How to Attack Defensive Coverages with the Perfect Passing Routes

For every great scheme you have in your offense, the defense will have an answer. If your passing game is limited to quick passes, the defense will eventually have to cover you outside with extra help.

The standard answer here is to go to a Cover 2 coverage look. Cover 2 uses 5 underneath defenders with two safeties over the top, responsible for the deep halves of the field.

Likewise, if a defense is willing to give up short passes, confident they can tackle your receivers for only a modest gain if they even catch the ball, you will see more Cover 3. Cover 3 is safe, with 3 deep defenders to track down anything that pops past the defensive front.

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Leave A Reply (11 comments so far)

  1. Coach Todd
    3 years ago

    I’m looking for info on how 2 attack cover 1 with the passing and running game. I coach a 8yr old team and we face the typical 8 man in the box blitzing defense. I have 2 great catching TE’s, an athletic throwing QB and a good zone blocking O-line. I have a good physical discipline team and can score points. I’m just looking for more offensive options. We read wishbone, offset I, T-formation n pistol. Hope you can help!

    • Joe Daniel
      3 years ago

      If they’re 8, I’m guessing the QB isn’t throwing a lot of fade balls? I would use the slant/arrow concept with your TE’s. The #1 receiver runs a slant, #2 runs an arrow that comes just underneath the slant, which gets your TE free in the flats.

      The mesh route is also a great route to get your TE’s open, with the two TE’s crossing over the Center, one high and one low. As they come out of the mesh, against man coverage they will keep running and the QB should be able to hit the open receiver right outside the tackle box.

  2. Todd Greenwell
    2 years ago

    1. Smash concept

    What else do you like best from cover 2 MOFO type looks? either Man under or typical vanilla cover 2


    • Joe Daniel
      2 years ago

      A levels concept, with a shallow cross and a Dig over top. If you’re getting Zone, the MLB has to decide whether to drop off to get underneath the dig (12-14 yards), or come up to collision the shallow. Against Man, the Shallow is always a good route to look for.

      A Post/Wheel with a flare coming behind it gives you a triangle read. The safety should be held by the post. The corner will probably run with the wheel, and then you have a back being chased by a Linebacker. Of course, you always have the possibility of the Corner not covering the wheel.

      Just a couple of ideas

      • Todd Greenwell
        2 years ago

        Thanks Coach. Stumbled on this site and I can’t get enough. Love the relationship with the Slack/Maddox jargon too. Just listened to your podcast interview with Coach Maddox while on a jog. Good stuff.

        do you find the shallow/Dig better than a Shallow paired with a pivot to the opposite inside?


        so Y would run a shallow and H would run to the guard /tackle on the Y side and pivot back?

        • Joe Daniel
          2 years ago

          We’ve never run it, I’d worry about how long that route would take the H to run. It all depends on the timing

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