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 Question on Prevent Defense 
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Post Question on Prevent Defense
First off, sorry, I have only been following football for a few years, so not totally understanding all the X's and O's, I tend to question why teams go into the prevent defense. I understand the concept of not wanting to give up the big play, but in today's league it seems more often than not, teams are quite adept at the 2minute drill, and just take advantage of the short yardage throws and march down to the redzone, where it goes back into normal goal line packages, and a lot of the time end up scoring.

So since I hear so many disparaging remarks about the prevent defense, why do team still use it so much? Offenses seem to be more than able to compensate for it, so it seems like more of a liability.

Appreciate your comments and thoughts.

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September 29th, 2013, 6:44 pm
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Post Re: Question on Prevent Defense
The prevent defense is OK to use towards the end of the game, because it forces teams to dink and dunk and take time off the clock. If you still with a typical defense, teams are going to take their shots downfield and you're increasing the likelihood that team will score quickly, then try and get the ball back and score again.

Personally, if I am a DC I don't go into the prevent defense unless I am more than two scores ahead and there's less than two minutes on the clock. The one thing DCs typically do in a prevent is rush only three guys. That is something I really don't agree with. If the Lions have shown us anything, it is that pass pressure is more effective at taking a QB out of their game than good coverage. Coverage will only last so long before a receiver breaks free. There's no way I'd allow a pro QB to stand back there with limited to no pass rush and just pick my defense apart, even in a prevent set up.

The offense can only send five guys out to run patterns. Seven guys back is more than enough to cover five. Rushing four is something that should be done in a prevent, not just rushing three. That's my opinion.

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September 29th, 2013, 7:43 pm
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Post Re: Question on Prevent Defense
m2karateman wrote:
The prevent defense is OK to use towards the end of the game, because it forces teams to dink and dunk and take time off the clock. If you still with a typical defense, teams are going to take their shots downfield and you're increasing the likelihood that team will score quickly, then try and get the ball back and score again.

Personally, if I am a DC I don't go into the prevent defense unless I am more than two scores ahead and there's less than two minutes on the clock. The one thing DCs typically do in a prevent is rush only three guys. That is something I really don't agree with. If the Lions have shown us anything, it is that pass pressure is more effective at taking a QB out of their game than good coverage. Coverage will only last so long before a receiver breaks free. There's no way I'd allow a pro QB to stand back there with limited to no pass rush and just pick my defense apart, even in a prevent set up.

The offense can only send five guys out to run patterns. Seven guys back is more than enough to cover five. Rushing four is something that should be done in a prevent, not just rushing three. That's my opinion.



Very well said and I completely agree about rushing 4. Thats this defense's strength, why abandon it?

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September 30th, 2013, 7:32 am
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Post Re: Question on Prevent Defense
m2karateman wrote:
The prevent defense is OK to use towards the end of the game, because it forces teams to dink and dunk and take time off the clock. If you still with a typical defense, teams are going to take their shots downfield and you're increasing the likelihood that team will score quickly, then try and get the ball back and score again.

Personally, if I am a DC I don't go into the prevent defense unless I am more than two scores ahead and there's less than two minutes on the clock. The one thing DCs typically do in a prevent is rush only three guys. That is something I really don't agree with. If the Lions have shown us anything, it is that pass pressure is more effective at taking a QB out of their game than good coverage. Coverage will only last so long before a receiver breaks free. There's no way I'd allow a pro QB to stand back there with limited to no pass rush and just pick my defense apart, even in a prevent set up.

The offense can only send five guys out to run patterns. Seven guys back is more than enough to cover five. Rushing four is something that should be done in a prevent, not just rushing three. That's my opinion.


Thanks M2K, great explanation and elaboration.

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September 30th, 2013, 2:57 pm
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Post Re: Question on Prevent Defense
I hate the term prevent, since it doesn't prevent anything - in fact teams are more likely to score when a team goes into prevent.

This type of defense only seems to prevent the offense from NOT scoring.

The name should be tied to time since that is what you are really trying to do - run time.

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September 30th, 2013, 6:10 pm
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Post Re: Question on Prevent Defense
Defense against a 2 minute drill isn't necessarily a prevent defense.

