Cosell’s Coaching Tape: 10/13/09 Notes


  • Broncos opened the game in the “Wildcat” (“Wild Horses”) formation with Moreno in the shotgun, and Orton split left; Patriots a lot of defensive movement before the snap to adjust: Patriots defended it well, but S Meriweather missed an easy tackle for no gain: Moreno 12 yds on “Counter”
  • Broncos base runs of the “Wild Horses” formation: Counter, Inside zone, “Wam” concept
  • Moreno a tough downhill runner with some lateral agility and quickness, Limited burst and acceleration’
  • Wilfork played DT in the Patriots predominant 4-3 front; He was dominant
  • S McGowan a tough physical player: Strong in the box versus run, and he showed the ability to match up man-to-man on the TE
  • Broncos a personnel and formation based offense; From their spread look, they try to get WRs matched on the inside against LBs – It’s an offense structured to minimize the limitations of Orton
  • McDaniels really understood the Patriots defense, and did an excellent job with formations and play calling
  • Orton had great success throwing hitch routes to the outside, regardless of whether the Patriots played press or off coverage
  • Patriots did not blitz much, which was surprising: Spread formations, with 3×1 sets, are easier to blitz but harder to disguise – DE Warren not effective dropping into coverage because he’s really a 3-4 DE, and the Patriots area predominant zone blitz team
  • Broncos pass step was almost all 3 and 5 step drops, The approach dictated that the ball came out of Orton’s hands quickly
  • Patriots corners Bodden and Springs play not to get beat, They play defensively rather than proactively
  • Patriots defense is not about individual splash plays, It’s about forcing the offense to waste downs that put them in long yardage situations and then the Patriots win those situations; They did not do that against Denver
  • Orton looked like a poor man’s Brady in this game after struggling badly the first 4 games: Broncos pass game was controlled and efficient – Only 8 of Orton’s 50 pass attempts travelled more than 10 yds in the air from the line of scrimmage
  • McDaniels an outstanding job not allowing the Patriots defense to challenge the Broncos offense: Different personnel packages, Formation variation, Quick drops by Orton
  • Broncos “Wild Horses” formation, including plays in which Orton motioned from a split WR position under center: Moreno 5-23, Orton 5-5 for 50 yds


  • Williams was the Broncos nickel corner, playing over the slot; Rookie CB Smith also played as the nickel
  • Patriots conventional on their opening TD drive: Brady under center on 5 of the 7 plays
  • Brady overthrew Moss on what should have been a TD, Moss was wide open on the deep corner route
  • Broncos a lot of 4-3 principles in their base 3-4 front, especially against spread formations with 3 WRs; The coverage then dictates what the defense does with pressure, so you get more 4 down linemen principles in terms of pressure – If the Broncos want Dumervil as a pass rusher, then they are essentially playing a 4 man defensive line
  • Broncos defense very disciplined, Very good play recognition – The Broncos are very good in the pre snap phase, which translates to being very good in the post snap phase
  • Broncos rolled their coverage over the top to Moss; They rendered him a non factor, especially in the first half – Although Watson’s TD at the end of the first half was a function of Moss eating up 2 coverage defenders and dictating coverage
  • Brady was not sharp, He was not accurate with routine throws – He was too focused on throwing the ball to Welker, especially in 3rd down situations
  • Broncos defense not about spectacular individual plays, They’re about consistent execution play after play
  • S Dawkins a great job as an add-in defender in the run game, Outstanding timing hitting his gap from a deeper safety position
  • Moss does not command the ball, He’s primarily a vertical route runner, He does not run many routes inside the numbers, His route tree is extremely limited
  • Broncos very good feel for Patriots offense, McDaniels clearly understood their passing game principles and concepts


