Cosell’s Coaching Tape: Week Ten 11/17/09 Notes


  • Washington 19 yds on 3rd + 8 on first quarter TD drive: Bills rushed 4 and played “cover 3”; Washington deep out versus CB Youboty – Deep outs will always be one-on-one versus “cover 3”, Excellent anticipation throw by Young
  • Bills predominantly played single high safety with 8 in the box in normal down and distance situations
  • Britt 38 yds on 1st + 10 came out of straight “I” right with “x iso“ left to the field; Bills 8 man front with single high safety – Excellent deep throw by Young, Britt versus CB Florence
  • Bills utilization of 5 man DL as a part of their game plan, Clearly designed to keep Young in the pocket
  • Johnson 28 yd TD and Johnson 32 yds on 3rd + 2 off the speed option were both designed to isolate the play side corner in the tight formation with a closed side – Great play design to force the corner to become a primary defender in the run front against a closed formation
  • Byrd interception on 3rd + 10 came off a 5 man rush with “man free” behind it: Contain Young in the pocket, Force him to make a stick throw against tight coverage – Young threw the ball without any real definition in the face of inside pressure
  • Bills defensive template became clear as the game progressed: 4 man rush, they played “cover 3”; 5 man rush, they played “man free” – Bills did not disguise their intentions
  • Titans did an excellent job with backfield action dictating and influencing reactions by the Bills linebackers: Johnson 22 yds on first series of the third quarter
  • The danger when you rush 5 and play “man free” is that there is no free defender with the ability to react to Young leaving the pocket: Young 14 yd scramble on 2nd + 9 in the third quarter
  • Young only threw 2 intermediate routes between the numbers in the game; Titans managed his throws, and the high predominance of single high safety coverage gave Young throws to the outside against single coverage
  • Johnson’s 3 long runs – 28 yd TD, 32 and 23 yds – came to the closed formation side of the offense; Titans isolated the force defender, the widest man in the run front, and in a closed formation, the force man is a almost always a CB
  • Even in long yardage situations, the Titans did not ask Young to make stick throws down the field; A lot of screens to Johnson that produced first downs because of Johnson’s special ability
  • Bills defense – other than the 3 runs that resulted from poor force mechanics, 2 of which came from the speed option – did a good job against Johnson


  • Herremans was the LT for the Eagles in this game, with Cole at LG and Andrews at RG
  • Chargers predominantly matched up to the Eagles multiple receiver personnel sets with their dime package: Oliver and Gregory were the 5th and 6th DBs
  • When the Chargers played nickel, Oliver played safety and Gregory aligned over the slot
  • Chargers pressure schemes were predominant zone blitz concepts with zone coverage behind them
  • McNabb late and inaccurate to an open Celek on 2nd + goal from the 1 yd line on the Eagles first trip inside the red zone; It should have been a TD
  • McNabb threw the ball extremely well in the first half – Eagles had no offensive balance, McNabb was in the shotgun on almost every snap against a Chargers defense playing pass, McNabb poised and sharp
  • Eagles OL did an outstanding job in the first half, They consistently picked up blitzes and reacted well to stunts
  • On the Eagles second trip inside the red zone, near the end of the first half, McNabb on 1st + goal from the 9 yd line had Jackson wide open on a delay underneath; McNabb did not pull the trigger within the rhythm of the down, and then threw to Jackson late and inaccurately
  • Chargers coverage approach, which focused on zone concepts, especially “cover 3”, seemed designed to take away the short to intermediate routes inside numbers – Corners Cromartie and Jammer gave cushions on the outside, which means they were not concerned about isolation routes on the outside
  • On the Eagles third trip inside the red zone, they went with “sprint right option” on 3rd + 1; Avant was the primary, and he was played perfectly by Gregory – McNabb had no place to go with the football
  • RG Andrews a liability as a pass protector, He struggled for the second week in a row both mentally and physically – Andrews very stiff and mechanical, Plays too upright and loses leverage
  • RT Justice played very well, He’s clearly the Eagles most consistent OL at this point
  • Chargers a lot of 3 under / 3 deep behind 5 man zone pressures; Eagles consistently blocked the 5 man rushes, and when that happens there are a lot of voids in that coverage – That’s one reason Avant had so many opportunities and catches
  • Eagles offense has a sandlot look to it, So much shotgun and spread with multiple receivers sets and formations – It’s very difficult for a defense to get a handle on them because there are so many variations based on personnel and formation
  • Chargers defense was clearly worn down in the fourth quarter
  • McNabb threw the ball very well throughout the game, He was consistently sharp and made some outstanding throws