A prevent defense is a euphemism for defenses getting very conservative and playing deep zones to protect a big lead & keep the clock running... it could last an entire half of a game. They allow more yardage, but also are intended to prevent quick scores. The classic cover 2 or 2 deep defenses are prevent defense. If teams are talented and disciplined, it can be an effective regular part of a defense's approach in all games.

2 minute drill defense is different. By going no huddle, offenses make the D commit to what they're going to play (e.g. straight, nickel, dime), and then can execute to take situational advantage when the defenses can't substitute. That's why 2 minute offenses are often so successful - they have an advantage, because the defense can't do situational substitutions (or give guys a breather). The Lions have a huge advantage with the DL, because they can pretty confidently rush only 4 and have less need to substitute in those situations.


October 1st, 2013, 10:32 am
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Post Re: Question on Prevent Defense
I.E. wrote:
Defense against a 2 minute drill isn't necessarily a prevent defense.

A prevent defense is a euphemism for defenses getting very conservative and playing deep zones to protect a big lead & keep the clock running... it could last an entire half of a game. They allow more yardage, but also are intended to prevent quick scores. The classic cover 2 or 2 deep defenses are prevent defense. If teams are talented and disciplined, it can be an effective regular part of a defense's approach in all games.

2 minute drill defense is different. By going no huddle, offenses make the D commit to what they're going to play (e.g. straight, nickel, dime), and then can execute to take situational advantage when the defenses can't substitute. That's why 2 minute offenses are often so successful - they have an advantage, because the defense can't do situational substitutions (or give guys a breather). The Lions have a huge advantage with the DL, because they can pretty confidently rush only 4 and have less need to substitute in those situations.


I agree with you that the prevent defense is just a change in how your playing more so than an actual formation now, but the cover 2 is not a prevent defense. Cover 2 requires a 4-3 or a 3-4 formation which exactly what you don't want when teams are putting more WRs on the field. It helps prevent the big play, but calling it a prevent defense is generalizing too much. I wouldn't consider any defense with less than 7 DBs a prevent. The whole idea of the prevent is selling out on the deep pass and letting everything underneath through if you have more than 4 dlinemen and LBs combined in a formation your not in a prevent.


October 1st, 2013, 1:29 pm
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Post Re: Question on Prevent Defense
rao wrote:
I.E. wrote:
Defense against a 2 minute drill isn't necessarily a prevent defense.

A prevent defense is a euphemism for defenses getting very conservative and playing deep zones to protect a big lead & keep the clock running... it could last an entire half of a game. They allow more yardage, but also are intended to prevent quick scores. The classic cover 2 or 2 deep defenses are prevent defense. If teams are talented and disciplined, it can be an effective regular part of a defense's approach in all games.

2 minute drill defense is different. By going no huddle, offenses make the D commit to what they're going to play (e.g. straight, nickel, dime), and then can execute to take situational advantage when the defenses can't substitute. That's why 2 minute offenses are often so successful - they have an advantage, because the defense can't do situational substitutions (or give guys a breather). The Lions have a huge advantage with the DL, because they can pretty confidently rush only 4 and have less need to substitute in those situations.


I agree with you that the prevent defense is just a change in how your playing more so than an actual formation now, but the cover 2 is not a prevent defense. Cover 2 requires a 4-3 or a 3-4 formation which exactly what you don't want when teams are putting more WRs on the field. It helps prevent the big play, but calling it a prevent defense is generalizing too much. I wouldn't consider any defense with less than 7 DBs a prevent. The whole idea of the prevent is selling out on the deep pass and letting everything underneath through if you have more than 4 dlinemen and LBs combined in a formation your not in a prevent.


For me, a prevent defense means you have one linebacker, three or four linemen, and the rest of your personnel are defensive backs, and your best coverage guys. In the box safeties are usually removed, as are run stopping linebackers and linemen. Different teams will run different alignments, but the idea of a prevent defense is pretty common....stop the quick strike pass down the field. You give up the middle of the field, protect the sidelines and allow short to intermediate passes and keep the receiver in bounds if he catches the ball. If the opposing team has a running QB, they may take out a linebacker and use a fast safety to play as the 'spy' in the middle, so that the QB can't elect to simply run 20 yards down field when they have all five receivers run a go route.

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October 1st, 2013, 9:41 pm
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