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Found 7 results

  1. 3 games into the season so far and the defense seems to be leaning heavily on Cover-1. I'm interested to see, as the season unfolds, how the coverages will evolve, but yesterday was more of the same and from watching the Monday night game (Lions/Giants) I knew they were going to try to use their backs isolated on our linebackers. I have to say, outside of one play down the stretch where it looked like Deion got jelly-legged, he looked good out there... real good. Play #1 - 2nd Quarter Detroit goes empty, with the back, Theo Riddick, flexed out in the slot. You can see the route combinations they have, but that's whatever. When I first looked at the play, I thought the Falcons were in Cover-1 Rat with Duke playing the Rat, but looking at the play a few more times, it looks like the Falcons are in some sort of split-field hybrid type coverage. Tru is playing man to the top. Alf is playing off. That signals split field. It could be a sort of Cloud coverage or something like Cover-9. It's tough to tell without the safety in the picture. But the essence of the post remains. Because of the deployment of the receivers, Deion is isolated in a man-on-man situation. At the snap, this is what I love. Deion plays this with the patience of a corner back. He doesn't panic. His feet don't start getting all jittery, he barely takes a step back. He understands perfectly what his leverage is supposed to be, and what he's guarding so he lets the back close the distance so that he can do this... that he can get his hands on him and disrupt the timing of the route. Receivers like to do all that shuffling and faking with their shoulders to get you leaning and get an easy go. They hate it when you get hands on them. It just messes all their rhythm up. Also, the way he sinks his hips so that he can move in either direction and gets an eye back on Stafford is really savvy. Riddick does a good job of getting his hands over the top of Deion's jam and getting out in that break. But Deion is just a pure athlete. Look at the way he plays this. It's perfect. You can't expect many linebackers to make this kind of play consistently and he makes it look routine.
  2. Mine is Deion Jones. This guy is playmaker. The big hit on Cam Newton! The pick six for 90 yards vs Saints. The awesome pick 6 vs Rams. Almost had a td vs SD. This guy will fly to the ball. Can't wait to see how good he will become.
  3. Figured I'd put something together for the guy I'm pulling for us to draft but who most have seen little to nothing of. Note: This isn't a highlight video. There are a lot of plays where he's just in coverage, or showing how he handles himself in the run game, or how he guns for the QB, or simply plays where his closing speed is outrageous. It's not meant to make him look flawless (though it is mostly good plays), it's meant to show his style of play, which I think is a dead ringer for the defense Quinn is trying to build. So enjoy. Also, sorry that it might be hard to tell who he is at first for some plays - full screen helps, just look for the number. Don't have a lot of time to put these videos together due to work so I didn't go about highlighting him every play. Would love to hear thoughts and discussion.
  4. The Rams are a truly horrible offense, but believe it or not, I thought that came in with a solid gameplan on how to attack the Falcons this past Sunday. However, that plan was neutralized not just because they are a bad offense playing with a rookie quarterback -- as many here have often pointed out, Atlanta has made rookie quarterbacks and bad offenses look like world-beaters -- so, no, it wasn't just their ineptitude that left them on the coliseum floor leaking, but the continued maturity of Atlanta's young defense, bolstered by players that are now starting to feel the game and play with anticipation. There was no greater example of this than 9:05 left in the 2nd Qtr. Los Angeles is 1st and 15. Atlanta is in their standard 3 deep look with one variation. Instead of the Buzz coverage, which is most favored on passing downs, they are in Sky. May not seem like a big thing, but it changes who the force defender is on the play and can muddy up the quarterback's read on one side of the field because the flat defender and the hook defender isn't going to be who it normally is in Buzz. Now this is where Los Angeles got it right from a gameplan perspective. They have a slant/flat combo to the top of the screen, and a flat/hook combo to the bottom. This is the type of West Coast staple that gives 3 deep coverages troubles and has been a bug-a-boo to this defense for a chunk of the season. At the snap you see the releases of the defenders. Now I'm not 100% sure the type of progression system they have Goff playing in, so I'm not going to speculate, but this is a quick hitter. Three steps, ball is supposed to come out. In that case you can only read one side of the field and he's reading to the slant/flat combo, which is supposed to be easy money. Here's a bit of a tighter look at what they are trying to do to that side of the field. Poole is the flat defender, he has to go with Austin. Alf is in deep 1/3 so he has to give Kenny Britt that space. What they are trying to do is to throw that slant right into that void as soon as Poole clears with Austin to the flat. At this point, everything is unfolding exactly the way it's supposed to with the exception of one little problem... #45. Take a look at his helmet. Eyes on the quarterback. He saw it the whole way. Anyone remember a few months back I made that thread after the MNF game vs. the Saints where Jones had the pick six? You remember the rule for playing as a zone defender? As soon as you see the quarterback's front hand come off the ball, you break. That's exactly what Deion Jones is doing here. Goff's front hand is off the ball to wind up... Jones is on his horse. Let me throw this in there, though... vs. most linebackers this is still a completion. That play is open and there's no hesitation by the quarterback. These are about as wide open as windows get in the NFL. Linebackers are not supposed to be able to close that much ground in split seconds like that vs. the quick passing game. Atlanta doesn't have a normal linebacker playing in the middle, though. Note the height of the ball as it come in. If some mess like this happens to be in Madden, I'm throwing my controller, turning off my system and going outside. Anyone who wants to wonder where the playmakers are on this defense, or the gamechangers, you have you answer.
