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Found 6 results

  1. xs and os

    To everyone who wants to just blitz and stop playing so soft... quiet as kept, you've been getting your wish. 5 man pressure... 5 man pressure... 5 man pressure with a Beasley special... 5 man pressure with a muddy pre-snap look... All it's doing is making it easier on the QB.
  2. Falcons done had me in a little bit of sour mood lately, but it's Thursday. The haze is starting to clear and I'm ready to talk about something positive. The final touchdown from Sunday's game was a thing of beauty from a design perspective. As a lot of you know, the Colts run a ton of Cover-2, and just about every variety there is from the cover-2 with the hard flats, the cover-2 soft squat, cover-2 sink where it plays almost like quarters, etc. They really are about that life. One of my favorite ways to attack Cover-2 is with the smash concept. SMASH - now what is the smash concept? It's basically some variation of this right here. The outside receiver will run a hitch, or a quick out, the inside #2 receiver will run a 7 route. He'll stress the deep half safety with a vertical route, then flag it to the pylon away from him, right into the void between the safety and corner. The great thing about this is there are alway positive yards to be had, even if you don't get to the 7 route, and if it's read properly, the defense is always wrong. Doesn't matter if they know it's coming or not. 2nd and Goal - I thought we would see this Sunday, and boom, right when we needed it in the 4th quarter, here it came. The Colts are in their Red 2, which is a redzone variation of their standard Cover-2. Instead of getting a jam on the receivers and then letting them have all that space to the safety, the corners are in a soft squat which means they're gonna fade a bit at the snap, get some depth and try to constrict that window between them and the safety. Another difference here between this and standard Cover-2 is the middle linebacker isn't going to look to drop to his landmark at the snap. Instead he's going to read #3, and the inside #2 to not let them get anything too easy underneath at the goalline, like a little hook. In normal cover-2 or Tampa, he's going to open his hips and match the vertical route by the #2 receiver. If there is no vertical route, he'll drop to a depth or about 15 yards or so, turning it into essentially a 3 deep coverage. Here, in this variation, the Red 2, actually plays a lot like quarters. This is what Dirk answers with. We're gonna run hooks to the bottom of the screen into the holes of the Red 2 at different depths with Hooper and Ridley. To the top of the screen we've got Julio inside playing #2, and Sanu outside playing #1. The tight formation is the brilliance of it because as the routes deploy they're going to create extra space for the 7 route. Also, it makes a jam by the corners (if there is one coming) almost impossible. Julio is on the 7 to the end zone, and Sanu is running a little 3 route. QB READS - the read here is as simple as it gets. You can teach this to a middle-schooler. Matt is going to read the outside cornerback on the smash side. If the corner sits and takes Sanu on the 3 route, Matt will throw the 7 to Julio in the end zone. If the corner sinks to try to take away the 7, Matt will throw the 3 to Sanu. Not much more complicated than that. At that snap, this is what we get. Matt's eyes don't even go to the hook side. Against any type of Cover-2, that smash is where you wanna go. Here, he's locked in on the corner. Julio does a brilliant job of selling the vertical route into the seam to stress the safety. The corner has his eyes on Matt, but he's in a bind. He has to make a choice to take Julio or Sanu. Looking at the play in real time, the corner never does commit to one route or the other. He tries to split the difference. I think he just got caught in an "oh s***" no man's land and couldn't make a decision. Don't blame him there. Either way, his feet stopped and that's all Matt needs. Julio is already breaking to the void -- or the honey hole as that space is called (I have no idea why), but Julio is breaking to all that blue turf and you see the safety on his horse doesn't have a chance. And here, you can see, it's just wide open. Now the corner showed great hustle to get back into the play to contest, I mean if you're teaching it, it's pretty impressive he makes any kind of play on that ball. Against a lesser receiver that's a pass breakup. Alas, we don't have a lesser receiver. We got Julio. Great read my Matt, but if I'm nitpicking, it's not the best throw. He put it up nice and high so Julio could go get it, but I'd like to see it a bit deeper into the back of the end zone if you're gonna put that much touch on it. But great play call. Great execution.
