Cosell’s Coaching Tape: Week One Notes 9/14/10

Our own Greg Cosell watches more coaches’ tape than any non-coach in the NFL, and he’s generous enough to give us his raw notes from the action he’s seen on a weekly basis. These tidbits are unique, insightful, and incredibly useful to fans of both fantasy but NFL football in general. These notes will come in multiple installments every week, so stay tuned for more.



  • Jenkins FS in place of injured Sharper
  • Saints 3-4 featured Mitchell as the 4th LB
  • Saints played 3-4 to Vikings “12” personnel, Ellis the NT – Game planned: Overall 15 snaps of 3-4 versus “12”
  • Gay Saints nickel corner inside over the slot
  • Saints DL and front seven more physical and quicker than Vikings OL in the run game
  • Saints predominant 2 shell on passing down and distances in the first half
  • Saints nickel package: 3-3-5 personnel
  • Berrian struggled to separate versus man coverage, A poor route runner
  • Harvin aligned both outside and in the slot, Not a very polished route runner, More of an explosive and dynamic mover than a refined receiver
  • Shiancoe detached from formation a significant feature of Vikings offense, Defining element of Vikings “12” personnel
  • Saints defense in 2 minute was a mix of 2 shell and pressure; Shiancoe 33 yds came against a disguised “man” free coverage concept, S Jenkins LOS alignment late to his deep middle safety position
  • Vikings ran 32 offensive plays in the first half, and only 19 plays in the second half
  • Peterson much more patient, stayed with point of attack as opposed to constantly looking for the cut back – Distinct difference from a year ago, when he looked to get outside a higher percentage of the time
  • Saints 2 snaps of “cover zero”, both on 3rd + 9
  • Saints increased blitz frequency in the 2nd half
  • Some miscommunication between Favre and his receivers as to man versus zone, Led to critical incompletions
  • S Harper matched up man-to-man on Harvin, on Shiancoe
  • Saints more single high, less 2 shell in the 2nd half
  • Saints had no problem manning up on Berrian, whether it was Greer or Porter
  • Camarillo’s first snap in the game was his 29 yd catch with 8:20 left in the 4th quarter
  • When McKinnie got hurt, Loadholt moved to LT
  • Vikings had no intermediate and vertical pass game: Receivers struggled to get open versus man coverage concepts, and the OL was often driven back into Favre – No comfort or rhythm to pass game
  • A lot of deception and disguise to Saints defense, especially in their coverage schemes with the utilization of underneath defenders


  • Allen started at RCB, and moved to LCB in the nickel; Shepherd was the nickel, at RCB
  • Abdullah not a lot of range at safety: Poor change of direction, and little burst
  • Brees compensated for LT Bushrod versus Allen on Henderson 29 yd TD
  • Vikings lack speed and range at safety with Williams and Abdullah
  • Colston a minus split receiver out of 3 and 4 WR personnel packages
  • Vikings a “cover 2” based defense: Played it on the first play of each of the Vikings first 4 series
  • Leber and Henderson both played MLB in “cover 2” out of nickel: Did an excellent job matching up to routes rather than landmark dropping
  • On deeper drops, Saints helped LT Bushrod with Allen: TE, RB chips
  • Vikings 3-3-5 personnel: Edwards, Williams and Allen at DL; Also Leber at RDE with Allen at LDE: Vikings blitzed from that look with Leber dropping into coverage
  • Vikings low percentage blitz, Clearly more of a change-up than a significant part of their approach
  • Bush factor critical for Saints in both run and pass games; Defensive reaction to Bush creates openings in pass game, and impacts back side defenders in run game
  • Saints designed cutback out of 2 back sets, straight “I” with FB Evans the lead blocker; Also featured the easy release concept with the TE – Dictated LB flow weak on what become a strong side run, Very effective versus Vikings predominant “over” fronts
  • Vikings a high percentage of “over” fronts versus 2 back sets
  • Saints 3×1 set with Shockey “x” to the boundary, 3 WR to the field and Bush offset in the backfield to the 3 WR side: Shockey 14 yds in 4th quarter on back shoulder fade versus S Williams
  • On the Saints first possession of the 2nd half Colston plus split 5 times, Each time the Saints ran the ball
  • Saints 12 2 back sets in the 2nd half; Sometimes it was TE Thomas in the backfield but the large majority of 2 back snaps it was FB Evans – Saints ran the ball 11 of the 12 snaps, The other snap was flare pass to P. Thomas for 15 yds
  • Vikings played 20 snaps of “cover 2” (62 total snaps) – Saints belief in the pass game and Brees dictates that, because the Saints will attack single high safety looks with throws to plus split WR


