OLB Play in the Cover 2 Robber Defense

May 15, 2017 | Defense, Coverage, Two High Coverage Structures

By Shawn LaMothe
Defensive Backs/Running Backs Coach
Grosse Ile High School (MI)
Twitter: @CoachLaMothe



In our base 4-4 Cover 2 Robber system, our goal is for our outside linebackers (OLBs) to be run stoppers first. In our league, we compete against three, very tough, double-tight, full house backfield offenses, which run 90% of the time. Overall, 70% or more of the plays we will see from our remaining opponents are run plays, as well.

Defensive Structure

So we are all on the same page, when I speak about the 4-4 Cover 2 Robber system, we have two OLBs, two corners, and one free safety.


In our system, we have a “Call Side” OLB and an “Away Side” OLB. Before each play, the free safety communicates a directional call telling the OLBs which side to line up on and what side the free safety will be on.

Against any two back formations, this is our go to concept. It is important to note that we define two back formations as any formation in which there are two players lined up between the tackles (not including the QB).


When we see one back spread formations, the first coverage adjustments we will make is to keep the responsibilities the same for the Call Side players with some changes to the Away Side. We do have additional coverages vs 2x2 and 3x1 formations; however, our first check keeps the Call Side the same.

The OLBs’ responsibilities are:

  • Force players vs the run
  • Flat players vs the pass 


  • Against only Tight End:
    • Align four yards deep and four yards outside the Tight End.


  • Against Two Split Receivers:
    • Split the difference between the Offensive Tackle and the #2 Receiver and five yards deep.
    • If #2’s split closes and he aligns closer to the tackle, we tell our kids always align in position to maintain outside leverage. Once the player feels like that is threatened, he can move head up to outside #2.
    • If the scouting report shows heavy pass from this formation, we will move the OLB out, closer to the #2 receiver to five yards deep and two yards inside #2.


  • Against Three Receivers:
    • Split the difference between the #2 and #3 receivers and five yards deep. It does not matter if #3 is a tight end or in a wing position.
    • If it is a bunch formation, the OLB will align head up with receiver on the line of scrimmage. If the bunch is close to the tackle, the OLB will maintain outside leverage.
    • If the scouting report shows heavy Bubble/Now screens from this formation, we will move the OLB out, closer to the #2 receiver to five yards deep and two yards inside #2.



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