Reluctantly, Urlacher embraces Cover 2
LINK to the article http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2012/1003...murray_576.jpg Brian Urlacher isn't a fan of the Cover 2, but he acknowledges its efficiency.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Brian Urlacher refuses to hide disdain for playing in Cover 2 when theChicago Bears call that defense. At the same time, he canít deny the coverageís efficacy. ďItís not fun, but Cover 2 works,Ē Urlacher said Thursday. ďIíve said it every year itís not my favorite thing but it works, man. Weíre good at it. Weíve got a lot of takeaways playing it this year.Ē Perhaps thatís why thereís no real consensus among teammates about playing in the coverage. Some love it, others like Urlacher loathe it. Despite the label often given to describe Chicagoís defense (itís often called Cover 2), the team actually doesnít operate out of Cover 2 all the time. When the Bears do, though, deep familiarity with the coverage normally leads to precise execution. ďI love the Cover 2,Ē said NFC player of the month Tim Jennings, who currently leads the NFL with four interceptions. ďI love the fact we can mix it up a little bit. Itís just the fact that Cover 2 makes it easier on the back end. Of course, Brian, he doesnít want to run through the middle all the time all day. But what guy would? I think that just gives an opportunity for the D-line to go after them and get one-on-one blocks when we can bring an extra guy. Then, as a secondary (we) just read the quarterback and see that thereís pressure and we can just go.Ē Urlacher admits his aversion to Cover 2 comes from a selfish place. Because of his coverage responsibilities in the middle of the field, Urlacher doesnít always see the action he relishes as the clubís middle linebacker. Asked what in particular he dislikes about playing Cover 2, Urlacher laughed, saying, ďIím not involved. Iím being selfish, (but) unless they attack the middle of the field, Iím not really involved in the play. I donít get to blitz or anything like that. So itís just kind of run through the middle (of the field) and hope something happens.Ē Once big plays do take place, Urlacher knows he likely wonít be a part of them. Thatís fine though, he said. ďIím really good at congratulating people in Cover 2,Ē Urlacher joked. ďIím the No. 1 high fiver when someone makes a play. Iím leading the team in that.Ē The truth is that because Cover 2 is a two-deep zone in which the defenders essentially keep everything in front of them, their backs arenít turned to the quarterback in coverage, and that opens the door for the Bears to gobble up turnovers. Chicago leads the NFL with 14 takeaways (11 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries), and since 2004, when Smith implemented his system -- which employs plenty of Cover 2 -- the team has racked up an NFL high 280 takeaways, with 28 going for touchdowns. The Bears own a 20-5 record when they score on defense (17-2 since 2005), and despite what critics say, surely Cover 2 has played a role in those takeaways. ďI like mixing it up,Ē said safety Chris Conte. ďI like playing a little bit of everything. Iíll play whatever (coverage we cal). But as long as we mix it up, thatís when weíre playing our best.Ē