ZONE COVERAGE SPELLS DOOM AGAINST BRADY
New England might be smart to deploy a soft zone pass defence against Kansas City, but the Chiefs defence would be crazy to do so against Tom Brady and the Patriots’ high-precision passing attack.
So says former New England safety Rodney Harrison.
“When we used to practise against Brady, he would pick us apart in zone,” said Harrison, a New England safety from 2003-08 and now a studio analyst on NBC’S Sunday Night Football telecasts.
In zone coverage, defenders are assigned specific geometric areas, or zones, to cover. Their task is to pick up a receiver who enters their zone.
In man-to-man, or man, coverage a defender is assigned a specific player and follows him wherever he goes, as tightly as possible.
“We would tell (the Patriots defensive coaches): ‘Hey, let’s play man. Let’s challenge these guys.’ If you can play man, you can bump his receivers, and you can challenge him and force Tom — who at times, he’s not very accurate — force him into those tight windows.
“He gets so frustrated if you’re jamming his receivers and throwing off his timing. But if you sit back in a cover-2 zone
(with two deep safeties and usually five defenders in zone underneath), they’re going to always have two short receivers and one going behind that. He’s going to always be able to pick it apart. So that’s the worst thing you can do is play zone coverage against Tom Brady.”
A week ago Thursday night, the Indianapolis Colts tried to defend Brady that way. Big mistake. Brady completed all but 10 of 44 passes for 341 yards and three TDS in a 38-24 win.
“Why would the Colts come out and play zone coverage against Tom Brady? I mean, that’s the easiest,” Harrison said. “Tom, he’s looking at this (weak Chiefs) secondary and going, ‘I KNOW I can throw for 450 yards.’ Remember, this is not Blake Bortles. This is Tom Brady we’re talking about.”