COACHING TAPE – WEEK 10 (11/13/08)


Editor’s Note
: Welcome to a new blog here on FantasyGuru.com. This blog will include the raw notes taken by our own Greg Cosell as he prepares for the Matchup Show on ESPN by analyzing NFL coach’s tape. Greg is Senior Producer of the show, and he’s been a producer at NFL Films for over 20 years. 

 

BRONCOS OFFENSE VS. BROWNS DEFENSE

  • Broncos ran 71 offensive plays, and gained 564 total yards
  • Broncos 6-11 on third down conversions
  • Cutler 24-42 for 447 yards, 3 TD, 1 interception, only sacked once
  • Scheffler 39 yards on the first play of the game, He beat S Pool down the middle seam by initially showing an in-breaking route and then taking it vertically; Scheffler acceleration and long speed for a big TE, Pool cannot run and is a liability in man coverage against quality receiving TEs – This was the exact same play Broncos ran against the Raiders the first week of the season when Cutler off designed movement hit Scheffler for 72 yards
  • Browns corners play a lot of press bail technique in which they turn to the inside, You cannot cover any out-breaking routes from that technique unless you guess or anticipate
  • On Cutler’s interception, it was Marshall who made the mistake; Cutler threw the ball to the uncovered void in the defense, but Marshall slid behind the underneath to an area where Cutler had no lane to deliver the ball – Cutler made the right throw
  • OLB Wimbley not very strong at the point of attack in the run game, He gets moved too easily and then loses his gap discipline
  • Safeties Pool and Jones not very athletic, They both struggle with lateral movement and transition in pass coverage
  • CB McDonald small and slow, which ultimately makes him not a starting caliber NFL corner; He does not have the speed and quickness to play press coverage, He is not a plant and drive corner, There’s no quick twitch to his movement, He lacks transition skills and recovery speed
  • The Browns secondary is among the worst in the NFL
  • Royal 93 yard TD on 1st + 10 came against “quarters” coverage, He was matched on CB McDonald: Royal ran “sluggo”, or slant and go; McDonald jumped the slant and Royal ran by him on the go part of the route, McDonald’s lack of transition skills and recovery speed really showed up on this play
  • Browns do not generate consistent pass rush pressure, They are not a very good blitzing team
  • 2 Browns who really stood out on film in this game were LOB McGinest and DT Rogers: Rogers was dominant at times, Remarkable feet and quickness for a man that size; McGinest still very active, Physical and tough
  • Graham 28 yard TD in the fourth quarter: Graham beat LB Jackson man-to-man on a short crossing route with a stop-and-go element; CB McDonald in perfect position to make a big hit on Graham just after the catch, McDonald totally backed off, Gutless and cowardly
  • Fourth and 1 run by Hillis on the Broncos winning TD drive was arguably the play of the game: Browns won tactically with scheme and numbers, They blew up the point of attack, They had S Jones and CB Wright in the hole clean but neither brought much physicality and pop and Hillis fought through contact for the necessary yardage
  • The final 2 plays of the game, ending with Marshall winning TD, were almost the same play: Cutler empty with 3×2 set, the 2 receivers aligned to the boundary with Marshall split outside – On both plays, the Browns matched McDonald man-to-man on Marshall with no help; On the first play Cutler threw the ball to far inside, On the second he threw the ball to the outside away from McDonald
  • Cutler the gutsiest QB in the league, He plays with no conscience, His confidence is off the charts

 