  • Patriots coverage concept: “Man free” with the second safety as the lurk defender in the middle, in position to double TE Clark or WR Wayne; They disguised the coverage well, making it look like “2 man” before the snap
  • Patriots plan was clearly to man up, and make Manning and his receivers, especially Garcon and Collie, execute with precision against tight man coverage
  • Patriots played out of their nickel personnel package versus the Colts 3 WR personnel, with Butler aligned over Collie in the slot
  • When the Patriots had both Clark and TE Robinson on the field, with only 2 WRs, the Patriots played with 3 safeties and aligned McGowan on Clark in the slot
  • Patriots opened the game and played predominantly out of a 4 man DL
  • Garcon struggled to separate against the high percentage man coverage; Belichick knew that, and that’s why he was willing to play man coverage concepts as his foundation
  • Patriots game plan, because of the emphasis on the man coverage concepts, allowed their defenders, especially in the secondary, to play fast and without hesitation – Great tactic by Belichick to empower his defense and allow them to play with confidence
  • Patriots man coverage did not allow the Colts receivers to get open quickly, Manning did not have quickly defined throws, and that exposed the Colts average pass protecting OL – Patriots were therefore able to generate consistent pressure on Manning
  • Garcon was exposed a bit in this game; Bodden played him press man, and Garcon was not really a factor, showing no ability to separate and get open – Manning stopped looking in Garcon’s direction in the second quarter even though he was singled up with Bodden and no safety help
  • The only times Manning threw to Garcon as the game progressed the Patriots were in zone coverage, although there were times in man that the coverage dictated that Manning throw to Garcon; One of those times was Garcon 29 yd TD: Garcon stick step inside then a go route, Bodden jumped the inside stick and then was in trail position, Manning unbelievable throw
  • Patriots predominantly had S McGowan play Clark man-to-man when Clark was aligned on the LOS ; Depending on Clark’s alignment, the Patriots would also jam him at the LOS with a DE or a LB, and then at times double him with a lurk safety
  • Colts were clearly starting to break down the Patriots defense as the game progressed, Manning more comfortable with what he was seeing and the Colts offense developed some rhythm
  • Patriots did not blitz once against Manning, It was a defined 4 man rush approach with a coverage based concept


  • Steelers opened the game with 3 WR personnel on the first 3 plays and the Bengals matched up with their base 4-3 each time; Strong indicator that the Bengals were playing zone coverage
  • Trent the Bengals nickel corner, He played over the slot – He has played very well in recent weeks
  • CB Joseph a willing and physical tackler in the run game
  • Bengals had success blitzing the Steelers empty sets: Joseph interception return TD in the first game week 3, and Jones sack on the second series in this game
  • Bengals clearly game planned to play their base 4-3 personnel against the Steelers 3 WR personnel; You can do that if you play single high safety coverage, and that’s what the Bengals did
  • Bengals played with great route recognition and coverage discipline; They played a lot of man coverage concepts, both “man free” and “2 man” – They challenged both Roethlisberger and the Steelers receivers
  • Bengals very multiple with their tactics, both from a pressure and coverage standpoint; Bengals played their system with great energy – They had a great feel for the Steelers route combinations
  • Geathers sack in the red zone in the 2 minute at the end of the first half came with the Steelers in an empty set, Great scheme by the Bengals with LB Johnson occupying RT Colon and then dropping into coverage, Colon was not able to account for Geathers
  • Roethlisberger clearly not decisive and confident in what he saw, He was beaten by the multiple coverage schemes of the Bengals defense
  • Bengals defense was a step ahead of the Steelers offense tactically; This was a game that Roethlisberger needed to make adjustments mentally as the game progressed, but he’s still not that kind of precision QB
  • Bengals did a great job with gap integrity and gap replacement in the run game
  • OLB Johnson, who replaced Rivers, really played well; He normally plays in the nickel package, but in this game he started and was a factor throughout
  • Trent played some snaps at both RCB and LCB, and he played well
  • Rookie Johnson showed excellent quickness and bend off the edge as a pass rusher, He gave LT Starks problems on a number of plays including the final play of the game
  • Loved the Bengals approach on the Steelers final possession, They blitzed and played man coverage on the first 3 plays of the drive – They did not play soft with a prevent mentality, They challenged the Steelers offense
  • The 4th down play that ended the game was a great defensive call by DC Zimmer: He played off the blitz schemes he had utilized on the first 3 plays of the possession, showing blitz and then only rushing 4; But the blitz look impacted the Steelers protection and dictated quick pressure on Roethlisberger
  • Overall the Bengals defense was very impressive, They dominated the Steelers offense, They forced Roethlisberger into being a reactive QB with no sense of precision and awareness and he did not make any of his signature improvisational plays in critical situations

Category: Fantasy Guru Daily


3 Responses

  1. Justin M says:

    Great stuff Cosell. I have a ? for you, please tell me on a 1st and goal on the 1 that the cowboys pass. Where is Barber is he not running good or is Jason Garret a Fool. It seem every game they dont run the ball enough. The games always get close or they lose because they do not “Run” off the clock.. Dont they have a Big O-Line that can get the job done, let alone 3 capable backs, Especially Barber. It might just be me but it is really hard to under stand what some of these coaches are doing this year.

  2. Kocmodpom says:

    Great information on the Colts-O v. Pats-D. It seems like everytime they play in recent memory Belicheck always outcoaches the Colts in the first half but Manning is just so good, that his halftime adjustments end of demoralizing and breaking down the Patriots defense. It almost seems as though in order to win against Manning you need two different gameplans, one for each half so that Manning doesn’t have quite as much time to adjust to the scheme. Maybe around midway through the third quarter do the shift so Manning just starts to see the results of his adjustments and gets in his head that it is working to throw him off for the entire fourth quarter or at least until it is too late.

    What say you?

  3. Adam Caplan says:

    FYI: Greg is unable to reply, but we’ll try to take some questions occaisionally here and ask him in future podcasts.

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