The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

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How Dallas Can Beat the Ravens on Sunday

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At Dallas Morning News, I examined a coverage I think you’ll see often from the Cowboys on Sunday:

The Zone Blitz

A zone blitz is a unique defense that combines elements of a blitz with safe coverage. The play on which Drew Brees just passed Johnny Unitas’s record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass (which I recently broke down at the New York Times) was against a zone blitz. On that play, the Chargers rushed their two interior linemen and two inside linebackers, yet still played what should have been a safe zone coverage behind it. How is that possible?

In a zone blitz, a defense basically changes the roles for certain players. They drop atypical players into coverage and rush defenders who normally don’t come after the quarterback. Let’s take a look. . .

You can see that, on this particular zone blitz, the defense rushes five players and drops six into coverage. Because the free safety and weak side linebacker rush, however, it appears to the quarterback (and offensive line) as though an all-out blitz is coming. In reality, the strong side defensive end drops into coverage. While it looks like six players will be rushing (and the defense would thus be forced to play man coverage), only five players rush and the defense can sit in a soft Cover 3 behind it. In short, a zone blitz is an attempt to increase pressure while still minimizing risk in the secondary.

Read the entire post.

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