Seeing Ghosts? Ex-NFL QB Explains Why Patriots’ ‘Cover-Zero Blitz’ Is So Tough


October 22, 2019

Bill Belichick has created a monster.

The New England Patriots’ defense has been historically good through the first seven games of the season and had New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold “seeing ghosts” during the Patriots’ 33-0 win on “Monday Night Football.”

Darnold became the latest QB to be flummoxed by Belichick’s wicked ways, as the defensive mastermind has been a nightmare not only for Darnold but every QB who’s had the unfortunate task of taking on the “Boogeymen” and the rest of the New England defense.

The Patriots’ defensive success has been, in large part, thanks to their “cover-zero blitz” look. As ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky explained Tuesday morning, that refers to a Patriots defensive personnel grouping that has no safety on the field. Essentially, Belichick and the Patriots are daring these young, inexperienced quarterbacks to beat their elite secondary. It obviously isn’t easy.

As Orlovsky explained, the Patriots are able to bring more pressure than the offense is equipped to handle, and in the process, they’re making the quarterback make a split-second decision. Obviously, when you have Kyle Van Noy or Jamie Collins running unblocked at you, you’re going to have problems processing information and making the correct read or throw.

Of course, there’s a wrinkle, too. Orlovsky also noted how just when the quarterback thinks he’s got it figured out and is ready to get the ball out quick, the Patriots drop back into the zone and clog the field (and passing lanes).

Orlovsky broke down the tape on Tuesday morning’s “Get Up.”

Four offensive linemen blocking two pass rushers? Ghosts, indeed.

Here’s a little more from Orlovsky on “Get Up.”


Next up for the Patriots? Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Good luck, fellas.

Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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