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Tampa 2


In this X’s O’s Football breakdown, we take at the Tampa 2, it’s coverage variations, and a few Madden Tips how it can implemented into the game for those that play Madden.

What is Tampa 2?

The Tampa 2 (also known as Cover 2 Buc) is a form of the Cover 2 defense that many teams used to defend the West Coast offense or short passing game. The term Tampa 2 rose to popularity by former Tampa Bay head coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. The may difference between the traditional Cover 2 Vs the Tampa 2 is the middle linebacker drops into a deep middle coverage for a Cover 3 when he reads a pass play.

tampa2 thumb Tampa 2

In the image above, notice the middle linebacker (MLB) is dropping back in a deep zone down the middle of the field. This is what Tamp 2 looks like. If Cover 2 coverage were called, he would drop back in a hook zone.


  • Solid pass coverage underneath with four defenders playing underneath zones.
  • Decent defense to call against horizontal passing concepts over the short middle of the field providing only two receivers run pass routes in that area.
  • Does a good job a defending the flats.
  • The LCB and RCB jam the the receiver across from them at the line of scrimmage. This prevents the receivers from getting out in their pass routes quickly.
  • MLB drops over the deep middle to take away deep passes in that area of the field.


  • To be effective, needs four defensive linemen to be able apply pressure on the quarterback.
  • Four vertical passing concepts can easily exploit the two deep zone coverage.
  • With the middle linebacker dropping over the deep middle, the short middle of the field is more vulnerable to three or more route horizontal passing concepts.
  • Suspect to the high-low passing concepts such as curl flat route combo.

Tampa 2 Variations

Here is a look at 3 variations of the Tampa 2 that teams run.

Green 2

green tampa 2 thumb Tampa 2

GREEN 2: The Tampa 2 variation for 3rd and long.

The CB’s will match the vertical stem of #1, almost in a trail man technique, but are still responsible for rallying to any throw to the flat. The MLB will play a true middle third deep zone, and will be aligned at a presnap depth of 10+ yards from the LOS. To accomplish this in madden, you only need to make a couple of adjustments to your stock Cover 2.

Step 1: Place your CB’s in hook zones. Step 2: Double base align. Step 3: Shade your coverage to the outside. Step 4: Place your MLB(or whoever is responsible for the middle run through) in a deep zone, and then pass commit. You must double base align before you place your MLB into a deep zone, because it will change the drops of your underneath defenders if you do it beforehand. Another adjustment you may consider, dropping a defensive tackle into a hook zone, this will protect the area vacated by the MLB. Unlike it’s real life counterpart, you do not need to move your MLB 10+ yards from the LOS. If your MLB is aligned with too much depth, he will be too high to match #2/3, and give up an easy completion.

Red 2

red tampa 2 thumb Tampa 2

Red 2: The Cover 2 variation for inside the 15. It plays a lot like quarters coverage, with your hook/seam defenders swinging to the flats with #2/3, and the safeties playing the seams. It’s the perfect marriage between quarters coverage and the tampa 2, with the mlb still playing the middle run through. This, in essence, will give you a five across look at the goal line.

An easy way to implement this in Madden is to call Cover 4, place your safeties in hook zones, and double base align. Now for the last, but most important step, you will want to shade your coverage to the inside. One thing you do not need to do, you do not need to place your CB’s in hook zones, even if you are backed up inside your own 5. The deep zone of the CB’s will automatically shorten, and they do an excellent job of pattern matching this year. Another benefit, as you can see in the picture, the safeties are only 10 yards off the LOS, so you can bring them closer for added run support.

Cover 2 Gold

tampa cover 2 gold thumb Tampa 2

Cover 2 Gold: A trap coverage variation of the Tampa 2.

In Cover 2 Gold, your CB’s will come off of #1 vertical, and jump any shallow out-breaking route by #2/3. (Great against trips, but not ideal versus bunch sets) Since your CB’s are not going to carry #1, the safeties must alter their drops, so they can more quickly get over top of #1.

Implementing this into Madden is not so easy, due to the altered drop by the safeties. With that being said, it can be done, but it takes longer to set up. While i’m on the subject of safety drops, madden still does not get this right, along with the middle run through, too. I’ve watched safeties match a TE on a seam route, and completely ignore #1 on a fade or go route. My reason for bringing this up, the game already has you at a disadvantage if you want to play cover 2, at least to a certain extent.

Let’s go through the steps to set this defense up. Step 1: Place your CB’s in hook zones. Step 2: Double base align. Step 3: Shade your coverage inside. Step 4: Place your MLB in a deep zone. Step 5: You will have to move at least one of your safeties outside the numbers, and put him in a deep zone. After that, you can move him where you want, but you must do this so his drop will be over the top of #1. If you move only one safety, you will have to user the other, and manually get him over top of the opposite side #1.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully after reading this post about Tampa 2 and it’s variations you will have a better understanding of how this coverage works in real football. If you use these Madden Tips and try implementing it into your defensive scheme, keep in mind, it’s not easy to do in the Madden football video game world or at least yet.


  1. For cover 2 gold why can you simply just call cover 4 since the safeties are already matching #1 in deep blues in a c4 default, so my steps would be this, 1. globally blitz all lbs and then globally zone all lbs, 2. hook zone both corners, 3. 3. double base align 4. Inside shade 5. Deep blue MLB


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