How to Run Quarters Coverage (Cover 4)

I’ve used a version of Cover 4 or Quarters Coverage (click here to check out my video on Quarters) for the past season and really like the coverage. This is not your traditional Cover 4 idea – dropping both safeties and both corners to cover deep zones, in a sort of Prevent style. This is an aggressive version of Quarters Coverage which gets 9 men in the box against the run and is actually more of a variation on Cover 2 than some radical new idea.

Our Quarters Coverage requires a number of checks by the Safeties, but we carry no more than 3 to 6 checks into a game. Now understand that the defensive coverage signaled in would be simply Quarters – but we have no idea exactly how we’ll be covering until the offense lines up and the safeties make their checks. Our safeties were no rocket scientists – but they were able to check two or three times in a play as the offense tried to shift and motion to confuse us.

The checks affect only one side of the field – specifically, they affect the Safety, Corner and Outside Linebacker to one side, in our 4-3 look. The Mike Linebacker always occupies the middle of the field and looks to collision crossing routes. So each Safety is in charge of his half of the field. It’s not uncommon for the other players to offer suggestions, but the Safety has the final say. Here are some basic checks, which I will give more detail about in future posts:

Read Check used vs. 1 receiver removed, for example a Tight End/Flanker side in a Pro-I formation, or to the other side with the single Split End. He will read the End Man on the Line of Scrimmage. The coverage is similar to a Robber coverage. The Safety is the force player.


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