Defensive scheme analysis for all 32 NFL teams | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

NFL News & Analysis

Defensive scheme analysis for all 32 NFL teams

NFL defenses are going through a shift. What was once a Cover 3-zone and Cover 1-man league is ever so slowly changing into a two-high safety world. Most teams still base out of a four-down, single-high safety defense, as you can see when looking through each team, but check back next year and this could look wildly different.

Dive into each NFL team's defensive scheme below to see how they may look to stop offenses in 2021.

ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WFT

Subscribe to

ARIZONA CARDINALS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 17
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 16
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 1

Once upon a time, Vance Joseph was a zone-coverage fiend who liked to show many different zone coverages with a dash of man coverage mixed in. His results were commendable, too, as his Miami defense finished 18th in defensive efficiency in 2016, and his unit in Denver finished sixth in defensive efficiency over his two years there.

The former Broncos head coach and current Cardinals defensive coordinator has since reversed course. Now he is going to blitz you and play man-to-man coverage behind it.

Joseph called Cover 1 on early downs at the fifth-highest rate in the league last season, choosing to blitz at the fourth-highest rate. The problem was that they couldn’t quite get to the quarterback in those blitzing situations, as they managed a 22nd-ranked 38.4% pressure rate on those snaps.

ATLANTA FALCONS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 27
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 4
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Sit back and play Cover 1

New defensive coordinator Dean Pees is happy to blitz everyone on the field —  he sent his defensive backs after the quarterback at the fourth-highest rate in the league during his stint with the Tennessee Titans. We also know that the Tennessee defense fell off a cliff when Pees left, going from a respectable 14th in EPA per play in 2019 to 31st last season, so the Falcons will be hoping that he can bring the franchise’s defense back to life.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 5
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 8
2020 Base Coverage:  Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play cover 1

At this point, we know who the Ravens are under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale: They are going to blitz every chance they get and play man coverage on the back end.

The Ravens are exceptional at finding weaknesses in protection and getting free rushers while they play tight man coverage behind it. Last season, only one team played more man-coverage snaps where at least one receiver was pressed (231 snaps). And although they only ranked 16th league-wide in EPA allowed per play when they did that in 2020, they were second in the same metric during the 2019 regular season.

Over the past two seasons, Baltimore has created unblocked pressure on 177 snaps, 37 more than the next best squad over that span.

BUFFALO BILLS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 10
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 25
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Sit back in Cover 3 or Cover 1

Although they still base in single-high defenses, the Bills utilize two-high structures at a high rate on all downs. They played quarters coverage at the league's fifth-highest rate last year.

Head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier aren’t thought of as blitz-happy coaches. In fact, they are at their best on third down when they don't blitz, as they finished sixth in EPA allowed per play last year when they didn’t blitz on third down.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 24
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 17
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

Thanks to defensive coordinator Phil Snow, we have finally seen what it looks like when a Big 12 defense takes on the NFL. This isn’t to say they played badly, but the Panthers did utilize collegiate ideas all year long.

Carolina played man coverage on less than 12% of their snaps on early downs, though they ramped up that usage when it came to third downs. They also used three high safeties at the highest rate in the league.

Snow's 2019 Baylor Bears regularly based out of a wide 3-4 to pair with multiple safety coverages. It will be interesting to see if his 2021 Panthers follow suit and start running the entire three-high-safety defense with those odd fronts.

CHICAGO BEARS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 16
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 7
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3 and Quarters
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player and quarters

Sean Desai becomes the new defensive coordinator for the Bears after spending the last eight years in various roles on the defense.

Former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano had kept the heavy two-high pre-snap looks as his predecessor Vic Fangio, though Fangio span down to Cover 3 a lot more. Desai will most likely keep these two-high pre-snap looks in his defense as often as possible, but you’d bet that he ends up playing more quarters looks than Fangio does in Denver.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 25
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 21
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 1

The Bengals have tried to be a singe-high team under defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. It worked for the most part in 2020, as they were excellent playing Cover 1 and Cover 3 on third down, finishing second league-wide in defensive efficiency in those situations.

