what’s coming up. I really want to get the point across that these are not four defenses, right, Bob.

[00:08:28] Daniel Chamberlain You’re not going combination section.

[00:08:29] Joe Daniel It’s a defense. Yeah. And it’s it’s a defensive system, just like the Pistol power offense system. I have had years where we were essentially, you know, almost an information team, right? We’re double tight. Fullback was a lead blocker. We’re running power, we’re running. I mean we ran some ISO zone lead where we would stay on the double and lead up on a linebacker. And then, you know, this year we were we were in a little bit of power read but not much. We ran a ton of zone read was our base run play and you know, our quarterback was our best athlete. And what happened was we were able to run inside zone that way because everybody’s accounting for the quarterback so we could run it. So but in the same way that the pistol power offense could be too tight information or it could be, you know, ten personnel write read and the defense is the same way. It’s really the names are outdated at this point. It’s it’s really do you want to look like a33? You know, you can look like these numbers, but the numbers don’t matter. So working on that.

[00:09:34] Daniel Chamberlain I understand the separation in the in the defenses because some coaches are just stuck on numbers.

[00:09:39] Joe Daniel Right. I don’t think that I can take somebody that listen to this this podcast regularly will get it. So the guys that are listening that listen, every week you get this, you know what I’m talking about. You know what I’m saying? And if I say, you know, it’s the.

[00:09:54] Daniel Chamberlain The Joe Daniel.

[00:09:55] Joe Daniel Deal Daniel defensive system right. It it would get you would understand. But while a lot of my business comes from people who listen to the podcast regularly, I also get the coach who’s just doing what you did, go Googling up, you know.

[00:10:11] Daniel Chamberlain What’s the best high school.

[00:10:12] Joe Daniel Defense, best high school defense in a long time. And at that point, you want a 4 to 5 defense, You don’t want something random. So the names can’t go away. But you, you know, say that Tony Franklin’s and offensively, Tony Franklin’s obviously made that work, right. Yeah the you know the and you know if you look at, you know the end zone you know those kinds of things that got zone in the name I guess I’ve got power in the name but you know offensively you probably could get rid of the name defensively I think we’re still. Thinking numbers. Yeah, we’re still all thinking like.

[00:10:46] Daniel Chamberlain Till somebody puts a, you know, the bear front type name on it.

[00:10:49] Joe Daniel Right. Yeah.

[00:10:50] Daniel Chamberlain Maybe you’re the guy, Joe. Maybe that’s you.

[00:10:52] Joe Daniel Maybe I don’t.

[00:10:53] Daniel Chamberlain But you know, the Daniel defense.

[00:10:55] Joe Daniel Well, and you know what? You could sell it as a multiple front defense. Right. But you. But to me, when you when you are investigating defensive systems and one says multiple front and you go, I don’t want to be multiple front. Right. You don’t want you don’t need to be multiple front. So it’s not a multiple front. It is a multiple front defense. But you know, the front that you pick as your starting point. And I think everybody should pick a front start with it, which is now we’ve gotten off into a whole different.

[00:11:21] Daniel Chamberlain Topic but the multi Daniel defense.

[00:11:24] Joe Daniel And multi Daniel there’s there’s multiple Daniel’s I guess. Yeah so we’ll be back and there’ll be some there’ll be you know the base structure won’t change and if you’re a member now you’re, you’re, nothing’s going to change for you. Nothing’s going to change, you’re going to get a lot of stuff because wherever you’re at you’re, you’re on the high tier now because I don’t have time to sort out.

[00:11:45] Daniel Chamberlain Right.

[00:11:46] Joe Daniel Congratulations. You just got out. You got promoted for being or being loyal member. So yeah, we’ll be back with normal back soon.

[00:11:54] Daniel Chamberlain Hopefully within a couple of weeks or so. Don’t know. Timeline. Exactly right, but it’s coming, so. Hope you like to in. Let’s just start there. So move on to our topic for tonight today this this episode now we’re going to talk about and so if you haven’t noticed because we’ve only got one episode in the season, we’re really get breaking things back down to kind of the base level. So we’re talking fundamentally about schemes. Last week we covered what like quick game pass, right? I mean, it’s very, very simple, small piece of the game. And Joe did his magic and broke it down into lots of fun points. So tonight we’re going to move on onto the defensive side, actually, and the Blitzers. So we’re going to talk about Man Blitzers, in fact.

[00:12:37] Joe Daniel And it’s I think that as we break these things, you know, we talked about we don’t want to go through and talk about the four, two or the, you know, front wise. But defensively, there are so many things that I think coaches don’t think of them the way they think of offense. But, you know, we talked about how can we break down the defense and, you know, obviously cover one cover to cover three quarters. But we can also break down without going into fronts because that’s that’s to me, again, I think that’s a dicey area to get into because what’s more important about your fronts is the principles that you use then. Well, the four two is good. You know, I hate at this point, I really dislike the idea that the three three is good for this situation and the four two is good for this situation. They all suck. If you don’t teach it well, they all suck If you your players are screwed up, but they’re all good. If you teach them well, they’re all good. If you and then you pull levers and adjust alignments and stuff and, you know, maybe you play better in a33 than you do in a four, but it’s not because the three three is inherently better or vice versa or whatever. But with blitzes, we break this down and go, okay, well there’s man blitz and zone blitz, just like there’s gap runs, Gap scheme runs it and zone scheme runs. You know we’re I go by so there’s there’s man blitz is where we run a man coverage behind it Cover 1 or Cover 0. We can primarily be talking Cover 0 then there’s zone blitz is where we can drop. You know, we drop five into coverage and run zone coverage behind it. So that’s to families of Blitz is based on the coverage behind it and they change who we can blitz because of how the coverage changes. They also change our Fitz They change a lot of stuff. You know, we’ll talk about. We run when we talk about run fits and the umbrella, it kind of goes out the window when you go cover 0. But in, in, in, in a zone blitz, it’s still in existence. When you talk about the once you get into the weather, it’s going to be a man blitz or zone blitz. Then we also have three more categories and we’ll have episodes on those as well. We have interior blitz, they got big at Blitz is we have single edge blitzes which are, you know, America’s fire zone and those types of things. And then we have double Edwards, which my opinion has changed so much on double edge blitz is over the years and I’ll save it mostly for the episode but I’ll just I’ll tease this. I’m now of the thought process. The double edge blitz is the way this blitz called. There can be.

[00:15:04] Daniel Chamberlain At any point. Did you think it was a genius?

[00:15:05] Joe Daniel Michael thought it was a greatest play call. There was thought it was the the the absolute when. So I mean, just to give you an example, take a traditional five two front, right with the with the stand up and out there that’s a double edge blitz.

[00:15:21] Daniel Chamberlain Right.

[00:15:23] Joe Daniel It’s a zone blitz with a three under three deep behind it. It should be instead what we usually see is or some, you know, four under two deep, some some zone blitz with coverage. What ends up happening most of the time we see that is it’s it’s fundamentally broken because coaches aren’t teaching it it aren’t thinking of it as a zone blitz. They are running it as bad guys. When I ran a33 my first year, I did a terrible job. But three five what it was calling three, five, three, the Georgian military college, three, five, three. And I did a terrible job because I didn’t understand Ron Fitch yet. I understood the limits. I did not understand Ron Fitz. I thought, I want to get those guys through the gap. And that works great against teams that suck. You get a good gap scheme team, a good wing T, and that works horribly, absolutely horribly. And you end up in a track meet and hopefully you got some kids that can run and you can keep up the track meet because otherwise it’s not track news about race. Probably not. It’s not as much fun. But the first year that I ran the three, five, three, four, I forget how I got here because I just I my my mind drifted off to a two hour run. Fits with the Blitzers, with the with the double Edge blitzers. I loved what was called saw strong and weak. It was Sam in the will in our defense because I think we used I used the older military and then I also got some videos from John Rice, coach of choice three three stuff and to use some of his naming conventions and but I blitz those guys off the edge all the time and then you know, yell at the corners for not defending the flat.

[00:16:53] Daniel Chamberlain Right? Absolutely.

[00:16:55] Joe Daniel Of course, jobs depend on deep third stuff.

[00:16:58] Daniel Chamberlain I think we all have to go to that face. Coach, It’s okay.

[00:17:00] Joe Daniel Yeah, we’re through it. Survived it.

[00:17:02] Daniel Chamberlain So bring it back around. A man blitz. What? What? To get to the first part here. Just what? What is a man blitz?

[00:17:09] Joe Daniel So we’re talking. We’ve kind of touched on man blitz or zone blitz, right? You either drop your guys into zone coverage behind the Blitz or you or you play man, cover one or cover 0, you know, cover one. You have a deep free safety, you know, middle of the field player who is then had to be the free safety of marriage call. But you know, you have one guy who’s over top and then everybody else is locked on and man, we don’t run cover one only thing in our system that you can really run cover one in is interior blitz is not why say interior blitz is blitzing interior guys linebackers because if you go to blitz A and I watch people try to do it all the time, you’ve got to blitz somebody off the edge and play cover for one, somebody off the edge and play cover one. You generally have a problem. You don’t have enough guys. You end up with somebody uncovered, right?

[00:18:08] Daniel Chamberlain Tight end or slot is running free.

[00:18:10] Joe Daniel Yeah and I also don’t really like running zone blitz is out of the four to with that now the four three is fantastic resume blitz we run more man blitz if I were if I was still basing out of fourth three with my team which I wouldn’t because we just don’t have the the right right dudes for that. If I were still running for three we would be, we would Well I’m running the defense, but we would zone blitz a time when I’m working with teams that run four three. We talk a lot about the numbers three three. We still do some zone what’s it, three, four? Even though it’s a great front for zone blitzing, a lot of teams that are running, our three four are coupling it with 4-2-5 and so they end up running a lot more man blitzes 4 to 5, we end up running a lot of man blitzes. And so if you like to blitz a lot, you know, it’s not a great front for blitzing, it’s just not if you don’t like Running Man, the only running zero. So we tend to run a lot. So Cover 0 blitzes, which is mainly what we’ll talk about with Man Blitz is is having nobody overtop. You know, you don’t have a deep safety, everybody’s locked up. No, no free safety, nobody in middle of the field, nobody behind you. It is one on one across the board and we will still match the running back a lot of times with the linebackers that we’re just bringing. Five will bring a strong safety or weak safety, but those are you got to have a little bit of stomach for some risk. You you I think have to either have very good blitzers or know how to teach man coverage because the if the blitz doesn’t get home, nobody can cover one on one with no help for 4 seconds. Right? Consistently. Right. So if the ball is not being forced to come out of his hand early, then then you can be in trouble. And of course, this gets into I think we’re also going to do episodes on run, Blitz and Pass Plus, do we talk about that? Do we have that or we Not really.

[00:20:03] Daniel Chamberlain Well, I think we’ll throw it in the night.

[00:20:05] Joe Daniel We throw it in some point. So when we talk about run, Blitz is and pass Blitz is, you know, I talked about you had to get home to the quarterback quickly. You may be calling these blitzes to stop the run as well. I think when you really get involved in your defense, you start teaching your guys, your defensive linemen, your linebackers, your blitzers, to be aware of the situation and in high school, well, this is what I find in high school most of the time. The a lot of times the coaches thinking I’m blitzing for the pass and we don’t think about blitzing but but we do blitz for the run but the kids 100% without having this conversation with them the kids here are. Let’s call. They are thinking I’m going to go sack the quarterback. Yeah, right, brother. They’re running a wing team and it is second and fourth. You ain’t smack in the quarterback.

[00:20:52] Daniel Chamberlain Do you even get a sack as a statistic versus windy? Like, I think it’s just a tackle for loss at that point, right?

[00:20:58] Joe Daniel Because he I mean he’s he’s like even when he throws the ball, he was still thinking run until the ball.

[00:21:04] Daniel Chamberlain Right. And in some cultures like no tackle or quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, it’s a sack now. Yeah.

