COACHING TAPE – WEEK 11 (11/17/08)

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.

JETS OFFENSE VS. PATRIOTS DEFENSE

  • Jets 375 total yards on 75 offensive plays
  • Jets 9-16 on third down conversions
  • Jets 5 trips inside the red zone, 3 TD
  • Jets play breakdown: 38 called passes / 37 called runs
  • Warren and Thomas inactive for the Patriots; Wright started at DE, Woods at OLB
  • DL Green and LB Guyton played in the nickel package
  • Washington 7 yard TD catch on 3rd + 2: Washington motioned out of the backfield outside of Smith, WR screen to get the ball into Washington’s hands in space
  • Wright not as physical at the point of attack in the run game as Warren
  • Jets version of the “Wildcat” formation: Smith in the shotgun with Washington aligned behind him, Option element with toss to Washington as an option – Smith 17 yards
  • Cotchery 15 yard TD in the second quarter: Stick throw by Favre versus late rotation to 8 in the box, single high safety; Favre threw the ball off S Sanders, who had moved down into the box – A gutsy throw in the red zone, S Meriweather just a hair late reacting to the throw
  • Favre compensates for an average pass blocking OL with his ability to get rid of the ball quickly – Ferguson and Woody are just average pass blockers, Ferguson lacks strength an Woody lacks quickness
  • Seymour sack in the third quarter came off a stunt with OLB Woods, It was only a 4 man rush; LG Faneca had Seymour but Woods drove into Faneca and Seymour split Faneca and Ferguson
  • Got the impression watching the film the Patriots had a number of coverage breakdowns, particularly with the underneath coverage
  • Jets offense had no rhythm or consistency in the second half, Patriots controlled the line of scrimmage – Jets no intermediate passing game, No balls thrown in the 15-22 yard area
  • Jones very good pressing the hole inside then bouncing outside, Dictates breakdowns in gap discipline – Quickness and elusiveness
  • Jets effective use of quick counts on their fourth quarter TD drive
  • Favre excellent working the underneath areas: Great example was Keller 14 yards on fourth quarter TD drive, It came against a 5 man rush and Favre just waited for Keller to clear dropping LB Guyton
  • Jets fourth quarter TD drive: 14 plays, 67 yards, 7:06 of clock – A patient, methodical drive that featured 8 runs
  • OLB Woods stood out on film: Long, athletic, versatile – Has a chance to be a situational playmaker for the Patriots defense; Will be a more impactful player than Thomas, who was not giving the Patriots defense very much
  • Keller 16 yards on 3rd + 15 on OT was a blown coverage, My guess is LB Mayo made the mistake
  • Coles 16 yards in OT a function of Favre movement breaking down the Patriots coverage – Patriots had trouble all game with their underneath coverage
  • LB Mayo outstanding against the run: Instinctive, quick reacting and fast to the football; Plus a very good tackler
  • Overall, Jets offense was uneven in this game, but they made key plays in some critical situations – Patriots defense some major breakdowns we are unaccustomed to seeing

RAVENS OFFENSE VS. GIANTS DEFENSE

  • Ravens only 25 offensive plays in the first half, a function of 1-5 on third down conversions
  • Overall, 60 offensive plays, but no offensive balance due to falling behind 20-0 midway through the second quarter
  • Phillips started at S for the Giants, even with Butler active
  • Ravens looked to establish physical superiority on game’s first play: They had 2 FBs (Neal and McClain) on the field in addition to McGahee – Kiwanuka blew up TE Heap play side and made the play for no gain
  • Interesting call for Ravens on 3rd + 7 on first series: Inside handoff to Rice with Flacco in the shotgun out of unbalanced line – Clearly a conservative call, Rice 2 yards
  • DT Robbins continued to be a physical force inside in the run game
  • First Giants blitz broke down the Ravens protection, It was a zone concept in which both DEs initially show pressure then drop into coverage – Flacco felt LB Clark come clean from the outside and he immediately ran up the middle
  • Giants initial game plan approach did not feature much blitzing, which surprised me – I anticipated they would go after Flacco, especially since the Ravens WRs are not pure deep threats who can run by corners
  • The most overlooked element of the Giants defense are DTs Robbins and Cofield: Both very stout against the run, Physical inside presence
  • My sense watching film is that Flacco is a predominantly right side thrower
  • Once again Flacco showed great timing and anticipation, throwing the ball before receivers made their break – Combine that with his excellent arm strength, and he has a chance to be a top tier NFL QB
  • Giants solid production from DEs Tollefson and Wynn
  • Ross interception near the end of the first half: Giants “2 man” coverage with Ross aligned over Mason in the slot, Ross great job undercutting Mason
  • Giants do some great things tactically from their nickel and dime packages in terms of pressure, They understand the impact Tuck has when aligned at DT and how that affects protection schemes
  • Flacco again poise and composure, Does not play fast or hurry himself: A great example was the TD pass to McClain, Giants quick pressure and Flacco never lost his downfield focus while avoiding
  • Ross second interception was not on Flacco, Accurate throw to Mason in the flat that bounced off his hands
  • Overall, the Ravens offense was taken out of their balanced approach because of the score; But their offense was not overwhelmed or physically overmatched by the Giants defense