The problem was that they were less than stellar on other downs and when they tried to do anything else on the back end. They ranked 25th in EPA allowed per play on early downs.

Without William Jackson III, we could see the side move back to more zone coverage. Jackson clocked in with the seventh-best grade in Cover 1 last year at 80.8. They won’t have that luxury in 2021. 

CLEVELAND BROWNS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 23
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 20
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Sit back and play Cover 3

Joe Woods' defense recorded one of the lowest blitz rates in the league last year at 21.9%, 28th in the league. They were an average defense without blitzing (0.033 EPA allowed per play) and a bad one when blitzing (0.323 EPA allowed per play), so it wasn’t a bad choice.

They were an above-average team on early downs but had trouble getting off the field on third down, allowing 43% of all third downs to be converted on the year, 21st league-wide.

DALLAS COWBOYS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 20
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 29
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

Dan Quinn becomes the new Cowboys defensive coordinator after six seasons as the Atlanta Falcons head coach. Quinn is thought of as a Cover 3 coach, but over the past two seasons, he’s played almost as much Cover 1 (36%) as he has Cover 3 (31%). He’s also added a subtle rotation into Cover 2 (14% of snaps) as a change-up.

Quinn also became more and more fond of the blitz as his reign in Atlanta went on, with his blitz rate climbing every year from 2016 on and jumping by just over four percentage points in each of the last two seasons.

DENVER BRONCOS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 14
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 19
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play cover 1

Vic Fangio lives in a world of his own on early downs. He shows the most two-high looks pre-snap, whether he does spin down to single-high or not. This keeps quarterbacks honest because there are a lot more coverage variations they can play post-snap.

Pre-snap single-high defenses can mostly only play Cover 1 and Cover 3 — only 15% of all defensive snaps where the defense lined up showing single high over the last two years wound up back in a two-high coverage. But even though his most used call is still Cover 3, he has a very high rate of two-high coverages, with 30% of his total snaps last year ending up in a two-high formation.

DETROIT LIONS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 32
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 26
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

The Lions will finally move away from the super-heavy man-coverage system that has had them line up man to man on 43% of their snaps since 2019, the highest rate in the league over that span.

In his first stint as a DC, new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will come at offenses from the other side of the spectrum. Glenn will certainly play man coverage, but working under Dennis Allen in New Orleans, he ran multiple coverages with a lot of two-high pre-snap looks. And if he’s anything like Allen, he will blitz like crazy on third down.

The change should be welcome in Detroit. Even though they played Cover 1 at a high rate, they were awful at it, finishing 31st in the league over the last two seasons in defensive pass efficiency at 0.290 EPA allowed per play.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 7
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 22
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

New defensive coordinator Joe Barry comes over from the Rams, and most people will expect him to bring Brandon Staley's defensive stylings with him. However, The two only coached with one another for one season, and Barry has been a defensive coordinator in the past, with Detroit and Washington, so it’s not a guarantee that the Staley defense lands in Green Bay.

Barry's defenses in Washington were almost strictly Cover 1 (29% usage rate) and Cover 3 (43% usage rate) with a little bit of Cover 2 mixed in, but he barely played any quarters (5% usage rate). Those Washington teams, 2015 and 2016, finished 26th in EPA allowed per play over those two years.

HOUSTON TEXANS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 30
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 32
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play cover 1

The Texans recently hired Lovie Smith to run their defense, so we can all get ready to welcome back the “Tampa 2” to the NFL. One may think it’s outdated, but Smith did an excellent job using it as a base at the University of Illinois the last few seasons. In 2019, they finished 46th in the country in EPA allowed per play, though Texans fans might not want to look up the other years.

Only three NFL teams played more than 20% of their pass coverage snaps in Cover 2 last season. It’s not used as a base defense anymore, while Lovie’s Illinois teams led the country in Cover 2 by five percentage points over the next highest team since 2019.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 13
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 11
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Sit back in quarters

Though they do base out of Cover 3, with 28% of their snaps coming in that coverage, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus mixes his coverages a lot. He doesn’t rank in the top 15 in usage rate for any coverage except for quarter-quarter-half; he likes to sit in a one-gap four-down front style without blitzing, hoping to use those four linemen to get pressure.

