Cover 3 or cover 2? Middle open or middle closed? This is one of the main things a quarterback looks for at the snap of the ball. Typically in a game, there are two safeties who share the field on defense. These two safeties usually are aligned next to each other and are the deepest defensive players on the field. Cover 3 and cover 2 refer to the coverage a defense is playing. Typically when playing cover 2, the two safeties split the field in half. They are responsible for any receiver that goes deep. The two safeties splitting causes the middle of the field to be exposed. Former head coach Tony Dungy helped create a defense which was basically a zone cover two. The safeties are responsible for the deep halves of the field and the cornerbacks are responsible for the flats while the linebackers cover the short middle. The only difference in Tony Dungy’s defense was that the middle linebacker had deep middle responsibilities. The middle linebacker, often referred to as the mike, would cover the deep middle of the field hoping to eliminate the exposed middle of the field that the regular cover two would leave open. The main weaknesses of a cover two are the open areas between the cornerback and the safeties and the open area in the middle of the field. The safeties are also left one on one against deep threats. On my next post, I will explain how the cover 3 works.