Sabo's Sessions, Brian Poole, Marcus Maye
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You see it every Sunday, but just how to NFL defensive backs handle switching? We break down Gregg Williams’s New York Jets defense.

Sabo's Sessions

You, that diehard NFL fan, witness it every Sunday. You may not exactly know what you’re witnessing, but it’s there.

Defensive backs need to communicate now, more than ever, thanks to rub principles that have invaded the league over the last two decades. Switching when defending pass requires communication and responsibility. Fortunately, it’s become a bit easier thanks to Nick Saban.

Saban, the then-Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator, had a problem that needed wrestling in the early 1990s. His defense required an extra guy in the box yet he knew his guys weren’t good enough to cover man-to-man (Cover 1). On top of that, when he went Cover 3, four verts would burn him.

Jets Cover 3

Playing three deep against four verts just does not make much sense, so Saban went to work on what would become pattern-match zone. Instead of thinking zone defense as a strict, drop or run to an area-type coverage, reads and responsibilities would creep into every cover man’s thought process.

This way, if four verts happened against a Cover 3, every route would be covered.

Each defensive back has a first and secondary read (at the very least). For instance, the slot cornerback would first read the slot receiver while his second read would be the X or the No. 1 receiver on that side:

Slot CB Reads

The outside corner’s responsibilities will be the exact opposite:

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]
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3 years ago

Maye, McDougle and Davis are going to make plays, can’t wait

3 years ago
Reply to  Robby Sabo

Fascinating read. Davis seems skinny to me, don’t think he will do well in the box. I think Poole is your fourth Safety, would be okay in the box. Versatile guy. Maulet can handle the slot against 31 year old Cole Beasley