FirstDown PlayBook Coverage Beaters: Cover 1

By FirstDown PlayBook on Dec 12, 2020

FirstDown PlayBook will take some time over the next few weeks to look into our new Coverage Beaters section and talk about what we look for when we attack each coverage. The FirstDown PlayBook Coverage Beaters section is always a favorite with 7on7 coaches and players, as well as coaches who like to throw the ball during the season!

First, let’s remind everyone exactly what the FirstDown PlayBook Coverage Beaters section is. It is a section where you the offensive coach can go to find effective passing game plays to attack a specific coverage. We have sections devoted to beating Cover 1, 2, 3, 4 and Cover 6!

Okay, Let’s get started with Cover 1, Man Free Coverage:

Favorable Individual Personnel Match ups

The moment a defense matches up with you in man regardless of what type of man coverage the first thing a coach should think is “Do I have a one on one matchup where I can win and possibly create a big play?” It only takes one matchup to make this happen. Even if this talented receiver is not running a deep route there can be big gains on yards after the catch.

Look For Routes On The Outside

Normally the defense has a free defender in the middle of the field in the deep third of the field or underneath in the hook zone area when they play man free coverage. For this reason, the one on one matchup that has the best chance to stay just that is on the outside. Your Split End and Flanker have a chance to remove the other 20 players from the game if they can win the one on one battle out on that island.

Routes That Stay On The Move

It is not real hard for a defender to cover someone who runs a stationary route. As a general rule call pass concepts that have your receivers staying on the move down the field or across the field. Juke type routes or routes that change direction are also effective with aiding your receivers to shake loose vs man coverage.

Crossing Routes Are Good

If you don’t have an answer on the outside or a quarterback that can take advantage of those matchups then you may need to work inside over the middle. This can still be very effective when crossing routes are used. As we mentioned, there will be a free defender underneath or deep so the crossing routes can help to create confusion and make it challenging for defenders to fight through the traffic and stay on their man.

Formations Matter

If you want to see a defense that plays a lot of man coverage start using zone principles in a hurry come out in a bunch type formation where you have three or more eligibles in close proximity as the ball is snapped.  Defenses will line up on different levels to avoid getting picked and also attempt to destroy the release of the point man in the Bunch but it is still extremely difficult to play straight man if these Bunch concepts are well executed.

This is certainly not an all inclusive list of things to consider when facing man free coverage but it is a good list to start with as we continue to add to our Cover One Beaters section. Bang on the Defensive pic above to get started on the FirstDown PlayBook Coverage Beaters section.

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