Football Basics : How to Follow a Defense in Football by Watching the Safeties

Uploaded by expertvillage on 02.12.2008

How you doing, I'm Ryan McCann and we're going to talk about how to follow a defense by watching
the safeties. The safeties are the last line of defense in a defense. They are, there are
usually two safeties, a free safety and a strong safety. Free safety is usually the
very last line of defense. A strong safety is a pass coverage safety but is very supportive
in the run, stopping the run. You can learn a lot by watching the safeties. As a quarterback
you can pick out the safeties and they tell you a lot about what the defense is doing.
If there is one safety in the middle, that means it is a cover 3 meaning there are 3
safeties or 3 defensive backs covering a third of the field. Now if there's 2 safeties up
top, that means there's going to be 2 safeties or 2 defensive backs covering each a half
of the field and that tells you a lot what's going on underneath and of course what's going
on in the second half. If there's 2 safeties in the back, you want to expose their weaknesses
which is in the middle and on the outsides because they've got to cover a half. Now if
you put 3 guys running into those 3 spots, there's only 2 guys to cover 3 so it puts
them into a little bit of a quandary. If there's 1 safety back, it means you got 3 guys going
deep so what that means is a little more space underneath to pick apart the defense. While
everybody is going to be watching the safeties, especially the quarterback and the wide receivers
because that's going to dictate how they run their patterns and a lot of offensive patterns
are option patterns meaning if the safety is inside, you go outside or if he's outside
vice-versa. Usually these options are built into the play so if there is 2 safeties, the
receiver is going to know I'm going to split the safeties down the middle. When you watch
the safeties, they know that they can tell a lot what they're doing so they're going
to disguise it a lot of the time. Sometimes they'll start with a 1 safety deep and then
rotate right before the snap or rotate after the snap. So you don't just look at them before
the snap of the ball, you got to really look at them and see what they're doing and they'll
have a lot of tells. And that's why you watch safeties because you want to play it safe.