How to Match Your Coverage to Your Front

3-5-3 Defense ContainOne of the most important principles of defense is understanding that your coverage will dictate your front. What does this mean? Everything. This video in our Coaching Basics series focuses on this topic.

The defensive coverage that you choose to run will determine which players can be involved in your run defense, and which players are primary pass defenders.

When a team decides to run a Cover 3 Coverage, they are committing to using an 8 man front. They are probably declaring the Outside Linebackers, or Overhang Safeties, as the contain players by choosing to play this single high safety front. The defense is also declaring the Cornerbacks and Free Safety as Deep Third defenders, meaning that they are not in the primary run defense.

A mismatched Coverage and Front can be a total disaster. For example, let’s say you’re playing a 4-4 Defense where the Outside Linebackers are the force players. But you decide you want to run a Cover 4 coverage, where one of the Outside Linebackers rolls back to play a Deep Quarter zone.


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