CHARGERS OFFENSE VS. CHIEFS DEFENSE

  • Chargers 400 total yards, They were 6-11 on third down conversions
  • Chargers 34:50 of possession time – Play breakdown: 38 called passes / 25 called runs (not counting Rivers kneel down at the end of the game)
  • CB Flowers and OLB Johnson inactive for the Chiefs, replaced Leggett and Boiman – DE McBride also inactive, with Boone starting at RDE
  • In the Chiefs nickel package, Macklin played RCB with Leggett moved inside over the slot
  • One thing that really stands out about WR Floyd is that he makes a lot of contested catches: He has excellent hands and body control – Reason so many catches are contested is that he lacks any kind of quickness and explosiveness out of breaks or on vertical; He’s a big long strider who needs room to generate speed
  • Floyd 21 yards on a skinny post was a great example of what he brings as a WR: He had free access into the route against a bailed “cover 3” corner, Was able to use his big body to shield Leggett
  • Chiefs matched up to Chargers “12” personnel with S McGraw replacing a LB, so the personnel was nickel but with 3 safeties – McGraw also played some snaps at S in the base 4-3
  • In “cover 3” with a single high safety, the Chiefs corners played that press bail technique in which they turn to the inside; You cannot cover any out breaking routes from that position, unless you guess or anticipate
  • On Rivers first interception near the end of the first half, he did not do a good enough job of manipulating the deep safety; Plus his throw was too far inside, which allowed S Pollard to make a play on the ball
  • Chiefs play too much “Tampa 2”, It is not a defense that suits their personnel: They cannot rush the QB with their 4 DL, and the many voids in the coverage are then exposed
  • Tomlinson’s longest run of the game – 17 yards – came out of the shotgun; Chargers struggled to run the ball out of conventional “12” and “22” personnel sets, Not a lot of movement at the point of attack
  • Floyd 5 yard TD in the third quarter came against “cover zero”: Nice block by Tomlinson on blitzing LB Edwards, Floyd beat CB Colclough on an in-breaking route, Excellent job by Floyd coming back to the ball
  • Chargers 14 play, 94 yard TD drive from the end of the third quarter into the fourth, It ate up 8:28
  • Rivers has a tendency to throw without clear definition when he is under pressure, Not a comfortable QB when there are bodies around him, Tendency to play hurried and fast
  • Chargers OL struggled to block the second level, They could not consistently get up to take care of the LBs; Not much room for Tomlinson
  • Chiefs defense very passive in their zone coverage schemes, Too many voids and therefore too many easy throws for Rivers – A perfect example was Gates 11 yards on 3rd + 8 on Chargers fourth quarter TD drive
  • Gates 8 yard TD in the fourth quarter came against a passive “quarters” coverage look; MLB Boiman made a mistake in his coverage drop, and that allowed the passing lane to be open to Gates
  • A very inconsistent performance by the Chargers offense, It begins with the OL

 

