About the author

Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

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  1. 1



    Thanks for the clear presentation.

    1. 1.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Thanks. Hopefully that all made sense. Just sort of the basics of how defenses set up. There are all kinds of techniques that go into it after the ball is snapped, but I wanted to start from the ground up. Hoping I did that well enough and simple enough. It was a lot more words than I thought it would be, haha.

  2. 2



    This is great. I thought it was really helpful. I think that it may have been interesting going into a little bit of detail about what went wrong on defense last year against the Raiders and Falcons when the Bucs gave up over a thousand yards in a couple weeks.

    I know that would have added a lot to your word count though. lol.

    1. 2.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Well now that’s something I can do! I’ve been going over a lot of: what an O-Line concept is or what a 4-3 concept is or what a corner concept is, all at their core so that as we go through the season, we can look back at things and see why it worked and why it didn’t.

      We’ll get there!

  3. 3


    I feel like the student just begining a course who tried to speed read the entire textbook in an effort to understand the challenge ahead!

    This will take some time and study, and working some sample problems before it will all sink in (speaking as a graduate engineer who had to work hard to get thru the curriculum). But Trevor, if you keep referencing these concepts as we progress through the upcoming season (as you say you will do) the payoff will come in much better understanding of the game.

    This is a great feature, and only available on PR.

    1. 3.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I will! That’s why I’m writing these in the offseason. Y’all won’t need me soon, haha.

  4. 4


    Enjoyed it. One clarification (or thing to add). Most teams run “read” “match” or “liz/rip” coverage concepts where the players read patterns on-the-fly which changes their coverages.

    Almost all Cover 4 is actually “cover 4 read” wherein the corners aren’t actually dedicated deep quarters but are reading routes and often play low depending on routes/formation. Thus you can turn Cover 4 into Cover 2 purely based on offensive routes (which is also why its harder to read coverages now).

    A good example, with some fun variations, is Pat Narduzzi at Michigan St: https://www.reddit.com/r/CFB/comments/31tbm0/xs_and_os_thread_pat_narduzzis_cover_4_defense/

    1. 4.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Even more evidence to the types of corners Tampa has then!

      Good add! I’ll read that and look more into it. If I see Tampa doing that a lot, I’ll be sure to point it out and explain more.

      I feel like I read so much on defensive back work and yet I learn new stuff all the time.

      1. 4.1.1


        Narduzzi’s C4 is definitely different than how most NFL teams run it, much more aggresive/press.

        Some good stuff on Saban’s rip/liz (form of read): http://brophyfootball.blogspot.ca/2010/08/nick-saban-cover-3-adaptation-ripliz-to.html

        Chris Brown has a couple of really fun articles that discuss it in relation to TCU and Michigan:

        There are definitely more technical articles/videos (I can always send you some) but these are great jumping off points (and well written).

        Up here in Canada we’ve been playing “read” or “pattern matching” for 10-15+ years. My understanding is that Saban popularised it down in D1 college (could be wrong). It’s a ton of fun to play, but you need smart defenders and a lot of drilling.



          It does fit the Bucs corners though. I felt like (you’d know better) that Smith ran more C4 (read) last year than any other coverage. But again, with the read/pattern-matching it can be near impossible to tell apart from C2/C3.

  5. 5


    My mind is completely blown.

  6. 6


    Another excellent and engaging piece man. Learn something new everytime. And I agree full heartedly with your comment about Quarters coverage, I honestly want to know why it is deployed by defenses other than a hail mairy pass play… Furthermore if this were a parallel universe and I were ever a GM of an NFL team lookong to hire a new coach…it would be an interview question of mine…”How do you feel about using “Quarters coverages” during 4min 2min, 2possession 1 possession games?” And I would seriously weigh my decision on their answer…(or even fire them after the fact). Because who can count how many times a team has lost a game, because of that coverage being called?…..Rant over…

    1. 6.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Haha, I definitely share some of that frustration.

      I will say that quarters can be, and usually is, much more complex than that. Just depends on how defensive coordinators call it. Some never really use it, and just use it for prevent. Others modify it like in the comment above with a read-and-react kind of split responsibilities.

      It varies. I’ll be able to explain it better with this team in specific the more I see.

  7. 7


    I mean, I’ve played a lot of Madden but… nice work man! Greatly appreciate the information!

    1. 7.1
  8. 8


    A lot to take in but I really enjoyed it.

  9. 9


    Great break down. It is revealing to see and understand just how important the role of QB now is in the game. And of course at field level, everything looks different. As a team you have to make a choice to simplify the decision making process or have a QB that is immensely talented in information processing. When you see the Tandy interception on Brees it struck me how this fooled Brees so much. It was a combination of a great timing play call for Smith, great read on Tandy but also a really poor decision by Brees.

    1. 9.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      The game of football is so complex – at least, it is for the teams that do the winning. There’s strategy and counter strategy and counter strategy and counter strategy.

      As a quarterback, you have so much to think about. Where the linebacker is, the front of the defense, where the offensive line is aligned, where a weak point might be, what coverage is shown, what coverage it actually might be, the stamina of your team, the timing of receivers, looking off certain defenders, the down and distance, the time, the score, the situation, the crowd noise, the weather, where the sun is pointing, the wind, etc.

      All of that in about 10 seconds.

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