It's no secret that Lovie Smith has the opposite demeanor of Mike Ditka. As such, It's also no surprise that the defense each coach used to get into a Super Bowl are pretty much opposites as well. Last week, I took a look at the Ditka-era 46 Zone, which relies on strength and strength in numbers to destroy offensive plays before they can ever start. Now, it's time to turn to our current system, the Tampa 2. I'll take a general overview of how the Tampa 2 divides up its zones this week, and look at pass rush and run coverage in the upcoming weeks. Onwards!
It's quite good at preventing big plays, as the safeties start so far back from the line of scrimmage it is difficult for an offensive player to get past them. The Cover 2 also allows the defensive backs to watch plays develop and rally to the ball to play for an interception or leave their zone to tackle a running back. Think of it as the opposite of the 46 Zone - the goal isn't to beat up the opposing team so much as to force them to complete long drives perfectly in order to score. You keep the play in front of you, and wait for the other team to mess up.
As any Bears fan knows by now, however, this approach has its flaws. What if another team attacks a seam in between the zones? Or, what if a team runs two players into the same zone? Problems...
That's the basic zone scheme of the Tampa 2. Next week, I'll look at what the rest of the team - those pesky front four and the other linebackers - are up to in a standard Tampa 2 scheme. See you then!