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We always ask if it's the secondary or the pass rush that really makes the defense...so here we have our answer... Now that we know this...the question becomes do you invest more in the secondary or more in the pass rush? NFL.com - 10 biggest disappointing units in the NFL this season. Atlanta Falcons secondary Heading into the 2019 campaign, the Falcons were a pretty popular playoff pick. Then they lost seven of their first eight games. To Dan Quinn's credit, Atlanta did rally to finish at 7-9. But what happened in the first half of the season? And were the problems truly fixed down the stretch? Well, the turnaround reveals some traditional stats that need more context for a real understanding. In Weeks 1-8, the Falcons had just two interceptions (tied for the fewest) while allowing 19 receiving touchdowns (second-most) and yielding a 53 percent third-down conversion rate (highest in NFL). After the Falcons' Week 9 bye, they snagged 10 interceptions while giving up just nine passing touchdowns. And Atlanta allowed just a 25.8 percent third-down conversion rate (lowest in NFL in Weeks 10-17). Did the secondary really step it up in the back half of the season? Well, interceptions can be misleading. Over these same time periods, Atlanta went from notching just seven sacks in the first eight games to 21 over the final eight. Using computer vision, my measurements show that the uptick in disruptions (monitoring the 5-foot halo around the quarterback) went from 9.8 percent of opposing dropbacks to 34.9 percent. Meanwhile, the pass catcher separation allowed stayed pretty similar throughout the whole season. So it appears that the positive difference in the second half of the season came from the front of the defense, not the back. And going through the film with two NFL coaches further supported this notion.
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. Credit @SPITFIRE for looking out on that All-22.
I posted a video I did about Dan Quinn. How I felt that he could become coach of the year. if this defense becomes what we all believe it can be. After the 2019 season. I would love to see what you all views are on the subject. If the video interests you in watching it. Thanks on behalf on Pound 4 Pound ATL.