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  1. Okay, been meaning to get this one for a while. About a month or so ago after our first game I made a thread pointing out how Matt missed a couple of gimmies that could have changed the outcome by not going through his pre-snap reads and I think what I was saying might have went over a few folks' head. Well as I suspected, he quickly got the problem ironed out and has been playing light's out the past few games. And when I say "lights out", I mean he's putting up another MVP caliber season that I fear is going to waste. But that's neither here nor there today. I wanna talk about the good. PRE-SNAP READ (PSR): first off, what is a pre-snap read? Glad you asked. It's exactly what it sounds like. The QB steps to the line and he's going to get a read on the defense before the ball is snapped. He's looking for every little clue that's going to if not completely give away the exact coverage, narrow it down to one or two possibilities. Now every QB, every system has its own "ritual" if you will, but generall speaking QB breaks the huddle, ideally with around 16-15 seconds on the playclock. He's wants to get everyone lined up so he can take his time looking over the defensive alignment. He's looking at the safeties. This is a big one because corners can lie, linebackers can lie but safeties will tell you the truth. Their alignment will usually give away the coverage. Are there two high safeties, or one high? Two high, it's cover-2, man under, or quarters. One high, it's cover-1, or cover-3. Are there two high safeties but they are both sitting really shallow, like under 10 yards? That's an oh **** moment. That's cover-0. You know the defense is bringing the house and the ball's gotta come out quick. What's the depth of the safeties and width? If there are two safeties sitting at around 10-12 yards and they are split kind of wide of the hash, then that's some sort of Cover-2. Are there two safeties sitting a little more shallow, say around 10 yards and they're tucked in a little tighter than normal, sort of hovering over the #2 receiver, that's quarters. Then you move to your corners. Are they pressed or playing off? Are they looking at the QB or the receiver -- that's a big clue man or zone. If they're looking at the QB almost 100% zone. Is one pressed and the other playing off? That's a clue that you're gonna get some sort of split field coverage like Cover-6. If you are in a 3 receiver set what's the slot corner doing? Is he directly over the slot receiver or is he cheating over close to the LOS? If he is and the safety to that side is sitting shallow and playing closer to the LOS than normal, that's a slot corner blitz. What's the linebacker's doing? Are they aligned over their normal gaps or are they maybe stepped over kind of funny? That could tip a blitz, etc. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Every single snap of the game the QB is taking seconds right before the snap to gather as much information as possible. And that information is going to tell him where his first look is on the play. Every play has a progression, 1 to 2, to 3. But who the first look is on the play is determined by the PSR. That's the point I think a few people were missing on the thread I'm referring to. Now I want to first take a look at what it looks like when it's done wrong. This play right here the Eagles are in Cover-0. No doubt about it, the alignment of the safeties gives it away. Instead of taking Sanu right there in the slot who was uncovered, Matt forces the ball to Julio on a 7 route. Wrong read. This is the stuff that keeps points off the board and gets you beat. The PSR should have taken him to Sanu as the first look. Now here's what it looks like when it's done right. I'm gonna throw up a couple of plays... not all in order but (I think) but bear with me. Play #1 - 1st quarter, we're looking at 2nd and 4. You can't see it from the tv copy but it looks like the Bucs were in 3-Cloud (could have also been Cover-6) with a safety over the top to help the underneath corner on Julio to the top of the screen. Good anticipation on this call because we aren't even gonna keep Julio on that side and make it easy for the D. Julio motions across the formation, turning it from a trips look to a trey y-flex. As you can see, the corner does not follow Julio, confirming that this is zone. And here's our new formation. Now what have we learned that we can add to our PSR info? Corner stayed to the top of the screen and didn't follow Julio so we know it's zone. Julio is uncovered in that #3 position and the safety to his side of the formation is still sitting at 12 plus yards so a pressure is unlikely. So we've narrowed the defense down to a zone, most likely a split field coverage based off the corner and safety. Matt pretty much knows right now what side of the field he's going to read first. Quick look at the routes we got Julio running sticks, Sanu clearing out the underneath stuff on a vertical, Ridley a speed out. To the top of the screen Hooper running a hook, Coleman leaking out to the flat. And here we go. Safetys bail and the flat defender follows Coleman, which makes it look to me like the may have checked the coverage to Mable, but whatever the case that's curl/flat concept to that side of the field. Bucs have no chance. As soon as the flat defender follows Coleman the ball comes out right now to Hooper. Hooper didn't quite get deep enough so it's 3rd and 1, but you can see the principles at work. 2nd and 4 just gone get the easy throw. Pass rush has no chance. Matt stays clean.
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