And I thought Houston’s defense just sucked yesterday:
As a flanker who often is sent in motion in the Steelers’ offense, Hines Ward does not see a lot of defensive coverages rotated to his side. On occasion, like yesterday, he will get a cover-2 defense when he is stationary on the line of scrimmage, much like Plaxico Burress did when he was with the Steelers.
Ward and the rest of the Steelers’ offense knew it might be an easy day in the Texas heat when he caught a 20-yard pass on third-and-12 in the second quarter, a play that was significant for several reasons.
It was important for the Steelers because it set up their first touchdown in a 27-7 victory against the Houston Texans, a game that extended their regular-season winning streak to 16 games, three shy of an NFL record. But the play was indicative of the ineptitude of the Titans because they rushed only two lineman and dropped nine players in coverage.
What the hell is a cover-9 package?
I don’t know what “cover-9” is but I do know what an ass-kicking is.
Dire Straits in Houston
That sentence is indicative of the ineptitude of Post-Gazette sportswriters and editors.
That’s where you drop nine safeties back into deep zone coverage, and have your two cornerbacks in man-to-man. Meanwhile, you have your owner wondering why his team even has nine safeties on the roster, much less why they are all on the field at the same time.
I know what it means. I sort of meant- WHY?
Haha! A two-man rush! I guess you can call it the “Prevent-Plus.”
Meanwhile, my Bears womped all over Detroit. Did you see that hit by Mike Brown? OUCH!!
It was 3rd and 12. The idea would’ve been any play shorter than 12 yards was good enough for Texas. So you drop a bunch of people back 10-14 yards back and “make” Pitt complete a shorter pass. The Texans apparently got the drop back in coverage part right, but not the force a shorter pass part. Without seeing the play, you can tell the Texans were incompetent as they couldn’t keep the pass short with 9 guys defending no more than 5 receivers (I didn’t see the play, but 5 is as many as you can send out).
Shygetz is also correct as to what a cover-9 would mean with respect to the more traditional cover-2 (run to death by the Bucs). However, this is not what was actually done; rather I think the Texans ran a “Full Zone” coverage. It’s actually a standard play (see this K-State discussion from 2003), so I’m not too impressed with Dulac’s description of the play as a cover-9.
I’ve never understood why any team tries to flood the field with coverage. In the NFL, you must get to the quarterback. Any NFL-caliber QB is going to find an open man if you let him sit back there.
It means that Casserly isn’t the mgmt genius he’s been protrayed as and that Capers damn sure isn’t the defensive genius he’s been portrayed as.
And I imagine McNair is spitting fire this morning.
I must rant here. I nearly threw my Dom Capers bobblehead through the screen when I saw that call. Rush 2, drop nine, and let Ben have eight seconds to find a receiver? Beautiful — I could actually see an astral Buddy Ryan form punching Capers in the moosh. I mean, it wasn’t 3rd and 28. 12 yards ain’t that tough to get, and a professional football coach should know better. Also, when you drop four linebackers into coverage, guess who you have covering Hines Ward at the first-down marker? A linebacker(!), who went with the wrong receiver (who was already double-covered) to open up a huge hole in the middle of the zone. It’s times like those that make you realize that NFL coaches are not that much different intellectually from the coaches you knew at your high school.
The Texans may need a rare in-season change in the next few weeks — I never thought I’d be HAPPY they have a 3rd-week bye! The team has come out flat both games (granted, against the two best defenses in the league last year) and looked intimidated. I don’t think anyone, David Carr especially, respects Capers ultra-conservative offense, and now he’s making the defense tentative with “Cover-9.”
At least I predicted the Steelers blowout (although how they didn’t make the over at 27-7 in the middle of 3rd, I’ll never know), and made some cash on the game.
Casserly is a genius. He’s done a very good job of getting players on this team. Capers just looks like a guy who can build a bad team into a decent team, but can’t make the next step.
Yet another example of why the “Prevent Defense” is neither prevenative nor qualifies as defense.
I think instead of cover-9 they should call it cover-you-eyes.
Just copying the Pats. Difference is the Pats did it first so they had the benefit of surprise and they executed it well.
Zone defense in football means your atheletes are not good enough to play. Problem is, it’s that way today everywhere in the NFL. Defend with five and rush six; put pressure on the QB, give him happy feet and make him beat you.
You see it all the time. It’s easier to convert 3rd and 12 than it is to convert 4th and one.
The Comish (sic)
Am I crazy, or has this writer confused “cover 2” with “double coverage?” Cover 2 means the deep zone is divided into halves and one player covers each half (Cover 3 means the deep zone is divided into thirds; Cover 4 means quarters; etc.). Double coverage means two defensive players cover one offensive player. Cover 2 can result in double coverage in certain circumstances, but usually not on the flanker. Regardless, Cover 2 is not double coverage.