PACKERS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE

· Packers ran 68 offensive plays, and controlled the ball for more than 37 minutes – They gained 427 total yards

· Packers 7-14 on third down conversions – 4 trips inside the red zone, 3 TD

· Packers 38-200 rushing, with Grant 25-145

· Grant 35 yards on first series came on 2nd + 14: Packers 2 back / 3 WR personnel, Bears stayed base 4-3 but matched up with “Tampa 2”; 7 in the box and MLB Urlacher’s first step is back, since the MLB’s primary responsibility in “Tampa 2” is pass – Delay draw a great call against the anticipated defense, Great job by Grant pressing the hole inside before veering to the outside, Then Grant beat unblocked S Payne

· Manning was the nickel corner for the Bears, He played inside over the slot

· Bears corners struggling to hold up on the outside when there’s 8 in the box and they face isolation routes

· Bears clearly did not view the Packers run game the same way they did the Titans run game a week earlier, Not as much 8 in the box, Did not get the LBs up in gaps or on the line of scrimmage

· The other explanation for the Bears defensive approach was their concern with the matchups on the outside in the passing game – Vasher and Tillman not playing with confidence right now, and Graham is a backup

· Packers interesting concept to minimize 8 in the box: They often shifted the TE from the LOS to a split position, showing a 3 WR look

· Packers success with the weak side lead run versus Bears 4-3 stack: Grant 18 yards in the second quarter was a good example

· Graham replaced Vasher in both the second and third quarters at RCB – Vasher returned to the game each time

· Bears DL moved consistently in the run game, Packers OL got them flowing laterally

· Bears utilized 3-3-5 package, keeping Roach on the field

· Rodgers had Driver wide open down the middle seam on his interception, He just underthrew the pass and Urlacher picked it – Rodgers could have set his feet to make the throw, Instead he threw it on the move and didn’t get enough on the throw

· Two things stood out with the Packers run game: FB Hall an excellent job as a lead blocker; DT Dvoracek was consistently driven out at the point of attack, He was on roller skates

· S Brown stood out for the second week in a row: Instinctive, physical; Very good adding into the box as the 8th defender from a deep safety position

· Packers 11 play, 88 yard TD drive in the third quarter

· Rodgers threw the ball well on the move, although there are times he moves when he doesn’t need to

· Grant 22 yards on third quarter TD drive great example of pressing the hole downhill to impact second level defenders; Grant’s initial downhill path impacted Urlacher – Bears reacted to TE Lee change of strength with late rotation to 8 in the box, Grant iso lead went away from Brown moving down in the box

· Grant a one cut downhill runner with short area burst, Lacks second gear explosion, Not consistently elusive or laterally agile although will occasionally make an unblocked defender miss

· Packers OL controlled the line of scrimmage in the run game

· Packers perimeter threats at WR dictated Bears defensive approach, They were not willing to consistently isolate their corners on the outside

TITANS OFFENSE VS. JAGUARS DEFENSE

  • Titans 344 total yards with only 27:33 of possession time
  • Titans only 1-12 on third down conversions, the one being a 56 yard Collins / Gage TD in the third quarter that gave Tennessee the lead
  • Titans play breakdown: 33 called runs / 24 called passes – Back to an emphasis on the run after 3 consecutive games in which Collins averaged almost 38 passes per game
  • Titans ran only 24 plays in the first half, They were 0-6 on third down
  • Smith started at MLB for the Jaguars, flanked by Durant and Ingram on the outside – Peterson played some snaps at OLB
  • Titans first play of the game was a hook-and-go to Gage for 47 yards: Titans “12” personnel, Balanced set; They anticipated “quarters” coverage based on personnel and formation – CB Williams jumped the hook and was beaten badly on the go
  • Jaguars 3-3-5 personnel on Nelson interception, Excellent job by nickel corner Florence to get underneath Gage’s post corner route – Poor decision and throw by Collins
  • Rookie DE Harvey not an explosive pass rusher, No quick twitch, Can’t skim the corner, More of a base LDE with power and strength
  • Titans clearly expanding Johnson’s role in the passing game: They split him out more, and release him out of the backfield more on angle routes and deeper routes
  • Titans had some downfield opportunities in the passing game in the first half: Collins struggled with accuracy, He overthrew an open Jones on a post route in the second quarter on a play that a chance to be a TD – Combine those missed opportunities with a hit-or-miss running game and the Titans could not sustain offense
  • Johnson a more physical runner than his size and tremendous acceleration would initially indicate, A willingness to run downhill, Does not shy away from contact, Falls forward on contact – A sustaining runner as well as a home run hitter
  • Jones 13 yard TD to end first drive of the second half came against Jaguars “man free” coverage with Williams matched on Jones; Williams too much cushion, Did not challenge Jones, It was pitch and catch on the in-breaking route
  • One thing that stood out again watching the Jaguars defense was their inability to generate any consistent pass rush with their down four
  • Gage 56 yard TD in the third quarter again came against “man free”, Florence in press position got on Gage’s inside hip but could not maintain contact, Collins downfield focus kept deep safety Nelson in the middle of the field, Great throw by Collins
  • Titans 3 consecutive 3-and-out series in the fourth quarter
  • Titans no consistency with their run game, Could not sustain offense running the ball, Jaguars front seven stout and quick versus run
  • Rookie DE/LB Groves did not play a defensive snap in this game
  • Gage 38 yard TD in the fourth quarter: Titans “12” personnel with a balanced set, Jaguars “cover 3”, Williams jumped the seam route to Scaife and allowed Gage to run by him – Collins great job looking to Scaife on the seam route, then delivering to Gage
  • Collins was not sharp throughout the game, but he took advantage of the big play opportunities that were presented

