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New York Giants’ Cover 2 Defense Has Become the “Cover Who” Defense

October 6th, 2012 at 6:30 AM
By Jen Polashock

Recent babble about the New York Giants defense has been about the front four or injuries. What about the overloaded strength they had going into training camp – the linebacker corps and the secondary?

Unfortunately, much of the pressure and accountability is (and looks to remain) on the secondary. Cover 2 defense is the New York Giants’ base D, sort of. The two safeties are primarily responsible for the two deep zones, but with Perry Fewell, S Antrel Rolle is legitimately all over the place (when he’s not playing nickel). The idea behind the Cover 2 (Tampa-2) is to diminish need for defenders back deep to stop the long pass threat – leaving more of them there to play closer to the line of scrimmage. This provides faster run support and help with the short/dump-off passes and timed routes. However, this is what the Giants are getting punched in the mouth with, consequently letting them get burned on the deep pass.

The Giants’ linebackers are the athletic type and, for the most part, can get to the sidelines – what’s needed in a Cover D. The need to be more physical and smart and read the quarterback (and consequently adjust) isn’t where it needs to be – especially when the Giants are in nickel. The pickup and supplementary injury of LB Keith Rivers is definitely missed out there. Michael Boley cannot do it all. The defense isn’t confusing anyone – maybe themselves at times. And what happened to the physical corners that used to jam up the release of wideouts on the line? Anyone see that in the first four games (even when the replacement refs were “in”)?

Yeah, by playing a Zone D, the possibilities of letting a few big plays are almost guaranteed. There is much field to be covered by 1-2 players (depending on scheme called) and what the opposing offense has lined up on their side. The weak edges are what are killing the New York Football Giants. Those "soft" spots of the cover scheme are more lax than they should be and the front threats are being nullified. Have opposing coordinators figured a way to beat the Giants’ defense? Hell no. It’s an issue on the Big Blue end again.

Injuries (as much as we hate to use them as the culpable party) are coming in yet again to be a serious influence. Schemes are another (sure Perry Fewell knows so), but the players themselves are what is left at the end of the day (as ‘Trel would say) to pick up the necessary slack. In a very young 2012 season, they need to dig deep for an "all in" speech and figure out what their each individual problem is (almost each one has one that can be listed) and repair it. The longer these concerns drag out, the more stress gets thrust upon an already-ailing offense to play catch up. Sure doesn’t sound like a team that’s building a bridge from the end of last season, but instead a conduit from an exasperating 2011 mid-season…

Photo Credit: Mike Gannon

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Tags: Antrel Rolle, Football, Keith Rivers, Michael Boley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell

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20 Responses to “New York Giants’ Cover 2 Defense Has Become the “Cover Who” Defense”

  1.  Dirt says:

    We have been watching different games. I’ve yet to see the Giants surrender deep throws because of scheme.

    Game 1: the long pass to Austin was simply a misplay by Rolle (who could’ve picked it)

    Game 2: Jackson abused Webster one time for 40 and I specifically remember it being in Cover 1. Nothing else longer than 17 yards the rest of the day (except some long passes in prevent on the final drive).
    http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=320916019&period=0

    Game 3: Dominated

    Game 4: 3 deep passes complete, only 1 on Phillips watch in the 1st half. Then guys like Stevie Brown and Will Hill are playing guys like Jackson and Maclin.
    http://espn.go.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=320930021&period=0

    They simply haven’t gotten burned with the deep pass this year as a resukt of Cover 2.

    •  demo3356 says:

      Couldnt agree more. Seen a Ton of Phillips playing single deep safety and Rolle roaming. Not sure any team with chase Lead foot Blackburn playing MLB could ever play ANY form of the Tampa 2 where a quick deep drop is required by the MLB.

  2.  Dirt says:

    In fact, I wish they’d play more 2 deep safety looks. I scream at the television every time I see a single deep safety in the center of the field who has no chance to get to either sideline. Smart QBs like Eli are never throwing to the middle of the field on this coverage (that’s why he throws deep sideline passes all the damn time. All the damn time.) Might as well not have a safety deep at all and bring him up to help underneath.

    I understand you want to bring 1 down sometimes to help against the run. But when you do, the other single deep guy becomes, in my opinion, schematically a waste.