[00:21:12] Joe Daniel So you need to teach your players the difference between a run blitz and really, you know, you call blitz is to stop the run. Hopefully if you’re calling a blitz, you’ve thought this through and said, I want to stop this play. And you know we talking the defensive play caller system about adding numbers to the point of attack. We talk about the three levels of play calling and we just did this podcast what, a month ago last couple weeks. Yeah it’s not that not long ago. On calling your defensive plays and the three levels that you need to be aware of and this is the aggressive, the blitz and the most aggressive is cover 0. But what you’re trying to do when you when you call that, it’s all comes down to numbers games. Really what you’re trying to do is put more players at the point of attack. You don’t blitz to try to get like the biggest mistake that you can make in playcalling blitz is to me is to call the blitz hoping they don’t get blocked. Right. Because if you play a good team, they get blocked.

[00:22:11] Daniel Chamberlain Yeah. They should pick it up right.

[00:22:12] Joe Daniel Yeah, they should pick it up and that’s why I’m just, just flabbergasted. Jested Flabbergasted. Wow.

[00:22:19] Daniel Chamberlain I like it.

[00:22:19] Joe Daniel I am amazed when I see NFL Division one.

[00:22:24] Daniel Chamberlain Delete delete. Change the word.

[00:22:27] Joe Daniel Worth. I’m amazed when I see high level offensive lines just not pick somebody up. And I know that there’s a breakdown and it happens every once in a while and that’s okay. But I saw a game recently where it was happening repeatedly like this. And I, you know, I don’t know if something got messed up in the offensive line, if they overcomplicated things. Sometimes coaches try to simplify. And the one that’s sticking out my head, basically the the team I think was doing something that they didn’t expect. And this is what I think happens with a lot of coaches, is they try to simplify the teaching by going, Hey, this team can only do this. And so they spend the week teaching how to pick up or block or tackle or stop that one thing and the other team spends a week putting in another thing. And now you’re just you thought you were simplifying it and you just broke it because because the thing that you worked on doesn’t work against the other thing. So that’s the only explanation I come up with, because I can tell you that there’s absolutely never a front, a blitz, anything that I look at and go, we can’t pick that up. The only situation where we can’t pick that up and it’s not a major part of our offense, we shift into empty and we do it because a lot of high school teams suck at that adjustment. We do it to put somebody on a linebacker because we we want to see how you’re going to line up to, you know, we will look at how you line up to a certain formation. Right. And know that if I move this guy out there from the backfield, you have to put a linebacker on him and you’re going to lose that matchup. We never hit it, but we made you work on it. We made it. We made it once sorry of.

[00:24:18] Daniel Chamberlain So when Man Blitz is don’t really always have to be schemed out of some grand thing, right? It could just simply be like, I know in the 45 I have sent either safety and I’m just calling man, but I’m just calling our man coverage, right? It doesn’t have to be a grand scheme like, you know, you brought up Marcus fire zone and that’s a really big schemed out blitz because some cat who doesn’t normally go into coverage generally has two. Right? Right. So but any time you’re just call and man and then send that now it can be as ridiculous as we call it Tomahawk You have a tiger blitz or tiger cat. Right. So Right. Tigers or something in there. Yeah Yeah that is that it And everybody’s trying to get home blitz right now. Well one guy so it’s.

[00:25:02] Joe Daniel It is and it’s not it’s a little bit that tiger we can get it you know we can talk about what tiger cat is at its height extensively in our systems when we talk about the like you said, smoke, strong smoke, we bring a safety off the edge in the four two and it’s the same. Same is true. And it in really three or four or your three three the same deal because of the structure, we can’t cover a number two receiver and blitz that guy off the edge unless we go Cover 0 right We just don’t have the and we go and if you go trips we have to check it out of a strong we can’t we can’t blitz off the strong side edge right without sacrifice. Facing something else like I like well, I can just walk them like linebacker out there. Like, that’s that’s exactly what we just talked about, right? Like, you’re like, well, they’re not going to force me to not call my blitz and let’s fine. They’re going to put a kid who runs a four or five out there on your mike linebacker. And number three, they’re going to love that because now you’re at zero, you have no help overtop and the Mike linebacker is on number three. Now we can check roll we we can, you know now we go back and forth and I, I got my weak safety on the backside he can hang technique now because back doesn’t play to his side back players inside that Mike linebacker screwed but he can hang out and he can go look over and if that guy tries to run you know the 4 verts concept you go the backside, hash it, go help him pick him up, but he can’t help him on any sort of, you know, streak or post or anything like that. But a corner help, anything like that. So we do have to check out of it. But yeah, man Blitz is so generally with a man Blitz would just say like you said, strong safety. Weak safety blitz is in our four two and our three three especially are going to be cover 0 because of the structure of the defense. But most of the time when we talk about Cover 0 blitz is we’re trying to bring six so we could, you know, just as easily in that same coverage, make it a dog strong, which would be the mike and the strong safety or a dog’s weak, which was dogs as double in our terminology, which is TCU terminology. Bullets is backer, smoke is safety and dogs is double. It’s the bullets and a smoke. So I can go dogs weak, I can go dog strong, I can go dog dogs we got cause I can do all that kind of stuff if I want to. But the, the most, most Cover 0 Blitzers are trying to bring six and I was getting there on the empty conversation. The only time that we can’t pick somebody up is an empty if you blitz six. And that’s why when you run empty I’m I’m bringing six I’m 90% of the time bringing six. There you go. Because you can’t pick somebody up.

[00:27:31] Daniel Chamberlain So why do we need a man blitz in our scheme? What is what’s the benefit to me as a play caller.

[00:27:36] Joe Daniel Numbers being able to add numbers it’s it’s the ability to bring you know six I know you have five dedicated offensive linemen who work very hard at pass protection. So if I bring six, you’ve got, you know in our system you’ve got a tight end or an h-back or a running back that is responsible for that sixth. And that means somebody hopefully if I’m designing with them, designing a pass blitz, I when I say designing a blitz, you know, we’re really sit down and design a blitz and we have them. But but I’m I’m looking at what you do and picking out the blitzes that I want to have available on my call sheet that week. And they are designed to attack your protection. Meaning where does it split? Because wherever it splits is where the back is going to pick up. If it doesn’t split, it’s a slide. If you’re in a seven man protection, I probably won’t blitz you as much, right. If you’re going to, you know, the old I formation where you’re an eye formation and everybody blocks the inside and the, you know, the backs block the edge, the quarterback backpedal because you’re under center and backpedaling out from under center because you’re running protection from like the fifties, like Dan Fouts is out there. But then it’s not worth, you know, if you’re if you’re only seven in, it kind of changes things. But we have check releases, But I want to figure out how to get my best. BLITZER On your back or if it’s your tight end or your h-back, in our case, off the edge, picking out where you’re going with it. I can design Blitz for that. And that way I know somebody is getting blocked by a guy who doesn’t want to be blocking it. Will I don’t try to confuse the offensive line, though. I think that’s the thing is like it will overload them and you’re even better blitz is guys talk about overload. I just you know while we’re here guys talk about overload blitzes we’re I’m going to bring four and you’ve only got three again somebody is going to pick them up and I don’t you know there’s nothing in our scheme that was like you can’t overload us, right? We just, we slide to it. We, it doesn’t, it’s not that hard.

[00:29:43] Daniel Chamberlain In the run game. You talked about calling blitz is for the run that I mean that’s another benefit right. Because I can add those numbers you talk about adding, you can add those numbers where you we think that you want to go power scheme or zone scheme, whatever I can. I deal in his own scheme. I’m adding pressure before your back can make his read or changing his read because you know he wants to read the defensive end inside outside. But now there’s a linebacker there and the defensive ends outside. What’s he going to do? Right? Just make him fret a little gap scheme. I can attack big gap or, you know, outside the tackle, whatever to change your who are you going to kick out? Who are you going to rap to? Right. So it changes your power game even I guess counter ability exactly the same. So very, very effective in the run game with what you’re talking about being overloaded.

[00:30:29] Joe Daniel Yeah, but the numbers, what you can do is and you can and you can also handle inside run schemes or ISO or trap. I mean you can, you can run your gap. What you’re doing when you’re run blitzing. And this is where the numbers come in and this is why it’s effective. If I have a linebacker and we talk about numbers, right, and an average guy is a one and a really good guy is a 1.5 and you got a D1 kid in a place where there aren’t many D1 kids. He’s a two. And then there’s the kid that’s the 11th guy. He’s a he’s a 0.5. When I have a linebacker and let’s say that he’s a one, well, he is 70% run conscious and 30% pass conscious. So at the start of the play, he’s not really at one, right. He’s only a point seven against the run and 2.3 against the against the pass. When I blitz him and I’ve taught him to understand, I’m blitzing me on first and ten against an eye formation they’re not throwing. Right. What I’m telling you is I’m not blitzing you to go paint your ears back and get kicked out on a trap. I’m blitzing you to say you have 100% run. That’s it. And specifically, you have 1% run to B gap. Normally, as a linebacker, I’m responsible for the open window, which may be B gap. It may be off tackle. It may be wherever it is. I may be playing cut back. I may be playing, you know, I don’t know, but I’m now reducing this to you are responsible for B gap and I’m going to use that. That’s all you’re going to do. And so if they want to run ISO in the B gap and Weakside ISO and I blitz the will, I’m telling the will your job now is you should hit the fullback at the line of scrimmage and cause this ball to bounce. You are going to spill the ISO right now. And so what I’ve done is I’ve added that guy and I’m not only not only by blitzing him, you know, he would have been there anyway, right? I’m not adding an extra guy to the gap. That’s his gap responsibility. But I’m putting him there faster, right? And I’m getting him there. And so now he’s not a back to the numbers analogy. If my guy is normally a one and I blitz him there, he’s a 1.5 now because I gave him a head start. Just I mean, you know, just like if you if you have a sprinter who’s, you know, whatever, you know, hundred times, you run to 12. Well, if I start him, you know, ten meters up, he runs 11 now. Right.

[00:32:59] Daniel Chamberlain Like a little bit better at the game. Yeah.

[00:33:01] Joe Daniel Like I think those numbers are right.

[00:33:03] Daniel Chamberlain Because.

[00:33:04] Joe Daniel I’m not a track guy. I threw a four year throw.

[00:33:07] Daniel Chamberlain It makes sense. It’s the lack of power. It just, you know, aerodynamic spin through.

[00:33:11] Joe Daniel I had hair in high school. Oh.

[00:33:13] Daniel Chamberlain Well, you shouldn’t have thrown further.

[00:33:15] Joe Daniel I really didn’t very far. Yeah, I was. I have just finished being £119 wrestler, so I was the I was smart. So what I did was I, I wrestled because the varsity defensive coordinator was the wrestling coach and I threw because the varsity linebacker coach was the with the chocolate coach just champion discus coach throws coach. And then I found out that I was actually much better at the weight room and head coach was in the weight room. So I stopped all those other sports. Both of those coaches left so right.

[00:33:47] Daniel Chamberlain So needing them in your scheme, I would say variability in your play calls for one. Like you said earlier, you know, even if you’re just showing something and making them work on them, use it offensively, right? You motion to an empty package to make a defensive coordinator pull his hair out throughout the week because his guys won’t pick it up. Right. But just being able to show that from time to time we will lock you down and we will send pressure. Can your quarterback get it out quick enough or can your sophomore fullback who’s probably going to be a guard next year, you know, can he read and pick up the right guy in the in the ISO game or whatever? Just making people have to work on that extra thing. And then of course, I mean, the advantages like we’ve already discussed like that, that’s why it needs to be there. But I think the variability is big time because if you play a team that never blitzes, they better be really good at base. And I think it is pretty easy to to copy and paste that picture and teacher your linemen how to block it.

