Enjoyed the breakdown. Good work as always, and love the stache. This team needs more swagger, even in its reporting and analysis cadre.
McGary is quickly becoming the tackle we all hoped he would be when he was drafted. Looking forward to having Lindstrom over on that side with him for the next decade or so. No more Mattie Roadkill.
Greetings, beautiful people, it's been way too long, but finally, the Falcons have given me something interesting to dig into. I've made no secret over the years of my love for defensive football, so you can imagine how rough these past few seasons have been. Every football sensibility I have has been assaulted by these sumbitches in every way, but on Sunday... oh, boy, Sunday was a welcome respite. For ONE AFTERNOON, our defense was everything I ever wanted it to be, and against the Saints, no less.
Now there was a whole lot of good football to break down Sunday, but for my own selfish reasons, I'm gonna dig into one of my favorite parts of the game: Stunts. I love me some defensive line stunts. Not as much as I love run fits, but it's a close second -- kinda like that middle child you love to death, but maybe not quite as much as that first born. You know what I'm talking about? Yes? No? Ok, you don't have to admit it.
Just in case there are any questions as to what a defensive line stunt is, it's basically where your pass rushers will exchange rush lanes to confuse the protections. Almost like when the offense aligns their receivers tight to create a natural pick. Here, we're doing the same thing. We're trying to create a free runner, to the QB. It can wreak havoc on a offensive line if it's well timed and executed. People talk about being creative on defense, being aggressive, bringing pressure... this is a way to accomplish all of that, while rushing four and not compromising your coverage. There are literally endless combinations of them you can bring: E/T, T/E, Double Tex. You can E/T on one side and T/E on the other, you can run Pirate, Charlie, then you can bring a backer into it add even more combinations. The only limit is your imagination. But for the sake of brevity, I'm gonna focus on this one from the 2nd quarter.
3rd and 4 - 2nd quarter: Now we want to look at the alignment first and the personnel. Vic's in a wide-9, Takk is next to him inside in a 4 technique on the offensive tackle, Grady is in a 1 tech, and Clay is aaalllll the way to the other side in no-man's land in a 9. This is a really creative use of personnel. Your two most athletic pass rushers to one side, next to your best interior rusher, and your best overall pass rusher all by himself. What do you do as an offensive line with this -- three to one side, one to the other? Naturally you're gonna want to slide your protection, which way? And if you do, it's gonna leave you thin somewhere else. It's almost like when the offense puts three receivers to one side, and Julio all by himself wide to the other. It forces the coverage to adjust in ways that stresses them. You dictate terms when you do stuff like that. But here, we are dictating to the offense and forcing them to adjust.
This is the game that we have on. We've got a TEX stunt to the left side of the screen where the Tackle will go first, hard to the outside, while the End will fake a rush upfield, then loop around inside where the defensive tackle used to be and find the hole. On the other side we have an Exit stunt where the End will go first. Here, Clay will take a hard inside move and it's Grady who is supposed to be the looper.
Here is how it actually plays out. New Orleans slides their line to Takk and Vic's side, which makes sense. Clay on the end, makes a hard inside move at the snap. No wasted motion. He's going right now to pull that offensive tackle inside. The back, Murray, is in a check release on the Campbell. Campbell didn't blitz, so he's gonna release into the pattern. Kamara to the other side in the wing, gets out immediately, so it's a straight 5 man protection. It's all on their linemen to beat ours.
This is the key part of this play. Grady starts from a 1tech and slants all the way over to the left guard (pictured right) and engages him. Because he engages him, that guard now cannot pick up Clay coming on the loop. The tackle on Clay correctly looks to pass him off to the guard and pick up Grady, but Grady ain't coming quite yet. The game to this side ain't exactly playing out as designed, but that's part of it. Defensive line coaches tell their guys all the time, "I can't tell you were the hole is going to open up", you just gotta keep rushing and find it. Be a football player.
This right here is just pure beauty. Poor #75 at guard is just all in pieces. Ain't in position to block nobody. His man Grady done looped around, and Clay done came out of nowhere and knocked the s*** out of him. Another thing to look at is because of the alignment and the slide to Takk and Vic, the Center has to block to that side. So he can't help to the side where our most dangerous rushers are --Clay, and Grady. He's gotta help out to the other side.
No commentary needed. #75 is dog food...
... And Drew is dead.
Now to be fair, #75 is in a bad spot. Usually, and especially when you're a guard, you've got a man over you, so you naturally can pick up those games better. But this is just an awesome design to screw with the protection of the Saints, knowing they would slide the line to Takk and Vic and that would create one-on-ones for Grady and Clay. More of this, please.
Keanu Neal, J.J. Wilcox, Steven Means, Trufant. We've invested the resources, sometimes injuries happen.
Signed alot of DL in the offeseason, including resigning Clayborne, whom everybody wanted.
As far as "several" players who "only play hard when they want to", well, that would be on coaching.
Lemme tell ya, my friend. I was in New Orleans for Halloween and had the chance to tell many a person I was a Falcons fan (I mean, I WAS dressed as an NFL ref for the holiday, so football conversations started up pretty naturally). Every single fan was licking their chops to blow us away - they were anticipating winning at home by 40 points.
I can’t even necessarily blame them the way we’ve played this year. But just imagining the totally smug looks on all their faces at 1:00 pm yesterday slowly slipping into disbelief and defeat? All that confidence against their arch nemesis just to be manhandled in their own house?
There’s no draft pick sweeter than that.