COACHING TAPE – WEEK 14 (12/13/08)


  • Steelers only 238 total yards on 64 offensive plays
  • Steelers only 3-16 on third down conversions
  • Steelers 4 trips inside the red zone, only 1 TD
  • Starting CB Henry played safety in the Cowboys nickel and dime packages; Jones and Scandrick played in the nickel, and Ball was added in the dime
  • In some normal down and distance situations when the Steelers went with 3 WRs, the Cowboys stayed with their base 3-4 and brought Scandrick in as the third corner, playing only 1 safety Hamlin
  • Spencer rotated with Ellis at OLB in the base 3-4, and also played with his hand on the ground at DE in the nickel and dime packages
  • Burnett played some snaps at ILB in the Cowboys base 3-4 in place of Thomas
  • Steelers no consistent attempt to run the ball, They did not try to establish it, It was random and unproductive
  • There was no rhythm or continuity to the Steelers offense in the first half; Roethlisberger did not throw the ball well, It didn’t come out with any juice, He did not spin it very well
  • Roethlisberger again not a real refined sense of processing blitz looks before the snap: Great example was Scandrick sack in the third quarter
  • Yet again Roethlisberger showed that he plays more on instinct and feel than precision and understanding; He’s a playmaker QB, not a technician
  • For 3 quarters, Roethlisberger looked tentative and uncertain; He was clearly not in command
  • Holmes 47 yards came on 3rd + 16, Holmes beat Newman on a go route, Newman had no help over the top – Great throw by Roethlisberger, TE Miller chipped Ware on his release into his route
  • Steelers have a bad combination: A poor pass blocking OL and a QB who does not have a very good feel in the pocket with a tendency to be frenetic and hyperactive
  • RT Colon was the culprit on the 4th + 1 play in the fourth quarter; He was responsible for blocking James, who shot the gap and made the tackle on Russell
  • Roethlisberger great job on Washington 21 yards on tying TD drive, He read the underneath coverage and hit Washington in the second window on the quick slant
  • Miller 6 yard TD came against “cover zero”, Hamlin responsible for Miller and he was late in reacting to Miller’s flat route
  • Cowboys played softer, less challenging zone concepts on the Steelers tying TD drive: Why?
  • A very uneven and erratic performance by the Steelers offense, They were fortunate their defense played another terrific game


  • Patriots ran 72 offensive plays, and controlled the ball for almost 34 minutes
  • Patriots 10-18 on third down conversions
  • Here’s an amazing number: 79% of Cassel’s passes this season have come out of the shotgun; That’s the highest percentage in the league by a significant margin – In the last 4 games , that number has been 90%
  • Seahawks aggressive with their pressure schemes, A high blitz frequency – For the game, Seattle blitzed on 32 of Cassel’s 44 pass attempts: Cassel 19-30 for 218 yards, 85 rating with 2 sacks
  • Trufant predominantly aligned over Moss regardless of what side Moss lined up; Trufant won the battle, Moss looked slow with little explosiveness
  • Patriots first half play breakdown: 21 called passes / 11 called runs
  • Jordan had 4 carries for the Patriots in this game
  • In the Seahawks dime package, Peterson had his hand on the ground at DE, Tatupu was the only LB, and Babineaux and Wilson played inside with Jennings aligned on the outside
  • Atkins sack near the end of the first half was a 6 man pressure with “man free” behind it; Overload concept on 3rd + 10
  • Patriots are a shotgun offense, That is their foundation both with the run game and the pass game – In the last 4 games, their cumulative rushing numbers from the shotgun were 46-305, 6.6 yards per rush
  • The shotgun spread simplifies the reads and progressions for Cassel, Ball comes out quick so the reading progression is limited – Pressure schemes are more easily defined because of the spread, which also helps Cassel
  • Patriots had some problems with blitz pickup out of the Seahawks 3 man DL
  • Patriots scored on 3 consecutive possessions in the second half: 12 plays for a FG, 10 plays for a FG, 14 plays for a TD
  • Patriots OL has been erratic and inconsistent in pass protection this season, There are times they have been a liability, They look slower
  • OC McDaniels a great feel for anticipating pressures and coverages, He really helps Cassel
  • Cassel great job looking down the gun barrel on Gaffney 28 yards on 3rd + 10 to end third quarter, Seahawks blitzed out of 3-2-6 personnel and played “man free” – Cassel threw under duress and made an accurate throw
  • Moss 33 yards on 3rd + 7 in fourth quarter another great job by OC McDaniels: Moss had been ineffective working against Trufant, so Patriots aligned Welker outside and went motion to stack with Moss in the slot; That caused the Seahawks to switch, and got Wilson on Moss – Moss corner route, Great throw by Cassel, Great job by Patriots OL versus blitz
  • Atkins sack in the fourth quarter came off a blitz out of a 4 man DL, Overload concept had 3 Patriots OL blocking 1 DL and DE Atkins matched on RB Faulk
  • Welker 13 yards on 3rd + 10 on fourth quarter TD drive came against “cover zero”, Cassel read it quickly and made an accurate throw under duress to Welker matched on Wilson
  • Cassel was outstanding on 3rd down in this game, Some big throws in the second half – Overall Cassel was 9-14 for 137 yards on 3rd down, his best 3rd down performance of the season
  • Patriots a very controlled passing game, Not many intermediate to downfield throws unless the down and distance situation demands it, Cassel not asked to do much progression reading

Category: Fantasy Guru Daily


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