Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quarter Coverage- Safety Push Technique

A push is when the #2 receiver to a side pushes vertical and draws man to man coverage by the deep safety to his side. In my previous post on split safety coverage I briefly explained the rules of 2-Robber and Cover 4. In both coverages vertical releases by the #2 WR past 8 yards would put the FS (and WS) in Man to man coverage on the WR. A WR vertical release past 8 yards is known as a "push" call by the free safety.

Knowing the assignments and responsiblities of a coverage is important. However, knowing the technique to execute those assignments is even more important. The technique involved in a push by #2 is more detailed than many might think. There are many misconceptions of the technique. Also, there are many ways that people teach their safeties in a push situation.


The goals of the FS coverage technique on a push by #2 has two primary goals:

1. Be in position to cutoff deep vertical routes.
2. Have good enough leverage to play inside cuts by the #2 WR effectively.

Outside cuts are not part of the goals in basic robber coverage. The flat defender or corner are covering outside, so the FS should not have to worry about those routes. He has help there. On the other hand he does not have inside or over the top help. Therefore, it only makes sense that he leverage those routes. So the starting point to proper coverage technique begins with the initial angle the FS takes towards covering the #2 WR.


This is the proper push angle. He should be at point with this type of leverage once the #2 WR pushes man coverage from the FS. This angle (if maintained) will allow the FS to play inside and vertical routes. A bad angle is a common mistake that many FS's make when first learning.

There might not be to much difference to the two angles at first, however the poor angle will get the FS in trouble if he gets an inside route (post or dig) from the #2 WR.

There is not as much of a problem if the # 2 WR runs a vertical route, but inside routes will be a problem. The aiming point of his angle should be past the cutoff point. The cutoff point is the point on the field where a WR will make his breaks inside or outside. It is usually at a distance 10-15 yards past the LOS. The diagram below will show the problem with redirecting from a bad angle.

This angle will make it too easy for the WR to beat the FS inside. From this point the FS will be out of phase in a chase position with no inside help. This is not middle field coverage. In this coverage inside routes must be properly leveraged to avoid giving up the big play.


With the proper angle the FS will have adequate time to redirect and leverage both types of inside breaking routes.

The FS has more inside leverage on this coverage, and can see the route break-off with plenty of room to to allow for the proper recovery. This is the players main priority. It might make it harder to play corner routes, but he should have help from the corner there. This is a timeless football principal: LEVERAGE THE BALL TO WHERE YOU HAVE HELP.

This angle has benefits for the vertical route as well. If there is a speed mis-match, the FS has a better angle to cutoff the deep route.

This shows the FS cutting off the WR at the appropriate place on the field. There is still a chance the WR can cut inside but routes that deep are uncommon, the FS will have more time to recover, and the QB will probably thrown the ball the time the route gets this deep.

Below is some video of the proper angle and technique on a push. The FS is playing the TWINS WR's on the defensive left.

Even though the WR makes a break past the typical breaking point the FS should not worry too much about getting beat at this depth.


  1. Great point coach. It's sometimes tougher than it looks to defend a quick pass w/ the ball thrown on a rope..we need to work harder on that this year..A point that we make is to committ w/ your eyes and then your feet..this helps us not to over run( poor angle) the route

  2. It is quite common play. but it is more complex that it looks like. Thanks for the recommendation
    bookmakers online community is looking for that kind of information.

  3. What is the basic tenique for the S/S is it to reroute or fly to the flats now? Is he backpedaling or what?

  4. Any technique used when rerouting? Here's another great read on quarters.