That hasn’t worked well even with the addition of DeForest Buckner. The Colts' defensive linemen ranked just 23rd in pressure rate, and they finished 12th league-wide last season in EPA allowed per play.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 31
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 18
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

New defensive coordinator Joe Cullen spent his last five seasons in Baltimore, so he will presumably bring that attacking man-coverage style to the Jags. They’ll use multiple fronts and try to disrupt the quarterback's timing with press-man coverage so they can eventually get to the quarterback with a blitz.

Baltimore has been exceptional at manufacturing rushers out of thin air, so expect different players — potentially the safeties Jarrod Wilson and Rayshawn Jenkins — to have more than a few pressures this year.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 15
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 27
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1 and quarters
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 0 or Cover 1

DC Steve Spagnuolo has garnered a reputation as a mad scientist, as he’s concocted all sorts of interesting coverage rotations to get into a bevy of different schemes. He plays a very high rate of two-high coverages, ranking in the top 10 in Cover 2, Cover 4 and Cover 6 usage rate on early downs. He uses Cover 1 the most, but even that only makes up just over a quarter of his calls.

Spagnuolo is particularly aggressive on third downs, playing the fourth-highest percentage of Cover 0 over the last three seasons. He took the opposing offense off the field 68% of the time when they played that coverage, the sixth-best rate in the league.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 28
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 31
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

With new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the Raiders will play Cover 3 and then play Cover 3. After that, they will play more Cover 3. Bradley has called Cover 3 at the highest rate each season since 2018, from 38% of snaps in 2018 to 56% in 2019 to 35% in 2020.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 18
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 13
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Sit back and play Cover 1 or Cover 3

Head coach Brandon Staley comes to the Chargers after a whirlwind one season as the Los Angeles Rams' defensive coordinator. He brought a college-style mindset to the NFL with characteristics mixed in from his time spent with then-Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who is now the Denver Broncos' head coach.

Like Fangio, Staley will show a two-high shell as often as possible before spinning down, mostly to Cover 3. But also like many college defensive coordinators, Staley uses the “tite” front, three defensive linemen packed between the offensive tackles in order to force the ball carrier to the outside, more than any other coach — another college idea making its way to the NFL.

Staley also often played his nickelback outside of the slot receiver in quarters coverage despite most NFL teams using that player inside so he can be a part of the run fit. This lightens the box, and the safety to that side then has to get into the run fit, but the Rams' defense ranked second-best against the run last year.  

LOS ANGELES RAMS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 1
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 2
2020 Base Coverage: Quarters
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 3

Going from former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is quite the scheme shock. It will be interesting to see if Morris keeps some of the new concepts Staley used. The “tite” front is not something we’ve seen from Morris in his stops around the NFL. Last year, Morris' Falcons defense ran an “odd” or “bear” front, 3-4 looks, only 17% of the time.

Where Morris deploys cornerback Jalen Ramsey will be interesting, as well. Staley moved the veteran around a bit in 2020, playing him at nickel when the situation called for it. Ramsey's rate of snaps at outside cornerback dropped by six percentage points from 2019 to 2020. During Morris’ time with Atlanta, his defense was a static Cover 3 and Cover 1 unit, like what Ramsey played in Jacksonville when 84% of his snaps came on the outside in 2018. Ramsey played 145 snaps as a nickel or slot corner in 2018 and 2019 combined but 173 in 2020 alone.   

MIAMI DOLPHINS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 4
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 23
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 1 or Cover 0

Coming from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, Miami head coach Brian Flores will surely try to live in man coverage as much as possible. On third down, the Dolphins were even more aggressive than New England, blitzing at the fifth-highest rate and using Cover 0 at the highest rate we’ve seen in at least the past five years.

