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Coverage Breakdown: What coverages do the Raiders run most often?

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A look at Sports Info Solutions breakdown of every Raider coverage snap

NFL: Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever wondered what coverages the Raiders run most often? Watching the broadcast view, it’s often hard to tell. But by using Sports Info Solutions’ tracking data, we can look at exactly what coverages the Raiders have played on every snap this year in Paul Guenther’s defense.

Coverages game-by-game

Game Total Snaps Cover 0 Cover 1 Man 2 Tampa 2 Cover 2 Cover 3 Cover 4 Cover 6 Combo/Other
Game Total Snaps Cover 0 Cover 1 Man 2 Tampa 2 Cover 2 Cover 3 Cover 4 Cover 6 Combo/Other
Broncos (24-16) 37 0 (0%) 11 (29.7%) 1 (2.7 %) 2 (5.4%) 10 (27%) 9 (24.3%) 4 (10.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Chiefs (10-28) 44 1 (2.3%) 14 (31.8%) 2 (4.5%) 0 (0%) 6 (13.6%) 14 (31.8%) 7 (15.9%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Vikings (14-34) 21 0 (0%) 8 (38.1 %) 1 (4.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 8 (38.1%) 3 (14.3%) 1 (4.8%) 0 (0%)
Colts (31-24) 46 1 (2.2%) 13 (28.3%) 4 (8.7%) 0 (0%) 10 (21.7%) 8 (17.4%) 10 (21.7%) 0 (0%) 3 (6.5%)
Bears (24-21) 25 1 (4.0%) 7 (28.0%) 2 (8.0%) 0 (0%) 6 (24%) 5 (20%) 2 (8.0%) 2 (8.0%) 4 (16.0%)
Packers (24-42) 35 2 (5.7%) 13 (37.1%) 3 (8.6%) 0 (0%) 8 (22.9) 7 (20%) 2 (5.7%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Texans (24-27) 47 0 (0%) 13 (27.7%) 7 (14.9%) 0 (0%) 9 (19.1%) 8 (17.0%) 2 (4.3%) 8 (17.0%) 0 (0%)
Lions (31-24) 47 4 (8.5%) 10 (21.3%) 6 (12.8%) 0 (0%) 3 (6.4%) 12 (25.5%) 5 (10.6%) 7 (14.9%) 0 (0%)
Chargers (26-24) 37 0 (0%) 9 (24.3%) 4 (10.8%) 0 (0%) 10 (27.0%) 14 (37.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (2.7%)
Season Total 339 9 (2.7%) 98 (28.9%) 30 (8.8%) 2 (0.6%) 62 (18.3%) 85 (25.1%) 35 (10.3%) 18 (5.3%) 8 (2.4%)

For those who are not familiar with the types of defensive coverages listed, here is a quick breakdown:

Cover 0

Cover 0 is a man coverage look with no high safety on the play and every defender matched up directly against an offensive player. Typically, Cover 0 is called on goal line situations or when teams employ a heavy blitz look. As you can see from this chart, the Raiders have only called Cover 0 on 2.7 percent of coverage snaps, showcasing how little they’ve called exotic blitzes.

As SIS’ John Shirley detailed this past July, the Raiders should probably be using Cover 0 blitzes more often.

Cover 1/Cover 3

The Raiders play middle of field closed coverages (Cover 1 and Cover 3) more often than any other coverage. Middle of field closed (MOFC) coverage simply means that there is a deep safety playing single-high, policing the middle of the field. The Raiders will try to disguise their coverage intentions by starting in a middle of field open coverage and rolling safeties to the center of the field.

In Cover 1, the deep safety reads the quarterbacks eyes and flows to the play, while the other defenders will play man-to-man. Meanwhile, Cover 3 is a single-high look with the rest of the defense playing zone coverage. Typically in Cover 3, the outside corners will each have a “deep third” and FS will take the middle third, but teams occasionally will mix and match what defender takes which deep third.

Cover 2/Cover 4

While Cover 1 and 3 are MOFC due to the presence of a safety in the middle, Cover 2 and Cover 4 are open in the middle of the field (MOFO). In Cover 2, the safety takes a deep half, while in Cover 4 (or quarters), the safeties and outside corners will each take a deep quarter of the field.

Cover 2 is often implemented to take away short passes and underneath routes. Each safety drops to one side of the field and the remaining defenders all play in underneath zone coverages. With four or five defenders playing underneath, Cover 2 is strong against short routes and weak against deeper throws. On the other hand, Cover 4 is the opposite and is often called in obvious passing situations. With four defenders dropping deep and rallying to the ball, teams who employ great tacklers in the secondary like to use a lot of Cover 4. There are many variations of Cover 4, but now is not quite the time to delve into them all.

Cover 6

Cover 6 (often called quarter-quarter-half) is a mixture of Cover 2 and Cover 4, with one side of the field playing a Cover 2 look and the other playing Cover 4. If a team calls a Cover 2 and sees trips, they will often automatically check to a Cover 6, staying in Cover 2 on the backside while playing Cover 4 on the trips side to limit potential deep shots.

Man 2/Tampa 2

Man 2 combines the two-deep safety drop of Cover 2 with man-to-man responsibilities underneath. Including Cover 0, Cover 1 and Man 2, the Raiders have played some form of man coverage on 40.4 percent of snaps this season, with the overwhelming majority of those coming in Cover 1.

Tampa 2 is very similar to Cover 2, but with a deeper drop from the middle linebacker to the middle of the field. With offenses trying to attack the middle of the field when they see a team playing a lot of MOFO coverage, Tampa 2 allows defenses to get a linebacker deep enough to disrupt some of the intermediate crossing routes.

Combo/Other

Combo or Other is designated by SIS when the defense is in an unrecognizable coverage. Usually, this is because of a flood coverage played against a trips or quads set. Very often, combo coverage denotes some type of “match coverage,” a variation of Cover 4.