STEELERS OFFENSE VS. COLTS DEFENSE

  • Steelers ran offensive plays, and had the ball for 34 minutes
  • Steelers 10-18 on third down conversions
  • Roethlisberger 44 drop backs, Only 25 called runs (not counting kneel down at the end of the first half)
  • Moore again started at RB for the Steelers, Starks at LT
  • Ratliff and Jennings started at CB for the Colts
  • Sanders the best in the NFL coming from a deeper safety position where he cannot be accounted for by the blocking scheme, and then filling in the run game
  • CB Jennings willingness to be physical, A good tackler; Was outstanding as a run support defender versus the Steelers closed formations when he essentially aligned as an OLB – In all my film study this year, Jennings is the best tackling corner I’ve seen
  • WR Holmes very smooth and fluid, Good quickness and burst off the line of scrimmage, No wasted motion
  • Roethlisberger began the game throwing with timing and rhythm, He was planting his back foot and the ball was coming out: Holmes 23 yards, and a great back shoulder throw to Washington on the opening TD drive
  • Steelers opened the game with a 10 play, 62 yard TD drive that featured 6 called runs and 4 called passes, all complete
  • Colts sack on 3rd + 8 to end Steelers second series: 6 man schemed pressure concept with “man free”  coverage behind it, Colts knew the alignment and the blitz/pressure concept would force RB Moore to have to account for a rusher – It was a combination blitz and stunt with Freeney looping to the inside
  • DTs Dawson and Foster very active and they move extremely well, They look like big LBs at times
  • Colts dime personnel features 4 safeties, They bring in Bullitt and Giordano; Bullitt and Bethea align as LBs, and Giordano plays deep safety with Sanders – This has been the Colts personnel grouping the last number of weeks
  • Bethea also the Colts slot defender when they play nickel; At no time in the game did the Colts play with more 2 pure corners on the field
  • In the first quarter, Roethlisberger threw the ball very well: Timing and rhythm, and accuracy – He looked outstanding
  • DT Reid showed the ability to fight through double teams at the point of attack, Strength and leverage
  • Starks not a starting caliber NFL LT, Lacks lateral quickness in his pass set, Looks like he labors to move laterally with any speed
  • Unbelievable play by Roethlisberger on the 41 yard fleaflicker to Ward, He avoided the charging LB Sessions and was able to set enough to get the ball down the field
  • Roethlisberger’s first interception near the end of the first half was a function of poor footwork and fundamentals, He never set his feet and delivered the ball off balance with no trajectory at all – He got nothing on the throw, and it was the wrong throw; He needed to put some air under it to the outside and have Holmes run under it
  • Colts front seven clearly quicker and faster than the Steelers OL
  • DT Johnson now part of Colts DL rotation, He brings some size and bulk at over 300 pounds
  • Overall, Roethlisberger is not a comfortable pocket QB: When the throw is defined quickly, he can look very good, throwing with timing and rhythm – When the throw does not show itself right away, he relies purely on instincts, not any refined sense of reading progression; His tendency toward sandlot play then emerges
  • Colts goal line stand at the beginning of the fourth quarter was huge: DT Foster won the physical battle on 2nd + goal from the 1 yard line against LG Kemoeatu winning with leverage, That allowed Mathis to chase from the outside; On 3rd + 1 Foster again physically whipped Kemoeatu and stood up Moore
  • Jennings interception in the fourth quarter was a miscommunication between Roethlisberger and Holmes: It was an option route by Holmes with a rub element by slot receiver Ward to allow Holmes to get clean to the inside, But if the corner avoids the rub and jumps inside then Holmes whips back outside; That’s exactly what Jennings did and Holmes began to whip but Roethlisberger threw the ball to the inside – A lack of timing between QB and receiver
  • Roethlisberger’s tendency to be frenetic and overreactive in the pocket produced Freeney’s sack on the final drive; He moved right into the pressure when there was no reason for him to leave the pocket
  • Steelers did not run the ball with any consistency; Too much of a burden on Roethlisberger, and he’s not a precision QB

 

