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  1. #1
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    Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    So is our base defense a standard cover 2, or is it actually the tampa 2 variation? I was just thinking about this last night, and I realized I hadn't really made a point to figure this out while watching a game. As a Bears fan, I've had the tampa 2 explained to me many times, and my understanding is as follows: The tampa variation was designed to take away the soft spots in the typical cover 2: the deep middle routes between the safeties and medium routes behind the corners and underneath the safeties.

    As I understand it, the key variation of the tampa 2 is the MLB's responsibilities. Instead of being responsible for just a "fifth" of the field underneath, he's also responsible for the deep middle between the safeties, essentially turning it into a cover 3. The MLB ends up taking away the soft spot in the deep middle, allowing the safeties to cover less ground and more effectively cover the soft spots between them and the corners.

    With the added LB responsibilities, a typical tampa 2 defense doesn't blitz much and relies heavily on the front 4 to generate the pass rush. Speed is the key, especially at the MLB position. So if this is our base defense (and I'm assuming it is judging by how many times I've seen Jesse Smith frantically backpedaling to cover the deep middle… usually too late), it's clear why we look so bad. Combine a lack of a pass rush with our front four with a slow-footed MLB with inexperience, and it's a recipe for disaster under the tampa 2.

    As a Bears fan, I've seen first hand how dramatically personnel can impact the effectiveness of this defense. In 2005 and 2006 the Bears had one of the best defenses in the NFL under the tampa 2. You may as well have punted on 1st down when those Bears defenses were roaming the field. Fast forward to 2007 and 2008- the LBs are getting older and slower, the front 4 can't generate a pass rush like they used to, and the defensive backs are mediocre. Suddenly the Bears defense is now in the bottom half of the league. It's the same scheme, but the personnel isn't what it used to be.

    If we are in fact running a base tampa 2 with our current personnel, one thing is obvious: The coaches want to teach the scheme and get the young guys used to running it knowing full well it may get ugly on the field. I'm not sure how anyone could look at our current defensive 2-deep and think we have the players to shut down an offense using the tampa 2. That said, I personally have no problem with them implementing the system and dealing with the growing pains now. As was mentioned earlier, the key to the tampa 2 is speed (many times even "undersized" speed) and the coaches seem to be recruiting speed, first and foremost.



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Great analysis of why our defense is struggling. My friend and I have been discussing this exact problem all season. We love Jesse Smith against the run but dreaded every pass play. He's just not fast enough to play in this scheme. I've been waiting to see if they will sub him out on 3rd and longs but they never do. I'm guessing they don't have anyone else they trust to play during those situations.


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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Psyclone, great analysis of the Tampa 2, you have it exactly right... When you have the right personnel the Tampa 2 can be awesome. Now all we need is a MLB like Urlacher and an OLB that can lock down cover like Hillenmeyer... You can also see how important the safeties are by watching how the Bears play with Mike Brown and without him...

    If we can get some good pass rushing D-ends you may also see the DT's drop back in coverage to cover the short middle and more zone blitzes which are also popular in the Tampa 2.



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Very nice. The glaring problem which makes it all work is the DL. They aren't getting enough pressure which gives the offense too much time. Cover 2 works fine in flag football, but that's about it... All-around the defense isn't getting the job done, the DL, LBs, and secondary are all having issues. In the past Mac-era we hardly got beat deep because we at least got pressure up front, but we played soft and got picked picked apart. Now we get beat any which way.



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    I think we play a cover 2. We cover about 2 of the receivers eligible on any given play and leave the others wide open to make the play.



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Quote Originally Posted by psychlone99 View Post
    So is our base defense a standard cover 2, or is it actually the tampa 2 variation? I was just thinking about this last night, and I realized I hadn't really made a point to figure this out while watching a game. As a Bears fan, I've had the tampa 2 explained to me many times, and my understanding is as follows: The tampa variation was designed to take away the soft spots in the typical cover 2: the deep middle routes between the safeties and medium routes behind the corners and underneath the safeties.

    As I understand it, the key variation of the tampa 2 is the MLB's responsibilities. Instead of being responsible for just a "fifth" of the field underneath, he's also responsible for the deep middle between the safeties, essentially turning it into a cover 3. The MLB ends up taking away the soft spot in the deep middle, allowing the safeties to cover less ground and more effectively cover the soft spots between them and the corners.

