Guessing Run On Defense

3 Jan

These videos go over some of the coverage patterns that occur when you guess running plays on defense. The added advantage of guessing run is that it can take key plays out of your opponents play calls. As they might assume you are sitting on those plays. Also it will provide you with better run defense against other runs. The weakness is that you get hardly anything in coverage. These video will make it easier to understand the potential pass coverage options.

the full version of the video is here.


In conclusion the following pattern happens when you guess run and the opponent guesses pass.  If you guess Run 1 or Run 2 you might get one or both cornerbacks in coverage against pass 3 and pass 4.  Plus one of the safeties might move into a position to provide coverage.  Its all random of course.  No guarantee anything occurs.  But there is a chance and it improves your coverage options to defend with a safety or linebacker on these plays.

The reverse is true for run 3 and 4 against pass 1 and pass 2.  You might get one or both cornerbacks in coverage.  Also a safety might drop in coverage.  Yet it doesn’t always happen.

Now when you guess run 1 or 2 against pass 1 or 2 then the cornerbacks will not drop into coverage.  Same for run 3 or run 4 against pass 3 or pass 4.  However there is still a random chance of one safety dropping somewhere in coverage.  It doesn’t mean where the saftey will go will be useful.

The only exception I know of is against Playaction.  A pass 1 in offset I formation.  Against this play only run 4 will get some coverage.  Run 1, 2 and 3 will get you no help.  Except the oddball safety.

What this means is eventually you can use this as a system to guess the play at the line of scrimmage.  A lot of great playbooks used do not have the same formations across the board.  For example often pass 1 and 2 are very different formations from 3 and 4.  This means for example if I was Pitt.  I guess run 1 and I see an R and S formation.  I know now I should be Rod Woodson.  I’m getting no help in coverage and my primary goals are to prevent deep passes plus contain r and s sweep R.

Conversely if I saw redgum shotgun I would pick the strong safety. Woodson might go in coverage on his own plus the bottom cornerback.  My goal at the snap is to prevent a deep pass.  If my two cornerbacks or my FS checks deep I can now take out the short options.   At times if played right you can get as much coverage guessing run plays as you would guessing pass plays.

On a side note I would not overdo it.  Its also good to keep in mind this type of defense is better for some teams than others.  Minnesota plays great under this concept.  So does Pitt, NYJ and other teams with great safeties or LB 2,3.  Its far less effective for teams like Tampa with one great db or teams like the rams with slow defensive backs.

Yet still there are times in every game where you need the ability to guess a run play on defense.  This will make it a little less of a guessing game in the pass coverage options.

One Response to “Guessing Run On Defense”


  1. Tecmo Training Video Series | tecmo101 - January 3, 2020

    […] Guessing run on Defense […]

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