COLTS OFFENSE VS. STEELERS DEFENSE

  • Colts ran 61 offensive plays, but had the ball for only 26 minutes, a function of pass-heavy approach
  • Colts 9-16 on third down conversions
  • Again, the Colts struggled to run the ball: Addai and Rhodes combined for 19-62, 3.3 yds per rush
  • Colts play breakdown: 42 called passes / 19 called runs
  • Woodley inactive in this game, Timmons replaced him at OLB – Frazier also played snaps at LB in the nickel and dime packages
  • Steelers “fire x” inside blitz with Farrior and Foote on the first play of the game, Colts excellent job picking it up – Manning surprisingly inaccurate on out route to wide open Wayne working against Taylor
  • DE Smith aligned over the center in some of the Steelers nickel and dime packages
  • Wayne 65 yard TD on 1st + 10 to end Colts first series: Steelers zone blitz overload concept from weak side of the offensive formation, although back Addai was offset to the blitz side; Colts picked up the blitz, Steelers “cover 3” coverage concept – Manning underthrew Wayne running a go route, Taylor got his hand on the pass but it fell into Wayne’s hands and he scored; A lucky TD
  • The stretch run was back in the Colts run game
  • A lot of movable pieces in the Steelers defense: LBs Harrison and Timmons align in different positions in the nickel and dime packages, Kiesel also great flexibility in his positioning and skill set
  • Most indispensable player on the Steelers front seven is DE Smith: An outstanding run defender, and a versatile moving part in the nickel and dime packages
  • I was surprised on Manning’s first quarter sack that he did not pull the trigger to Wayne on the post route against the outside leverage technique of Taylor, especially with no safety over the top – Manning had time to make that throw, He had a clean pocket for more than 3 seconds; Why he didn’t let if fly I can’t say, but it was there
  • LT Ugoh not a strong pass protector, More of a lateral movement LT, Susceptible to the bull rush, Can be driven back – The other issue with Ugoh is I don’t see a consistent effort and intensity, Do not get the sense watching film that he is a fighter and a battler, At times seems to lack competitiveness
  • Harrison cannot run very well anymore: Don’t see the rapid-fire quickness, the suddenness that in the past seemed so effortless
  • Harrison wide open on a post route for a TD late in the second quarter, No safety help over the top; Harrison no burst and acceleration to the football, Looked like he was running in slow motion – This play speaks volumes about Harrison’s decline, Not a viable deep weapon in the passing game
  • OLB Harrison great quickness and lateral agility, Short area explosion – At times looks like a RB playing LB
  • LT Ugoh again all kinds of problems in pass protection; It’s evident from the film that Manning does not trust Ugoh to be firm on his back side; At times it led Manning to move to his right prematurely, The perception of back side pressure
  • Timmons a good player: Quick and explosive laterally, Runs very well; Showed excellent blitz instincts, Attacked backs rather than stopping his feet and trying to run around them, A physical nature to his game
  • Harrison dropped a TD on the first drive of the third quarter, Tight throw by Manning in a small window but it was right in Harrison’s hands; Looked like Harrison was overly conscious of S Carter coming from the inside
  • Steelers defense very fast, Great pursuit ability, Run down a lot of plays from the backside – Polamalu so hard to game plan for because of his constant movement and free lance tendencies; He’s such an explosive mover, Tremendous burst and acceleration
  • Manning still not overly comfortable in the pocket, My sense is that he does completely trust his OL to consistently protect, At times a little quick to move
  • Rhodes 17 yard TD catch late in the fourth quarter: Stretch run action to Rhodes, Polamalu had Rhodes man-to-man as part of Steelers man coverage concept; Rhodes great job throttling down after run fake to give Polamalu the appearance that he was not running a route, Polamalu then relaxed for just a heartbeat before Rhodes accelerated down the sideline – Great job by Manning looking down the middle of the field, He knew what he had, Understood the play’s design would break down the defense
  • Overall, Manning with his calls and checks at the line of scrimmage, and the Colts OL did an excellent job from a mental standpoint handling the Steelers pressure schemes; No one got in clean against Manning all game as the Steelers had done numerous times in recent games against the Colts

 