Plus, there’s no inherent reason that you can’t roll a coverage to a flanker. If he crosses the formation, you just roll it the other way.
And I can’t think of any reason why the defense would be more likely to be in Cover 2 just because Ward didn’t go in motion. Are they supposed to check out of Cover 2 if they receiver goes in motion? Why would they do that?
Ugh. This is the kind of statement that makes the football geek in me want to scream. All due respect, ray, but there has never been any team in the forward pass era that’s run nothing but man coverage. If there was such a team, it would get its s**t pushed in on a weekly basis.
Each team has its base defense, but every defense in the NFL (and in college) runs nearly every coverage scheme, every blitz scheme, and nearly every variation thereon. Every coverage has its strengths and its weaknesses. Teams vary the defenses and cover schemes, and they disguise their defenses and cover schemes, so the offense won’t be able to exploit the weaknesses and in the hope that the offense will fall prey to its strengths.
Zone defense does not mean your athletes are not good enough to play. For example, the 2002-03 Bucs had one of the best defenses in the league, so they certainly had the athletes; but their base coverage was Cover 2. Depending on what your players are best at, and depending on the situation, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a zone coverage.
The Comish (sic)
Again, I didn’t see the play, but I can make a couple of guesses.
Maybe they were showing blitz to get the QB to check off into a hot route, and then were going to back off and drop into the quick passing lanes. Maybe they didn’t think Roethlisberger was accurate enough to thread it through 9 guys playing defense. Maybe they wanted to throw something at Big Ben that he’d never seen and see how he reacted. Maybe Big Ben had shown problems on film throwing into zone coverage. Maybe, like Jody said, they were hoping to keep all the receivers in front of them and break up to make the tackle. Maybe there was an empty backfield, and they know Big Ben isn’t likely to win games with his legs or arm strength alone. Maybe the offense was setting up a screen, so some of the DL were fighting to get to the RBs in the flat. Or maybe that wasn’t the defense that was called, and someone screwed up.
Obviously, whatever was called didn’t work this time. And if they had 3rd and 12, and kept 4 linebackers on the field (as Mac suggested), then that’s really odd. But it looks like they’re shaking up the organization anyway.
Look for TallDave on CBS’ NFL Today this Sunday.
Maybe Cover-9 is a defense you can only play when you have both the past and present teams of a city on the field at the same time. I think Buddy Ryan, Bum Phillips, and Jerry Glanville drew it up.
Comish, I respect anyone who tries to make heads-or-tails out of this embarrassment. I’m generally a “give the coach the benefit of the doubt because he’s forgotten more football than we know” kind of fan, but this one…ugh.
No, they didn’t show blitz (only two Texans DLs even got near the LOS), there was no empty backfield, and no screen.
This is probably what they thought, but how accurate do you have to be to throw to a guy who’s wide open because a linebacker (or three) can’t cover Hines Ward for eight seconds 12 yards down the field? I mean, Ward was three yards open.
A great idea…on 2nd and long on Pittsburgh’s 35. Not so great on 3rd and 12 on your own 30.
Ben hasn’t shown much difficulty throwing anywhere against anybody, except in the playoffs. If they thought he’d have trouble throwing to Ward against four linebackers with no rush to speak of, they’re dumber than they looked. It’s been noted that the Pats were OK dropping 9, but that’s the difference between having McGinest, Bruschi, and Vrabel and having Morlon Greenwood, Jason Babin, and Antwan Peak, ain’t it? The Texans are probably the most ill-suited team in the league to drop 9 (bad LB cover guys and no pass rushers), and a professional coaching staff would know that.
Oh, it was called, and whoever called it (Def. co-ord Vic Fangio or Capers) is lucky he’s not headed to Kinko’s to print his resume along with Chris Palmer today.
I’ll get over this soon, I promise. I can handle a blowout by a very good team that plays the right way, but I really would prefer that my team not further humiliate itself with retarded playcalling. The Texans have a rep for competing even when shorthanded, and I’m not seeing any of that right now. I’m seeing guys who are poorly coached and being put into failing positions, and they know it.
I think you’ve probably got a cover-5 package tops. Sorry, it was too easy.
The Comish (sic)
Thanks, Mac Buckets, for filling in the blanks. I’ve gotta say that it sounds like a curious call given the down, distance, and situation. But it’s tougher for me to criticize because I’m an idiot.
You may find some solace in the fact that Houston has way too many athletes to keep averaging 7 points per game. And since I’m a Cowboys fan, you may find some pleasure in the Cowboys’ recent Monday night debacle. I’ve certainly heard about it from my brother (another Texans fan).