  • Falcons consistent utilization of an unbalanced offensive line, with RT Clabo aligned at TE on the left and TE Peelle at RT: The concept is to control who the force defender is in the run game, and ultimately dictate that the corner become the force defender
  • 49ers matched Clements on White, regardless of what side White aligned
  • Turner 7 yd TD came out of an unbalanced line, It was a designed cutback with FB Mughelli winding back to lead
  • Bly was the 49ers nickel corner, aligned over the slot
  • Falcons extensive use of formations and personnel, That often had the 49ers defense beat before the ball was snapped in the pre snap phase – A synchronized system defeating a defense built on energy and effort
  • Falcons understood how the 49ers would play both Gonzalez and White, and attacked and broke down the 49ers pass defense with “max pro” schemes and White working against Clements with Ryan having all day in the pocket
  • Falcons out-schemed the 49ers defense through the first quarter and a half
  • No team in the NFL does more out of 2 TE personnel sets than the Falcons
  • Falcons utilize minus splits (inside the numbers) quite a bit, An excellent way to attack zone coverage schemes
  • DL Smith again showed flashes of being dominant, He’s having an excellent season
  • One thing an unbalanced OL does from a defensive standpoint is put the run strength and the pass strength in conflict, A lot of stress points on the defense because it’s atypical
  • White 90 yd TD came against a 49ers blitz in which they had no defender with their hand on the ground; It ended up being a 6 man rush with S Goldson getting in clean – Ryan threw the ball unbelievably early to beat the pressure, Clements pure man on White with no help
  • 49ers second and third level became reactionary and tentative as the game progressed; They saw a lot of formations, a lot of personnel packages, a lot of offensive movement
  • Got the impression that the Falcons offense was 3 steps ahead of the 49ers defense schematically and tactically – They sucked the energy out of the 49ers defense


  • Ravens played “2 man” in third down situations on the Bengals opening drive; The Browns had done the same thing the week before and the Bengals pass game had struggled – On the opening drive, Palmer hit Ochocinco twice , for 21 and 16 yds, both  against “2 man”
  • No safety covers more ground as quickly as Reed; He’s also a great anticipator
  • Bengals a zone blocking run game, A much more athletic OL than people think
  • Ravens defense was on their heels throughout this game, They were not playing poorly but they certainly were not dictating the terms of engagement – They were getting consistently moved off the ball in the run game
  • Palmer looked very comfortable throwing the ball, It came out very easily with velocity and accuracy
  • Bengals effectively utilized the unbalanced line in the run game
  • Ravens ILBs were moving laterally versus the run, which allowed Benson to get to the second level consistently; Lewis did not play downhill very well in this game, He was reacting and flowing rather than hitting gaps
  • There was too much separation between the Ravens DL and their LBs, and that allowed the Bengals to run the ball consistently
  • Lewis played his own game at times, abandoning his gap responsibility and trying to make individual plays; Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, like on Benson’s 28 yd TD
  • Benson again showed quickness, acceleration and even speed on his 28 yd TD
  • Caldwell 20 yd TD came against “2 man” coverage with a 3 man rush, and Lewis a free defender in the middle of the field; Palmer manipulated Lewis with his head and eyes, and Caldwell from the slot beat Carr – A great throw by Palmer, with velocity and accuracy
  • Bengals offense very patient, methodical and workmanlike, driven by the running of Benson but sustained by Palmer converting third downs
  • Ravens defense less explosive and dynamic than in previous years, Did not pressure with blitz as much in this game – Lewis not a dominant player in the middle, Too much gambling and risk-taking