[00:34:43] Joe Daniel Yeah. And there’s it’s, I don’t expect a blitz to come unblocked but I do want to run some, you know crossfires and stuff like that and some stunting and some blitzing so that you have to think about it. Like I said, I’m going to give you different looks. A good quarterback, a good option quarterback is not confused by different looks in the read game. And one of the reasons that we were on blitz is to change up the quarterback. Read right. We can run a cue tag until the end just to you know stay but I can also run a smoke strong X where the end steps out and he’s like, okay, well that’s a give. But now I’m running the strong safety through the you know, through the inside, through the big run. And it’s like, well, we just did something different there. The I think you should always have three ways to defend zone read. You should always have three ways to defend trips. You should always have, you know, with teams that do it enough. Like you don’t always have to have three ways to defend trips, right? Teams don’t usually run much trips. But if you. We say if a team runs empty, we need to have three ways to defend empty one and we’ll be our base check, which is Tiger Cat. Normally one of them will be a cover, a check roll with man on the backside. So it’s actually a solo check. And then one of them will be a cover two alley cover, two against. So but but you got to run enough empty for me to get into cover two, right? Not that many teams do. You got to be an empty team when you do that. So yeah, having three ways to do it so that a good option quarterback is not confused. A lot of guys a lot of guys see option and they go will blitz. Well that just made his decision super easy.

[00:36:24] Daniel Chamberlain Right it’s happening right now yeah so playing.

[00:36:27] Joe Daniel It yeah it’s harder to have you know if you’ve got a freak athlete who can stand out there defensive end and stand in one spot and he can still tackle the give and he can still tackle the quarterback and he could probably tackle the pitch, too. That’s harder, right? It’s a lot harder if a guy and just in general, it’s harder if the guy doesn’t give you a clean read. Now, it’s harder to teach if you want to, you know, do some sort of feathering or anything like that. So if whatever and I don’t do it because I want to clearly define what our what our guys are doing. So instead of trying to teach a defensive end to go, Oh, it’s option, I’m going to do this, I’m going to feather it, I’ll handle that right. I’ll stunt you, I’ll blitz you, I’ll squash you, I’ll change the reads or the quarterback is not going to struggle with reading it, but he’s going to get different looks. I’m not going to let him sit back there and play the same game over and over and over and over again. I expect him to read it right. I’m more when we blitz, right the idea and we talk about this all the time in our system, the idea of when we blitz an option team, a zone read team, it is not to, you know, blow the play up. It’s to determine who’s going to get the ball. I know what you’re reading. I expect you to call zone read. I know how reads work on zone read. So I’m going to give you a look so that you either give or keep based on what I want. I don’t want the quarterback running, so my hands going to squat so that the quarterback gives the ball quarterback smart or smart or is the word for it. Because my quarterback did this over and over again this year and it was it was we actually wished he’d do it more because he was he was smart enough to see the read, but occasionally he would get the read and he would just be like, Nah, like I know that do just stand there and he’s not going down. But I also know that Duke can’t tackle me. And so, you know, the read for him is more and of course this goes into the offensive side, the read. A lot of times these guys are some option guys and when I first started running some option coaches would I try to have like real specific like you look for the number the outside number to turn or shoulder to turn or something like that to indicate it to him. And I think the best route, if you have an athletic quarterback, is do you think that guy can tackle you? And if you have it.

[00:38:37] Daniel Chamberlain I’ve seen them do that on their own. So yeah, is a really good read.

[00:38:41] Joe Daniel Well and the read if you’re if you’re it’s about who you have which one do you want to have the ball. Do you want the running back to have the ball. Do you want the quarterback to have the ball. Which ones in a better way to put that. Which one do they not want to see with the football. Right. And so if it’s your running back then the quarterback quarterback’s read is do you think they can tackle him. If you think they can tackle the running back, then you pull it. But if you don’t think they can get him, then you give it. And that’s that’s the read. So when we’re blitzing, we’re trying to change that. Look, we’re trying to to make them go, you know, because where do they work on all week. Right. They work on Reid in the end. Reid in the end, Reid in the end, we did. We run Blitz is where the end is not the Reid essentially and that that messed it up.

[00:39:22] Daniel Chamberlain So now we kind of talked about what it is and why we need them. So how exactly are we mixing this into our base defense? I realize that if your team is really good at base, you may not even want to write it. Like if you can stop everything in your base, kudos to you. You probably got some dudes on defense because we can’t stop everything in base. So when exactly we mixing this in and like, how much are we how we’re doing that with the the man But well, and.

[00:39:48] Joe Daniel I’ll say this unless you’re just out of this world. One of our schools, Wisconsin, this year ran a lot of base a lot a lot of base and eventually and they were extremely successful, but eventually they ran into a team where base wasn’t enough. Right. And they had a great season. And I’m not you know, I’m not saying that blitzing would have changed it, but eventually your your base is probably not enough. So I will always have some man blitzes and some zone blitzes available. There shouldn’t be any difficulty in incorporating Man Blitzers into your package because no matter what front you’re on, no matter what defense you run, you’ve you’ve got six guys going and you got five guys in coverage with there’s only five eligible receivers over there. So you put this guy on this guy who has gotten Scott. There should never be somebody uncovered like that, you know, because you’re standing over top of the guy. Well, if you’re standing next to a guy like, you know, you’re both covering the same guy, then somebody is uncovered to figure out who that is and go, right. Only thing that could ever happen is somebody blitzing who shouldn’t be blitzing. Right. The the easiest thing to do is when you go six man blitz is, you know, you’re bringing one linebacker, you bring two linebackers to perform in front, you’re bringing two linebackers or you’re bringing two safeties or you’re bringing a linebacker and safety. That’s pretty much how it happens. If you’re in a33, you bringing three linebackers. If you’re in a34, you’re bringing an inside and an outside, you know, and maybe a safety and God knows what you do, but you figure out what you need. You know, do you want it to be interior? Do you want it to be single edged, You want it to be double edge and then you, you, you blitz those guys and you figure out the gaps, what’s available, what’s open. All of our systems, the blitzes are built in, right? Dogs, dogs as six man pressure. It’s built in. It’s a bulletin to smoke. So you just need to know, do I want to be single or double edge? I do. Out which edge? I’m sorry. It’s a single edge blitz which had to. Do you want to come off? A lot of coaches like to run cross fires. Like run up. You know, the blitz is the only thing with that as the free safety has to come down now and cover the back in case he flares, because that’s the easiest way to beat a double He got blitz You could have the defensive end you know blitz peel but I don’t care.

[00:42:15] Daniel Chamberlain If it’s all you got out there, if it’s your third string safety, you’re probably okay.

[00:42:19] Joe Daniel Our so to tiger cat so the easiest thing we’ve incorporated Tiger Cat into all of our products now the concept is and I still think that it’s best out of the four to the concept is in the entire cat. The concept is that it’s actually a run blitz. It’s actually when run correctly, it is a run blitz that can go anywhere from six man to eight man blitz. It has a system of rules that will cover everybody. If you’re in the backfield, we are blitz peeling on you or the linebackers are going to tackle you if you try to release to the middle and if somebody calls that they call it. But you know what? If your guy goes running, screaming through the middle and I’m a linebacker, you know, my job, a tackle, I’ve never had a call. Now if I hold him, that’s different. But if I go through on a tackling stack. All right. But and if you try to release outside than whoever the edge guy is, and it depends on whether or not it’s a defensive end or safety. And there’s a system of calls that go with that. Everybody with the key, with Tiger Cat is nobody’s on an all out blitz. So I can be bringing both inside linebackers in, both safeties. None of them are all outwits. The safeties are on a delay blitz, the linebackers on delay blitz. But what they know is I am 100% run responsible. I have the rule is nothing gets out of this backfield. So if something tries to come like let’s say a running back flair’s, he’s not getting out of there. And I tell our outside linebacker, you know, if I, if I go, if I got a kid that’s a safety cover him, if he flares, if I got a kid that’s a glorified outside linebacker, he’s just tackling dude. I mean, I’ve had a kid, you know, I love to use that strong safety. That’s the, you know, too small to be an inside linebacker. He’s going to be an inside linebacker and there’s some kid back there that’s the fast kid on the field playing, running back. And I told them, like, needs tackle. You ain’t got.

[00:44:11] Daniel Chamberlain That. You’re not hanging with you.

[00:44:12] Joe Daniel Just take them. Take the flag, man out there. Chances are we’ll get thrown to. Yeah, that’s, that’s the way that we incorporate it. But you know, the most important thing is you’ve, you’ve got to think through your blitzes are just too many. And this is the dead giveaway. A blitz works and you just call it and call it and call it and call it and call it. Every blitz should have a purpose. Everybody should have a reason. And so if you’re incorporating man blitzes with Cover 0, am I running this to stop the run or my running this to surpass base defense is base defense, right? Base defense is good against everything, but not great against anything. And if I run a cover 0 blitz, it’s going to be because it’s a risk reward deal. It’s going to be great against something. I better figure out what that is and try to call it in that scenario. And don’t just call Cover 0 Blitz is because, I mean, here’s the bad reasons. Here’s the wrong reasons to incorporate our kids think it’s fun, bro. It’s funny. Do they do But like it’s it’s a game. Like, would it work if they don’t think it’s fun already we have another issue, right? They’re playing a game. I know blitzing is fun, but it’s a game they’re having. You know, it’s fun winning. Okay, I’ve mentioned our school up in Wisconsin. And we talked and as they were going into the playoffs and their defensive quarter said, Do you think that we need to add I’m not using his name because I haven’t asked. It’s okay yet, but do you think that we should run some blitzes, basically straight base one and three all year? Bill Bass Another one was strip bass and then they run a33 against spread pistol bass. Do you think we should add in some blitzes? And I’m like, well, you know, or your kids because that’s usually like, like a kid board. He’s like, No, kids don’t run them. Kids don’t wanna run any of this stuff. The kids kids are like, Coach, we’re good and base like they’ve been playing all season in bass and I understand where the kids are coming from and I understand where the coach is coming from because it’s like Bass has worked all year. But as we get to late in the playoffs, it’s like.

[00:46:30] Daniel Chamberlain Yeah, competition goes up, right?

[00:46:31] Joe Daniel Yeah. And now we’ve got to start try and we’ve got to, you know, again, it’s good against everything. It’s not great against anything. And if the team you’re playing is great at something, you’ve got to have some calls that are great because if your best defense is good and they’re great at power, your best effort might not be enough. You know, might you might need to bring somebody in change up a read is not use a blitz, give it a better, give it a different look. Be more aggressive in attacking that area.

[00:46:58] Daniel Chamberlain SWEET Well, this might be the fastest episode we’ve ever recorded, but we’ve really pushed through.

[00:47:03] Joe Daniel I don’t. I don’t. Yeah, there’s nothing nothing really to go into with it. No, I mean, the big thing is learning how to use these corkscrews and they’re not hard to put together. But the next step is how do you use them then? Like I said, we have the defensive play caller system that’ll open up sometime. I got I haven’t, I haven’t made the 2023 schedule yet. That’ll be in the coming weeks. So you know, we’ll have will have to wait for these things to open up these courses. Open up because I think that’s the, the missing pieces and we started doing JDFB Coaching Systems and that’s your playbook and that your play calls, the missing pieces are how do I break down my opponent to figure out what they’re doing? So that’s what we put together the game for Masterclass four to learn to watch your film and your opponent’s film. And then the other missing piece is How do I know when to use these calls? You got this, you got this playbook, and a lot of guys go in and they’re just calling stuff at random and we’re trying to, you know, guess and pick a spot or whatever. So the big thing with the defense play caller system was how do you look at your playbook and go, okay, this is I need to use this here, I need to use this.

[00:48:06] Daniel Chamberlain They’re right. I know that early and still humming. I still struggle sometimes. On when to call blitzes. I guess I’ve only had to really call them for about two years. So that was that was good. But even explaining this year, you know, because I was just assisting a new DC, it’s a hard concept to understand like what our blitz is for. I think some people have that idea, like you said earlier, you know, it’s to get a sack, right? A blitz is really.

[00:48:33] Joe Daniel To just get sacks. Yeah.

