Originally Posted by TheFinisher
Cover-2 and Tampa 2 are much different from a MLB standpoint.
In a pure cover-2, your safeties are responsible for splitting half the field. A true 2-deep look. The Mike has the underneath middle but will pass off vertical routes to the safties.
In a Tampa-2, which Lee has not been in, it's more of a 3-Deep coverage. Those safeties still split the field, but are shaded towards the boundary to protect better against those vertical routes near the sideline. To make up for the safeties being shaded and to protect the middle of the field, the Mike's zone is expanded deeper. He is now the main defender against those inside vertical routes from slot receivers or TEs.
It's hard to explain over a messageboard, wish there was some kind of virtual chalkboard lol, but bottom line is you want the better athlete playing Mike. He has to be able to move, flip his hips, track the ball and break on it like a Safety.
During his stay there, Penn State played a variant of the Cover-2 that was closer to a Tampa-2 style than it was a pure Cover-2. There were some differences but numerous times Lee had deep third responsibility. Bradley would make slight changes every year based on personnel.
As I said, I believe Lee was more effective at OLB than MLB but that's irrelevant to whether he could be effective at MLB in the NFL.
But to even suggest that any team would play a pure version of a defense in this day and age in the NFL is short-sighted at best. Even during Tampa's SB run, they played a pure Tampa-2 less than 75% of the time and their best athlete at LB was not playing MLB.