DOLPHINS OFFENSE VS. SEAHAWKS DEFENSE

  • Dolphins ran 65 offensive plays, and had the ball for almost 32 minutes
  • Dolphins 7-15 on third down conversions
  • Wilson started at RCB for the Seahawks
  • TE Fasano an excellent LOS blocker in the run game: The litmus test is whether a TE can block a DE one-on-one, and Fasano continues to show the ability to do that
  • Ginn more fast than quick; More of a straight line route runner than a laterally quick, in-and-out-of breaks route runner – Ginn slow off the line of scrimmage, which often negates his straight line speed
  • Dolphins utilize the “full house” backfield with Fasano aligned in the offset FB position as the third back, in addition to the “I” back and the traditional FB
  • Williams ran with power and explosiveness, A physical presence running the ball – Williams looked fast running downhill
  • Ginn 39 yard TD on 1st + 10 to end Dolphins first series: Dolphins “21” personnel, Ginn the “x” receiver to the boundary, Fleaflicker with Brown tossing the ball back to Pennington, Ginn blanketed by both CB Trufant and S Russell, Great throw and great catch – Pennington threw the ball to the wrong receiver, Dolphins anticipated S Russell would react up to the Brown handoff but he didn’t; Camarillo wide open on deep corner route, That’s where the ball should have been thrown
  • Williams 51 yard TD came out of “Wildcat” formation, Brown in shotgun flanked by Williams and Cobbs, There was no WR on the field, Pennington was split wide right to the boundary; Brown inside handoff to Williams, Play’s design opened a seam in the middle of the defense and Williams just accelerated downhill
  • RG Alleman beaten quickly to the outside by DT Terrill on Babineaux interception return TD, Pennington forced to move and he tends to lose his downfield focus and definition when he moves in the pocket
  • CB Jennings played primarily in the dime package, Babineaux was the nickel corner
  • Peterson looked terrific in this game, He was playing fast and flying around, The kind of performance that said he did not want to lose and he was taking the game personally
  • Dolphins a very limited passing game, Not much in terms of intermediate and vertical throws
  • Seahawks picked up their blitz frequency as the game progressed, and they had some success breaking down the Dolphins protections – Good example was Hill sack near the end of the third quarter
  • Dolphins 16 play, 79 yard TD drive in the fourth quarter, Longest play was 12 yards – 3 third down conversions, and a fourth and 1 conversion
  • Pennington great play on 3rd + 8 on fourth quarter TD drive: Seahawks “fire x” zone blitz scheme got Peterson in clean, Pennington able to avoid and scramble out of the pocket to his left, Accurate throw on the move to Bess who did an excellent job coming back to Pennington to give him a place to go with the football – This was the play of the game for the Dolphins offense
  • Brown 16 yard TD to end fourth quarter TD drive: Great design with Brown faking inside handoff to Williams, and Cobbs from offset backfield position winding around to be the lead blocker for Brown – It became a toss sweep left with a crack back element and Cobbs the lead blocker

 

PATRIOTS OFFENSE VS. BILLS DEFENSE

  • Patriots ran 78 offensive plays, and controlled the ball for almost 38 minutes
  • Patriots 11-18 on third down conversions
  • Patriots began the game with 4 WRs on the field, Aiken was the fourth WR; Bills matched up with their dime package, which featured McKelvin and Corner as the nickel and dime corners
  • Moss 19 yards on the Patriots second series: Big time throw by Cassel, A deep out cut; Timing, anticipation and accuracy
  • Patriots a high percentage of spread with Cassel in the shotgun in the first half: Of the Patriots 33 first half snaps, Cassel was in the shotgun on 20 of them; It’s really 20 out of 30 since the final 3 first half snaps were the Patriots running out the clock
  • Bills lack any consistent pass rush, It was clear from the Patriots extensive use of the spread offense that they believed they could protect with their 5 OL
  • Cassel spun the ball very well in this game, but he really has to drive through the throw to generate any kind of velocity – Cassel has average arm strength
  • Cassel has a tendency that continually shows up week after week: When he moves up in the pocket, he will tuck the ball and run; Rarely if ever will he step up and throw – It will be interesting to see if defenses as the season progresses force him to step up and then account for his running
  • Green-Ellis ahs average quickness and average speed, No special qualities as a runner – He’s a downhill runner with little lateral agility and explosiveness
  • Bills DL struggled to get off blocks, and they struggled to penetrate; The player who was a non-factor, and mostly invisible in the game was DT Stroud
  • Cassel sack and fumble in the fourth quarter was on him: He had both hitch routes wide open and he did not pull the trigger, The ball had to come out; He then stepped up to run and the pocket collapsed 
  • Patriots 19 play, 92 yard TD drive in the fourth quarter, It ate up more than 9 minutes: Play breakdown was 12 called runs and 7 called passes
  • Bills front four not very stout in the run game, They were pushed back too often into the LBs so the LBs could not react and flow to the football
  • Bills secondary allowed too much free access to the Patriots receivers, They did not challenge the Patriots WRs and they did not pressure or blitz Cassel – Overall, a passive defensive performance
  • Patriots began the game with a high percentage of spread and Cassel shotgun, As the game progressed they went more 2 backs and / or 2 TEs – They ran the ball more, and they incorporated the play action pass game, which is something I expect to see more; Play action provides firmer pass protection, and either / or reads for Cassel, who threw the crossing routes well off the run action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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