Championship Defense

The Colts and the Bears rode the Tampa 2 defense to the Super Bowl last year. Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber shows you why.


C H A M P I O N S H I P   D E F E N S E

1. Emphasize Playmakers
“Your middle linebacker may drop back with your safeties to cover the deep middle of the field. It seems crazy to have your middle linebacker chasing receivers 30 yards downfield, but it allows your safeties to make big plays.”  sidelines.”

2. Hot Pursuit
“Your two outside linebackers roam the area inside 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, usually looking to take someone’s head off. Because the emphasis is on speed and effort, it’s common to see four guys surrounding the ball. In today’s NFL that’s not a luxury—it’s a necessity to bring some guys down. Hustle and hitting wins games, and it takes no talent to do either of those—just heart.”

3. Corner Chaos
“The cornerbacks’ first jobs are to disrupt the vertical release of the wide receivers downfield, then to be responsible for the pass lanes 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, hashes to sideline. We’ve got to play big and stop the run as well.”

4. Fast and Furious
“This defense relies on guys maxing out on every single play. That’s most evident on the front line, where you have four stud linemen who can get after the quarterback. For this defense, you might be willing to yield a little size to gain some more speed. People criticized the Colts last year for being too small. Guess how that worked out?”

5. Twilight Zones
“By making Cover 2 look like a three-deep or a zone dog, you can create confusion against younger quarterbacks. We don’t play Cover 2 on every snap. You have to be good at all coverages, but Tampa 2 is as good a bread-and-butter defense as there is.”