  • Berry the Lions nickel corner aligned over the slot
  • Bears first 2 plays: “Counter weak”, first out of 3 WR + the second out of “12”
  • Johnson and Peterson the Lions nickel LB
  • Lions “cover 3” on 3rd + 2, Interesting it was a zone concept and not a man concept
  • Aromashadu can’t run, No vertical speed
  • DT Suh predominantly aligned at LDT, Looked like a king size DE playing DT – A physically explosive player with outstanding power
  • Lions stunts, blitzes early in the game, plus concealed fronts
  • Lions DL rotation with Hill and McBride
  • 3rd + goal from 1 yd line on Bears first series: Bears 8 on LOS and they ran right at Suh; Suh blew up RT Omiyale and the the FB and made the play for a 1 yd loss – Great leverage and core strength
  • Inside trap a feature of Bears run game, Very effective versus a “3 technique”
  • Bears a lot of slot formations, whether it was a WR or a TE – 3 open receivers forces the defense to declare coverage quicker, It makes it harder to disguise
  • One principle of Martz pass game philosophy is to force the defense into a predictable coverage before the snap: The main reason for his emphasis on shifts and motions, and slot formations
  • Lions aligned their DE wide: Puts the offensive tackles in space more, Forces them to move before they strike – Makes it a speed game for the tackles, and that’s not their game
  • Bears unable to make a number of plays at the intermediate and deeper because of quick pressure on Cutler
  • A lot of voids in the Lions secondary; If you can protect you can exploit them
  • Forte and Taylor played some snaps together, including the speed screen to Forte in which he fumbled
  • Screens an effective answer to “cover 2”: Forte 89 yd screen TD came against “cover 2” – Anything late to the flat is effective because the corner is already retreating and the inside defender is responsible for the inside curl; Creates a situation in which the late flat is an area the defense must rally to, and minimize the gain rather than take away the throw
  • 2 companion values in zone coverage concepts: Deny the ball to the receiver on intermediate and deeper routes, and minimize the gain on short routes
  • Lions had the look of a well coached defense, Had a very good sense of the Bears hot routes off their blitzes
  • Peterson very susceptible to the screen game, Poor play entry
  • Lions a defined zone coverage team: “Cover 2”, “Cover 3”, “Quarters”
  • Beats OL very susceptible to stunts
  • Cutler’s clock really picked up as the game progressed, He was clearly anticipating on his deeper drops
  • Bears more “I” formation as the game progressed
  • Cutler very quick to pull the trigger versus blitz, No patience to him – The positive is that Martz always has well defined hot principles
  • Pass protection clearly an issue for the Bears, Martz can’t consistently get to the 5 and 7 step pass game which is his staple – In addition, Bears WR slow in their route development; Lack of definition and precision


  • 2 “3 techniques” an effective defensive front to defend “power” run game
  • Beckum replaced the injured Boss at TE
  • Marshall moved inside over the slot in the Panthers nickel with Munnerlyn on the outside at RCB
  • Panthers a lot of zone blitzes early in the game against Giants run personnel and formations; Change the gaps, Make the Giants OL adjust after the snap
  • Panthers defense more multiple with coverages, More disguise, More single high safety, More man coverage concepts – Fox’s defense, not Meeks defense
  • Giants 6 OL on a number of snaps after Boss got hurt: Nicks first TD (26 yds) came out of 6 OL personnel – Giants threw out of 6 OL personnel a number of times and were successful
  • Beckum will become more involved in the Giants pass game as the season progresses: Runs very well, Looks like a big WR
  • Giants OL excellent with pass protection, Manning a secure pocket throughout the game
  • Rookie DE Hardy good quickness, Violent hands, Played both DE positions – Looks like he has the tools to be an excellent pass rusher with experience
  • Nicks the “x” receiver: 19 yd TD at the end of the half came out of “x” iso versus nickel corner Munnerlyn
  • Jacobs looked quicker than in 2009 but he does not have very good balance and body control
  • Bradshaw an excellent blocker versus blitz
  • Panthers “cover zero” on 3rd + 9 on their 21 yd line in the 3rd quarter; “Cover zero” came out of dime personnel, and the Panthers are not a dime team – Clearly part of the Panthers more aggressive defensive approach
  • Manning a lot of late in the down throws, Great poise and composure in the pocket – Tremendous improvement over the last few years
  • Giants run game features “power” , almost always to the strong side, and zone; A lot of 2 back runs with Hedgecock
  • Bradshaw clearly played more snaps than Jacobs
  • MLB Connor showed up in the run game, Physical as a between the tackles run defender