[00:48:35] Daniel Chamberlain And we still coach high school football where I mean I’m in a for a school, there’s not a lot of teams just trying to line it up and throw the ball over down right. This isn’t and even the big teams around here in Oklahoma are still trying to run high school football is running the football, Right.

[00:48:49] Joe Daniel You’re looking at 60% run or greater. Yep.

[00:48:53] Daniel Chamberlain So knowing how to use those blitzes, I think my first year, I just really was calling them to column. We’ve talked in other episodes about calling them to get a kid moving, which all of those are great. But yeah, situationally knowing how each one helps you stop something and that’s big time and that’s just, you know, the book work before the season starts, I guess.

[00:49:16] Joe Daniel But yeah, in calling a blitz to get a kid moving is, you know, that means something’s fun. Again, you have something fundamentally broken right now, which is, which is that kid. But it’s the coaching of that kid. Right. And, you know, you’d be much better served to focus on his reads than to just call blitzes all season to keep him moving. Because at that point, this is, you know, just an additional thought about blitzing when you blitz a linebacker, if he does anything other than blitz from position meaning five yards depth, if you blitz from position, he should still be looking at his guard and if his guard pulls, he should still be going with him. Right. Because the guard isn’t pulling in for no reason. Right. He’s but if he does anything other than that which the vast majority of high school linebackers are going to walk up, show the blitz and go need to work on this. Because if the only time they ever walk up is when they’re blitzing, that’s a problem. They need to be able to disguise a blitz by blitzing from position. They need to be able to walk up and blitz and they need to be able to bluff, which is to walk up and back off. But you got to be able to walk up early enough to make the offensive line, check their calls and give you time to get back in a position.

[00:50:31] Daniel Chamberlain Yeah, we definitely had our our our guys were trying to bluff and then they end up backpedaling.

[00:50:37] Joe Daniel Sound.

[00:50:38] Daniel Chamberlain And then you’re. That doesn’t work quite as well. So.

[00:50:42] Joe Daniel But if you’re if your linebackers are blitzing or your safeties are blitzing, if they are always blitzing from walked up, which is the majority of high school linebackers and safeties that are blitzing, they are always blitzing from walked up. They are they are effectively now a defensive lineman. And here’s the problem. They don’t know how to play defense a lot. They don’t know how to read on a guard for down block. They don’t know how to key read for pass set, all that sort of stuff. All right. So you have now taken a kid. When you blitz him, you’ve walked him up and you have made a defensive lineman out of a kid who doesn’t know how to play and shouldn’t not play defense one, because he should be working on his position. That’s right. So that’s just something to to consider with your Blitzers is just remember when you do that, they are their defensive linemen and you have added them to an area.

[00:51:32] Daniel Chamberlain Well, man, I think we we punched it all here.

[00:51:34] Joe Daniel Now it will.

[00:51:36] Daniel Chamberlain Pay the bills. Get out of here. Pay the bills. Are you Mr. Shot?

[00:51:40] Joe Daniel Come on.

[00:51:40] Daniel Chamberlain You’re doing it now. We’re still. It’s coming back around. It’s not going to be forever.

[00:51:45] Joe Daniel It’s coming real soon. We’ll be opening back up. And like I said, we’ll have some new, new features and things coming as we continue to add out for the you know, for the coaches that, you know, my my thing is it’s nice having a lot of coaches. It’s nice having a, you know, a big membership. It’s infinitely frustrating knowing that some of those coaches aren’t using it. It’s I’m still to this day amazed by the number, not the number of game film analysis in 2022 that we got. I continue continually amazed by the number that we don’t get. You know, so we we’re adding for coaches to to use stuff. I’m not padding the drills with 101 linebacker drills because that’s trash. It’s trash you don’t need. You know, I go into some other sites and stuff and, you know, 50,000 drills on there.

[00:52:43] Daniel Chamberlain Now I think it’s the to an initial coach to a first through probably third year coach watching the videos about their particular scheme that they’re telling on the run is or offense you know a new offensive line or or whatever. Fantastic absolutely fantastic What a position group you have. You know, it’s in there. You can you can sign up whenever it opens up. You can go to that position groups drills and find something to help you become a better coach. Once you have an understanding, a solid grasp on your 33 stack defense that you’re running, you can choose to add to with one of the other fronts and bring something to the table for your DC to think about that maybe he’s not thinking about. Maybe he’s got too much stuff going on to add to his package or you know, you can start using the other benefits. Now you’ve got the the gain from analysis asking questions on the forum coming to the chalk talks. That’s that’s one that I really appreciated as well. I still think game film analysis is my favorite just because you know you’re getting direct coaching on your ability to coach because it show your coaching shows up on Friday right like that’s.

[00:53:46] Joe Daniel Right and I think that’s that’s probably one of the biggest things is that coaches don’t want that feedback right.

[00:53:51] Daniel Chamberlain They’ll be scared of it, man. You’re never going to get better. Oh, it sucks.

[00:53:55] Joe Daniel Bill Watching film.

[00:53:56] Daniel Chamberlain I thought I brought this to my defense or to my staff this year. New guy on the block, I bring in JoeDanielFootball.com. We send in the game film analysis, and I’m pretty sure you spent the whole first film just talking about my position group. Like it’s absolutely not what I wanted to hear, but we all need to hear it. Like you’re not going to get better until someone breaks down what you’re doing and shows you where you’re wrong. And then sometimes it’s kids. You know, we played a whole game this year in a 4 to 5 that our defensive end that he need to play in a nine and we couldn’t figure out why we’re getting ran off the field right until we go back and watch film So there’s stuff you don’t even pick up in a game. I mean, as a coach, you’re just not going to and you know, an alignment. Hopefully you turn on the film and saw that and were like, Just like we did. Yeah. Who told this guy to ever be in a nine? Literally no one ever in this in the staff in this system. Yeah they’re always there’s going to be other stuff there’s going to be backers that are it for three yards right. There’s going to be you know what did Lynn Shackelford say 70% of touchdowns on him were misalignments like. Right. That’s the stuff you’re going to miss. And having that extra eyes is wonderful.

[00:54:57] Joe Daniel That the most common response I get is essentially. Thanks, coach. We saw the same things. Oh, yeah. And I’m like, I’m sure that you did one of the things that it does for you. I know this from Coach Mountjoy. One of the things that it does for you above all else is you you don’t want if you have any if you pay any attention to what the feedback that I send you or, you know, candid, some of them for us this year, you don’t want to get that film next week with the same feedback. So it is like a it it has the effect of kind of lighting a fire of like, I got to get this fixed and. Some of our coaches will know. I think that you should you should show the pieces that you want to show. I wouldn’t have kids sit there and watch the full game film analysis, but show the piece that you want to show where. Here’s another coach from another place telling you the exact same thing. I’m telling you, he doesn’t know you and he’s telling you the exact same thing. And that will get that kid motivated to. Now, some of it’s frustrating. I have Bill every every every week telling me our offensive line how to get better pass protection. I’m on tomorrow night offensive linemen. We have we have 27 kids in the school. Okay. In this team I’m on our ninth offensive lineman. I’m like, bro, that kid’s killing it out there. You know that? He’s supposed to be a receiver like that that way. Because you don’t know. I don’t know. When I watch your film, it’s like our school in Wisconsin, they had a they had a dude, a stud free safety because that’s where the stud needs to be, Right? But I think he blew me out week one, right? Two weeks later, like, I can’t remember what it was like. We got to know that we got a different one out there. We got a different one up there, like the fifth kid at free. And so, of course I know, but I’m also every week I’m like, free safeties get better reads. He does right? You know, I know the situation. I know my offensive line has to get better. But I also know, like, that kid’s my left guard is £160, so. So, you know, it’s okay. I’m not criticizing you as a person.

[00:57:11] Daniel Chamberlain I, I definitely look forward to send you some offensive film next year because I want to see what that sounds like, especially now that I’ve gone through the offensive play caller system and like I yeah, I’m getting down the.

[00:57:21] Joe Daniel Offense as hard because it’s harder because I don’t necessarily know your scheme. It you know if you’re running pistol power offense I can do that but I have seen some of their offensive stuff and I had a youth team to me their offensive stuff and I couldn’t give now this was my feedback. I don’t know what you run. Yeah. And I don’t think you do either.

[00:57:43] Daniel Chamberlain That’s pretty telling, though, right? Because fundamentals is everywhere.

[00:57:45] Joe Daniel You have.

[00:57:46] Daniel Chamberlain And I should be able to see your scheme and go. Got it. You’re trying to run power. Hey, here’s how you can get better at power.

[00:57:52] Joe Daniel There’s not very many plays in football.

[00:57:53] Daniel Chamberlain Right now, especially on the offensive side. Like.

[00:57:57] Joe Daniel I mean, you look at the offensive side, it’s gap in zone. Okay, What’s the aiming point on the zone? What’s the aiming point on the gap? If it’s a gap B gap, it’s trap in a gap scheme. If it’s, you know, off tackle, it’s power counter, it’s all the same. You know, it’s you know, you’re pulling it, you’re kicking out. I don’t care if it’s buck sweep is power, right? Yeah. You’re kicking out.

[00:58:19] Daniel Chamberlain My goal for me to rap in with the backside guard. It took the time for me to figure that out. Like, this is just power. It’s power. Overthinking this buck.

[00:58:27] Joe Daniel Sweep isn’t special. It’s power. If you spill the first guy, then it bounces like that’s, you know, fundamentally, that’s how these things work. You run, toss, you run. So there’s not I mean, basically you’re talking about dive trap right inside, inside runs. Dive and trap off tackle runs are in an inside zone, off tackle runs are outside zone. And then you have and I don’t care you know what I don’t give a crap duo or whatever like none of that matters to me. That’s those are those are minor tweaks on the system on the situation.

[00:59:00] Daniel Chamberlain That’s really just another option play, right?

[00:59:02] Joe Daniel Like, right It doesn’t.

[00:59:03] Daniel Chamberlain Matter another option to zone.

[00:59:05] Joe Daniel It so you know you was only zone is a slightly different blocking scheme slightly so the you know off tackles power counter those are all block the same GTK out you know go counter it’s the same there’s not that much and you have a toss jet sweep that kind of stuff. They go to the edge. That’s it. That’s all there is.

[00:59:24] Daniel Chamberlain So fundamentally the game film analysis can help you even if you don’t play the system.

[00:59:29] Joe Daniel Because if I watch your film and I go, none of these are plays.

[00:59:33] Daniel Chamberlain My man. You are spending down the field with everyone.

[00:59:35] Joe Daniel I in this particular film and by the way, you know, they were doing well because they were physically out in a lot of their opponents. But and that’s a trap for coaches to think your stuff is working and it’s not. And so but we, we, we went through and I went through and I found one series that he ran and I was like, this is it. Go with this because this is the only thing in your package right now that is a true series and that would roll of that and they got better.

[01:00:03] Daniel Chamberlain So use it coaches for paying for it anyway. You might as well use it. Lots of things on there to use study another front man that was I found myself in my first bag, my first true year of seeing game number one, and we had to go like we had to find a three front. I mean, we needed an extra dude because they started trying to spread us out and not the 4-2-5 couldn’t handle it, but my kids couldn’t handle it. Like I needed that guy to stand up.

[01:00:29] Joe Daniel You’re trying to adjust some alignments. Yeah.

[01:00:30] Daniel Chamberlain So learn another one. And that way you I mean, the run fits are the same. Just understand how it changes. Be able to explain it on a whiteboard this big in 2 minutes. And and coach your kids, be able to do that kind of stuff anyway. We could talk about it forever. Social media. I’m @CoachChamboOK on Twitter. Joe @Footballinfo at Football Info. Once again, our DMS are open. Not necessarily for customer service. I did get a question as a customer service.

[01:00:57] Joe Daniel Didn’t know.

[01:00:59] Daniel Chamberlain Please send it to the email Joe at JoeDanielFootball.com.

[01:01:01] Joe Daniel Yeah. And that’s going to show me.

