The Cover 1 Playbook: What is Trail or Dog Technique?


The Trail or Dog Technique, is a coverage technique generally used when defenses are in Man coverage, and it can be executed whether in Press-Man or Off-Man coverage. The Bills typically use this on 3rd and long, so 3rd and 7 yards plus. This technique has the cover defender purposely fall behind the receiver and follow the receiver’s every move but from behind – hence it being called Trail Technique.

Trail technique can help the defensive player on Quick Game routes like slants, curls, and stop routes but also intermediate and deep in-breaking routes. The key to good trail technique is the defender’s ability to read the route of the receiver. Defenders are taught to read the hips of the receiver and mimic their movement.

The technique allows for the corner to be aggressive underneath on the high percentage throws because most of the time he has safety help over the top. Teams like the Bills love to utilize this technique on Cover 2 Man calls where their talented safeties can be the safety nets over the top. As the route carries downfield, the cover defender’s leverage in his trail technique will force any throw down the field to be of the low percentage variety because the window will be a small one.

So the pressure is on the QB to drop a dime to beat the coverage.

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