  • Raiders a pure man-to-man coverage defense, They line up in press man on the outside and challenge WRs – Routt was the nickel corner, aligned over the slot
  • Interesting that the Giants took out Jacobs for the 4th + 1 play after 3 Jacobs runs inside the 5 yard line did not produce a TD; Bradshaw scored on 4th + 1
  • Raiders defense on the Giants opening series was strong: Play recognition was good, Gap control was good and they challenged the point of attack with aggression
  • Manning made an unbelievable throw to Smith on a stutter-go on the first play of the second series: CB Johnson had outstanding coverage on Smith, and FS Eugene showed great range in getting over – Smith catch was outstanding as well
  • Bradshaw 19 yd TD came with 6 OL on the field, OT Beatty aligned at TE on the right with TE Johnson positioned outside of him – Great lateral agility by Bradshaw
  • Giants excellent tactic running to the perimeter because of the Raiders predominant press man coverage on the outside, The corners are removed as run support players because of their focus on the WRs so that means the FS must get involved in the run game as the second level inside out support player – The Raiders did not use their FS that way so they were out-manned in the run game at the point of attack
  • Raiders defense played with a lack of cohesion and awareness; Their pre snap recognition is really lacking – The Raiders have good individual players but they play with a troubling lack of unity
  • Manningham 30 yd TD was a 3 level stretch route concept; Manning tight motion was a great tactic to loosen the press man coverage by Johnson
  • Giants clearly attacked CB Johnson, They rarely threw the ball at Asomugha
  • Manning looked very sharp, He threw with timing and anticipation and accuracy – Manning has clearly raised his game to another level this season


  • Texans lined up CB Robinson on Fitzgerald when Fitzgerald aligned on the outside; They have been doing that all season with Robinson, matching him up to the opposing offense’s number one receiver
  • Pollard started at SS for the Texans, and rookie Quin started at the other CB opposite Robinson – Reeves got a lot of snaps at corner as well
  • Pollard an effective add-in player in the run game, A physical safety willing to take on blocks
  • Reeves and McCain played in the Texans dime package, with McCain and Quin playing inside, and Reeves and Robinson on the outside
  • Hightower a tough, physical and willing blocker versus blitz; He physically handled blitzing LB Cushing on Warner’s 22 yd completion to Breaston in the first quarter
  • Hightower great versatility as an every down back, An outstanding receiver out of the backfield
  • Texans getting Cushing more involved as a blitzer, He’s a little stiff rushing the QB, More straight line than quick and agile
  • Texans defense looked more active in this game, More disruptive along the front seven
  • Slot corner Quin can be attacked with play action out of 3 WR personnel sets; He’s clearly not comfortable playing zone coverage concepts from the slot, and can be exploited – Quin slow to recognize and react
  • Cards clearly have no confidence in their run game: They began the second half with a 21-0 lead and proceeded to call 9 consecutive pass plays over the course of their first 3 series
  • Texans much more aggressive with pressure, plus more man coverage concepts – They did much more to challenge the Cards offense, especially in the second half
  • Cards OL struggled with pass protection in the second half, Cards never calmed down the Texans pressure with the running game – Plus Warner was not as sharp, He missed a couple of routine throws
  • Overall, the Texans defense was much better in this game: More aggressive, more proactive, more man-to-man on the outside – They are improving; The only caveat is that the Cards are clearly a one-dimensional offense, and therefore easier to defend

Category: Fantasy Guru Daily


3 Responses

  1. Justin M says:

    Can you explain to me why Brandon Jacobs is not producing, and Ahmad Bradshaw is..Is watched as much of the game that was on TV till the blow out, and Jacobs Did not look that bad, A tad slower and look like he not playing with heart. Are they running different packages for different backs. That goal line Failure surely surprised me, The guy had 15 last year..Maybe another player, playing for money last year..

    Thanks and enjoy every time you come on the show..

  2. Stretch says:

    G.Cosell your analysis on K.Orton is much needed. “Orton had great success throwing hitch routes to the outside, regardless of whether the Patriots played press or off coverage”.

    I’m struggling at wide receiver with C.Johnson(knee)& P.Garcon on bye. E.Royal has been dropped plus he had 10catches for 90yds. He will be the guy I’m targeting this week.

    Greg thanks for the insight again keep it coming.

  3. Bryan says:

    This info is amazing. I could read this for hours and forget where i am at. Bookmarked and eagerly await each week for this.

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