COACHING TAPE – WEEK 16 (12/22/08)


  • Colts 396 total yards on 52 offensive plays, 7.6 yards per play
  • Colts 6-10 on third down conversions
  • Manning 29-34 for 364 yards and 3 TD
  • Harrison inactive in this game, Addai active but did not play
  • With Harrison inactive, the Colts predominantly played with 2 WR and 2 TE, Clark either in the slot or split wide; When the Colts went 3 wide, Garcon was the third WR
  • Witherspoon was the Jaguars nickel corner in this game, Hew aligned on the outside with Williams inside over the slot
  • S Nelson went brain dead on Wayne 41 yard TD, He squatted and allowed Wayne to run by him
  • Rhodes a good job with blitz recognition and execution
  • Colts have expanded their passing game with their running backs: Wheel routes out of the backfield, Splitting them out – Great example was Rhodes 29 yard catch when he was split wide left and Manning was empty, Rhode “sluggo” versus LB Ingram
  • S Sensabaugh at his best in the box: He’s a downhill run defender, He’s not very good in space as a pass defender
  • Gonzalez the natural instinct to come back to the QB at the top of his routes, He makes himself a big target for Manning – He’s a refined route runner
  • No quick twitch to DE Harvey as a pass rusher, He needs a lot of work in the off-season on his quickness and his strength – He’s better suited as LDE, not an edge pass rusher
  • With Harrison inactive, TE Robinson played significant snaps and was a factor as a receiver; That’s a function of Manning more than anything else
  • Jaguars generated no pass rush pressure on Manning, Classic game in which Manning controlled both his own offense and the opposing defense at the line of scrimmage – Jaguars dictated nothing, and challenged very little
  • A brilliant performance by Manning, not just throwing the ball but dictating the game


  • Ravens ran 66 offensive plays, and had 388 totals yards, 159 of which came on consecutive TD runs in the fourth quarter
  • Ravens only 5-15 on third down conversions
  • Ravens 5 trips inside the red zone, only 1 TD
  • Spencer continued to play OLB opposite Ware in the base 3-4
  • On Ware’s sack and forced fumble, the Ravens had 3 OTs aligned to Ware’s side; Terry, the widest of the trio, was a beat late off the ball and Ware beat him off the edge – LB Thomas really made the play with his inside pressure that forced Flacco to move
  • NT Ratliff again flashed on film: Quickness, leverage, explosiveness – He aligned at DE at times when the Cowboys went to a 4 DL front to match up to Ravens 3 OT personnel
  • Ravens taking a page from Giants pass game playbook from a year ago: The flat/curl/seam seal combination – A simple reading progression for Flacco
  • Ratliff was dominant through the first quarter, both against the run and rushing the QB
  • Cowboys continued to play a high percentage of man coverage concepts – They also continued to blitz with frequency
  • Ravens continued their significant use of both the unbalanced line, and 3 OT personnel
  • I continue to be impressed with Flacco’s willingness to make stick throws into tight windows, No better example than Heap 23 yards in the second quarter – An unbelievable throw
  • Spencer and Burnett have added speed, explosiveness and playmaking ability to the Cowboys defense
  • A couple of throws got away from Flacco in this game, He was a little scattershot with his accuracy
  • Mason 13 yard TD on 2nd + 10 came with 3 OTs on the field; It was 8 man protection, only a 2 receiver route – Mason great route to beat Henry in the corner, away from the numbers in coverage
  • Until the 2 long runs on consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys did an excellent job against the Ravens physical power run game
  • McGahee 77 yard TD came out of an unbalanced line with 3 OTs aligned left: RG Grubbs and C Brown drove DE Spears off the line and that prevented LB James from scraping into the hole, S Hamlin took a bad angle and missed the tackle on what should have a 7 yard gain
  • McClain 82 yard TD featured 3 OTs with Terry aligned at TE on the right, and an unbelievable block by Neal on James; May have been the best block I have seen all season by a FB on a LB, It was awesome – Then McClain stiff-armed Hamlin
  • Ravens a very methodical, controlled, efficient offensive approach that has a big play element because of Flacco’s skills as a passer