[01:01:03] Daniel Chamberlain Yes, she’ll get she’ll get to take care of. Anyway, dams are nice. Podcast is at the @theFBCP where we are continuously trying to make improvements under construction. Always put a hard hat on the picture. Maybe if this is your first time listening to The Football Coaching Podcast, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. You can find us on your favorite podcast, your SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, wherever it is that you do the things that you do with listening. You’ve been listening for a while. Please leave a review special on Apple Podcasts and Spotify that helps spread the word to other coaches who are probably in your shoes or maybe less educated in football. Who knows? Help them find us. Thank you for listening to this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast. Remember Coach simple, play fast, win.

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what is cover 0 blitz

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Analysis: How the Buffalo Bills can attack Cover-0

How to beat the popular defense of the day.

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Why can’t the Buffalo Bills defeat Cover-0?

Josh Allen threw three interceptions against the New England Patriots . Against the Baltimore Ravens , he suffered six sacks, lost a fumble, and broke his streak of 2+ touchdown games. Both teams make major use of the Cover-0 defense; in fact the Ravens used it 16 times on Sunday (per Brian Daboll). That’s out of 30 total blitzes the Ravens sent at Allen and company. For most of the day, Buffalo struggled to respond to the onslaught. Why did this happen, and what could they have done? To understand the context, let’s start with understanding Cover-0.

The name might conjure visions of an 11-man blitz, but in this case we’re talking about man coverage across the board, with zero zone defenders. For instance, Cover-1, or “man-free”, has everyone in man coverage except a single free safety, who takes the middle of the field. Cover-0, on the other hand, has no deep safety and no bracketed coverage. Receivers are in one-on-one match-ups. When it comes to running backs and tight ends, the decision depends on the type of blitz called (and Cover-0 is pretty much always a blitz, since you cannot rush only four when the offense has five men who can’t be covered man-to-man—the linemen). You might see an approach like a “green dog” blitz, where the linebacker is in man coverage on a running back unless the player stays in to block, where he’ll blitz instead.

Cover-0, the ultimate risk-reward call, can be confounding for young quarterbacks because it unlocks so many zone-blitz opportunities. With no deep safeties, you can have seven or eight potential pass rushers in the box. It’s ripe for overload blitzes or rat defenders to screw with a player’s perception. The setup can break protection calls, create pressure where there shouldn’t be any, or create the illusion of pressure in a clean pocket.

This is why the Ravens and especially the New England Patriots have seen so much success from deploying the tactic this year. In a year where long-tenured veterans like Roethlisberger, Flacco, Manning, Smith, Stafford, and Luck are replaced with a wave of youth, defensive coordinators are throwing so much at these players that they start “seeing ghosts.”

Imagine you’re Josh Allen on the field against the Ravens. It’s 2nd and 8 from your 30-yard line, near the start of your drive. You’re in your favorite personnel package with Devin Singletary , Cole Beasley , John Brown , Dawson Knox , and Isaiah McKenzie on the field. Baltimore responds with a 3-2-6 Dime package—Carr, Humphrey, Smith, and Peters at cornerback, Thomas and Clark at safety, Bynes and Judon at linebacker, and Williams, Pierce, and Ferguson on the defensive line.

You line up in shotgun with two wide to the left, a tight end off right tackle, a wideout to the right, and Singletary beside you. At first, the defense comes out with what looks like man-free. But as you start your cadence, something insidious happens:

Oh yeah. Sure looks like a blitz is coming. In fact, this defense is calling a play from Rex Ryan ’s playbook: Cable 0 Train. It’s a six-man pressure package, where two safeties, a dime back, a defensive tackle, and an end will rush the passer, while an end contains or drops into coverage as a rat defender. But the offense doesn’t know that.

what is cover 0 blitz

And therein lies the rub. Maybe Allen sees the safeties come downhill, and he calls a blitz beater. But what if it’s a disguise, and the safeties drop after the snap? (By the way, the Bills do something very similar by mugging the A gaps with their linebackers pre-snap, and usually dropping them into coverage.) Let’s consider the possible responses to this pre-snap look, and the assumed Cover-0 blitz.

Double-check the protection, identify a hot route, and run your play

At a minimum, you need to read the defense, set your protection, and decide who your hot route is. We talk a lot about gap control as a defensive concept, but gaps matter for offenses too. Look at this defensive front—there are seven gaps a rusher could attack, and eight potential rushers.

what is cover 0 blitz

It’s not likely that everyone comes downhill, but with only five or six blockers to allocate for seven gaps, you need to set up the best coverage available. For one thing, don’t expect the linebacker and safety to both blitz—because the tight end would be wide open. Another thing to watch is the dime back—that he’s mugging the right guard is a strong suggestion that he’ll blitz instead of covering someone.

The Bills have Ghost/Tosser called, a standard Erhardt-Perkins play. The left side is a tosser concept, made to beat Cover-2 or man-to-man coverage. The right side is ghost, a Cover-3 beater.

Against a blitz, the hot route is the running back leaking into the flat. That’s Allen’s primary read, then, and that’s what’ll keep the chains moving. If he weren’t pressured, he could read low to high on the ghost concept. Against this defensive call, the blitzing safety has responsibility for the running back running a route to his side, so Allen will need his throw to fit around him.

Go to max-protect

The classic response to a defense throwing the kitchen sink at the pocket is to add more protection. Allen can call in his receivers, condense the formation, and switch to a play call that inserts his running back and tight end as pass protectors. If the defense plans to send seven or eight rushers, then doggone it we can block with seven or eight of our own.

The tight split formation has a side benefit in that it shrinks the available pass-rushing gaps. When there’s less room to maneuver, there’s less room for a free rusher to escape.

Out of this plan, you can also have receivers do a chip release. They’ll bump their defender (or a nearby lineman) on their way out into their pass route. It slows down the development of the play, but helps buy additional time in the pocket.

Max protect is a common choice for deep passing plays. To keep the safeties deep, reduce the blitzing, and open up the running game, just connect on a deep pass or two. Having extra protection—more time—lets you run deeper passing routes.

The downside here is, of course, fewer pass options to work from. You’ll have, at most, three routes (maybe only two). Imagine if the defense looks like it’ll run Cover-0, but then two safeties drop at the snap. Now you might have two pass routes and four defenders in coverage. Yuck.

Another issue: With everyone clustered in the box, there won’t be any room to escape the pocket and extend a play. You need to count on your’n to beat his’n.

Below I have a play that could be called specifically to beat this Cover-0 blitz. This switch-pump-smoke concept is made for a touchdown. Two receivers, in one-on-one coverage, run switch routes (they cross then start a smoke route downfield). As they reach about 15 yards downfield, Allen pump fakes and the receivers stutter like they’re about to sit on the pass. Then they burst downfield again and prep for the deep ball. Another receiver, to the right, is available on a short hitch/throwaway if the deep throw isn’t available.

As long as protection holds up, one or both of those receivers should be open downfield. It’s onto the quarterback to deliver the ball into the receiver’s hands.

Spread out the defense

As an alternative, you could send everyone out and operate out of an empty set. You lose any extra protection, but you’ve made your decision easier now. With five receivers to cover, the defense can only leave six in the box. That’s fewer potential blitzers and it simplifies your protection.

This could play to your advantage with an athletic quarterback like Allen—if the defense blitzes, and he escapes, there won’t be anyone in a zone to defend him. He could gash them for a 30-yard run outside the pocket. Because of this, the defense will probably allocate at least one player to containment or as a spy.

More players running routes also means more chances for one-on-one wins. If the defense has a weakness in coverage, the empty set can help find it. And the Bills have a few man beaters on their roster, mainly Singletary and Beasley .

That being said, teams like the Ravens and Patriots also have elite depth in the secondary. They run Cover-0 because they can run it. As we saw on 4th and 8 Sunday, sometimes great man-to-man defense wins the day.

Another issue with Empty is that it removes a running back as the backup plan from the backfield. He can’t pass protect, he can’t chip and release, he’s not a hot route. It’s just the line, the rushers, and the quarterback.

Here’s an example of a play you might call from an empty set against Cover-0. It’s a flood concept from an empty set, with Allen rolling to the right. If the defensive end crashes on the pocket, Allen can dodge outside and run for yardage behind his receivers. If the defensive end tries to contain (or drops into coverage), Allen can take the sail concept to his right or the high-low read on his left.

So why did the Bills struggle so much against the Ravens?

We say it time and again: Football is 11-on-11, and if one player can’t do his job a play may fail. The Bills had a half-dozen opportunities to blow open the game with deep touchdowns, but Allen was pressured or he out-threw his teammate or the teammate dropped a pass.

Allen thrives when he feels comfortable moving in the pocket, but he succumbed to early pressure. He tried rolling out to space, but Judon and the other Ravens were so fast he couldn’t reach any openings. We saw the same thing against the Patriots.

After Sunday’s loss, Nate Geary made a great point on Twitter that I agree with: When the defense sends a challenge to the offense, the “answer” is two parts—a scheme solution on paper, and the execution of the solution.

The Bills correctly schemed opportunities to beat Cover-0 on numerous occasions. The execution, on Sunday, was lacking. And while Buffalo similarly struggled against the Patriots, it’s not all bad. Allen beat Cover-0 on Thanksgiving with his touchdown pass to Dawson Knox. He has had answers on other opportunities. But the Ravens had his number on Sunday, and teams will keep dialing this up until he proves he can handle it.

In This Stream

All our coverage: afc playoff implications abound in buffalo bills vs. baltimore ravens.

  • Bills fan confidence dips following loss to Baltimore Ravens
  • Analysis: How the Bills can attack Cover-0
  • Billieve: What to make of Buffalo’s loss to the Ravens?

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what is cover 0 blitz

Man Coverage Basics

For this X’s O’s Football Strategy  breakdown, we take a look at man coverage basics, Cover 0, Cover 1, and Cover 2. We also throw in Madden Tips for those of you who like to play Madden football when calling the different types of man coverage in found in the game.

Man Coverage: Cover 0(Blitz)

This, ideally, should be done from an off man position, and the reason for this is clear to see. If your blitz doesn’t get home, the last thing you want is to give up an easy 6. Besides the off man coverage, you should shade your coverage to the inside, and i’ll explain why. You do not want to get beat on any route with an inside vertical stem, it’s an easy read for your opponent, and it can quickly become disastrous for you.

If your cb’s posses high press ratings, coupled with good speed, then you could run this from a press man position. However, before you can even consider a particular play call, you need to settle on what kind of defensive scheme you want to run, and that will be dictated by the strengths and weaknesses of your personnel. Knowing what your personnel does well, or maybe not so well, will also help you select the appropriate defensive playbook.

I want to bring up one very important, and often over looked fact. There is one thing that is as important as knowing your own personnel, knowing your opponents personnel. You must also be aware of how your opponent is using their personnel I.E. are they putting their stud wr in the slot, etc.

Another important part of play calling, your opponents tendencies. You must pick up on what plays(run and pass), route combinations, formations and in what situations they like to run certain plays. It’s a chess match, and if tendencies are telling you to take away a particular play in a given situation, then that’s what you must do. If you are wrong, so be it, you can only play the odds, the tendencies you’ve picked up on throughout the game.

Man Coverage: Cover 1 (Man Free)

man coverage cover 1

One thing to remember, drag routes(think mesh concept) are designed to defeat man coverage, so you must be prepared to jump them.

If you call cover 1 robber, user the robber safety, and break on any shallow in-breaking routes. The same thing applies to cover 1 Hole, with a linebacker(the rat) playing in the low hole. User the rat linebacker, and give help on any shallow in-breaking routes.

I do want to make one thing clear, and this goes for any coverage, you must have the right personnel for the play call. If you do not have defensive backs with high man coverage ratings, along with good play recognition and speed, this should be called sparingly. Also, if you call Cover 1 Press, your DB’s better posses, not only a high man coverage rating and excellent speed, but a high press rating, too.

