49ers Count To Five & Cover Them

By FirstDown PlayBook on Jan 27, 2020

One year when I worked at the Bears I was the assistant special teams coach. There were times when after our installation meeting with the special teams, I would sit in on the defensive meetings.

Vance Bedford was the secondary coach that year and was a very experienced college and NFL coach. I would sit in on his meetings because I had coached pretty much every position on the field with the exception of the defensive backs. I wanted to learn more about their perspective.

One day Vance was breaking down one of our opponent’s passing game to his group and he made the statement that there were really only four or five concepts to defend. After the meeting I asked him how that could be?

As an experienced coach myself I knew all offensive game plans have multiple pass game concepts, many more than four or five. Vance looked at me and said something like “Charlie, there are only five eligible receivers and only three directions they can go. They can go deep, left or right.”

The more I looked at it from the defensive side, the more I realized he was correct. Defensive coaches know that as offensive coaches we like to get receivers in different zones. When they match up with man or zone their job is to get someone to those zones.

This defensive pressure that the 49ers sprung on the Packers last week is a good example. The pressure is run with a lot of detail and the nickel defensive back gets home to strip Rodgers of the ball.

The best part however is how the 49er count to five and push their weak side B gap mug linebacker to find the Packers’ number three receiver. Once again the defense understood that one of those three receivers in the bunch formation was going to release inside. Take a look here to see what we mean.

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