Coverage Beaters: Cover 6
By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 1, 2015

Coverage Beaters
FirstDown PlayBook concludes our definition and explanation of our five coverages in our new Coverage Beaters section today with quarter-quarter half coverage or Cover 6.


FirstDown PlayBook defines Cover 6 as quarter-quarter half coverage. In other words, it is a combination of our Cover 4 and Cover 2. For the sake of consistency we play the Cover 4 side to the passing strength and  Cover 2 on the other. For a better idea of what we look for vs Cover 4 go here and what we look for when we play against Cover 2 check it out here.

3×1 Formations

When teams play Cover 4 (pure quarters) against 2×2 formations they will normally read the release of the #2 receiver to each side but when the offense plays with a 3×1 formation they will often lock the weak side cornerback on the weak side receiver in man coverage. Offenses who have a talented X on the weak side can exploit this one on one matchup.

For this reason defenses often play cover 6 so that vs 3×1 formations they can get some help over the top for the weak side Corner. As an offensive coordinator it is important to know this because when you play a cover 6 team you have weakness underneath to the Cover 4 side and weaknesses in the deep seam area on the Cover 2 side.

cov 6 f

Motions to 3×1 and 2×2

Knowing what we do about how some defenses play Cover 4 vs 2×2 formations and Cover 6 vs 3×1 formations, motions or shifts can be effective with creating confusion and hesitation for the secondary. This also includes showing motion across the formation and returning back to the original formation.

Pure Cover 6

Some defenses avoid this potential confusion by playing Cover 6 against all formations. This is particularly true if the weak side receiver is very talented. This guarantees the Corner to the weak side has help over the top on all pass plays however the defense is still weak underneath to the strong side and in the seams to the weak side.

Play Action Pass Strong

When we talked about Cover 4 we hit on the fact that a quarters safety has a lot of responsibility in the run game also. For this reason play action passes right at him can cause problems for the defense. If an offense play action passes at the strong side safety in cover 6 and runs the weak side receiver to the deep middle there is often a chance for a big play deep behind the quarters safety.

Coverage Verification

So when you go to the FirstDown PlayBook Coverage Beaters section you will see that vs cover 6 we are often attacking each respective side the same way we would Cover 2 to the weak side and Cover 4 to the strong side. It is very important that your quarterback gets a good pre-snap confirmation on this coverage and defenses are good at disquising with their safeties and corners depth. The best way for your QB to get a read on cover 6 is to understand that normally the quarters side OLB will have more width because he has to buzz through the curl/flat area and the halves side OLB will have a tighter alignment because he is still responsible for carrying your #2 receiver vertically.

FirstDown PlayBook Coverage Beaters Will Grow!

So for now this is our last FirstDown PlayBook article dedicated to our coverage beaters. We will add to our current coverage beaters section in the near future. We know a lot of you are looking for cover 2 man beaters so we will get that one up soon. In the meantime be sure to check in from time to time on the FirstDown PlayBook website as we keep adding our favorite pass plays to beat the coverages that give you and your QB the most problems!

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