Quarters Coverage in football is fast becoming the most popular defensive coverage. The major reason for the rise in popularity is that it allows the defense to get both Safeties involved in stopping the run while also remaining sound against the Four Verticals Passing Concept. Like any coverage, the secret to running Quarters well is creating clear rules for the Secondary.
Quarters Coverage in Football | Alignment and Assignments
The most difficult position to play in Quarters Coverage is establishing the reads for the Safeties. Each Safety has the responsibility of covering any Vertical route by number 2 and stopping any run to the D gap on their side. In order to do this effectively there must be clear rules that allow them to play fast and use their athleticism.
In a passing situation the Safety’s main responsibility is the number two receiver. As soon as the Safety sees it is a pass play he must immediately locate the number two receiver. His rule is that he will take him if he goes vertical past a certain landmark (we say 5 yards). As soon as the receiver gets to 5 yards the Safety will have him in man coverage regardless of where he goes. If he breaks before he gets to 5 yards the Safety will look to rob the number one receiver on his side. If the number 1 receiver is not in a position that the Safety can rob him, the Safety will look for any crossing receiver coming from the opposite side.
In the event that the Safety reads a run play he will come downhill and look to contain any run. His goal is to fit up on the outside of the C Gap player and ensure that, if it is an outside run play, he makes the tackle.
(See Also) Cover 3 Cloud
If the Safety gets a screen read, meaning that the offense is going to run either a Bubble or Jail Screen, he must get downhill and make the play. He will come to the ball playing inside out and making the tackle. In this situation he does not have to worry about the deep threat because the Cornerback is the Deep Defender.
The Cornerback’s rule in Quarters Coverage is pretty simple. He is responsible for the Deep Quarter of the field and is the Deep Defender if there is any screen or run play. In Quarters Coverage the Cornerback takes over the role of the Deep Defender and makes the tackle if the ball carrier gets through the initial defense.
On a pass play the Cornerback has similar rules to the Safety only he is reading number 1. In the event that number one goes past the landmark the Cornerback will take him in man coverage. If the receiver makes a break before the landmark then the Cornerback will look to rob number two on any out breaking cuts.
The major appeal of Quarters coverage is the ability to get the Safety involved in stopping the run while still being sound against Four Verticals. This is a great way to combat the RPO game and the Spread offenses that look to stretch the defensive secondary and run the ball when they have a numbers advantage.
(See Also) Man to Man Coverage Tips