2-Read Coverage | FBCP S08E16

2-Read Coverage goes by a lot of names. Palms coverage, Alert check, or Cover 7. Doesn’t matter what you call it, this is a great quarters coverage package for defending the pass.

2-Read Coverage is a variation of Cover 2 zone coverage using pattern matching principles. In our deep dive look at the coverage package, you find out the origins, how to run it, and how to attack 2-Read Coverage.

The Origins of Pattern Matching

  • According to a 2018 article from TouchdownWire, Nick Saban and Bill Belichik’s early 1990’s Cleveland Browns developed the pattern match coverage concept.
  • In his book Coaching Pattern-Read Coverage, Tom Olivadotti claims to have been running basic pattern-read principles since he was coaching in high school. I cannot find his high school coaching resume, but in 1981 he joined the University of Miami staff and never looked back.
  • 2-read coverage is a pattern match coverage based on Cover 4 zone concepts with man principles. By reading the receiver releases, pattern match assigns defenders to play man to man with the players that enter their zone.
  • 2-read coverage solves the problem of being able to defend the run when facing an offense that also threatens you with the deep pass.
2-read coverage in the Miami 4-3 Defense
2-Read Coverage is the Blue Check in our 4-3 Defense System.

How to Run 2-Read Coverage

How do you teach 2-Read Coverage?

  • Any defensive front can use 2-Read Coverage, though some fronts create a weaker run defense and weak side flat coverage than others.
  • The key to the coverage is reading the release of the #2 receiver. Who picks up man coverage on whom is determined by the route the slot receiver runs.
  • 2-Read Coverage Rules:
    • Cornerback: Align 7×2 inside leverage of the #1 receiver. Some 2-read packages align tighter and use outside leverage. Other packages press the #1 receiver.
      • If the #2 receiver releases inside or vertical, lock on the #1 receiver.
      • If the #2 receiver releases outside, lock on the #2 receiver if he passes the vertical line. Some packages jump the #2 receiver’s out route, while others slow play over the #2 receiver to prevent a wheel route.
    • Safety: Align 10×2 inside leverage of the #2 receiver. Use deeper or together alignments based on situation. Some coaches prefer to apex #2 and the end man on the line of scrimmage.
      • If the #2 receiver releases vertical, lock on the #2 receiver.
      • If the #2 receiver releases outside, play over top of the #1 receiver.
      • If the #2 receiver releases inside, it depends on the route and the coach. Release any inside breaking route under 5 yards and play over top of #1. Drag routes, deep posts and other in-breaking routes depend on the coaching principles.
    • Linebacker: Align based on the front. On a pass read, open up and drop to the inside hip of the #2 receiver.
      • If the #2 receiver releases outside, play to the inside hip of the #2 receiver.
      • If the #2 receiver releases vertical, collision the release and look for the #1 receiver breaking inside. If the #1 receiver is not releasing inside, look for an outside release by the #3 receiver or running back.
      • If the #2 receiver releases inside, re-route the receiver and carry him inside. Listen for an “Out” from the linebacker inside or check for an outside release by the #3 receiver and pick him up.
  • The ‘Flat Check’ tells the Cornerback to jump the out route by a #2 receiver.
  • In Press Quarters Coverage, the corner only releases the #1 receiver if he gets an immediate inside release.
  • 2-Read Coverage is also known as Palms Coverage, Alert Check in our old 4-3 Defense system or Saban’s Cover 7 coverage.

Attacking 2-Read Coverage

  • 2-Read is a great pass defense. It has weaknesses in the run game. Teams run 2-Read mostly against 10 personnel with spread 2×2 alignments.
  • This is a great answer for spread four verticals concepts. It is a zone coverage that turns into a 4 deep man coverage against four verticals.
  • The weakness in the coverage is the weak side flat. It is difficult for an outside linebacker to get out to cover the flats quickly.
  • When the corner jumps the flat route, use a wheel route to get behind him.
  • The sideline concept with an out route by #2 and a vertical route by #1 makes it hard for the safety to get outside to the vertical in 2-read.
  • Since 2-Read coverage is a variation of Cover 2 zone, the smash concept is a good route to attack it.
  • For teams that like to play the cornerback outside leverage, run the safety off with a vertical by #2 and use a deep in-breaking route to get over top of the linebacker.

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