  • Bradley at LDE as the 5th DL, Dictate one-on-one matchups versus Packers OL – “Man free” behind it
  • Eagles triangle concept on the inside 2 receivers versus 3×1 set with 3 WR to the field, Outside corner has #1 trips man-to-man – #1 trips has the fewest balls throw to him, #2 has the most
  • Tackles Clifton and Tauscher can struggle with one-on-one matchups in pass protection, Evident a number of snaps versus Packers
  • Rodgers erratic with his accuracy in the first half
  • Big equalizer for the Eagles was their pass rush, They were able to generate consistent pressure with 4
  • Eagles secondary played with great discipline and pattern recognition
  • Eagles played a lot of “quarters” coverage
  • Graham aligned at DT at times with Barnes at DE outside of him
  • Eagles pre snap pressure and coverage looks were amorphous, A lot of mystery before the snap, Looks were not clean – Eagles blurred the looks from pre snap through the 3 step pass phase
  • LB Sims tendency to jump out of gaps in the run game
  • Barnes at LDE and Graham at LDT was a staple of the Eagles nickel DL
  • Packers more base personnel groupings in the 2nd half, More 2 back and more “11” personnel – A more conservative concept for 2 reasons: Better pass protection for Rodgers, and a more sustaining offensive approach to shorten the game so the Packers defense could play fewer snaps against Vick
  • Eagles a lot of slanting with their DL and scraping with their LB
  • Rodgers more comfortable as the game progressed, Better feel for the Eagles defense and their looks and disguises
  • Hobbs made a coverage mistake on Jennings 32 yd TD: Wrong technique, He was man-to-man on Jennings
  • Barnes 27 total snaps: 24 at LDE, 3 at LDT
  • Eagles very sound fundamentally with their coverages, More coverage-based than pressure-based
  • Packers clearly had problems with pressure from the Eagles 4 man rush, That limited their ability to get the ball effectively to their outside receivers


  • Kolb did not pull the trigger to an open Avant on the game’s 3rd play; Eagles excellent job with protection versus 5 man zone blitz concept
  • Kolb not seeing things at all, Not getting a clear picture of the defense
  • Packers played nickel on almost every snap; Hawk, who does not play in the nickel or dime, did not play a snap
  • Packers nickel package is a 2-4-5: Foundation is scheme and disguise and deception
  • In the first half against Kolb the Packers played both “2 man” and “man free” – No need to defend Kolb
  • From a pass protection standpoint the Eagles made a lot of mistakes, against basic pressure concepts
  • When Vick came in on 3rd + 21 on the second series the Packers played “cover 2”, not “2 man” – A zone concept so that eyes were in the backfield against Vick
  • Kolb needs to pick up his overall tempo, Plays a little slow
  • Delayed pressures and man coverage concepts were the foundation of the Packers defense versus Kolb
  • Kolb was reading the rush, Did not maintain his downfield focus – A serious issue
  • Packers 3 man rushes as part of their defense
  • Eagles serious problems with pass protection, both from a scheme standpoint and individual matchups
  • Third play of the 3rd quarter, with Vick in the game, Packers played “cover 3” after playing very little of it in the 1st half – A reaction to Vick, A zone concept to keep eyes on Vick
  • Packers picked up their blitz frequency versus Vick
  • Packers used Matthews as a spy on Vick: It was a concealed 4 man rush with Matthews just waiting for Vick to declare his movement intentions
  • Packers played some “man free” against Vick; Can do that because you have 2 free defenders, one a LB in position to spy on Vick
  • Packers played some snaps of dime with Bush as the 6th DB
  • Packers a lot of 2 shell in the 2nd half versus Vick
  • Packers did not change their pressure concepts with Vick in the game, They continued to stay aggressive with blitz
  • Vick will always be erratic with his passing: Does not transfer his weight, and his arm slot is too low
  • McCoy 27 yd screen came against a 3 man rush with 8 in a soft “cover 3” zone coverage – A perfect play call
  • Vick an athletic ability QB, Can’t be sure of any continuity or efficiency in what he does despite his Sports Center plays