EAGLES OFFENSE VS. BENGALS DEFENSE

  • Eagles 3-18 on third down conversions, All 18 third down plays were passes
  • Eagles play breakdown: 60 called passes / 18 called runs, 77% pass and 23% run – Cannot play offense like that in the NFL
  • McNabb again showing a lack of timing and anticipation, Not comfortable unless he sees his receiver break open – That limits consistency
  • Eagles OL not very good at double teaming at the point of attack, and working up to the second level – That’s an essential part of the run game and the Eagles don’t execute that well
  • Eagles are a zone running team that does not handle back side run throughs well at all – Again a function of the fact that their OL does not possess the necessary attributes to run a zone scheme: They lack quickness and lateral movement ability
  • Buckhalter 44 yards on a screen: Buckhalter offset in the backfield to the right of McNabb in the shotgun, with Westbrook in the slot left; Buckhalter would have scored if he did not lose his balance – Great call, Caught the Bengals in a zone blitz with the pressure coming from the screen side
  • TE Smith has not shown the ability to beat LBs one-on-one, That’s a significant problem for the Eagles offense
  • Eagles WRs have a difficult time with isolation routes on the outside, They do no win one-on-one matchups with consistency
  • Eagles called 13 consecutive passes through 3 series in the second quarter
  • Johnson interception was a great individual play; McNabb was throwing to Smith, but Smith was blanketed by S Crocker
  • McNabb is consistently late with his throws, Can get away with it at times because of the strength of his arm
  • McNabb second interception was on Curtis: Curtis was aligned tight to the formation, and the Bengals blitz came from his side; He had to snap his head around much quicker than he did on his in-breaking route – No recognition by Curtis of the blitz and the fact that he had to quicken his pace and tempo on his route
  • The right side of the Eagles OL – Jean-Gilles and Runyan – are very slow and plodding; It limits what the Eagles can do, especially in the run game
  • Eagles offense has been reduced to the occasional big play, like McNabb’s movement and throw to Baskett for 57 yards in the third quarter
  • RG Jean-Gilles had a poor game: He not only continued to show below average lateral agility, but he also struggled physically in the run game
  • Rookie DT Sims showed very good strength at the point of attack in the run game
  • McNabb third interception was an inaccurate throw; If he laid the pass out in front of Smith, he had an opportunity for a big play
  • Buckhalter had one carry in the game, and it did not come until the first play of the fourth quarter
  • Jackson go route against CB Hall in the fourth quarter, Hall showed good transition and speed; Jackson gained maybe a step, but the pass was underthrown and Hall made a play on the ball
  • Crocker sack in the fourth quarter came off a 5 man pressure scheme, Broke down the Eagles pass protection – Crocker initially came from the secondary, and there was no way either RG Jean-Gilles or RT Runyan recognized or accounted for him
  • McNabb poor throw to Westbrook leaking out of the backfield: Bengals came with a sell out blitz, and played “cover zero” – No one accounted for Westbrook in coverage, a mistake by the Bengals, and he had 60 yards of open field in front of him
  • Once again there was no rhythm or continuity to the Eagles offense; They just run individual plays, they do not build off concepts of a fully dimensional run / pass approach
  • Right now, at this point in the NFL season, the Eagles are running a pass-heavy offense with an average QB who lacks timing, anticipation and accuracy, and an average group of receivers who scare no one, which is very evident from the coverage schemes played against them – Even Jackson is not dictating coverages, or tilting the field to his side

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