  3.  Jen Polashock says:

    My issue here ISN’T with the deep pass. It’s with the sidelines/ dump off coverage. They play eveything in front of them and yet somehow, a scheme that is supposed to have strengths of run support and stopping the shorter passes, THOSE are going off for first downs or close. It’s the YAC and guys ALMOST making it there that’s ridiculous. Webster is back to his pre-2007 end-of-season form & it’s gotta get fixed (or replaced) and the front seven (or six, depending on call) looks like no one is on the same page. With the injuries we already have this can’t go on a hell of a lot longer. Guy getting tired is gonna continue as we now have NO ONE to rotate in really. You aren’t the only one screaming at the tv…

    •  demo3356 says:

      Not sure a scheme with 2 safeties deep is supposed to have strengths in run support. Putting an 8th guy (Safety) in the box is how you stop the run. Cover 2 and Tampa 2 in particular is a bend but dont break philosophy where you keep everything in front of you and make teams be really patient moving down the field slowly. The hope is that at some point they make a mistake, that you force a turnover or that when they get close to the red zone the field shrinks and it get really hard to move the ball because the safeties are closer to the LOS, since there isnt as much deep field behind them to worry about

  4.  demo3356 says:

    Tampa 2 is rendered mostly useless by spread offenses.. Its great vs 2 WR’s, TE and 2 backs, but once you spread the field with 4-5 WR’s you kill its effectiveness.

  5.  Nosh.0 says:

    Even though I’ve been hard on our D thus far, they only really disappointed me once this season. The Dallas game I just threw out and the Philly game, well I expect that offense to score some points. I also don’t really kill them for failing to maintain outside contain against Shady McCoy. In my mind he’s the best RB in the league and he’s going to find a way to get his yards.

    The defensive series that really sticks out to me is one late against Tampa Bay. After Bennet scores that TD late to put us up 7 with about 5 minutes left, I would have bet anything that the game was over. In the past, that’s a time in the game when the defense smells blood in the water, and usually puts the other team to bed. Especially with us being at home. And for Tampa to drive right down field and score just really sticks out to me. That’s something a good defense doesn’t allow to happen.

    Thus Josh Freemans late game drive, capped with a 40 yard bomb to Mike Williams, is this seasons “Viper car alarm most disappointing drive of the season. Viper: we don’t stop criminals, but we annoy your neighbors.

  6.  demo3356 says:

    Last week I posted abut 9 or different times about what a bad feeling I had about the Game (something I never do) and more so about how much I hate the Eagles. One of my posts I linked a PFT article about how 11-12 Cardinals were on the injury report following there game with Philthy. Now we have a very similar looking injury report. This is the main reason I hate playing them. They are a dirty, chippy, hit after the whistle, dive on piles, cheap shot the QB team. BTW I also predicted the EXACT score of the game 19-17 (I picked the giants because I never pick against them) and said 4-5 times our offense wouldn’t score more than 17 pts unless the defense generated 2-3 turnovers

  7.  Jen Polashock says:

    Of course, but it’s technically just a “Base D”…the looks– as you guys know– change and vary from a Cover 2. They rarely stay in it. Ionno if it’s the DT sitch or what, but Perry needs to find a solution stat. The mental fortitude of the guys (recent comments) isn’t showing belief within…

  8.  demo3356 says:

    I think our defense has played pretty good considering.. Last week we held Philly to one td and 19 pts. the biggest issue we had was with loosing contain on Vick and on McCoy. We held DJax, Maclin, and Celeck in check. Once Canty, Rivers, Hosley and Phillips come back we will be OK. Remember, we are a bad Eli pick in the endzone from being 3-1. Things wil improve as the season goes on. I’m very happy with how prince is looking

    •  Samardzija says:

      Agreed. All we needed was 3 points against the Eagles, that would have done it. And when you got the starting field position we had, not getting into range is inexcusable imo. Had the D given up a TD thats a different story.

      •  demo3356 says:

        yep. pretty sure with a healthy Nicks we win that game like 27-19. That game was more about the offense than an indictment of our defense

  9.  demo3356 says:

    My biggest concern for the Cleveland game is being soft up the middle. Cleveland has zero WR talent and a rookie QB. The only thing that can make this a game is if Trent Richardson goes off for them, keeps the clock moving and keeps Weeden in manageable 3rd and shorts. We now will have Austin, Kuhn or a DE lined up next to Landfill and Cleveland will attack that over and over again

  10.  Jen Polashock says:

    I’m making myself sick over this CLE game. We NEED Rivers back and DT that can control LOS. I’m goin’ hard on this D (more than I usually do, honestly) because I flashback to last year & get nauseous. With the offense having major hiccups as of late, the D can’t let Trent look all-star…

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