ZONE COV­ER­AGE SPELLS DOOM AGAINST BRADY

Winnipeg Sun - - SPORTS - — John Kryk

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.”

TOM BRADY

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