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  1. #1
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    A look at the Tampa Two

    This is an NFL article, yet the first part is a good look at the Tampa Two, its successes and faults.

    SI.com link

    Tampa Two On the Decline

    Despite a Super Bowl that featured two teams running the Tampa Two defense, offenses have started to catch up with the scheme.

    The defense, which came to prominence with the great Steeler teams in the 1970s, only uses the front four to pressure the quarterback while dropping five underneath defenders and two deep safeties into coverage.

    Tony Dungy tweaked the scheme by having the middle linebacker take a deeper drop down the middle of the field, creating a hybrid three-deep coverage. This simple, but effective defense catapulted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from doormats to contenders as they finished in the top 10 in total defense for 10 consecutive years. After watching this defense dominate for so long, other teams have started to incorporate its principles into their game plans. Most of the league runs some form of Tampa Two during a game.

    But offenses have started to catch up with the scheme and the statistics bear that out.

    Well-established Tampa Two teams Indianapolis, Chicago and Tampa Bay each finished in the top 10 in scoring defense and total defense in 2005, but only the Bears remained that high in '06.

    Chicago finished first in the league in takeaways, fifth in total defense and third in scoring defense. The Bucs and the Colts, on the other hand, had a dramatic dip. The Colts finished dead last versus the run and had nine rushers gain over 100 yards against them last season. The Bucs finished in the middle of the pack in total defense and rush defense after being the league's top defense in 2005.

    Since Tampa Two defenses places a premium on speed instead of bulk and power, teams featuring big offensive lines and a power running game are successful pounding the ball between the tackles. It takes time for the toll of the running game to be effective, but teams that run the ball 30 or more times eventually wear down the defense and force an opponent into more eight-man fronts.

    Additionally, the success of the running game opens up big plays in the passing game off play action. Holding the middle linebacker with strong running action, creates a hole about 15-20 yards down the middle of the field, which is easily exploited by a tight end or slot receiver. Once teams establish the ability to attack the defense in multiple ways off the run and play action, the benefits of using the Tampa Two coverage are nullified.

    The Tampa Two coverage is not disappearing any time soon -- with as many as seven teams expected to use the defense basically full-time in 2007 -- but the success of playing a heavy dose of the coverage is starting to decline. With more teams finding success on the ground against the defense, you'll see less of Tampa Two in the years to come.



  2. #2
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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    Glad you posted that article. I read it a couple of days ago, and meant to throw it up on the site, but lost track of it somewhere. Good read. The NFL is so cyclical. Fads come and go. Think of all the offensive and defensive schemes that have come and go over the years. The Run and Shoot had it's day. The Carolina Zone Blitz was a huge fad a few years ago. Variations of the 3-4 defense always make the rounds every couple of years. It's entertaining to see the new "unbeatable" scheme dismantled by offensive/defensive coordinators. But that's the NFL.


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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    It's all a hard hitting fast moving chess match, and that is what makes football such an incredible sport. I love to argue with my father about this. He is a soccer fan and says that football lacks creativity and strategy. He thinks it is all about how can hit the other person harder. I try and try to fight, but he just does not get the strategy involved.


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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    Your father should have watched the BSU-OU bowl game very closely. The light would've come on for him then. :)



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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    It's all a hard hitting fast moving chess match, and that is what makes football such an incredible sport. I love to argue with my father about this. He is a soccer fan and says that football lacks creativity and strategy. He thinks it is all about how can hit the other person harder. I try and try to fight, but he just does not get the strategy involved.
    Good point. I have this argument with friends who like to claim that baseball is a thinking man's game, and football is for neanderthals. The strategy of football is very deep. Diagram a simple bootleg, or a weakside blitz and you can see how every person on the field is essential to making it work. (Randy Moss gets a pass on this one) It's almost art. I would love to see a museum dedicated to only showing pictures of x's and o's. Ok, maybe that's a little over the line.


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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    It is a very solid defense that works very well, however I think the conclusions in the article are pretty lame. Of course 15-20 yards down field is open, but it isn't "easily" exploitable. Also, the statement that the defense places emphasis on speed not power isn't accurate either. He actually validates a point that goes for most any defense, and that is stopping the run. You have to stop the run no matter what defense you employ. If teams are having problems with this defense and they aren't stopping the run with a 4 man front, then the problem is the personnel. The point is, if you have strong DL and can stop the run, you can run any defense you want and be successful (well as long as your LBs and DBs don't suck).



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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    And that's the real kicker of it, isn't it? You can have the best scheme in the world, but if you don't have the players you've got nothing. A great example of that is the way Tampa Bay used the Cover 2 in their heydey, and the way a team like Minnesota uses it now. Tampa had the right guys for that system. For the Vikes, it's not as good of a fit, and while their D wasn't awful last year, it wasn't elite like the Bucs was.


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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    Thanks for the post, you know I never knew what the Tampa 2 was until we got Chizik. Did we try to run it under Mac? Maybe that is why it looked like we gave a 10 yard cushion on the recievers? It sounds like you use the 2 safeties like linebackers and put more pressure on the corners. That seems to work great when you have Mosser and Paris at safety and Ellis and Jackson at corner, but they only come around once every ten years.


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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    Thanks for the post, you know I never knew what the Tampa 2 was until we got Chizik. Did we try to run it under Mac? Maybe that is why it looked like we gave a 10 yard cushion on the recievers? It sounds like you use the 2 safeties like linebackers and put more pressure on the corners. That seems to work great when you have Mosser and Paris at safety and Ellis and Jackson at corner, but they only come around once every ten years
    Actually, the beauty of the Cover 2 is the fact that it can hide bad cornerbacks. You don't have to have lockdown corners, because your safties are always playing over the top to prevent the deep ball. Look at Indianapolis this last year. They did not have worldbeater corners, but they had good safties and a front four that could pressure the QB.


    Last edited by Mr Janny; 06-05-2007 at 11:39 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    Right, a big key to the Tampa Two are the safeties. And our safeties are...well...um...see...

    The key to the 2007 ISU Tampa Two is prayer. Hence, the desire for a Chaplin.



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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    I think just so long as we don't play it too conservatively and we have aggressive blitz schemes like Gene did in Texas we can have some success possibly even against Nebraska.



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    Re: A look at the Tampa Two

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUboi12 View Post
    I think just so long as we don't play it too conservatively and we have aggressive blitz schemes like Gene did in Texas we can have some success possibly even against Nebraska.
    Can we blitz though? Does Gene have enough faith in the secondary to do it? And...is the talent there for the coaches to be confident they'll get to the QB on a blitz? I'm not trying to hate on our 'Clones - yet we're lacking a fair amount on defense - things ya need in his style of defense.

    Paris and Moser - where are you?



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