  3. I'm normally the eternal optimist, but these 2019 Falcons are trying me. It's one thing to be a bad football team. I've seen plenty of that. I have no problem just disconnecting and taking it for what it is, but it's another thing to see a talented team get beat because they are their own worst enemy. And that's the long and short of what I saw Sunday. The Colts didn't come out and throw a whole bunch of unscouted looks at us; they were doing basic stuff that we should have been able to neutralize if we had just executed our fundamentals the way we did the week before vs. Philly. I don't think there was another play all day long that made me want to vomit more than this one right here. 3rd and 12 - midfield, early in the second quarter. Colts don't really push the ball down the field so this should be easy, right? DQ actually calls up a nice play. We only have two down lineman with Takk and Vic both mugging the line along with Deion. All three are going to drop and Campbell and Kazee are coming off the slots -- like a double nickel blitz. Up top we are playing in a rare two deep shell. It's actually a nicely designed play. At the snap we bail. As you can see, Brissett's first look is to get it out quick to #15, but 3rd and 12, he knows he's protected, he passes him up to look downfield. The running back is in a check release. He's going to check to see if his man is coming. Usually he's scanning inside out. If he's picked up, he releases into his route. Now here is where it gets interesting. We got everything covered up, so Brissett dumps it off underneath, which is exactly what you want when you play Cover-2. You want the QB to check the ball down underneath. You'll give up these little 5 yard dump offs all game. Let the back catch it underneath then smack the s*** out him. You wanna hit him so many times he's going back to the huddle cursing out his QB, telling him he better not throw him another one. You aren't going to get beat by check downs... UNLESS you decide to tackle like a bunch of keystone cops. Ball is caught, and right here, we are actually in pretty good position. You see how well we're spaced to constrict ground to the ball carrier. This right here is where it starts to go bad. The spacing still isn't terrible, but Vic... VICTOR RAMON BEASLEY JR! Bro! He needs to be coming to balance right here. Stop chasing and come to balance, and get ready to make that tackle, or let the back run himself into the pursuit. And this is where it turns into a clown show. Vic completely over-ran the play and opened the back door. He should have a foot at the 45 yard line. When Quinn talks about trusting the man next to you and playing just your leverage -- well this is the opposite of all that. Details. Fundamentals. It's not a big thing I'm talking about, but it absolutely adds up to being the difference between a win or a loss. This is how you wind up forcing 1 punt in an entire game. It's not scheme. It's not talent. It's a total lack of discipline. And DQ... can we please stop getting cute and playing Vic in space? It don't work. ... and that dude didn't make that 1st down.
  4. Greetings all. It's been too long my friends. I was meaning to do one of these last week, but after the opening weekend dumpster fire, I couldn't bring myself to look at that game against the Vikings again without feeling to need to vomit. Mercifully, this week was different. Don't you just love a victory Monday? You don't feel like kicking the dog, annoying kids seem cute, food taste better. Life is just a little better coming off a W. With all that out the way, I wasn't in love with everything I saw last night from Dirk and offense, and I'm still angling to try to see what we hang our hat on on that side of the ball. No worries though -- it's just week 2 and we opened up against two teams that are built to give us problems no matter how together we are, so I have confidence that the offensive cohesion will come (fingers crossed). But I did see some interesting wrinkles last night and I thought they were worth discussing. RPO - or Run Pass Option where a run play is called in the huddle and the quarterback has a built in pass play to get to based on the read of a key defender. You remember a couple years ago when the Eagles tore through the playoffs and the RPO was all the rage and some around here got to asking why we didn't run them? Well we did... and we do. We've always run RPO's going back to the days of Mularkey. We just ran them from under center and they often looked like quick slants. There's one wrinkle that separates these from play-action passes, which commentators often confuse them for. The run and pass are completely independent of one another. On a play action pass, the offensive line, even though they are firing out to show run, are still blocking for pass. In and RPO, they are strictly run blocking. They have no idea if the QB is picking it up and throwing or handing off. They are just doing their job. Even the running back doesn't know if it's run or pass. The pass option is strictly between the QB and the receiver. Everyone else is executing a run play. PLAY #1 - from the opening drive. We are in a a strong-I formation. STRONG denoting that the fullback in the "I" is set to the the tight end side instead of a dotted "I" directly behind the QB, for anyone who is wondering. Julio is in a reduced, or "Nasty" split in West Coast Offensive lingo. Now there are all sorts of cool strategic reasons you put Julio in a nasty split that's worthy of it's own topic. We can get to that another time. Sanu is out wide at the top of the screen. The run call is an inside zone weak to the boundary, with Sanu running a smoke route to the back side of the play. The read Matt is making is the linebackers. This is where the QB earns his money, in the pre-snap reads. He sees them packed in and just creeping for an all out blitz. I can't see the coverage to see if it's a Cover-0, but it is not a favorable run look, even with the Wide-9 alignment the Eagles are in. Also, Matt sees the corner playing off, past the sticks, so it's an easy decision. If that guy was pressed, Matt doesn't throw it out there. Matt picks the ball up and gives it to Sanu right now... And Sanu is just out there being a football player on 2nd and 4. This is more of what I want to see. You don't have to be clever to get the most out of this offense. We don't have to try to drop bombs on people all game. Defense wants to blitz you and leave OUR WEAPONS one on one, let 'em. Get the ball out quick and we'll take our guys one-on-one every time.
