San Diego Chargers: Coverage Schemes

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Hello folks. I intend on bringing you a lot more starting Wednesday, but for now I wanted to bring you a quick update on what I've seen from going back and watching the first game.

What's new?

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Absolutely nothing. The Broncos didn't see anything that was new to them. The Chargers played a variety of coverages and in that 2nd half where the Bronco offense started to sputter, the Chargers played a mix of Cover 1/Cover 2, even some Robber looks with Weddle. Depending on down and distance they used a variety of off or press man, and at times would bracket Julius Thomas, especially over the middle or down the seam. Let's take a look at what they did.

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Eric Weddle is at the bottom of the screen. Press man on Demaryius at the bottom, single high safety cheating to the fieldside. Manning sees the off coverage on Bubba Caldwell and fires off the WR screen. Caldwell drops it.

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Here's you're gonna see some pre-snap trickery by the Chargers. Looks like Cover 1 right? In fact do you see DT flailing his hands? He thinks the same thing. Only Weddle is going to bail and drop into a zone at the snap. DT gets absolutely jammed at the line. In fact this was the recipe most of the 2nd half. Darrell Stuckey got some fantastic jams on DT. No separation. Also, I want to know why the hell DT releases to the outside then tries to come back over the middle? If we were trying to work the middle of the field he needs to release to the inside.

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You can see there is great coverage across the board.

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Here we have a dime look with Weddle in the box as a blitzer. Cover 2 press man on the outside. You're going to notice DT getting another good jam on him (red). Manning ends up going back shoulder to Decker and that was probably his only throw. Though Julius looks open for a second you have Weddle just sitting underneath after backing off from the blitz. Weddle at the very least would deflect that ball.

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Another thing that made San Diego was their blitzing, and their ability to play sound coverage even when bringing the house. Here he have that dime personnel again. gonna get a double safety blitz along with some other goodies. The coverage all around though is fantastic. The only routes open are the out by JT and the crosser by Welker, and those are both well short of the 1st (3rd and 8).

Most teams when they blitz people from the secondary give you a big fat cushion over the TE or slot receiver when they blitz. They have to in order to disguise and also keep the play in front as it essentially makes things man to man. Here though you still have that one safety over the top, you can see that at each level the Chargers were prepared for defending each receiver even with the extra blitzers.

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Wrap-up

Bottom line, the Broncos have to execute. Manning must slide protections correctly, receivers have to be physical enough to get separation on a jam, and Manning has to get them the ball. There's more to it than that of course, but for the most part the failures I've seen on the Broncos part have come from a lack of execution.

The Chargers play sound defense. You don't see players out of position anymore, you don't see busted coverages, and you will get some physical play on the outside. Eric Weddle is such a wild card. He can be used just about anywhere and can create some deception.

Until the Broncos start to dictate the pace of the game, they are going to have to grind the ball out and be patient. Getting the running game going is a must. The Broncos playaction passing game accounted for 25% of their pass plays and is an integral part of the passing game. If the Broncos become too one dimensional, the Chargers gain the advantage in their secondary.

I'll have some more for you tomorrow MHR, GO BRONCOS!!!

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