    With the added LB responsibilities, a typical tampa 2 defense doesn't blitz much and relies heavily on the front 4 to generate the pass rush. Speed is the key, especially at the MLB position. So if this is our base defense (and I'm assuming it is judging by how many times I've seen Jesse Smith frantically backpedaling to cover the deep middle… usually too late), it's clear why we look so bad. Combine a lack of a pass rush with our front four with a slow-footed MLB with inexperience, and it's a recipe for disaster under the tampa 2.

    As a Bears fan, I've seen first hand how dramatically personnel can impact the effectiveness of this defense. In 2005 and 2006 the Bears had one of the best defenses in the NFL under the tampa 2. You may as well have punted on 1st down when those Bears defenses were roaming the field. Fast forward to 2007 and 2008- the LBs are getting older and slower, the front 4 can't generate a pass rush like they used to, and the defensive backs are mediocre. Suddenly the Bears defense is now in the bottom half of the league. It's the same scheme, but the personnel isn't what it used to be.

    If we are in fact running a base tampa 2 with our current personnel, one thing is obvious: The coaches want to teach the scheme and get the young guys used to running it knowing full well it may get ugly on the field. I'm not sure how anyone could look at our current defensive 2-deep and think we have the players to shut down an offense using the tampa 2. That said, I personally have no problem with them implementing the system and dealing with the growing pains now. As was mentioned earlier, the key to the tampa 2 is speed (many times even "undersized" speed) and the coaches seem to be recruiting speed, first and foremost.
    Oddly enough, in their heydey and still today, the Bears don't play a Cover 2 or even a Tampa 2 even half the time. They mostly play straight man defense with safety help over the top. Cover 2 Man, if you will.


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  7. #7
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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdewaard View Post
    Oddly enough, in their heydey and still today, the Bears don't play a Cover 2 or even a Tampa 2 even half the time. They mostly play straight man defense with safety help over the top. Cover 2 Man, if you will.
    You may be right (I've never sat down and charted plays while watching a Bears game), but I have a hard time believing they're not in the tampa 2 even half of the time. A couple of reasons:

    1. Lovie Smith helped develop this defense back when he was a LB coach under Dungy at TB. It's his baby. In fact, some people think that the reason Ron Rivera and the Bears parted ways was because he and Lovie butted heads over "ownership" of the Bears' D. Today, most people think Babich is just a puppet and Lovie is pulling the strings on the defense. The tampa 2 has and always will be a big part of the Bears defense as long as Lovie is head coach.

    2. If the Bears are playing a straight man defense most of the time, that's the loosest man defense I've ever seen! Opposing QBs can find open receivers all over the field. Last I checked, the Bears were giving up around 250 yards/game through the air and ranked towards the bottom of the NFL in that category.



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Yeah, the Bears are in the TT a good majority of the time. Their personnel was built around it, especially the LB corps of Briggs, Urlacher, and Hillenmeyer...



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    well da bears were in a Tampa 2 when they lost to the falcons, because thats how they gave up the deep out. it wouldnt have happened if they were in man under.



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    I don't know what the percentages are, but Chiz said in 1 of the blown cover TDs we were in man-to-man...



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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpokaneCY View Post
    I don't know what the percentages are, but Chiz said in 1 of the blown cover TDs we were in man-to-man...
    Was that the one where Devin Mcdowell ended up all by himself on one side of the field trying to cover two different receivers?

    We have had more blown coverages this year than I have even seen before.



  12. #12
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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Say what you want to, but if you look at their most recent game against the Titans, the Bears ran the Cover 2 on only about 1/3 of their defensive plays. Same thing goes for their Super Bowl year. They mixed things up. Cover 2 was their base set, but it did not account for the majority of their plays. Yes, the Cover 2 is what they are known for, but no defense can run the same set exclusively in the NFL and expect to win.


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  13. #13
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    Re: Cover 2 or Tampa 2?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdewaard View Post
    Say what you want to, but if you look at their most recent game against the Titans, the Bears ran the Cover 2 on only about 1/3 of their defensive plays.
    That makes sense since the Titans are a MUCH better running team than they are a passing team. (Not that it mattered when they were chucking the ball all over the place in the second half.) I'm sure the tampa 2 is used more frequently against balanced or pass-happy offenses.



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