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Explanation of the zone blitz out of a 3-4

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PATRIOTS-80, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Since the question comes up quite often what is the difference between our 3-4, and the other teams that run the zone blitz out of a 3-4 (like the 3-4 Wade Phillips ran with the Chargers and now Cowboys, as well as the 3-4 the Steelers ran), the question rises in the mind of the average football neophyte, "what the heck exactly is a zone blitz?" And since it is the off-season (and there is nothing to talk about), I thought I would post an explanation about the 3-4 zone blitz.

    Concerning the zone blitz out of the 3-4, lets start with the secondary. As you know in the secondary, there are 2 safties (called a FS and a SS), and there are 2 starting CBs.

    What the team does is to divide the deep secondary into 1/3s. A CB may retreat into a zone that covers 1/3 of the field. The FS covers another 1/3 of the field and the SS covers another 1/3 of the field. Another combination is that one of the safeties moves into "the 8-man box" shall we say. The result is that the remaining safety covers a 1/3 of the field, and the 2 retreating CBs cover the other 2/3 of the field.

    The math is quite simple, there are 4 guys in the secondary, 2 CBs and 2 Safeties. And a guy who runs a zone-blitz team like Wade Phillips only needs 3 of them to cover the deep secondary in 1/3s. That extra guy in the secondary can come on a blitz (or have an underneath coverage assignment).

    Now for the LBs. This is why zone-blitz teams prefer the 3-4. If you rush the standard 4, the offense never knows where that 4th rusher will be (as opposed to the 4-3, where you always know where the 4th rusher will be). There is an element of surprise. The zone blitz team can (and most of the time) bring more than the standard 4 rushers. They can bring 5 rushers, or even 6 rushers. The remaining LB who do not blitz divide the underneath coverage area into proportional zones.

    If you are interested, here is an excellent article on the zone blitz (only it is looked at from the 4-3 point of view).

    http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/davie/1430750.html
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  2. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    This explanation is pretty messed up and confusing...and flat out wrong in many ways.

    A 3-4 is a Front. A Zone Blitz is a type of blitz. A team doesn't run a 3-4 Zone Blitz as a type of defense. It may be a philosophy, a way to get pressure, but not a base.

    The basic concept behind the Zone blitz is to drop a player, like a DL who would not normally play coverage and send an LB on a stunt. If the QB reads blitz, he may just drop it off into the flat on a "hot read" and throw it right to a DE that dropped. Generally, the QB is taught to "throw into the hole" created by the blitzing LB. Before the Zone Blitz concept, he would not expect to see a 3-4 DE or NT in coverage.

    The base coverage played behind the 3-4 is generally a 2 Deep Zone. Your description of a 3 Deep with the SS in Deep Third coverage is not ideal.
  3. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    I understand that a 3-4 is a front. But I was explaining what a teams who runs a "zone blitz" out of a 3-4 base does. I understand the DL/LB exchange, but I was going to explain that later.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  4. PATRIOTS-80

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    Actually, for example the Dick Lebeau of the Steelers does employ the cover-3 shell quite often. That is what the whole story is about, "are they changing to the cover-2?" Cover-2, or more appropriately the Tampa-2, means that the safeties are responsible each for 1/2. And usually the Derrick Brooks like MLB covers the gap in the middle between the 2 safeties.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  5. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    The entire philosophy behind the Zone Blitz is the exchange. Other than that, if you want to bring pressure you are either playing Man or voiding zones (weak flat, etc..)
  6. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    there's a bit more to it than just the exchange. Read the article I posted, it explains it quite nicely. The combinations are marvelous. For example, you can blitz a starting CB from a cover-3 shell.
  7. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    That really is just an exchange as well. If you line up in a Two shell and roll to Three, bringing the CB off the short side. If the QB gets it to the X before the OLB gets to the Flat you are scr*wed. The Safety who has the deep third is 12-15 yards deep on the hash.
  8. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    what are we arguing about again? Yes it has its problems. BB doesn't run a zone-blitz 3-4. If you can pick up where the blitzers are coming from, and read it well, you can pick it apart. But it requires a QB with a head on his shoulders. And the blocking assignments have to be adjusted ... if the blocking assignments aren't right, there are going to be problems.
  9. PATRIOTS-80

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    when I said there is more to it than "the exchange," I was referring to the DL/LB exchange. For example, a zone blitz team can blitz either of the 2 starting CBs or safeties out of the 3-shell.
  10. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    If you blitz your Field Corner out of a Cover 3 Shell you are screwed. In a 3 shell, the SS is inverted.
  11. PATRIOTS-80

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    Obviously, you won't take my word for it, :rolleyes: but you can blitz the starting CB from a cover 3 shell.
  12. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    First off, why do you keep referring to the "starting CB"? Can you not blitz a backup CB?