  • Owens is the nickel corner aligned over the slot, Lofton and Weatherspoon were the nickel LB
  • Dixon threw the ball 8 times on 1st + 10, and completed all 8
  • Interesting and surprising on Miller 17 yds in the 2nd quarter the Falcons played “2 man” on 1st + 10, Miller beat LB Weatherspoon on angle route
  • Scott replaced injured Starks at LT; From a pure ability standpoint Scott is not a significant drop off from Starks but the issue is familiarity with the Steelers offense
  • Ward a minus split receiver, almost always aligns inside the numbers
  • Falcons 3-3-5 personnel on 3rd down with LB Lofton at times in a spy position on Dixon
  • Falcons 3-3-5 was predominant personnel package on 3rd down, Clearly game planned to crowd LOS with bodies and force the Steelers and Dixon to deal with pressure and illusion of pressure
  • Falcons game planned to blitz on 3rd down, Dixon missed mentally handled the pressure well and comfortably threw to the right receiver but was inaccurate and missed some throw open throws
  • Wallace too many steps to come out of breaks on intermediate routes
  • Falcons 2 fundamental principles versus Dixon on 3rd down: Zone coverage concepts (“cover 3” or “cover 2”), and a LB in position to spy on Dixon
  • Jerry was the DT in the Falcons 3-3-5 personnel but he did not start at DT in the base 4-3
  • LT Scott susceptible to bull rush, Not very good core anchor strength


  • Speed option off reverse pivot and back side flow was Titans first play of the game: Young 20 yds – Raiders 8 in the box, with 8th defender S Huff responsible for Johnson toss; Young made unblocked defender S Branch miss in the open field
  • Big question: How much time do you spend in practice preparing to defend the speed option? – Concept of time spent/value received
  • Titans do an excellent job with backfield action and zone flow with the OL to influence LB and safeties with run/pass responsibilities (“quarters” coverage)
  • Titans do a lot with backfield action to influence and impact 2nd level defenders
  • Young because of his running ability dictates and limits coverage concepts in 3rd and long situations: More zone concepts, less man principles – Defenses become more predictable
  • Raiders normally a high percentage man coverage team played predominantly zone coverage concepts in 3rd down situations
  • Titans a lot of bunch concepts in their pass game, especially on 3rd down: Defines the coverage quickly and makes it easier for Young to read


  • Romo frenetic early in the game: 2nd play he didn’t pull the trigger on the play’s design and it was open
  • Redskins predominant zone coverage concepts, A number of “fire x” zone pressure concepts early in the game on 1st + 10
  • S Landry explosive movement skills, Covers a lot of ground – Primarily a LOS box defender in the Redskins predominant single high safety coverages
  • Redskins felt very comfortable with Hall singled up on the outside versus Austin
  • Austin the “z” receiver in the Cowboys base offense, Always aligns on the same side as TE Witten; Austin tougher to double-team with an uncommitted safety because of Witten
  • Cowboys clearly game planned to throw on 1st + 10, predominantly out of base personnel sets
  • Redskins predominant single high safety coverages versus Cowboys base personnel – Confidence in their corners Hall and Rodgers
  • Cowboys pass game was short with quick drops by Romo, The 3 and 5 step pass game – Clearly concerns about Cowboys OL
  • Romo 17-23 1st down passing, but only for 123 yds – Cowboys only 6 1st + 10 runs
  • Redskins very disciplined with their coverage concepts, Almost all zone concepts
  • Cowboys more spread looks on 1st + 10 in the 4th quarter when they were losing
  • Bryant excellent movement and explosive for a big receiver, A chance to be a dynamic playmaker
  • Redskins corner blitz from the boundary as part of zone blitz concept part of 3rd down package
  • Buchanon the Redskins nickel corner at RCB with Rogers inside over the slot
  • Redskins a nickel not dime defense: Carter, Orakpo, Alexander, Holliday
  • Orakpo played ROLB in the base 3-4 front, He did not switch sides; He played both sides in the nickel
  • Different runs with Barber and Jones: Barber more inside zone and iso lead, Jones more outside zone and toss
  • Redskins defense quicker, faster and more explosive than Cowboys offense; Played downhill with aggression in the run game

Category: Fantasy Guru Daily


5 Responses

  1. fartmaster says:

    I love you Gregory!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Jonathan says:

    Ah, so nice to have this back.

  3. Seth says:

    I wish I could get more of this kind of breakdown.

    I’m assuming plus/minus splits referring to Colston mean he’s the outside/inside receiver in a multiple receiver look to one side? Is that correct?


  4. Stretch says:


    Thanks for the confirmation that I have with the Dallas O-line. This clearly can affect my guy M.Barber.

    Once again keep it coming…

  5. Frank says:

    THIS is one of the main reason why I renew my subscription

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