Coaches thought Fire Zone Blitzes Were Just Cover 3 Concepts – Then They Read This!
The term “fire zone blitz” has become a buzzword at all levels of football, and the effective use of them has shut down many offenses. In this article I will explain two fire zones blitz coverages that can be used against every style of offense.
The coverages used in these fire zone blitzes are cover 3 and cover 2, which are simple fire zone blitz coverages that are taught at even the Pop Warner level. The secret to the success of these fire zone blitzes is that you are able to disguise them, because the pre-snap look is the same to the quarterback (2 high shell).
A lot of coaches do not like to run fire zones because they seem too complex, but when you break them down you will see how simple and effective they are in creating confusion and chaos for an offense.
Cover 3 Fire Zone Blitz Coverage (Tiger)
This cover 3 fire zone blitz is a 5-man pressure with 3 deep and 3 underneath coverage defenders. Some people call this coverage concept cover 9 but I prefer to call it cover 3 and teach the nuances of the concept so the players do not have to learn more verbiage.
The outside linebacker (OLB) and inside linebacker (ILB) to the passing strength are blitzing in this fire zone. If the offense uses a shift or motion that changes the passing strength of the formation, the Safeties make a simple “Linda” or “Rita” call to change the side of the Safety rotation and run the blitz from the final passing strength of the offensive formation. The following diagram illustrates the “Tiger” concept:
The corners are deep 1/3 players who are looking to drive the curl because of the 5 man pressure, so they are slow out of their backpeddle.
The Strong Safety ($) and non-blitzing Outside Linebacker (Jack) are the seam, curl, flat players (SCF), and are also the force players versus a run.
The blitzing Inside Linebacker (Mike) blitzes the B gap and the non-blitzing Inside Linebacker (Will) is a B gap run player and a low hole dropper off of #3 versus the pass.
The blitzing Outside Linebacker (Sam) is a C gap player who crosses the TE’s face on a base block, spills a kick – out block and is the contain rushers versus a drop back pass.
The Tight End side Defensive End long sticks into the A gap, the Nose has the weak-side A gap, and the Weak Defensive End has the weak-side C gap. All of the DL spill any type of trap block and they are responsible for the dive versus option.
Cover 2 Fire Zone Blitz Coverage (Knife)
The cover 2 fire zone blitz is a 5-man pressure with 2 deep and 4 underneath defenders. This concept is formation neutral, which means it does not have to be reset versus a shift or motion that changes the strength of the formation. The following diagram illustrates the “Knife” concept:
The Corners are your force players and the Safeties are your deep ½ players that must stay on the hash as long as possible and squeeze routes from deepest to shortest and inside out. If #2 is vertical the Corner will sink with the #1 receiver, and he will only jump the flat if #2 or #3 releases to the flat.
For this cover 2 fire zone blitz, the Mike and Will move to 4 techniques over the tackles right before the snap and are C gap players versus the run and Hook/ Curl droppers versus a pass. The Sam and Jack are D gap rushers who set the edge versus a base block, spill kick- out blocks and are contain rushers versus a drop back pass.
The Ends pinch to the B gap and the Nose is a two-gap player (responsible for both A gaps).
As you can see, these blitzes are simple concepts that can be taught at any level and are effective against any style of offense. The key to the success of these fire zones is disguising your look until the snap of the football and using great fundamentals.
There is not one fire zone blitz scheme that can shut down every offense, but playing sound, fundamental football with a great disguise will give you an opportunity to play dominant defense.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a Tweet / Direct Message on Twitter (@zachdavis24) if you have any questions or comments about these fire zone blitz coverages. There are many small variations that can be added to these fire zones, and if you want to discuss them please contact me. I will share any information I have about 3-4 fire zone blitzes, and I am always willing to talk football!