Must-Read For Redskins fans: The Off-Man Defense

Rich TandlerSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  Jason Campbell #17 of the Washington Redskins looks to throw a pass against the New York Giants on September 13, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

During the Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants game on Sunday there were a lot of questions/complaints about the Redskins soft coverage on the Giants receivers. Nobody had a good answer as to why they play so far back.

Nobody, that is, until John Keim, the best X’s and O’s man covering the Redskins, asked some people and wrote up an article about it.

That article, which appears here, breaks it down in easy to understand terms. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to  complain about the defensive scheme.

I don’t want to go into too much about it here because you really should read the article, but there are advantages and disadvantages to playing off-man coverage as there are to playing press coverage.

If you’re playing off man, you can read the quarterback and the flow of the play and react to that. If you’re not exactly in the right spot, however (7-9 yards off the line of scrimmage, depending on the specific defense called), or if you read the quarterback incorrectly, you’ll get beat.

It’s in the execution, not the defensive call.

In press coverage, you get a bead on the receiver but you have to focus mostly on him and it’s more difficult to read the quarterback. Press coverage also tips off that the defense is in man to man. It’s easier to disguise the coverage in off man.

So before asking "why", read Keim's article and learn.