Although most pro defenses depend on man-to-man coverage, where each defensive back with the exception of one safety has a specific man to cover, sometimes they go to a zone—which takes a little of the pressure off the corner back. The zone, if it is recognized by the opposing quarterback, is vulnerable to flooding an area, however.
"We used to hide it real good," Brookshier says. "We'd make it look like man-to-man until the ball was snapped. You can play farther up in the zone, because you get help in the corner from your safety. Of course, you have to help him, too. Lynch used to be real good helping Patton. He'd get a piece of the flanker on every play, so that Patton could wait to go to the corner for the deep cover."
Another way the defensive formation can be used to help the defenders is the fake blitz.
"Sometimes you make them think you're coming in," Brookshier says, "so they'll hold in another man or two to block, and this cuts down on the receivers. Then you can do the same thing individually. Sometimes I used to set up on the inside to make the outside look inviting, then move out when it was too late for the quarterback to call an audible. But mostly you play the personnel. And the other guy plays you, too."
Almost all the receivers covered by the corner backs are exceptionally good or they would not be playing out on the flank of the attack. They are good in various ways, though.
"Some of them have all the moves," Brookshier said, "and they show them to you on every play, whether they are the primary receivers or not. They'll give you every fake in the book. I never liked to cover that kind of receiver. He gives you too much to think about as the game goes on. By the half he's shown you a dozen different moves, and you can't figure what's coming next. I like the guy who tries to hide his moves and just gives you one or two when he's not getting the ball. You don't have so much to think about—except maybe the ones he hasn't shown you."
One of the toughest receivers of all for Brookshier to cover was Raymond Berry, the extraordinarily adept end for the Baltimore Colts.
"He doesn't have a whole lot of speed, although he is faster than most people give him credit for," Brookshier says. "But he has every fake there is and, working with Unitas, who gets the ball away quicker than anyone else, Berry is close to impossible. I remember one game I'm on him man-to-man. He and Johnny really worked on me. Berry caught 10 balls, and I was never more than a step away on any of them."
On the other hand, there are some receivers who achieve deception by their very lack of finesse.
"I used to have trouble with Frank Gifford," Brook-shier says. "I'd be on him man-to-man and I'd drop back waiting for the fake and the move and be ready to go with him, and he wouldn't give me any fake at all. He'd just go right on by me."