  5. Hint: It's Deion Jones.
  6. The linebacker position -- specifically, the middle linebacker position is incredibly close to my heart. To me, and I will admit to being totally biased, it is THE position to play on defense. It's everything, because it encompassed every aspect of football from instincts, toughness, fundamentals, and intelligence. You gotta have it all to play middle linebacker. Part pass rusher, part defensive back, and all man. Everything flows through him. In short, your defense will look like your middle linebacker. Now has anyone ever watched a linebacker during the play and wondered how or why he's doing what he's doing? How he knows if it's run or pass, or which gap to hit? If you haven't, I'd like to apologize for "click-baiting" you. The rest of this probably won't be that interesting. If you have, stick around. The answer is "keys". KEYS: Every front seven defender has a specific offensive key on every play of the game, and it's going to tell him run or pass. It's going to tell him which way the run is going, and what type of run. Is it a power, a trap, a zone, a dive, sweep, draw, option? The keys give away everything. He's got to be able to read his key, then in a split second, decipher all of that information, and react. He's got to keep his shoulders square to the line while he stays low and scrapes to his gap. Somewhere along the line he's gonna have to take on and shed a block with the proper technique, then find the ball again... Now I want to look at this specifically through the eyes of young Deion Jones. As a Middle Linebacker, your key can get a bit convoluted, so stay with me. As a middle linebacker you are reading the triangle. This right here is the triangle... You're reading both offensive guards, THROUGH to the backfield. Now different coaches teach different keys; sometimes your keys change based on front. For example, in an Under your key may be the nearest back. It could be a single guard THROUGH to the backfield, but for the purposes of this I'm going to try to keep it elementary. You get the idea, though from this. The linebacker has to eliminate every other bit of information outside of that triangle (even the QB). He can't worry about anything outside of the triangle because that's how you get tricked. The quarterback could reverse pivot and get you to false step in the wrong direction (happened in the Eagle game). He could play-action to get you to step up like a run. The fullback could go one way while the run is going the other. Offensive coaches spend their lives trying to muddy keys. This is why eye discipline is as important an aspect to playing linebacker as anything. And this is why I like the triangle read, because it's tough to get fooled when you've got it down. Quarterbacks can lie to you. Backs can lie to you... those guards can't. Those guards will give away the play 90% of the time. 2nd and 5 - 3rd Quarter Falcons are in nickel vs. Cardinals 11 personnel. Over front. Deion Jones circled reading the two guards through to the backfield. Zone steps by the guards signal a run. This is what linebackers look for. If the guards pop up and start retreating, it's a pass set. If they come out low and fire out, it's a run. From there you have to determine the type of block to determine the type of run. If the guard pulls, it's a power, or counter. If he goes sprinting to the perimeter, it's a sweep. Here the guards and center fire out an angle (usually 45 degrees) -- this signals a zone run. Deion reads it immediately and knows instantly where the run is trying to hit. Beautiful, explosive movement downhill to the gap... and a nice angle. Does a good job keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. They are turned a little bit, but for this type of run and the scrape that's needed you'll allow for that. Good job of breaking down in the hole and getting low... getting ready to fire his hips and explode on contact. And a gorgeous form tackle finishes Johnson off. He's out a little more over his toes that I'd like, but he's exploding into the back with everything he's got, and he's done a beautiful job of getting low. Low man wins in this sport and he's right underneath the runner's chest. Not an easy thing to do. I know. My knees don't quite bend like that anymore. Also, a shout-out to Grady who came off his block and got him a nice piece, too. Here's what it looks like in full speed. You hear defensive coaches all the time talk about "playing with your eyes"... this is exactly what they are talking about. This is why I wasn't worried that Arizona would run all over the Falcons despite how ugly it got in Philly. I could see the mistakes they made in that game with their eyes, which led to bad fits and poor angles. All of it, fixable. The young linebackers are starting to play with more confidence. They're trusting what they're seeing and they're letting it fly. Slowly, but surely they are turning the corner. To steal a phrase from an old Falcon coach, "the arrow is pointing up".