Danger and Divider Coverage vs. Empty Sets

Aug 11, 2014 | Defense, Coverage, One High Coverage Structures


By Mike Kuchar

Senior Research Manager

X&O Labs



While many coaches will choose to play cover zero against Empty (3x2) formations, we did find another answer which in two zone concepts- named Danger and Divider.  It’s a way to leverage the football on the back end, without playing a high-risk structure such as a no-safety defense. 

Editor’s Note:  The following research was conducted as part of XandOLabs.com special report on Quarters Coverage.  The full-length report is available to Insiders only, which can be found by clicking here.


Defending 3x2 Empty Adjustments (Diagram 65)

Finally, defending Empty formations require a tremendous deal of technique by defensive backs in order to match the various routes an offense can present.  With five eligible receivers- an only four defensive backs- it becomes necessary for another skill player, usually the Mike linebacker, to be involved in matching number three to his side.   In fact, when asked about defending Empty formations, 32.9 percent of coaches will play Quarters coverage to both sides of the formation, and have the Mike LB carry #3 vertical.