Strategy Minicamps

How to beat your opponent with 11 living, breathing chess pieces

Strategy Minicamps

Kickoff Returns: A Wedge Issue

The kicker places the ball on the tee, then takes a few steps back. The returner waits patiently at the goal line, poised to grab the ball and take off running at full speed. Those are the two images you see before a kickoff when you're watching a football game on TV. But what about the other 20 players? Michael David Smith explores kickoff returns in the return of our popular "Strategy Minicamps" feature explaining the X's and O's on the field.

47 comments, Last at 13 Aug 2006, 9:41pm by empty13

Zone Coverage: Not as Simple as its Seams

As a follow-up to our recent Minicamp on man coverage, Mike Tanier looks at zone coverage schemes, particularly three-deep zones. Find out the difference between Sky and Cloud defenses, learn what it really means to roll coverage, and take a trip into the No-Cover Zone.

32 comments, Last at 16 Aug 2010, 11:40am by cheap clothes

Man Coverage: You Can't Beat It

Man coverage in the NFL means more than just lining up across from a receiver and following him around the field. Mike Tanier takes a look at the most common varieties of man coverage used in the NFL, as well as the techniques defenders use to keep from getting toasted.

14 comments, Last at 11 Aug 2005, 2:58pm by Jason

The I-Formation: Offensive Bread and Butter

The I-formation is football's most versatile set, allowing for power running and deep passing. Michael David Smith goes inside the numbers to find out how the I-formation ticks, who is using it the most, and who is the best at running from it.

79 comments, Last at 08 Oct 2006, 10:49pm by Andrew

Defensive Line Basics: Mind the Gap

The latest in our series on the building blocks of football strategy discusses the defensive line. Learn about numbered techniques, engagement with blockers, and the difference between one-gap and one-gap responsibilities.

55 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2005, 6:30pm by Bloomeanie

The 4-3 vs. the 3-4

In response to a reader request, Mike Tanier breaks down the difference between the 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes. What's that, you say? You already know the difference? Well what about one-gap vs. two-gap schemes? The zone blitz? Mike breaks it all down for you.

92 comments, Last at 09 Jun 2010, 6:09am by Coach_Espy

Zone Blocking vs. Man Blocking

Does "the Denver system" really help running backs? What about other teams that switch to a so-called "zone blocking" scheme? In this guest column, Brian Hook looks at the (admittedly limited) data from Denver, Atlanta, and Houston, and tries to discern a trend.

5 comments, Last at 06 Feb 2007, 7:27am by Frank

Guest Column: West Coast Offense Simplified

You hear about it all the time: West Coast Offense. What is it? Who runs it? What's the whole point? Chris Miraglia provides the basics; you provide the discussion.

1 comment, Last at 13 Mar 2006, 4:11am by PDBIP

Guest Column: The Cover 2 Explained

You hear it over and over again: teams are playing more of the Cover 2. What the heck is the Cover 2? How does it work? Chris Miraglia enlightens us with a basic discussion of how to play Cover 2, its strengths and weaknesses, and the changes made by Tony Dungy. Complete with (very simple) illustrations.

6 comments, Last at 06 Jul 2011, 5:51am by Houston Rockets

Off-Tackle Concerto, or Variations on a Theme

Bob Cook from Flak Magazine analyzes the Colts' bread-and-butter play. How does it work, why does it work, and just how important is it to Indy's success?

1 comment, Last at 29 Mar 2007, 7:23pm by Jason Mulgrew aka Lord J Rocka aka The Mul-Dawg aka King in