    You can blitz anyone you want in any defense. Hell, you can send everyone. It's just stupid.
  13. PATRIOTS-80

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    Read the title, it says 3-4 zone blitz. I didn't say nickel or dime. I said 3-4. I was explaining a zone blitz out of a 3-4 .

    And yes you can blitz anyone, you can do a man-to-man blitz. But I wasn't explaining a man-to-man blitz. I was explaining 3-4 zone blitzes. You know, its okay to learn new stuff. It can be fun. I learn new stuff all the time.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  14. chingachgook

    chingachgook Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    think he's talking about a 3-4 "blitz zone" - it's a zone defense that allows you to blitz... "zone blitz" is lineman dropping into zones and blitz coming from other places (secondary/lbs)
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  15. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    You're joking, right? You think you're explaining something new to me?

    You are "explaining" a concept you learned from a "football for dummies" internet article, bud. Don't play smart.

    You are making no sense. You can blitz 11 from any defense if you want. It's just dumb. Sending your field Corner from a C/3 Shell is ridiculous. It's an automatic TD. Period.
  16. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    P.S. It's called a "Fire Zone"

    And NO ONE calls their defense the "3-4 Zone Blitz"
  17. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    Its an automatic TD, huh? Well, thank goodness you know all. I know you won't take my word for it that teams who zone-blitz from a cover-3 shell have three defenders to take away the deep ball, and one of the guys in the secondary can blitz. :rolleyes:

    This quote won't do you any good, because you don't like to learn.

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2005/08/15/ramblings/strategy-minicamps/2765/

    "Coaches like Tony Dungy don’t blitz frequently out of their Cover-2 schemes. But coaches like Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau like to blitz from the Cover-3 . Often, they’ll send two players to blitz, leaving three defenders in the underneath zones (both coaches use a 3-4 alignment that gives them an extra linebacker to play with). That’s the typical zone blitz: three deep defenders take away the big play , while five pass rushers force the QB to pass quickly.

    Clouds, Skies, and Rolling Thunder

    Just who plays deep in a three-deep zone? In “sky” coverage, the two cornerbacks and a safety cover the deep zones. In “cloud” coverage, one cornerback and two safeties handle the deep part of the field. That is sure to answer a question for some Madden and NCAA Live gamers, who often see the words “sky” and “cloud” used without explanation to denote defensive plays.

    Cover-3 systems leave one player in the secondary free to either blitz or defend an underneath zone. Even if the extra safety or cornerback doesn’t blitz, he can still step up and occupy a zone just vacated by a blitzing linebacker. Coaches then have incredible flexibility when disguising coverage, or when rolling the defense.

    “Rolling coverage” means shifting the defense after the snap to provide extra support on one side of the field or another. In a cloud coverage scheme, the defense will often roll in the direction of the one cornerback who is not responsible for a deep zone. One safety shifts to a position behind that cornerback. The second safety moves to the middle of the field. The other cornerback drops back. A linebacker slides into the flat in front of the deep cornerback. Throw in a blitzing linebacker (with a cohort shifting into his zone) and the quarterback’s read is very difficult: it’s hard to tell who is responsible for which zone, and defenders suddenly appear in what should have been soft spots on the field.

    Coverage is rolled for a variety of reasons: to protect a rookie cornerback, to provide extra support against a top receiver, or to help disguise a blitz. Coaches can cause further confusion by varying the size of the zone covered by each deep defender."
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  18. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    Gimme a break. Like I don't know what Sky or Cloud means. It's football 101.

    Do YOU know what Sky or Cloud means?
  19. PATRIOTS-80

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    There are 3-4 teams that employ the zone blitz. They don't call them Blitzburgh for nothing. Oh, that's right. I'm talking to the guy who KNOWS ALL. Nevermind, your worshipfulness.
  20. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Re: Explanation of the 3-4 zone blitz

    And that article is referring to a completely different coverage than you keep harping on. 3 deep, 3 under, not 5 under.

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