  5. Rico Allen has been something of polarizing topic around these parts for quite some time. I'll admit there were even times when I felt we could take him or leave him, but when you are running a single high defense, you NEED to have a free safety out there who can cover up the defense's shortcomings and the problem with evaluating a free safety is most of the time, what they do doesn't show up on the stat sheet, and there can be entire games where he'll do his job perfectly, but it'll look to the casual view like he didn't do anything because no action came his way. That has long been the quandary of Rico Allen. He's never been the ballhawk of say Earl Thomas, who is the gold standard, but he's a cerebral player. @TheFatboi was one of the early ones I can remember who harped on the importance of Rico. Well we got a chance to see what it looked like last year when he went down. The secondary was a mess -- even with Kazee back there ballhawking, and it was the little things that were missing. Last night he was a warrior god. Play#1 - second quarter. Philly has us backed up, and decides to attack our Cover-3 with an old staple, Seams. Philly has two underneath routes, and a flat route just in case, but it's the dual seams they are trying to get to. They're creating a 2 on 1 and the safety can't get to both of them. Cover-3 - Trufant and Oliver playing deep thirds, Rico back single high closing the middle of the field. Hook drops for our two linebacker Campbell and Jones. And the two curl-flat defenders to either side underneath. Key thing here on 1st and 10 is we aren't just spot-dropping to landmarks, we're pattern reading the release of the receivers. At the snap, and this is beautiful quarterback play by Wentz. He's staring to his left trying to move Rico. Underneath our coverage is doing its thing. Campbell is reading #2 to #1. The curl/flat defender to the bottom of the screen is matching that route. We don't worry about the back leaking to the flat until the ball is thrown. Carson snaps his head around, just as his receiver clears into the seam as Devondre passes his off to Tru and looks to pic up that hook route. Not a great pic, but Tru pics the route up beautifully and Rico comes screaming over. Carson can't lead him up the field because Rico is coming to close that window, so he has to put it on the receiver's back shoulder. Beautiful football. Another half a step, and Rico has a pick, but it's a huge play nonetheless. He's processing information and playing so fast there is no window there.
  6. ***Mods, I know this is an article about the SB between the Pats and the Rams, but at it's essence it's about football and I think it applies to the Falcons. Given it's the offseason and things will be fairly slower, please don't move this unless nobody reads/interacts. Now that that is out of the way, Matt Waldman is one of my favorite Twitter follows when it comes to breaking down film and digging into the game of football. He's smart and understands it and knows how to give it to the casual fan so they can truly digest the game. He sat down with one of the contributors to his site and I think the conversation is one of the best I've read and I think it would be beneficial for this place as a whole. I also believe part of it applies to the Falcons and how we can/should look at this offseason and the related moves. Stoner: Vic Ketchman will forever be my spirit grandpa. Hightower and Gilmore played their ***** off. Great defense is not always sacks and turnovers. I feel bad for Wade Phillips and the Rams defense. Waldman: The Rams confused Brady, too. The Patriots defensive game plan forced more errors than the Rams’ plan. Folks want to blame Goff but we’ll get to that later because it is a simplistic conclusion and often rooted in a couple of plays, especially when one of them was arguably a bad no-call that could have tied the game late. Stoner: The Rams mostly played a great game on defense. Ray Ratto was dead-on about the Patriots with the important exception of his final sentence below. [Belichick] has known more ways to win a game than most of us have learned to watch on, and with every trend int eh sport going toward offensive pyrospectaculars and playbooks powered by dilithium crystals, he decided to force-feed America a three-hour tutorial on Chuck Noll and Don Shula and George Allen and Bud Grant. It was the early 1970s, and you were there. It is a lesson America didn't enjoy and one it will hate all the more in years to come, but Belichick, who has adapted to changing mores in the sport as much as any coach, dragged us all by our slackened eyelids back to a time when we though presidents didn't come worse than Richard Nixon and sports was designed solely as a lesson in denial of pleasure and a repudiation of style. This was him saying, “This is a game you’re too young to remember, but I’m not, and I know how to make you sit at this table and eat it until it’s gone.” “You’re ******* right. Every other coach is like: “this is the scheme we use” and Belichick is like: “this is the scheme that this situation calls for.” How can no one else get this?” Stoner: I see this criticism all of the time. It’s valid on some level, yes. I also think people underestimate the amount of knowledge necessary to do this. It’s like what you wrote in your “Can He Make Music,” piece. You need to be able to speak the language of whatever country you’re in and ALSO need to know how to communicate things lost in translation on the fly. Waldman: I know scouts who understand less scheme than I. And to think a coach trained in one language can adapt to another so fast is not realistic. I wish I were 20 years younger and had the kind of time I had 20 years ago, too. Stoner: Ray Ratto’s Deadspin piece is great, you’ll like it a lot. I keep going back to the Pepper Johnson piece, too. Especially when he said Bill literally signed Mike