Following the game yesterday, Ed Reed was asked a question about how he got the jump on Pennington's pass nearing the end of the third quarter. Do not misunderstand me here. Ed Reed is an excellent player. He seems to be headed for a HOF career. That is not the point. The point is what he said after the game. He said that upon viewing film "Pennington had the tendancy to stare down receivers. He doesn't look off defenders." It is my contention that this was a blatant lie. The fact is that Ed Reed benefited from an excellent coverage call. It was a disguised coverage call used against spread teams. It is a very effective coverage versus triple receiver formations. http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80de086b I ask that you go to 3:05 in the video linked above and I will go through the coverage called. Be ready to use that pause/play button more than a few times. First: Forget about the linebacker on the near hashmark. It's not a linebacker. It's a linemen stunt. I think that is Ngata. He is part of a four man rush. Go straight down the hash mark toward the line of scrimmage. The next three men toward the far sideline are the other portion of a four man rush. Forget about them. They do not matter to the coverage. The key to this coverage is splitting the field in halves. One side is in man to man and the other side is in zone. Man to man side: On the far side of the field, you will see a receiver on the line of scrimmage. Do you see that DB in the receivers face? He's locked up in bump and run. He will not leave that receiver. Coming back to the ball you will see the next receiver in motion. I think it's Ricky Williams. The linebacker on the hashmark has him man to man. When the play begins, ANY receiver that crosses the field to that side will be locked up man to man with SOMEBODY from the secondary. The disquise: If you look at Ed Reed at 3:05 you will see him in the far endzone. This looks like Cover 2. It's not. He is already beginning his march to the middle of the field. He is suppose to be in the middle of the field. He has set a trap. Watch him move before the ball is ever snapped. He has no responsibility on that side of the field YET. His responsibility is a crosser (a receiver crossing the man/zone divider) in the post area. The zone side: Stay at 3:05 in the video. On the Ravens side of the 2 and 12 graphic you will see a linebacker. He is the Mike backer. His responsibility is the first crosser. He has taken an unusual alignment for this coverage to show something different from what is being played. His assignment goes like this: Eyes start on the QB and look to the zone side (near side) for the first crosser. Just beyond him is a DB standing on the number 10. His assignment is the flat. You can tell by his movements that he isn't going anywhere. He isn't going anywhere because he is reading receiver number 2 to receiver number 1. Both receivers on this side released off the ball. His zone is vacated. He's free to "pull the window" shut and move toward the hook zone with the receivers. The cornerback closest to the camera has the deep 1/3 to this side of the field. He's is also reading 2 to 1. He is gaining depth to his assignment based upon the release of 2 counting back from his sideline. Watch him. He's looking straight at number 2 and then gains depth. Both of the aforementioned players have a safety behind them. That safety has the far side deep 2/3 responsibility. Yes, the safety on this side of the field is actually responsible for help on the side where Ed Reed is standing at the beginning of the play. That leaves Ed Reed with only one responsibility. He is responsible for a crosser at the post. The second crosser in this case would have been number two from this side of the field. The key for the entire secondary responsible for the zone side is to read the release of number 2. As in all zone coverage, they have there eyes in the backfield from the snap. They rotate the eyes to number 2 because number 2 dictates certain route patterns (another story altogether). So the premise here is that Ed Reed was where he is suppose to be according to the coverage called. His receiver that he will be responsible for is crossing the field in what looks to be a post pattern. Reed is moving in that direction with his eyes on the QB. He didn't simply take off from the goalline based upon Chad Pennington. He was moving toward his responsibility. So Reed is asked the question about how he made that play. He says he just "watched Pennington's eyes". It is a lie. My question is why did he lie? Why not just say that the defensive coordinator simply made a good call? Why say that there was a deficiency in Pennington's play?