John asked in SportsFootball (American) · 2 months ago

Why do teams in the NFL run so much zone coverage? Zone coverage sucks compared to man coverage ?

9 Answers

  • Dave
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    How many of those corners can cover the speed in the NFL?

  • garry
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    maybe because they run fast ..

  • 2 months ago

    Ends and line backers do the one-on.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Zone coverage gives the DB full view of the QB and they can see where the ball is going. 

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Simplicity, rules, and running quarterbacks.

    There are 5 eligible receivers on most plays.  If you tried to cover them all, that would leave you with only 5 people in the box to try and stop the run (assuming you employ a safety, as virtually all teams do).  Most teams will get run over if they try that.  So, if you play man coverage, you need a couple of flex guys - guys who will prepare to play the run, but who will man up to a receiver if the play develops into a pass.  That's tough, and if you guess wrong you will be out of position and vulnerable for a big play.  Zone gives the defense more chances to adapt and react - if one guy is out of position his teammates may be able to fill in and make a stop.

    Man coverage is also extremely vulnerable to QB scrambles, because most of the defense has its back to the QB.  You need to dedicate at least one lineback to play spy and make sure the QB can't gut you for a huge gain on a scramble play.  That's one less player that can attack to try and stop the run or drift back into coverage.  And, with the number of borderline uncoverable WR's in the league today who necessitate double-coverage to prevent jump balls, that's really tough to get away with.

    The rules also encourage zone coverage.  Once again, man coverage often results in the defenders playing with their back to the QB for several seconds.  A defender in this position simply cannot see the ball and react to it quicky enough once it is in the air.  Elite QB's are masters at seeing this and under-throwing the ball.  The receiver adjusts to make the catch and usually makes contact with the defender, whose momentum is going the other way.  Under the current (and ridiculous, imo) rules, this is pass interference, and the offense gets a free chunk of yardage, not to mention a first down.  With zone coverage, the defender has a much easier time keeping eyes on the QB, which helps them make a play on the ball instead of the receiver (which only gets flagged SOME of the time, instead of every time).

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    The short answer is free agency. 

    Man coverage requires better athletes especially at corner. It would cost a fortune to put together a defense like the 85 Bears or 90s Cowboys nowadays. 

    But, you can put together a pretty decent defense for next to nothing if you play zone and use the money you save for your QBs, WRs, and RBs. 

    That's why you saw these zone teams like Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Indy dominating the league right after free agency started. 

  • 2 months ago

    Many reasons.

    1) If you lack top end athletes in your back-7, but they can play instinctively, zone is better for them.

    2) Mixing zone and man is better that just zone or just man.  Most starting caliber QBs can scorch a defense if they know what's coming.

    3) This will sound like it contradicts 2, but there are variations even within just 'zone'.  But teams that play exclusively zone tend to specialize, thus letting their players play more instinctively and without thinking.  This leads to quicker reactions time.

    4) Playing zone generally means your eyes are towards the QB meaning you can contain mobile QBs better and react to underneath completions better.  You also tend to get more INTs.

  • 2 months ago

    Several reasons....most of them related to a decade-plus worth of rules changes designed to prop up offensive numbers.

    Time was when "jamming" the receiver at the line and "hand checking" him along his route was standard practice.  Now a DB is likely to get called for "defensive holding" or the dreaded, ever-expanding "pass interference."  This has greatly limited what a "shut down" corner can do in man coverage.

    Offensive-minded coaches have capitalized on this trend by taking a lot of cues from the college game, putting men in motion, "bunching" receivers on the line and installing option plays based on the coverages.  The end result is the "video game" playing style epitomized by last season's 54-51 game between the Rams and Chiefs.

    Most coaches over the age of 34 still take it as a deep insult to give up more than 35 points in a game.  Playing zone defense represents the "safe" option in that it a) discourages the big, "home run" plays, b) limits the contact between DBs and receivers to avoid penalties, and c) allows defenses to disguise coverages until the snap.

    Not sure if you heard the sideline audio from the 2018 Super Bowl, but there is one clip of Sean McVay from the first quarter that basically foretells the Rams' defeat.  In it, he says something to his assistant coach like "yeah...they're not responding to our movement at all...they're just staying put..."

    Much of the Rams' offensive success that year was based on putting men in motion and then responding to how the defense adjusted.  When Bellichick had his defenders stand like statues in tight zone coverage, the flaws in McVay's "genius" were exposed.

  • 2 months ago

    There are a lot of possible reasons including denial of routes that can take advantage of man coverage or lack of adequate defensive breadth to do proper man coverage.  Haven't you ever played any sports? I'm not the coach or manager so I can't pass judgement about what is best for a team when I am ignorant in detail.

    It isn't clear to me that zone is deficient relative to man coverage in a large sense.

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