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Let's Talk About: Some Things In This Offense I Do Like


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Okay, it has been quite a week around here with our second straight loss.  We're not quite in full meltdown mode, but there is a palpable sense of dread, especially with regards to the offense and one Stephen Ambrose Sarkisian.  Well I am not here to allay anyone's fears or talk anyone into anything, but I'm just going to post up a few plays that jumped out to me that I really liked and I think demonstrated a high level of offensive acumen with regards to playcalling.  And I thought it might be kind of fun for us to take a look at some base route concepts so you can kind of get into the mind of what the quarterback is looking at play-to-play.

This first play here is from the Buffalo game.  First offensive drive.  Bear with me I might get a little chatty on some of these.  There's a lot that goes into even the most simple play.

 

Okay, here we go.  Sark puts 12 personnel on the field: 1 back, 2 tight ends.  But he does something clever with the formation.  It's essentially a 3 receiver set with Hooper out wide to the bottom of the screen and Julio in the slot as the Y-receiver.  You do something like this pre-snap to expose the coverage.  If a linebacker or safety walks out on Hooper, you know it's man.  If a corner goes out there with him, you know it's zone.  Here, the corner is walked out on Hooper.  It's zone.  That's all the info Matt needs, so he motions Hooper back in-line to the wing.

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Now this is the actual route conept.  Actually it's concept(s) beacause this play has two different route concepts.  Sark has packaged this play with two different route combinations -- to beat man or zone.  To the bottom of the screen with Julio and Hooper, you have what's called a Sticks concept.  STICKS: Julio runs a stick route, a little hook, that can convert to an out route vs. man coverage.  Hooper runs the flat right behind him.

To the top you have a Slant/Flat combo between Sanu and Toilolo.  SLANT/FLAT just like it sounds.  WR runs a slant, TE runs the flat.

Matt decides pre-snap that he is going to the Slant/Flat side.  I can't see the safety, but It was Cover-3 by the Bills.  He might have seen the safety leaning Julio's way, idk.  But Matt decides he's going to the slant/flat.  Now this is the cool part and you can play along with this on Sundays.  In order to decide where to go with the ball, the quarterback is going to key the movement of a defensive player and that is going to tell him where to throw.  Here it's the linebacker circled in red.  If that defender goes with Toilolo to the flat, Matt will throw the slant.  If that linebacker sits in that window, then Matt will throw the flat to Toilolo.  Simple, right?

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Here we go.  Matt has already made his decision by his last step.  This is the beauty of the WCO.  When the timing is working, the ball comes out so fast.  The key defender sits.  Matt is going to Toilolo.  Easy completion.

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This is what you do early in the game to get your quarterback and offense some rhythm.  Nice easy read.  9 yards.

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Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
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Here's play #2.  Second drive, Atlanta is backed up on their own goal line.  Film study told Sark that Buffalo, a cover-2 defense with Tampa-2 acolyte, Leslie Frazier as their DC, was going to play a lot of 2 high on long passing downs.  And play 2-high they did.  Here it's 3rd and 9, and they go to 2 man under.  2 safetys high, everyone else playing man underneath.

Sark has a mirrored concept here -- same route combinations to both sides.  Posts by the outside receivers, flat routes by the inside guys.  Very simple concept.  Matt sees the man coverage right off the back and he knows where he wants to go... Julio.

The key to this working is Julio has to get inside leverage on his man.

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Matt looks at the safety to confirm that he is still 2 high and hasn't rotated to a Cover-1.  Julio wins his leverage inside.  Matt is going to him all the way.

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Look at how fast the ball comes out.

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Good route by Julio.  Stacks the corner, puts him right on his hip, and breaks.  Great ball placement by Matt.

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Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
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Very next play on the drive.  Buffalo has decided they've had enough of this Julio mess so Leslie Frazier goes single high.  Buffalo is in a Cover-3.  Sark comes out on first down in Empty.  Free flexed out to the top of the screen, Sanu next to him.  Julio is on the wing, pretty much playing tight end.  Hooper is flexed in the slot and Gabriel at the bottom.

Now you can see the route combinations here.  Focus on the bottom of the screen to the 3 receiver side.  This is where Buffalo starts to over-react to Julio.  Julio runs a little out, with Hooper running a deep dig right behind him.

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At the snap Buffalo is actually in good position to defend this concept.  They are matching the routes.  The linebacker is matching Julo, the Nickel is matching Hooper.

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This is where Buffalo gets into trouble.  At this point, the linbacker and the nickel are supposed to trade men.  Julio goes out.  He is no longer the linebacker's man.  The linebacker should sink to look for anything coming back inside, which is Hooper.