Man Coverage: 2 Man Under (Cover 2 Man)

The safeties should be able to drive on any deep dig, post, corner, or deep out, and get over the top of any fade. With that being said, user the safety to the side of the passing strength, or to the field side, and be prepared to jump any of the these routes. A quick reminder, make sure you get enough width and depth to stay over the top of any fade or streak route.

The weakness of this man coverage is obvious, the void in the deep middle of the field. Unlike it’s Tampa 2 counterpart, there is no middle run through to cushion the deep middle third. As with any coverage, it comes with it’s weaknesses, but the strengths of this defense outweigh any structural void. Just as in Cover 1, you will need defensive backs with good man coverage ratings, play recognition and speed, but there is a bigger(much bigger) need for a high press rating.


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Post Corner High-Low Isolation Vs Cover 2 Zone Coverage

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Types of Football Pass Coverages

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Common Pass Routes and Route Combos

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Film Room: Defense 2020 Part Seven—Cover 0 Blitzes

Ryan Walters is back, and he’s bringing his Cover 0 blitzes with him.

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NCAA Football: Missouri at Vanderbilt

In previous Film Room segments we looked at Tiger defensive coordinator Ryan Walters ’ Cover 1 five- and six-man blitzes. Today we analyze his Cover 0 max blitzes.

Cover 0 Blitz

Here is an example of a Cover 0 six-man blitz. The five potential receivers are accounted for with five pass defenders. There are no free players to help the man defenders.

what is cover 0 blitz

Cover 0 can also support seven rushers. In that case, a blitzer would have peel off on a releasing back.

what is cover 0 blitz

Let’s get to some specific examples.

Max Blitz Cover 0

what is cover 0 blitz

This is a seven-man max blitz, very straight-forward, with no crossing or looping by the rushers.

what is cover 0 blitz

With no one responsible for the back, a rusher would have had to peel to cover him on a release.

what is cover 0 blitz

No such adjustment is necessesary, however. This is a run play which is quickly engulfed by a swarming Tiger front.

Safeties in B Gaps Cover 0

what is cover 0 blitz

It’s a doozy of a blitz, but, alas, since-departed cornerback Christian Holmes (#21) gets beat for a touchdown.

An excellent wide view.

Safeties in B Gaps + CB Blitz Cover 0

what is cover 0 blitz

The tight shot.

LBs in B Gaps Cover 0 Nose Low

what is cover 0 blitz

This is an interesting one—a six-man rush supported by Cover 0.

what is cover 0 blitz

Notice that nose tackle Kobie Whiteside (#78) drops out at the snap to play the low zone.

Had the slot receiver run a Slant rather than a Quick Out, perhaps Big Kobie intercepts and makes a return.

I love when the big guys get to carry the ball.

C’mon! Find the end zone, big fella!

This concludes our seven-part series on Ryan Walters’ 2019 Tiger defense. With the carryover of much of the defensive staff, I would think we’ll see much of the same in 2020, if and when that happens.

Next month we will run a three-part Film Room series in which we analyze a single defensive series from the Missouri’s 2019 game against South Carolina. This should be a fruitful exercise, as we’ll see in action many of the strategies we’ve introduced in this series.

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Five Plays that Beat Cover Zero

Posted by Throw Deep Publishing Staff on January 6, 2023

Defenses with an aggressive mindset almost always employ cover 0, and it’s a sure-fire way to create havoc and get offenses out of their comfort zone. 

Offensive coordinators place a high priority on staying out of 3rd and long situations, and whether they’ll tell you straight-up or not, avoiding cover 0 defensive looks is a huge reason for this.

However, the advantages of the coverage also can work against the defense.

Coordinators don’t have to scheme up any world-changing schemes, and if protection holds up, a disciplined QB has the chance to turn the tables against the defense in a hurry.

As they say, the jimmie’s and joe’s outweigh the X’s and O’s.

Elite play-makers on the edge should beam with excitement – the opportunity to create separation and get the band playing becoming a legitimate possibility.

Keep reading to learn more how offenses like to attack cover zero.

How does Cover Zero Work?

Cover Zero  is an all-out pressure, meaning that the defense will blitz every player that isn’t responsible for an offensive skill player in man to man coverage.  It’s utilized from defenses looking to get quick pressure on the quarterback .

It allows the defense to play fast as the responsibilities are straight-forward, and it forces the quarterback to make a split-second decision to get the ball out of his hands.

However, it means that every player in coverage is truly on an island. Defenses must get home to the quarterback quickly in order to give themselves a chance to be successful with this high-risk/high-reward call.

You can read more about the intricacies of Cover Zero here .

How to Beat Cover 0

Immediate, quick-hitting man beaters are an offenses’ best bet to make a defense pay for bringing an all-out blitz.

Offenses have little time to dial up double-moves or fancy play-action passes when attacking cover 0.  

With this, having an advantage personnel-wise on the perimeter is the icing on the cake. If teams have weapons that can shake free from tight bump and run coverage, an offense can ensure defenses quickly go away from consistently playing cover 0. 

Moving forward, since defenses are bringing as many blitzers as they can, this means that the middle of the field is open. Routes that get the ball to play-makers on the move such as slants, or shallow crossing routes become great answers.  

Along with this, pick plays become lethal regardless of the area of the field an offense is in. In these designs, receivers cross paths within their routes, looking to create natural collisions between defenders as they create space downfield.

#1 Double Slants

This play was taken from 101 Plays from the Ole Miss Offense

Cover Zero Beaters - Double Slants

Cover Zero can be a tough defense to work against, but if the defense is more worried about not giving up the deep ball, you'll find opportunities underneath like this one.

Giving receivers a chance to catch and run against Cover 0 is favorable. With a mirrored slant route concept, the QB can pick his most favorable matchup based on cushion and leverage.

QB Matt Corral wastes little time getting the ball to the ball out of his hands to the field slot WR who picks up a first down and more.   

Watch the play below:

#2 Full-Slide Fade-Out / RB Seam Gadget

This play was taken from 101 Plays from the Oregon Offense .

Cover Zero Beaters - Full Slide RB Seam

This is not a play that's designed for a novice quarterback or running back , but if you have a couple of experienced players and can catch the defense in a bad call, it's going to be wide open.

This gadget from Oregon is a well-timed call against Washington State’s cover 0 look. With full slide protection up front, the RB’s path shows his blitz pickup to the right-edge before he slips up field uncovered for a score.

#3 Trips Bunch Jerk Route

This play was taken from 101 Plays from the Michigan Offense  

Cover Zero Beaters - Bunch Jerk Route

A lot of passing offenses have made a living off of this play, especially in the red zone as we see here from Michigan against soft man coverage.

Natural picks and rubs occur out of bunch releases, as Michigan looks to create just that against Penn State. It’s an all-out pressure from the defense, and while they work to pass off the routes, the Z WR still comes open for a first down. 

#4 Slant-Rub

This play was taken from 101 Plays from the Wake Forest Offense

Cover Zero Beaters - Slant Rub

You need an answer for hard inside leverage man coverage on the goal line, and this play is a great way to get your best guys open no matter which side the defender is playing heavily.

The slot receiver’s route creates a natural rub for the Z WR coming underneath. Both players have an equal opportunity to win in this design, and Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman delivers a pinpoint high ball to the back of the end zone for a score. 

#5 Jerry Rice Motion Slant-Flat

This play was taken from 101 Two Point Plays

Cover Zero Beaters - Jerry Rice Motion

Jerry Rice motion is named for - you guessed it - Jerry Rice. The legendary receiver used this motion all the time when running routes in the West Coast Offense, and used it to get open against cover zero looks like this one on the goal line.

With this style of motion, Dixie State’s slot WR has the chance to lose his man before the ball is even snapped. He does just that, and it’s enough for New Mexico State’s SS to come off of his man to cover the flat, resulting in a wide-open pitch and catch to the TE for a score.

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The confusing language of defensive coverages: NFL loaded with variations of terminology

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22:  Head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos holds a play sheet on the sidelines against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on December 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Lions 27-17. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Generally, we speak about defenses and coverages as if there is a uniform language. In actuality, it’s as if the football gods scattered defensive coaches through languages as punishment for building their own Tower of Babel.

Coaches often convene in clinics or privately to help each other improve in the offseason, but there can be confusion and breakdowns in communication when talking about defense. One coach from the Nick Saban tree can talk about a certain coverage to a coach from the Rex Ryan tree and both coaches could be talking about two different coverages and they might not even realize it until they’re halfway through the conversation. The language of offenses is a little more straightforward and uniform, but defensively there are inconsistencies and nuance.


Do you necessarily have to know all the different languages to talk about football on a high level? No, but it could be beneficial to acknowledge the differences to recognize when there might be a breakdown in communication and try to bridge the gap. For coaches, this could cut down on misunderstandings. For fans and media, especially those who are curious about schemes, this could help us elevate the conversation.

One principle that extends to every defensive tree is that coverages are numbered from one to nine. There are a few coverages that we can generally talk about, and it would be safe to assume that we’re talking about the same coverage yet there can even be some nuance within those coverages.

Before we begin, I want to acknowledge Brian Vaughn of Blitzology.com , who is a human football encyclopedia when it comes to defenses. Most of this information stems from my conversation with Vaughn and confirmed through looking at various playbooks.

This next section will break down each coverage by numbers and show the differences of each number in different systems. It can be a little confusing, so don’t fret if you don’t get it on your first read. The point is this: One type of coverage can be numbered the same but be an entirely different coverage in different systems.

When most people talk about Cover 0, they’re talking about man-to-man coverage with no deep help, and it’s usually called with a heavy-pressure scheme.

what is cover 0 blitz

This diagram is from Pete Carroll’s 2013 playbook. The “0” at the end of “Coast Tuff Saw Dog 0” indicates the coverage is Cover 0.

However, to Saban and company, Cover 0 is actually man-free (man coverage with a deep safety) with no underneath help from a “hole” player. It’s usually called with a five- to six-man pressure.

what is cover 0 blitz

In this diagram from Saban’s 2015 playbook, the call is “Even $ 0 Change.” The “0” indicates that the coverage is Cover 0. The money linebacker ($) and free safety blitz, leaving no hole player. The strong safety rotates to the middle of the field and plays deep.

Cover 1, Cover 2 and Cover 3 are universal terms. Cover 1 is man-to-man coverage with deep help from a free safety and underneath help from the “hole” player, with a four-man rush. However, there are many Cover 1 variations and some differences in terminology for the “hole player.”

When a linebacker is a hole player, he’s generally called the “rat.” When a safety is the hole player, he’s generally called a “robber.” Even with this simple concept, there can be a ton of variance with terminology from system to system. The term “robber” can be extremely problematic in football discussions because it has so many varying definitions across the different systems.

what is cover 0 blitz

This diagram is from Wade Phillips’ 2003 playbook. The “Mo,” his terminology for a weakside linebacker, is the hole player.

The principles within Cover 1 can also completely change with a tag. For example, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots made “1 double (jersey number)” famous. So whenever they wanted to double a certain player, they would insert their jersey number in the call. So if they wanted to double Randy Moss (No. 84), they would call “1 double 84.” It was essentially Cover 1 because it’s man-to-man coverage with a deep safety, but instead of having a hole player, they would use the extra player on a double team.

what is cover 0 blitz

This diagram from Romeo Crennel’s playbook shows the free safety and star (*), which is their terminology for a nickelback, doubling the slot receiver.

Cover 2 is a two-deep zone with five underneath defenders, usually with two deep safeties and two corners in the flats.

what is cover 0 blitz

Variations of it include “2-invert,” in which the corner would play a deep zone and the safety plays underneath.

Cover 3 is a three-deep zone with four underneath defenders, usually with both corners and a free safety playing deep thirds.

what is cover 0 blitz

Variations of it include “3-roll,” in which the corner would play in the flats while the coverage would roll to his side to cover each third.

what is cover 0 blitz

Saban’s “Cora” coverage is an example of 3-roll. The safeties drop to the deep thirds of the field while the corner to the twins side plays the flat.