Miami's defense doesn't stop coming after offenses and finished sixth in defensive efficiency when blitzing last year. Three Dolphins — Nik Needham, Elandon Roberts and Eric Rowe — ranked in the top 20 in pressure rate among non-defensive line players who saw at least 25 pass-rushing snaps last season.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 22
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 30
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3 and Cover 2
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz

Head coach Mike Zimmer gets the moniker of a blitz-happy mad man, but on early downs, he actually likes to sit in zone coverage. He played Cover 3 25% of the time and Cover 2 23% of the time while showing man coverage just 15% of the time in 2020.

That could change after the addition of cornerback Patrick Peterson in free agency, but it’s unlikely Zimmer will move away from so much zone. The Vikings' defense was about league average in blitz rate on third downs last year, and it’s been like that for the last two seasons. The 2018 version of Zimmer's unit, which blitzed at the fourth-highest rate in the league on third down (42%) might never come back because it was so dominant on third down when not blitzing, posting the third-best EPA allowed per play mark.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 21
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 28
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

The Patriots blitzed at their lowest rate since 2016 last year. And while they ended up still playing Cover 1 on third down, it was mostly with a hole player. However, they still sent the house at a very high rate, playing Cover 0 at a 14% rate on third down — the third-highest mark in the league last season. Their base coverage switched from Cover 1 to Cover 3, a big shift for the defense, as it had been the base look for a few seasons.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 8
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 6
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 1

Dennis Allen has put together an excellent unit since becoming the Saints' defensive coordinator. They play a lot of different coverages, often starting in two-high and then rotating down. New Orleans uses a lot of zone coverage, as well. The best facet of Allen's defense is the 5-0 or 6-0 fronts that it uses on third down to confuse offensive lines and get to the quarterback. The team's pressure rate on third down last year ranked second-best in the NFL.

NEW YORK GIANTS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 11
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 15
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3 and Cover 2
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Sit back and play Cover 3 and Cover 1

Last season was a tale of two halves for Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. In the first eight weeks of the season, New York ranked 15th in defensive efficiency, posting a barely positive EPA allowed per play mark (.056). But in the back half of the season, the unit slotted in at seventh-best, producing a negative EPA allowed per play mark (-0.040).

The Giants' third-down defense improved by leaps and bounds in that same split, going from 23rd to 10th in EPA allowed per play. Graham cut down on some blitzing and played a ton less Cover 1, with the unit's third-down rate dropping by 11 percentage points. Instead, he opted to sit in zone coverage and let everything play out in front of his defense.

NEW YORK JETS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 29
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 3
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 2
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz 

New head coach Robert Saleh’s scheme is heavy on blitzing on third down, but he has no problem sitting in two-high on early downs or third down if needed. The Jets sat in Cover 2 and played everything in front of them last season, and you’ll see something similar from Saleh in 2021 — but in quarters form.

He’s mostly in some sort of zone call on early downs. He ran Cover 1 at a mere 17% clip in 2020 with the 49ers, the 22nd-lowest mark in the league. However, it was a beautiful change up for them, as they were the second-best pass defense team in Cover 1 on early downs (-.216 EPA allowed per play).

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 12
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 12
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

New defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon will bring a very different approach to the Eagles' defense after Jim Schwartz coached the unit for the past five years. Schwartz would sit in Cover 1 or Cover 3, mostly with the corners off, and then run his inverted Cover 2 as a changeup. The Colts, where Gannon and Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni come from, ran all sorts of different looks. Both Schwartz and Sirianni/Gannon blitzed at a very low rate, 30th and 31st in the league, respectively, so that won’t change. But what they do behind it will.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 2
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 14
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3 and Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Sit back and play Cover 3

We think about Pittsburgh as a blitz-happy unit, and it is, but not on third downs. The Steelers have always ranked very low on third-down blitz rate, instead choosing to focus on playing sound Cover 1 with a hole defender or Cover 3.