  • Cowboys 68 offensive plays, only 327 total yards
  • Cowboys 8-17 on third down conversions
  • Ravens on first series walked Suggs out over Owens when Owens was split outside the numbers to the boundary, Suggs jammed Owens on his release – It was a running play, but it was an interesting tactic that I’ve seen the Ravens use before against quality WRs
  • Romo’s first interception was incredibly poor judgment, It was a sandlot play, He just threw it up with no definition
  • Lewis beat Witten’s block on a sack to end Cowboys third series, Witten a really poor job in pass protection – Cowboys aligned him in the backfield in anticipation of pressure and Witten executed poorly
  • Barber did not have the same burst and explosiveness, Cleraly bothered by his toe
  • Witten also the culprit on a missed 3rd + 2 handoff to Barber on final first quarter possession; e allowed Suggs to beat him to the inside, which forced pulling guard Davis to react to Suggs and not get out in front of Barber
  • Suggs one of the most complete defensive players in the NFL; A hybrid DE / LB who is outstanding both rushing the passer, playing the run and defending the pass in space
  • No rhythm at all to the Cowboys passing game, especially in the first half; Rarely saw Romo drop back, plant his back foot and deliver the ball with timing and anticipation – Romo another QB with too many sandlot tendencies
  • Cowboys abandoned the running game, That’s a tendency OC Garrett has – The Cowboys are quick to get away from any power running concepts, Much of their run game works off pass concepts
  • Ravens pass rush concepts based on deception, both in terms of alignment and who’s coming; They make it very difficult to first identify and then account for rushers
  • Ravens DL at times physically dominated the Cowboys OL, It was men against boys
  • Overall, Romo did not see the field with clarity in this game; That’s the main reason the ball did not come out with any timing or rhythm
  • Two things that stood out in this game: RG Davis struggled, He looked slow and had a bad tendency to bend at the wait; Ravens LBs Scott and Lewis really take on lead blocks with physicality and hostility
  • Cowboys OL had problems all game with pressure up the middle, especially the Ravens “fire x” blitz schemes
  • Cowboys offense not very efficient, Has a random feel to it with very little sense of precision


  • Steelers ran 69 offensive plays, and had 374 total yards
  • Steelers 6-13 on third down conversions
  • Steelers 2 trips inside the red zone, 0 TD
  • Parker and Moore combined for 21-57, with Parker 18-29 – Again, Steelers lack any consistency in their run game
  • Titans starting DL: Kearse and Ball at DE, Jones and Brown at DT
  • Fuller was the Titans nickel corner
  • On the Steelers first drive, Roethlisberger took a sack on a 3 step drop, which you can never do, and then he did not throw a check down which would have put the Steelers in FG range, instead running around and throwing an incompletion
  • Hayes sack and forced fumble another good example of Roethlisberger’s lack of timing and anticipation, Ball should have been out before Hayes got there – Roethlisberger strong tendency to hold on to the ball if his receiver is not wide open, He’s not an anticipation passer
  • S Hope was a big factor in stopping the Steelers run game, He did a good job creeping up in to the box and being in position to make plays
  • Ward 21 yard TD on a seam route was a great throw by Roethlisberger under quick pressure by DE Ford, who immediately beat LT Starks; It was play action, and Roethlisberger knew exactly what he had versus the single high safety zone coverage
  • Roethlisberger is very talented throwing the ball, His awareness and his progression have not yet caught up to his physical skills
  • Titans played with great discipline and awareness in coverage, Seemed to have a great feel for the combination routes of the Steelers
  • Steelers offense had no rhythm or flow, Roethlisberger did not make the improvisational plays in this game that are really the hallmark of his game; When Roethlisberger does not make those kinds of plays, the Steelers offense lacks continuity and consistency since they no longer have a sustaining running game or the willingness to stay with it


  • Titans ran 61 offensive plays, and hid 323 total yards
  • Titans only 3-14 on third down conversions
  • Titans did not have any turnovers, which was critical
  • Timmins starting to show the downhill explosiveness that he flashed at Florida State
  • Harrison got hurt in the first quarter, and Timmins replaced him for a stretch at OLB in the base 3-4 – Frazier replaced Harrison in the nickel, since Timmons already plays in the nickel
  • Gage 34 yard TD was a phenomenal throw and catch, Gage got drilled by Polamalu running at full speed just as he caught it – Steelers rushed 3 and dropped 8 in coverage, Collins a comfortable pocket with a lot of functional space
  • Titans ran predominantly to their left, behind LG Amano and LT Roos, and they had some success with Johnson
  • Big drive of the game came in the third quarter after the Steelers scored a TD to go ahead 14-10; Titans went 79 yards in 11 plays for the go-ahead TD – Johnson 21 yard TD came on 4th + 1
  • On McCareins 19 yard catch on 3rd + 20 on third quarter TD drive, the Steelers again rushed 3 and dropped 8; Another great throw by Collins
  • Johnson has outstanding change of direction, It looks almost effortless: 21 yard TD was a great example
  • Steelers did not generate consistent pass rush pressure in this game, Collins was comfortable in the pocket and his mistake-free performance reflected that
  • Titans 2 big fourth down conversions on their second half TD drives: Johnson 21 yard TD, Gage 17 yards on 4th + 3
  • Titans OL did a great job on fourth quarter drive in which Tennessee ate up more than 4 minutes of clock with 8 consecutive runs
  • This was not a vintage Steelers defensive performance, They did not dictate with their usual combination of aggression and deception

Category: Fantasy Guru Daily


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