After Cover 3, things start to get tricky. Cover 4 is commonly used as an umbrella term for all the different variants of quarters coverage. But the technique and responsibilities within different quarter coverages can vary greatly.

what is cover 0 blitz

This diagram is from former Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s playbook. “Under” is the front, “Red” indicates that this is a red-zone defense and “44” indicates that they’ll be in Cover 4 against all formations (we’ll talk more about the double-digit call system later in this article). On the diagram to the right is Guenther’s Cover 4 adjustment against slot formations.

In Phillips’ system, however, Cover 4 is quarter on one side of the field and Cover 2 on the other.

what is cover 0 blitz

Most know Cover 5 as “2-man,” which is man-to-man coverage with two deep safeties and no underneath help. The man-to-man defenders will usually play with inside leverage and trail technique (purposely play man underneath assignments to be in a better position to take away short and intermediate routes).

what is cover 0 blitz

However, in the system of Baylor coach Dave Aranda, who has been highly influential in modern defense, Cover 5 is quarters with eight defenders in coverage and a three-man rush.

Generally, Cover 6 is a combo coverage in which one side of the field plays quarters or Cover 4 to the strongside and Cover 2 to the weakside. Within this coverage can be a ton of variance because of all of the different types of quarters and Cover 2.

what is cover 0 blitz

On the left of this diagram from Guenther’s playbook is a standard Cover 6 look against a pro formation with a receiver on each side of the formation. On the right is his standard adjustment to a slot formation.

In Saban’s system, Cover 6 is weak rotated Cover 3 with man-match technique. Man-match coverages are coverages in which defenders play man but can switch assignments after the snap if their original assignment runs a certain type of route.

what is cover 0 blitz

In this diagram, the free safety rotates down to the weakside (away from the tight end) and the strong safety rotates into the middle of the field.

In Saban’s system, Cover 7 is a family of man-match coverages but from two-deep alignment instead of one-deep like his Cover 6.

what is cover 0 blitz

Cover 7 has split field coverages, meaning the defense can play different coverages on both sides of the field. In the diagram, “7 bracket” is the coverage. Against this formation, the defense plays a “bracket” to the two-receiver side and “cut,” which is Cover 2, to the tight end side.

In other systems, Cover 7 could be quarters variants that may not use man-match techniques. The Saban definition of Cover 7 is not as universal as many may believe.

In Phillips’ system, Cover 8 is quarters on both sides of the field, but in Vic Fangio’s system, Cover 8 is what is generally known as Cover 6, with Cover 2 to the strongside and Cover 4 to the weakside.

In Saban’s system, Cover 8 is a family of zone-match coverages in which defenders are assigned zone but locks into man coverage once an eligible receiver runs a route into their zone.

Cover 9 has vastly varying meanings in different systems. It could be a Cover 1 principle type of defense, a robber principle or fire zone (blitz coverage).

Coverages within the coverage trees

Within each of these coverage trees are variants. Some variants are similar to each other, like within the Cover 3 family is 3-roll. But there are some coverages that can greatly differ from each other within the same family. For example, within the Cover 7 family is “bracket” (diagramed above) and another type of man-match defense generally known as “2-read.” A “2-read” on a two-receiver side in Saban terminology is called “clamp.”

what is cover 0 blitz

Diagram above from Saban’s playbook

what is cover 0 blitz

This same coverage in TCU coach Gary Patterson’s system is called “blue.”

And if that isn’t confusing enough, although “clamp” and “blue” share the same principles, the techniques and methods that each coach teaches the coverage can greatly vary. So even when talking about a coverage as specific as 2-read, you have to differentiate how you play it, Saban style or Patterson style. The alignment, read and assignment can greatly vary in 2-read.

How coverages are called

Coaches build their coverages around numbers. So why is it that some coaches will call out double digits in their play call? The two numbers could indicate different things in different systems. In most NFL systems, the two digits might indicate two different coverages. The first digit tells the defense to play a coverage against pro formations and the second digit tells them to play another type of coverage against slot formations.

Oddly enough, some NFL defensive coordinators have to make it a point to teach defensive rookies what slot and pro formations are because they just don’t see a lot of them in college with all the spread that they face in college.

Pro formation:

what is cover 0 blitz

Slot formation:

what is cover 0 blitz

For example, if the call is “63,” the defense plays Cover 6 against pro formations and Cover 3 to the weakside of the formation. This numbering system was originally intended to defend mainly two-back sets. However, it still works in the modern game by just switching out formation types for spread ones. So instead of the first number indicating what coverage to play against pro formations, it would be for two-by-two formations. Slot formations would be swapped out for three-by-one formations.

what is cover 0 blitz

In this page from a Jets playbook or install, the call is “Reduce 63.” “Reduce” is the front and “63” is the two coverages. The two diagrams on the left show that the defense would play Cover 6 against pro and trip formations. The two diagrams on the right show that they would play Cover 3 against slot and twin formations.

The reason why calling two coverages is necessary is because the type of stress one set of formations deals with can be completely different than the type of stress that another set of formations can put on a defense. With pro formations or two-by-two formations, the offense is more balanced with two receivers on both sides of the field, but there are some formations that present very specific stresses on a defense that require a different call or adjustment.

what is cover 0 blitz

For example, against a three-by-one formation with a nub tight end (inline tight end on the single side), the running strength (to the tight end side) is the offense’s run strength and the passing strength is to the three-receiver side. That type of conflict requires the defense to have an adjustment or different coverage against those types of formations.

This article reveals merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the languages of defensive football vary. Hopefully, by the end of this, you realize that we all don’t know as much about defenses as we think we know.

When it comes to analyzing schemes, speaking about defensive football as if there are universal terms is totally incorrect. If I claim that a cornerback was guilty of a blown coverage, I wouldn’t know for sure unless I knew the defensive call, which I wouldn’t get a majority of the time. But to make the best-educated guess possible, I would have to investigate details like what coverage he was in, what tree is his coach from and more. I am certainly guilty of oversimplifying, but as an analyst in the media that is presenting my work to football fans with a wide range of football expertise, this vice is often necessary. The aim is to keep learning, be as accurate as possible and keep elevating the general conversion around the game we love.

(Photo of Vic Fangio holding a play sheet: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images)

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Ted Nguyen

Ted Nguyen is a NFL staff writer for The Athletic. He breaks down film to uncover the story that the X's and O's tell. He also covers the latest trends around the league and covers the draft. Follow Ted on Twitter @ FB_FilmAnalysis

How dark will the solar eclipse be? Path of totality gives you a much different experience

what is cover 0 blitz

The long-anticipated total solar eclipse will arrive Monday afternoon and cover the skies over a large portion of the United States.

The total eclipse will appear in the skies above the U.S., all the way from southern Texas to northern Maine. The rare event will see the shadow of the moon cover a narrow strip of land in darkness in the middle of the day.

The total eclipse will begin in Mexico at about 11:07 a.m. PDT on Monday before crossing into Texas at 1:27 p.m. CDT. It will end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. EDT. The partial eclipse will last for awhile longer. Even if you're not in the path of totality and won't see the full eclipse, you may still see a percentage of it.

To find out exactly when the eclipse will be happening in your area, you can search by  USA TODAY's database by ZIP code  for a viewing guide.

But how dark will it really get during an eclipse? Here's what to expect.

How dark does it get during a total solar eclipse?

If you're in the path of totality, where the moon completely covers the sun, the sky will become dark as if it were dawn or dusk, according to NASA .

For those who only experience a partial solar eclipse, the sky will appear slightly darker than it was before the eclipse, depending on how much the moon blocks the sun in their location, NASA says.

“When the moon covers 85% of the sun, it’s still no darker than being in the shade on a sunny day and even at 95%, it’s an overcast day-darkness,” said  Dr. Angela Speck in a video . Speck is the chair of the Physics and Astronomy department of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Speck points out in the video that even at 99.9% partial eclipse, there is still at least 100 times more light coming from the sun than during totality.

And even if you're in the path, don't expect the darkness to last too long. Totality may only last a couple minutes in some areas.

How much of a temperature drop do you get during a total solar eclipse?

NASA says you can expect the temperature to drop about 10 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the humidity and cloud cover at your location.

Total solar eclipse livestream

USA TODAY is providing live coverage of the 2024 solar eclipse beginning at noon E.T. on Monday in a number of areas along the eclipse's path of totality, including Washington, D.C., Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana and New York. You can watch live at the embedded video below or on USA TODAY's  YouTube channel .

Contributing: Doyle Rice & Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY

Gabe Hauari is a national trending news reporter at USA TODAY. You can follow him on X  @GabeHauari  or email him at [email protected].

Watch CBS News

Why is looking at a solar eclipse dangerous without special glasses? Eye doctors explain.

By Sara Moniuszko

Edited By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

Updated on: April 8, 2024 / 8:54 AM EDT / CBS News

The solar eclipse will be visible for millions of Americans on April 8, 2024, making many excited to see it — but how you watch it matters, since it can be dangerous for your eyes. 

A  solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun's light . When the moon blocks some of the sun, it's a partial solar eclipse, but when moon lines up with the sun, blocking all of its light, a total solar eclipse occurs,  NASA explains . Either way, you need eye protection when viewing.

"The solar eclipse will be beautiful, so I hope that everyone experiences it — but they need to experience it in the right way," said Dr. Jason P. Brinton, an ophthalmologist and medical director at Brinton Vision in St. Louis.

Here's what to know to stay safe.

Why is looking at a solar eclipse dangerous?

Looking at the sun — even when it's partially covered like during an eclipse — can cause eye damage.

There is no safe dose of solar ultraviolet rays or infrared radiation, said  Dr. Yehia Hashad , an ophthalmologist, retinal specialist and the chief medical officer at eye health company Bausch + Lomb.

"A very small dose could cause harm to some people," he said. "That's why we say the partial eclipse could also be damaging. And that's why we protect our eyes with the partial as well as with the full sun."

Some say that during a total eclipse, it's safe to view the brief period time when the moon completely blocks the sun without eye protection. But experts warn against it. 

"Totality of the eclipse lasts only about 1 to 3 minutes based on geographic location, and bright sunlight suddenly can appear as the moon continues to move," notes an eclipse viewing guide published in JAMA , adding, "even a few seconds of viewing the sun during an eclipse" can temporarily or permanently damage your vision. 

Do I need special glasses for eclipse viewing?

Yes.  Eclipse glasses are needed to protect your eyes if you want to look at the eclipse.

Regular sunglasses aren't protective enough for eclipse viewing — even if you stack more than one. 

"There's no amount of sunglasses that people can put on that will make up for the filtering that the ISO standard filters and the eclipse glasses provide," Brinton said.

You also shouldn't look at the eclipse through a camera lens, phone, binoculars or telescope, according to NASA, even while wearing eclipse glasses. The solar rays can burn through the lens and cause serious eye injury.

Eclipse glasses must comply with the  ISO 12312-2 international safety standard , according to NASA, and should have an "ISO" label printed on them to show they comply. The American Astronomical Society  has a list  of approved solar viewers.

Can't find these, or they're sold out near you? You can also  make homemade viewers ,   which allow you to observe the eclipse indirectly — just don't accidentally look at the sun while using one.

How to keep kids safe during the solar eclipse

Since this eclipse is expected to occur around the time of dismissal for many schools across the country, it may be tempting for students to view it without the proper safety precautions while getting to and from their buses. That's why some school districts are  canceling classes early so kids can enjoy the event safely with their families.

Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, vitreoretinal surgeon at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Mount Sinai, said parents should also be careful because it can be difficult for children to listen or keep solar eclipse glasses on. 

"You want to actually, in my opinion, kind of avoid them even looking at the eclipse, if possible," he said. "Never look directly at the sun, always wear the right eclipse sunglasses if you are going to look at the sun and make sure that those are coming from a reliable source."

Brinton recommends everyone starts their eclipse "viewing" early, by looking at professional photos and videos of an eclipse online or visiting a local planetarium. 

That way, you "have an idea of what to expect," he said. 

He also recommends the foundation  Prevent Blindness , which has resources for families about eclipse safety.