With that said, they have no problem heating up quarterbacks on earlier downs and playing Cover 1 without a hole player. Their early-down blitz rate was by far the highest in the league last year. They blitzed on those downs 48% of the time — six percentage points higher than the next closest team. Their 39% pressure rate also finished first, this time by five percentage points more than the second-place team.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 9
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 5
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3 and quarters
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 1

DeMeco Ryans takes over for Robert Saleh as the 49ers' defensive coordinator for 2021. Ryans worked under Saleh, so we can expect the defense to stay relatively stable. The 49ers played one of the highest rate of quarters coverages on early downs to go along with basing out of Cover 3. They have a low blitz rate on early downs but then turn up the pressure on passing downs. San Francisco ranked 19th in early-down blitz rate and third on third down last year. Overall, the unit ranked in the top 10 on early downs and third downs in EPA allowed per play.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 19
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 10
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Blitz and play Cover 1

Under head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks will always be a Cover 3 team.  They've never finished below fifth in Cover 3 usage rate in any season over the past five years. But offenses have seen this defense for a decade in some shape or form, so the Seahawks have had to find some changeups.

On early downs, they ran Cover 3 at a rate that was 6.4 percentage points less in 2020 than in 2019, and they saw their biggest increase in Cover 2 rate. A lot of those Cover 3 snaps went to Cover 2, which was Seattle's second-most-used coverage, surpassing Cover 1 for the first time in recent years. With safety Jamal Adams in the fold, the defense's third-down blitz rate jumped by seven percentage points from 2019 to 2020.

With that said, the Seahawks did not improve their efficiency in those situations, going from an already bad .257 EPA allowed per play in 2019 on third-down blitzes to an even worse .336 mark in 2020. 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 6
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 1
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality:  Blitz and play Cover 1 or Cover 0

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is going to blitz and play his bear front, five defensive linemen covering every offensive lineman — we know that for sure. That means the Buccaneers are going to allocate resources to stopping the run. They were by far the best run-stopping unit on early downs last year, allowing -0.237 EPA per play in the regular season.

Even though Tampa Bay played all these heavy run-stopping looks, it still did well to stop the pass. The unit finished as the fourth-most efficient pass defense on early downs. On third down, Bowles will play mostly Cover 1, but he does mix things up. He called the third-highest rate of quarters and the fifth-highest rate of quarter-quarter-half the past two seasons. He's also shown some interesting rotations into a three-high look once in a while.

TENNESSEE TITANS

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 26
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 24
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 1
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player

Head coach Mike Vrabel brings a defensive attitude to the Titans, but the results have been failing since the unit's good finish in defensive efficiency in 2018 under then-defensive coordinator Dean Pees. They ranked 11th in 2018 and 14th in 2019 before bottoming out to 28th last year.

Now under Shane Bowen, who was the de-facto defensive coordinator last year, Tennessee's defense will need to show that 2020 was an aberration. The Titans overhauled their defensive backfield, so maybe they can stay in a man-heavy defense but actually get the desired results. In 2019 and 2020, they could not stop a soul in man coverage, finishing 28th in EPA allowed per play in man coverage.

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

2020 Defensive Pass Efficiency Rank: 3
2020 Defensive Rush Efficiency Rank: 9
2020 Base Coverage: Cover 3
2020 Third-Down Mentality: Cover 1 with a hole player and quarters

Washington ran a ton of zone defenses last year, unsure of themselves holding up in man coverage. It worked. The Football Team was the third-most efficient pass defense last year. When you can play zone and have an elite defensive line, you can get things done.

It will be interesting to see if signing William Jackson III in free agency will lead to the team playing more man coverage, where Jackson has excelled. He recorded the seventh-best grade in Cover 1 last year (80.8) at his position. With that said, Washington was great at whatever it played, with its Cover 3, quarters and Cover 1 looks all ranking in the top third of the league in efficiency.

Tackle Lifes financial Challenges. Western Southern Financial Group.
Sponsor

NFL Featured Tools

  • Power Rankings are PFF’s NFL power ratings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

    Edge
  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NFL game.

    Available with

    Elite
  • PFF's Player Props Tool reveals betting opportunities within player prop markets.

    Available with

    Elite
  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NFL player performance data.

    Available with

    Elite
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr