Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pattern Read: Receiver Distribution

As our season winds down, I plan on going over a rather detailed breakdown of pattern-matching concepts with a zone defense. The concept can appear rather convoluted or intimidating to some folks, but is actually quite simple and it compartmentalizes the passing game into digestible portions.

The next few posts will be foundational tenets needed to build successful recognition of and playing (response) threats to a defender's zone.

Since there are 5 eligible receivers (not counting the quarterback), determining how a defense is being threatened is important in distinguishing just what, in particular, a defense will be stressed by. To do this, a common vocabulary is required to quickly identify how to play receiver allocation. This will also help in defining each player's role based on the offense's response in all 3 types of actions.

I've drawn these examples up in 2-back and 1-back looks, but the formations are essentially irrelevant. This is intended to just give you a basic run-down of how this would look. The routes being run are also not important now. We're are simply categorizing how an offense spreads the 5 receiving threats at a defense.


Flow is a 4x1 disbursement sending 4 receivers to the strength of the formation and 1 receiver weak. This is a rather common action with rollout/sprint out drops.
Flood is a 2x3 disbursement of receivers, sending 2 receivers strong and 3 receivers weak. This flood of receivers typically indicates boot action.
Split is a 3x2 disbursement, sending 3 receivers strong and 2 receivers weak. This is the most common way of threatening the defense and equally distributing the receiving threats. Air Raid and WCO are primarily split-flow offenses.

Since we have already gone over route reading from a 1-high (Cover 3) look, we'll explore pattern matching out of a 2-high (Cover 2) zone defense.

As a helpful guide, you can bookmark or follow along, by using the "Pattern Reading" tag that will pull up all posts detailing this technique (or keep it more specific to the Cover 2 posts that will follow).

Cover 2

Corner Play

Linebacker Play

Safety Play

Cover 2 vs Verticals

Cover 2 vs Sail

Cover 2 vs Hi-Low

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