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Cover 2 Beaten
October 30 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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It really didn’t take that long for the 49ers to figure out how to defeat the cover two defense that they had been faced with for most of the season. The defense, which drops two safeties into coverage, with the cornerbacks also covering a zone seemed to limit the 49ers ability to throw down field. Steve Mariucci, Gregg Knapp and quarterback Jeff Garcia put their heads together and came up with the answer to the defense though.

"This beautiful two-deep zone, when everybody is taking these perfect drops and the (defensive backs) are exactly where they are supposed to be all of a sudden that quarterback moves and all that coverage comes apart, it changes, it moves." Mariucci explained. So simple, and yet so effective, just by rolling the quarterback out of the pocket, suddenly the cover two can be exploited.

Mariucci compared Garcia’s tendency to leave the pocket - even when it isn’t collapsing around him to Brett Favre: “I remember when I was coaching Brett Favre, he'd be watching film and I'd ask him why he'd leave the pocket, because you always want to see what they see. He'd think for a while, then he'd say, 'I'm good out there,' and you know, he's right -- he is good out there. Jeff's good out there, too.”

Garcia agreed with Mariucci’s sentiments, explaining that it was just before the Rams game that he made a conscious decision to start moving around in the offense. "When I'm moving around, it creates a more difficult situation for the defense. When I'm moving around outside the pocket, the passing lanes open up."

The 49ers have found a way to defeat the cover two defense, and as such have been able to score points and move the ball at will. Defenses will try and compensate in other ways throughout the season, and it should be interesting to see how the 49ers attack the different defenses they are faced with.

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