Earlier in the off-season, I wrote about “Hot” Blitzes (6-man pressures with 3-deep / 2-under coverage). This article will discuss the “Fire Zone” – another type zone blitz.
Fire Zones are 5-man pressures with 3-deep / 3-under coverage. In coverage, one defender is responsible for the middle hook, two defenders are responsible for the seams/flats, and there are three deep defenders responsible for the deep-thirds of the field.
The Fire Zone concept itself – rushing five with 3-deep / 3-under coverage – is one of the most common pressure schemes out there, but there are countless different Fire Zone variations. Any back-7 defender can be the 5th rusher and that defender can insert through any gap.
For example, see the following clip in which Ohio State runs a Fire Zone with the Mike linebacker (Tommy Eichenberg) as the 5th rusher inserting through the edge/C-gap to the field combined with a “Tex” stunt on the weakside:
As you can see above, both cornerbacks and the boundary safety (the high safety in this case) are responsible for the deep-thirds, the nickel and the Will linebacker are responsible for the two seam/flat zones, and the middle safety (adjuster) comes down as the middle hook defender.
And in the next clip, Ohio State called for a Fire Zone with the Will linebacker (Steele Chambers) inserting through the A-gap:
Furthermore, the 5th rusher can be a defensive back instead of a linebacker. See the following clip of Ohio State running a Fire Zone with the boundary cornerback as the 5th rusher:
Lastly, Fire Zones can be run with two back-7 defenders rushing (rather than just one) and a defensive lineman dropping into coverage as this still equates to five total rushers. See an example of this below – Georgia rushes both the field safety and the Mike linebacker off the edge while the defensive end to the boundary drops into coverage:
A Fire Zone is a 5-man zone pressure with 3-deep / 3-under coverage behind the rush. In coverage, there is one middle hook defender, two seam/flat defenders, and three deep-third defenders. Any combination of five defenders can make up the five rushers.