Cosell’s Coaching Tape: Week Thirteen 12/9/09 Notes


  • Butler started at LCB for the Patriots; In the nickel, Wilhite predominantly played over the slot
  • Chung was a nickel safety, replacing starter McGowan
  • Dolphins utilized unbalanced OL as a significant part of their offense, including long yardage situations when they threw out of it
  • Seau played some snaps at ILB for the Patriots, in place of Guyton
  • Patriots played primarily 3-4 in this game
  • Henne excellent arm strength, He snapped the ball with good velocity – He threw the ball well to the outside, with consistent accuracy
  • Camarillo 29 yds on 3rd + 4 came out of an unbalanced OL, Patriots “man free” coverage with press across the board, Camarillo beat Butler on a fade route – Great throw by Henne
  • Patriots matched up to the Dolphins “22” personnel package with 3 safeties, Chung was the third safety
  • Bess 13 yd TD on 3rd + 5 came out of 4 WR personnel versus Patriots “cover zero” blitz; Great poise by Henne handling a low snap and knowing immediately where to go with the football
  • Henne very impressive overall from a poise and comfort standpoint; Did not play fast from either a mental or physical standpoint, Was consistently decisive with his reads and throws
  • Wilfork again played both NT and DE in the base 3-4 front
  • Henne interception was a bad read, He clearly did not account for FS Meriweather – What was interesting was the Patriots had S Chung in man coverage against Bess in the slot, Patriots clearly feel Chung is a multi-dimensional safety
  • Patriots continued to show no ability to generate any consistent pass rush, That was very evident in the 2 minute situation at the end of the first half
  • Henne a tough pocket mentality, Stands tall and firm, Showed no inclination to leave the pocket too early
  • Great 2 minute drive by Henne at the end of the first half: 11 plays, 83 yards
  • Hartline 7 yd TD great example of Henne pocket poise, willingness to make a stick throw into a tight window and accuracy – Big time quarterbacking by Henne
  • Henne overthrew a wide open Polite on a wheel route on the final drive; Other than the interception, which was a bad read and bad decision, it was his only inaccurate throw of the game
  • Henne 4th + 6 completion to Camarillo on game winning drive was the same play they converted on game winning drive to beat the Jets in week 5 on Monday night, It was designed movement and a sideline comeback to Camarillo
  • Patriots defense has issues on the front end and the back end: No consistent pass rush, and they are clearly looking for effective personnel combinations and consistency in the secondary


  • What stood out immediately on the first series was a lack of effort by the Steelers defense: On consecutive plays, Eason and Harrison lacked enthusiasm
  • Steelers defense clearly was not playing with high energy and high intensity early in the game, That really showed up on film
  • Murphy excellent vertical speed, A long strider who eats up ground in a hurry with free access
  • Timmons a great athlete, but he lacks instincts and awareness
  • Big question in Oakland: Why doesn’t McFadden get more snaps? He used in a limited role, and rarely as a runner in base personnel sets; Maybe they have discovered what I believed from studying him at Arkansas: He does not have NFL running skills, plus he has no running instincts
  • Higgins 22 yds on 3rd + 14 on second quarter FG drive: An absolutely lucky throw by Gradkowski, He threw the ball to the one guy he shouldn’t have based on the coverage and he just threw it up for grabs with no definition with Harrison in his face
  • Steelers defense picked up their intensity as the game progressed, They dominated the Raiders offense throughout most of the first half
  • Gradkowski showed the ability to make improvised plays, He’s better doing that than throwing the ball consistently from the pocket – Limited arm strength, Can’t make all the necessary NFL throws
  • Steelers defense still having problems with route combination recognition and reaction, and those are the staples of their zone based schemes
  • Steelers picked up their blitz frequency in the third quarter, They got rushers clean to Gradkowski a number of times
  • Schilens 17 yd TD in the fourth quarter was a great call against the anticipated “quarters” coverage, The toss action and designed movement opposite combined with the route combination attacked and broke down S Carter; Gay, the corner on the side away from the toss action, peeked into the backfield and that forced Clark to react hard to the route to his side, preventing him from helping on Schilens crossing route
  • Steelers made a coverage mistake on Murphy 75 yd TD: Taylor played with defined outside leverage, allowing Murphy to run to the post, clearly expecting deep inside help; S Carter sat low as an underneath defender – Another example of a coverage breakdown by the Steelers in a critical situation
  • Steelers got pressure on Gradkowski on a number of plays but they were never able to sack him
  • Burnett dropped a sure interception a couple of plays before the game winning TD, He catches that ball and there’s a whole different conversation about the Steelers
  • Steelers blitzed on the game winning TD, Gay came off the corner and S Mundy picked up Murphy, Mundy lost track of Murphy and the ball – Good recognition by Gradkowski
  • Gradkowski made a couple of excellent throws on the final drive, understanding the situation, knowing he had to stick the ball into tight windows – He also threw a couple of balls up for grabs under pressure that happened to be caught; You can’t be critical of the result but you have to understand the reality, Gradkowski had a bit of a horseshoe up his rear end
  • Steelers too experienced a defense to make the kinds of mistakes they have been making


  • Jackson a difficult time getting off blocks as a 2 gap DE in the Chiefs 3-4 front
  • The early throws for Orton always designed to get him comfortable: Screens, Hitches versus off coverage, Quick drops off play action
  • Play design and play calling has to define things for Orton in order for him to be effective, He can’t just drop back and consistently beat defenses at the intermediate and deeper levels, He also won’t be successful outside the structure and framework of the offense
  • Polumbus replaced an injured Harris at RT for the Broncos; Polumbus an awkward looking athlete, Not very fluid or quick
  • Broncos passing game very basic in its design and execution, Much of it works off the run game
  • Johnson and Belcher were the nickel LBs for the Chiefs
  • Broncos a zone blocking based running team, LT Clady a terrific athlete with great movement skills
  • Broncos do an excellent job with formations out of base personnel, especially 1 back / 2 TE sets, of dictating matchups on the inside with Marshall against linebackers; A defined read for Orton, and easy throws
  • Buckhalter quicker downhill than Moreno in the Broncos one cut downhill zone blocking run game, Buckhalter more burst and acceleration
  • Broncos run game was dominant, both out of base personnel and nickel; It was primarily out of 1 back sets, although they went to more 2 back sets in the second half with Larsen at FB
  • Clady had a bad stretch of plays in the 2 minute at the end of the half, He was beaten on consecutive plays by Hali – Clady had balance issues on both plays, getting his feet too close together and lunging
  • Chiefs defense is not very good, but every time I watch them Hali stands out: Effort, discipline, pass rush ability
  • Broncos pass game predominantly works off the run game when Orton is under center; When Orton is the shotgun in normal down and distance situations, the pass game is quick timed with short and intermediate passes and very little premium on reading coverage

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