Vrabel just to pick his brain on LeBeau’s defense. And nobody else really does that, LMFAO! Going back to the scheme, it’s not just about knowing where the X’s and O’s are supposed to go. The techniques for each can be so different. Adjustments are so different. You know this but the example of zone versus gap have WAY different micro-adjustments just in the angles you take to reach the second level. Let’s look at stretch versus one-back power. What blow ups both of these plays? A strongside, tilted nose tackle and weakside linebacker gap exchange. These are WAY different rules to simply run the ball to the strong side and this is just for the offensive line, not the backs. Now imagine every team using vastly different terminology for this ****! Waldman: Good point. Stoner: Then you have to teach the technique. A scoop and a double-two LB has way different footwork and second-level aiming points. Then only after considering the scheme and technique, consideration of the opponent’s personnel creates even more changes. Does your opponent have a stud nose tackle? If so, you need to cut him down because he’s going to hold up the double team and well never reach the linebacker. Is the nose tackle soft? Then we can ride him the direction he wants to go. Are the linebackers slow? If so, we can double the nose and put him in the lap of the linebacker. Guess what? All of this goes out the window if the defense decides not to really run this NT-WLB gap exchange. All of these considerations are all focused on just one offensive adjustment to the most common defensive adjustment used against the two most heavily used run plays. That’s a lot of shlt to know and that’s high school football 101 knowledge versus an extremely basic even front. Waldman: Football is an elegant game. There are so many elements at play but fans are continually trying to simplify and second-guess what’s happening. When I listen to a lot of analysts these days, their analysis often sounds like: “We understand that there are a lot of variables to take into account…yadda, yadda, yadda…but seriously, my emotional reaction to one play outweighs all of those variables and I have stats to back it up!” You’ve taken us in the weeds with one in-game adjustment that’s fundamental to almost all levels of football but there are folks out there who don’t understand this when they criticize a team for not altering its zone blocking scheme to account for a back that it had little intention of using this year who is better at gap. They aren’t seeing that it’s a consideration of the demands on 5-7 players versus 1. Stoner: I get why so many teams run zone instead of Gap. The rules for Zone are more consistent play-to-play for the offensive line. Gap schemes require a lot of memorization simply from the volume of options. Every run play is trying to accomplish something a little different. Waldman: Right. And for the backs, Gap is diagnostically easier on the back because the line is handling the diagnostic burden while Zone is more conceptually demanding for the runner because the scheme is designed to be easier for the line. Stoner: I agree. This game comes down to a really bad performance by Sean McVay — it was bad planning, bad game management, and McVay didn’t stick to his own offense. If Bill gives you something — in this case, the jet sweep — he is daring you to run it 10 times in a row until he stops it. Bill knows you won’t try it because offensive coordinators and good quarterback are often impatient. Waldman: The Seahawks knew Peyton Manning would be too impatient to nickel-and-dime his way downfield in its Super Bowl matchup. They gave Julius Thomas to Manning early, betting that physical play against Thomas would lead to mistakes and Manning would begin forcing the ball downfield. It’s exactly what happened and the Seahawks stifled and blew-out one of the most prolific offenses in football history. https://mattwaldmanrsp.com/2019/02/04/stop-making-sense-a-post-super-bowl-conversation-with-eric-stoner/ There is more to the article, but it focuses in more on Goff, Brady, and is truly not related to the Falcons. But the parts I highlighted I think absolutely do. Especially about the zone running. People here still complain about not being able to be a physical zone running team. That's just not true. But this also speaks to why some RBs struggle with zone running concepts, something that isn't discussed enough. You see once we started losing OL, the continuity is paramount in a heavy zone based running game. But once they have that continuity, they can pick it up quicker. Hence why Shanahan's have leaned on later round OL because it's more about consistency than true talent. It's also why you can take RBs later, so long as they truly understand the rules of zone based running and follow them to a T. Also, the first/last bolded parts are why I'm excited about DQ going back to being DC and why I was never a fan of Manuel. Belichick is good because he isn't so focused on relying on his "scheme" but instead looking at each opponent and figuring out what needs to be done to stop that particular opponent. That's what made DQ great. He didn't live and die with the 4-3 Under in Seattle. He dusted off the bear fronts that gave the Niners fits. As you see with the last bolded part, DQ can figure out great offenses. He's got the reigns now. Overall, don't cry over us sticking with the zone running scheme. Also, with the additions of Koetter, Mularkey, and Knapp, this gives the offense the variability that you see from the Pats (hopefully). Being able to match up and run schemes each week is key going forward. One offense doesn't beat every defense. One defense doesn't beat every offense. You have to be ready to beat that week's opponent. Even if it means going back to 1970s football and making it boring and ugly. At the end of the day, if that's what it takes to win the SB, do it.