Every now and then ESPN does something that doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, and this would be one those rare instances. Michael Smith breaks down the version of the Cover 2 defense made popular during Tony Dungy's time with the Bucs.
Three teams which rely heavily on the Tampa 2 this season, Indy, Chicago and Tampa Bay, all are contenders for the Super Bowl. The Tampa 2, for the uninitiated, is a zone defense which requires fast defenders. The article also has an animated breakdown of each defender's responsibility on the field.
The key to the Tampa 2 is quick, undersized defensive end who can attack the quarterback. Simeon Rice has been playing that role for the Bucs for sometime, while Dwight Freeney (Colts) and Alex Brown (Bears) have more recently stepped into these roles. The Tampa 2 can be beat by a team committed to running the ball at the undersized defensive end, since he can typically be pushed off the line more easily. Which is why very few Tampa 2 teams actually run the zone defense on a majority of their plays. Most of the time, Tampa Bay runs man-to-man defense with a variety of blitzes to confuse opposing quarterbacks and disrupt the running game.