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Football: Teaching "Quarters" Coverage to Your Secondary

Updated on August 10, 2009

In a relatively short article such as this, it is impossible to cover everything. Therefore, I have attempted to present the basics of this great defensive scheme. However, before I get too far into it, a couple of reminders.

One: There is no such thing as a true zone defense.- If there was, we would have players covering air -. Sure, they may drop to an area, but they must cover whoever shows up there. In Quarters Coverage, our defensive backs follow the rule of "playing man coverage on any route over ten yards".

Two: There is only one perfect defense. It just so happens to be the one behind you sitting on the bench. As long as your offense has the ball, you're going to be perfect. Otherwise, this is a game of mistakes and the team that makes the fewest, usually wins.

Like every coverage, quarters gives up something. In this case, it is the short outside pass routes. These, we feel are the most difficult to complete for most teams. Therefore, we feel the percentages are with us. The other thing is most offensive play callers will not have the patience to "nickle and dime" us down the field. Sooner or later, they go back to their normal vertical pass game. However, if we do have a problem with those short routes, our adjustment is to stem to a "2 Cover" and roll up the corners on the snap.

You will notice right away that I have not included any formation adjustments or defending specific plays. I simply felt the article was getting too long. If you have any questions or comments, please free to leave them below. I hope this might be of help to you. Thanks for reading..............

WHY QUARTERS COVERAGE? A NINE MAN FRONT AGAINST THE RUN. •IT HANDLES PLAY ACTION PASS WITH FOUR DEEP DEFENDERS. •TAKES CARE OF FOUR VERTICAL RECEIVERS WITH FOUR DEEP. •YOU WILL FIND THIS DEFENSE IS VERY ADJUSTABLE AGAINST MOST OFFENSES. •THIS COVERAGE IS NOT NEW. TODAY, WE SEE IT BEING USED SUCCESSFULLY AT EVERY LEVEL. •IT CAN BE TAUGHT IN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. •IT IS EASILY DISGUISED. Q.B. PRE-SNAP READ IS NOT ALWAYS RELIABLE.

PASS/RUN DEFENSIVE TECHNIQUES

1. LINEBACKERS AND SAFETIES:(Diags. I - VIII) TECHNIQUES ARE BASED ON READING "HIGH PAD OR LOW PAD" BY THE OFFENSIVE TACKLE AND THE THE RELEASE OF # 2 RECEIVER.

2. THE # 2 RECEIVER CAN DO ONE OF FOUR THINGS:

a. BLOCK:(Diags. VII, VIII) SAFETIES HAVE FORCE OR CUTBACK. LBS PLAY THE RUN.

b. VERTICAL RELEASE: (Diags. I, II) SAFETIES STAY IN THEIR ¼ s. THEY "MAN UP" ON ANY ROUTE OVER 10 YARDS. LBS: STRONG SAFETY AND WILL BACKER MUST GO FLAT DOWN THE LINE AND JAM #2. "CARRY" HIM UP TO 12 YARDS AND PLAY CURL. - IF THE STRONG SAFETY AND WILL BACKER CANNOT LEARN TO REROUTE THE #2 RECEIVER, GET OUT OF QUARTERS COVERAGE - MAC DROPS TO “LOW HOLE” AND LISTENS FOR AN "IN" CALL.

c. INSIDE RELEASE: (Diag. IV) SAFETIES LOOK TO DOUBLE #1 INSIDE AND UNDERNEATH. ANYTIME THE #2 RECEIVER IS NO LONGER A THREAT TO HIS 1/4, THE SAFETY IS FREE TO DOUBLE COVER THE #1 RECEIVER. STRONG SAFETY AND WILL ARE SAME AS VERTICAL RELEASE EXCEPT NOW THEY MUST CALL "IN, IN". MAC MUST LISTEN FOR IN CALL AND WALL OFF CROSSING ROUTES. CAUTION: SAFETIES CAN'T GET OFF #2 TOO SOON BECAUSE OF THE "IN AN UP" ROUTES. (Diag. III) THEY CAN'T ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE FOOLED AND VACATE THEIR 1/4. THEIR RULE IS TO "READ SLOW AND REACT FAST".

d. OUTSIDE RELEASE:(Diag. V) SAFETIES LOOK TO DOUBLE # 1 INSIDE AND UNDERNEATH. STRONG SAFETY AND WILL MUSTGO FLAT DOWN THE LINE AND "JUMP" THE OUTSIDE SHOULDER OF #2 AND RUN WITH HIM. IF IT TURNS INTO A "WHEEL" ROUTE, HE IS IN POSITION TO MAKE A PLAY. (Diag. VI) MAC DROP TO HOLE AND LISTEN FOR IN CALL.

Diag. I
Diag. I
Diag. II
Diag. II
Diag. III
Diag. III
Diag. IV
Diag. IV
Diag. V
Diag. V
Diag. VI
Diag. VI
Diag. VII
Diag. VII
Diag. VIII
Diag. VIII

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    • profile image

      SiddyC 

      3 years ago

      Great article. I've been looking at slit and found this useful. Another great article you might want to read is

      https://footballandcoffee.wordpress.com/2014/12/09...

    • profile image

      49er Tickets 

      6 years ago

      Playing football means a lot to me, I am an ambitious football player. I really enjoy to look over all sorts of information that relates to football. Incredibly useful and helpful page. I had fun reading it and it helped me in some ways. Keep writing one! Thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      rw king 

      6 years ago

      As always coach Criner, a great consice explanation.

    • profile image

      Coach Z 

      8 years ago

      I think this is an excellent page. Informative visually. I am interested in seeing how you play quarters against other formations such as trips or pro.

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