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What is Cover?

A strategy in which a defense will use a combination of techniques in order to deny offensive players from receiving a forward pass. Teams can cover in two major styles: man-to-man, in which a single player is responsible for guarding a given offensive player, and zone, in which players are primarily responsible for covering a certain area of the field and watching with offensive players come in and out.

Sporting Charts explains Cover

Teams will cover an offense differently depending on their matchups. Coverage can also use a hybrid of styles to both confuse an offense and assist a defense. A good coverage will deny having open players for the quarterback to complete a pass to. A talented and athletic player will be able to cover a player by themselves, making it easier on the rest of the defense. Different cover schemes will have different names, usually denoting where players will line up on the field and which areas will be primary responsibilities.

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