Press Coverage Defined
Press coverage refers to defensive alignment in which an extra defender (typically a cornerback) lines up directly across from the wide receiver they are assigned to cover. This allows them to be within arms reach of the receiver, preventing them from getting a head start on their route.
The primary purpose is to disrupt the timing and rhythm between a quarterback and their receiver, thus making it more difficult for them to complete passes downfield.
When Should You Use It?
Press coverage is typically used when stopping big plays downfield is paramount, such as defending against deep passes or long-distance field goals. It’s also effective when trying to shut down short routes that rely heavily on timing—for instance, slants or quick outs—where receivers need just enough space to get open before the ball arrives.
Since pressing up on receivers can be physically demanding, teams often use it sparingly, saving it for key moments during games where they need an extra edge over their opponents.
What Are The Benefits?
The primary benefit of press coverage is that it forces offenses out of their comfort zone and disrupts their timing by not allowing them enough space or time to complete passes downfield. It also allows defenders to get physical with the wide receivers they’re covering, potentially knocking them off balance or disrupting their routes entirely.
Lastly, since teams usually only use it sparingly, offenses may not be expected or prepared for it, which can give defenses an advantage if implemented correctly.
Press coverage has become an integral part of American football strategy as teams search for ways to gain advantages over their opponents. By understanding what this concept is and how best to utilize it, teams can gain valuable insights into how to better defend against opposing offenses and give themselves a much-needed edge on game day.
While it can be used effectively in certain situations, it should always be done strategically and sparingly to keep your defense strong throughout a game or season.