What happens if you look at a solar eclipse without eclipse glasses?

While your eyes likely won't hurt in the moment if you look at the eclipse without protection, due to lowered brightness and where damage occurs in the eye, beware: The rays can still cause damage .

The harm may not be apparent immediately. Sometimes trouble starts to appear one to a few days following the event. It could affect just one or both eyes.

And while some will regain normal visual function, sometimes the damage is permanent. 

"Often there will be some recovery of the vision in the first few months after it, but sometimes there is no recovery and sometimes there's a degree to which it is permanent," Brinton said. 

How long do you have to look at the eclipse to damage your eyes?

Any amount of time looking at the eclipse without protection is too long, experts say. 

"If someone briefly looks at the eclipse, if it's extremely brief, in some cases there won't be damage. But damage can happen even within a fraction of a second in some cases," Brinton said. He said he's had patients who have suffered from solar retinopathy, the official name for the condition.

Deobhakta treated a patient who watched the 2017 solar eclipse for 20 seconds without proper eye protection. She now has permanent damage in the shape of a crescent that interferes with her vision. 

"The crescent that is burned into the retina, the patient sees as black in her visual field," he said. "The visual deficit that she has will never go away."

How to know if you've damaged your eyes from looking at the eclipse

Signs and symptoms of eye damage following an eclipse viewing include headaches, blurred vision, dark spots, changes to how you see color, lines and shapes. 

Unfortunately, there isn't a treatment for solar retinopathy.

"Seeing an eye care professional to solidify the diagnosis and for education I think is reasonable," Brinton said, but added, "right now there is nothing that we do for this. Just wait and give it time and the body does tend to heal up a measure of it."

Sara Moniuszko is a health and lifestyle reporter at CBSNews.com. Previously, she wrote for USA Today, where she was selected to help launch the newspaper's wellness vertical. She now covers breaking and trending news for CBS News' HealthWatch.

More from CBS News

Look at the solar eclipse too long? Doctors explain signs of eye damage

Is it safe to take pictures of the solar eclipse with your phone?

How to make pinhole cameras to watch the 2024 solar eclipse safely

How often do total solar eclipses happen?

The total solar eclipse 2024 is happening today! Here's what you need to know

Millions are ready to watch  —  are you?

It's the day we've all been waiting for! Total solar eclipse 2024 is finally here. Today (April 8) a total solar eclipse will sweep across North America from Mexico, through 15 U.S. States and up through Canada. For viewers inside the path of totality, the moon will completely cover the sun, darkening the sky and revealing our star's hidden outer atmosphere.

You can keep up to date with the latest eclipse content on our eclipse live blog and watch all the total eclipse action unfold live here on Space.com courtesy of NASA. Our livestream coverage begins at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT). 

If you capture a great photo of the solar eclipse and would like to share it with us please email it to [email protected]

Related: 10 things you probably didn't know about the total solar eclipse 2024

Every U.S. State will experience at least a partial solar eclipse today. If you want to check what time you'll be able to see the solar eclipse and find out what it may look like from your location check out this great interactive map from NASA . 

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on our planet. It appears almost exactly the same size as our sun and for those witnessing the event from the path of totality, it will completely cover the sun's visible disk.

Last minute preparations  

If you haven't been able to get hold of a pair of eclipse glasses and are looking for an easy way to still view the solar eclipse safely we have a list of some alternative ways to view the eclipse with items from around the home . 

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Remember NEVER look directly at the sun. To safely view all of this event, you must use solar glasses or filters. Only those in the path of totality will be able to remove them briefly to see the sun's corona with their naked eyes. Those not in the path of totality must keep them on the entire time. 

Everyone observing the partial phases of this eclipse — and for those outside the path of totality, that's the entire event — will need to wear solar eclipse glasses while cameras, telescopes and binoculars will need solar filters placed in front of their lenses. 

Our how to observe the sun safely guide tells you everything you need to know about safe solar observations. 

Eclipse timings

Submit your photos! If you capture a photo of the April 8 total solar eclipse or any of these strange effects and would like to share it with Space.com's readers, send photos, videos, comments, and your name, location and content usage permission release to [email protected].

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: [email protected].

Daisy Dobrijevic

Daisy Dobrijevic joined Space.com in February 2022 having previously worked for our sister publication All About Space magazine as a staff writer. Before joining us, Daisy completed an editorial internship with the BBC Sky at Night Magazine and worked at the National Space Centre in Leicester, U.K., where she enjoyed communicating space science to the public. In 2021, Daisy completed a PhD in plant physiology and also holds a Master's in Environmental Science, she is currently based in Nottingham, U.K. Daisy is passionate about all things space, with a penchant for solar activity and space weather. She has a strong interest in astrotourism and loves nothing more than a good northern lights chase! 

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what is cover 0 blitz

Solar eclipse finishes trek across U.S., with awe in its wake

Today, the moon passed between the sun and Earth , obscuring the face of the sun and casting a shadow across a stretch of North America.

Millions in the path of totality experienced momentary darkness and, for some, a moment of transcendence.

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Sister Monica Clare stands in the first row of a set of pews.

TikTok Turns to Nuns, Veterans and Ranchers in Marketing Blitz

The video app is spending millions on ads as Congress considers a bill that could lead to a U.S. ban.

“TikTok definitely has a branding issue in the United States,” said Sister Monica Clare, a nun in Mendham, N.J., who appears in an ad for the video app. Credit... Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times

Supported by

Sapna Maheshwari

By Sapna Maheshwari

  • April 4, 2024

In a TV commercial, Sister Monica Clare, a nun in northern New Jersey, walks through a church that’s bathed in sunlight and sits in a pew, crossing herself. Her message: TikTok is a force for good.

“Because of TikTok, I’ve created a community where people can feel safe asking questions about spirituality,” she says in the advertisement .

Sister Monica Clare is one of several fans of TikTok — along with drawling ranchers, a Navy veteran known as Patriotic Kenny and entrepreneurs — whom the company is highlighting in commercials as it faces intense scrutiny in Washington.

“TikTok definitely has a branding issue in the United States,” Sister Monica Clare, 58, said in an interview. “Most people that you talk to, especially people above the age of 60, will say that TikTok is just a bunch of superficial garbage. They don’t use it. They don’t understand what the content is.

“It’s very smart of TikTok to say no, that’s not what we are — we’re a lot more than that,” she added.

That seems to be the idea driving TikTok’s multimillion-dollar marketing blitz on TV and rival social platforms nationwide — tagged #KeepTikTok — as the Senate considers a bill that would force the company’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell the app or have it face a national ban. Many lawmakers from both parties have said the app could endanger American users’ private data or be used as a Chinese propaganda tool.

Since the House voted in favor of the bill three weeks ago, the company has spent at least $3.1 million on advertising time for commercials that are scheduled to run through April, according to data from AdImpact, a media tracking firm. Some of the places it’s most heavily targeting are the presidential election battleground states of Pennsylvania, Nevada and Ohio, according to the data. TikTok has also spent more than $100,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads recently, according to Meta’s Ad Library.

TikTok said it was spending more than AdImpact’s data showed, but the company did not provide specifics. When asked about its advertising efforts, Michael Hughes, a spokesman for TikTok, said, “We think the public at large should know that the government is attempting to trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans and devastate seven million small businesses nationwide.”

The advertisements are part of a broad lobbying campaign by TikTok to reshape the perception of the company among lawmakers and the public. It has vocally opposed the bill, which it has framed as an outright ban, saying it has not and would not share data with Beijing or allow any government to influence its algorithmic recommendations of videos for users to watch.

ByteDance spent $8.7 million on lobbying last year, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit research group, and its in-house team and a variety of outside firms are trying to influence lawmakers. It has rallied its vast base of users to contact their representatives, though some of those efforts may have backfired . And Shou Chew, TikTok’s chief executive, is a co-chair for this spring’s Met Gala, where TikTok will be the lead sponsor.

Shou Chew, wearing a tuxedo, stands next to Vivian Kao, who is also formally dressed,  with a cluster of camera operators behind them.

TikTok started amplifying the stories of everyday Americans like Sister Monica Clare and Patriotic Kenny last year, through a campaign it calls TikTok Sparks Good. Much of that effort appeared to be aimed at conservative audiences. It spent an estimated $19 million on TV ads that appeared largely on news programs, especially Fox News, according to data from iSpot.tv, a TV measurement company. TikTok aired more than a dozen ads during Republican presidential debates or debate-related programming last year, the firm said. It is still running ads that promote creators from last year’s campaign.

“It’s such a classic tactic,” said Cait Lamberton, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “They’re taking an idea, putting it in the mouth of a human and allowing you to make a connection with that human.”

She added, “TikTok is framing itself as a brand that stands for freedom and democratization of communication and frankly a lot of values that most people feel quite comfortable with.”

One of TikTok’s newer TV ads was filmed last month when the company flew dozens of video creators to Washington to protest the House bill. The ad is narrated by creators and shows some holding signs saying, “TikTok changed my life for the better,” on the steps of the Capitol.

Trevor Boffone, a lecturer at the University of Houston with more than 300,000 followers on TikTok, is also in the ad, describing how the app made him a better teacher and connect with an audience well beyond his classroom.

He said that he had been to events full of TikTok creators who were into “doing fun, dancing stuff,” but that the group in Washington was “a radically different group of people.”

TikTok gathered “regular Americans with amazing stories about how the platform helped them with their mental health, their disabilities and different crises in their communities like wildfire and even open-heart surgery,” he said. “All these really important ways that this platform has created community in ways that lawmakers don’t know about.”

Mr. Boffone, 38, said the group’s liaisons at TikTok had urged the creators to speak with their senators about the bill. (Sister Monica Clare said she had written a letter opposing the bill to Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. Mr. Boffone said he had not yet been able to get in touch with his representative.)

Creators were worried that even a divestiture of TikTok from ByteDance could “change the culture of the app,” he said.

“We’ve seen what happened with Twitter and how Twitter is a shell of what it once was,” Mr. Boffone said. “Congress should be looking at comprehensive data security and legislation around social media and digital platforms that looks at Meta, that looks at Google.”

Americans are likely to see other advertisements about TikTok as outside groups also seize on the bill.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has viewed the legislation as a threat to First Amendment rights, last month ran Facebook and Instagram ads that linked to a letter of opposition for people to send to their senators. A spokeswoman for the organization said it did not have a formal partnership or fund-raising relationship with TikTok or ByteDance.

Proponents of the bill are also running ads. Newly formed nonprofit groups led by conservatives, whose backers are unclear, have been airing TV commercials and placing advertisements on social media.

One of those groups, the American Parents Coalition, is led by Alleigh Marré, the founder of a public relations firm and a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration. She promised “a seven-figure awareness campaign” called “TikTok Is Poison” in a March 20 news release.

Another group, State Armor Action, is led by Michael Lucci, a former policy adviser to a Republican governor in Illinois and a former Trump appointee to a Federal Labor Relations Authority panel. The group announced a multimillion-dollar ad campaign targeting TikTok on March 20 as well.

Ms. Marré said her group’s TikTok effort was its first campaign but declined to share information about its financial backers. Mr. Lucci also declined to identify his group’s donors but said he believed that TikTok “needs to be divested to American ownership.”

The intensity of the battle has hit home for Sister Monica Clare. She was delighted when her commercial began airing, she said, but was soon surprised to receive hate mail and even a few angry phone calls.

“It was this rush of ‘Oh, so exciting’ and then ‘Oh, what a bummer,’” she said. “It was really from people who were committed to the idea that China is spying on us through TikTok, from people who probably never used social media in their lives.”

She said that she was hopeful that TikTok’s marketing efforts, including the ad, would help send a different message about the app. (The company made a $500 donation to her convent in Mendham, N.J., for her participation, she said.)

“There’s a huge community of people doing good on TikTok,” she said.

Sapna Maheshwari reports on TikTok, technology and emerging media companies. She has been a business reporter for more than a decade. Contact her at [email protected] . More about Sapna Maheshwari



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