If this is your first visit, be sure to
check out the FAQ by clicking the
link above. You may have to register
before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages,
select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
Tampa 2 is a variation of the cover 2. Sort of like asking what the difference between the basic 46 and bears 46 is. Its taking one, and making adjustments to it. If those adjustments are good (which they were) it becomes the norm of that scheme.
In the Tampa 2 the MLB essentially becomes the middle safety, making it like a Cover 3 defense. To execute this style of defense, a team has to have a very athletic MLB whose primary responsibility is to cover the deep middle of the field, while the secondary responsibility is to help out in run support. Few MLB's come to mind that can execute both responsibilities well enough (Urlacher, Vilma, Tatupu). Energizerbunny had a point about having a taller MLB, but that's more of a secondary trait to the speed (what good does a 6'4" linebacker have if he can't get 20 yards back; note that Urlacher has the speed and the height coveted).
What the MLB does is check to see if the tight end or slot receiver is running any sort of route up the deep middle. If they see a deep middle route developing, the MLB covers the deep middle receiver (or the deep middle zone if the receiver leaves that zone).
Because of the personnel preferences (small, fast front 7, bigger CBs and hard hitting safeties), one way to exploit the tampa 2 is to run the ball up the middle or off-tackle. The design concedes 4 yards/carry if you take it, with the normal 7-vs-7 box. A more specific way is the draw up the middle, making sure the tight end releases as if he were running a passing route. This draws the MLB up the middle, leaving a larger hole for the RB to run through.
Because of the responsibility of the MLB to drop deep into coverage, he often becomes the main target of offensive game-planners to exploit in the passing game. The primary way to attack it right now is to high-low the MLB. In the super bowl, Indy sent Dallas Clark up the middle on seam routes all day, lifting Urlacher up into the deep middle zone. This left the short middle zone open for Rhodes and Addai to catch little dump off passes for 5-10 yards a pop, consistently moving the chains.