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And a split second later, you see the chaos.  The linebacker is so panicked because by this point Julio was moving all over the formation giving them trouble that he goes with Julio at all cost... but so does the Nickel.  You've got two men on Julio and Hooper comes wide open on the dig.

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See the way Julio's precence on the field has completely broken down a structurally sound defense.  If eveyone had done their job on Buffalo's defense, Hooper is not this wide open.

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But what are you gonna do?  You gotta respect Julio.  And if you're Atlanta, let's use your weapons.  You got more than one.

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Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
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Another play from the Buffalo game.  Buffalo's defense was starting to key in on Julio, so Sark started motioning him around, which always causes panic for a defense.  Defenses generally don't panic with motion, but when the guy they are spotlighting moves, it causes some issues.

Julio motions across the formation and just look at everyone on the second level of Buffalo's defense.  It's like "awww sh**"  "you got him?" Yeah... no... wait... what?"

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They motion into a stacked split, which I love because you can't get a jam on the receivers in a stacked split.  And now you've got your two top receivers on the same side of the formation.

 

Now let's talk about the concept and get into the quarterback's head once again.  This is called a SMASH concept.  You got a receiver running usually a 7 or flag route to the corner, underneath, right next to him you have the other receiver running an out.  Now this concept is going to be read just like the first post... Matt is going to key a defender.

Here the defensive key is #27, the outside corner.  If that corner sinks and goes with Sanu, then Matt will throw the out to Julio.  If that corner sits shallow on that out, then Matt will throw the 7 route to Sanu.  Let's look at what happens.

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The inside corner gets a pitiful lttle chuck on Sanu.  Now take a look at the key defender.  He's sinking.  Matt knows instantly where he's going with the ball.

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Easy money.  You can eat off stuff like this all day because it allows everyone to play fast and if it's read properly, the defense can never be right.  Again, look at how fast the ball is coming out.  3rd down conversion.

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Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
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Here's a play from the last drive of the Miami game.  Julio is running a 7 route.  His split is cut down to give him extra space to work to the sideline.

Now take a look at what Miami is doing.  The top of the screen to the 3 receiver side, it looks like they're playing a Cover-3 concept.  To the bottom with Julio it's straight man with a bracket over the top from the safety.

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Right off they've got him in traffic, with the linebacker trying to get over the top to get to Freeman coming out of the backfield.

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Matt makes a perfect throw.  I mean, you cannot throw it better than this.  Dropped it over the corner and in front of the safety and it was thrown with velocity.

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Overall do you think the route trees are any different from last year? Timing? Matt still getting comfortable with proteciton? It just seems that Matt and the WR's are just a step(or even just a half step) off from last year. Are defenses better defensing what we do? Or is it just me.

Or is it just that last year everyone was perfectly in sync on everything???

These plays do give me hope that it will get better. MR and JJ and MS didn't just forget everything 

Edited by Flyin' In DC
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11 minutes ago, Falconsin2012 said:

Just need the receivers to actually catch the ball and not tip it up for an easy pick.  Of Ryan’s int’s, I only put 2-3 on him

Of Ryan's six interceptions four were the result of tipped balls and his lost fumble against the Bills was one of the worse call of the year so far - what are the odds of that lol?

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And finally...

This final one I'm doing for all you people that keep saying you gotta get the ball to Julio, I don't care, you gotta draw something up for Julio... It sounds good in theory but that's just not how it works and I'm about to put it in living color for you.

After that last catch, Miami made the decision that "we don't give a ****.  Julio ain't beating us.  We don't care who else does what."

Here's the concept.  Kind of an Ohio Flood type of concept where the outside receiver to the top of the screen runs a vertical.  Juilo runs the out and Hooper the flat.  To the bottom of the screen Hardy runs the deep dig.

Now this is two high coverage from Miami and Atlanta is essentially flooding the top of the screen.  That's where Matt is looking.  Generally, the Flood is a progression read concept.  You read the vertical first, then the out, down to the flat.  You really don't even bother with what's going on to the bottom of the screen.

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Here we go, and you play quarterback and read with Matt.

Progession #1... Gabriel is eaten up with the jam right off the back.

Progression #2, the out to Julio... Miami has a vice bracket on him right off the rip.  Corner underneath and the linebacker following him the whole way.  The linebacker completely disregards Hooper, who got a chip on Wake btw.

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Here we go a split second later, Matt still wants to get it to Julio, but take a look at the picture... any of ya'll still think the ball should go to Julio no matter what?

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Matt passes up Hooper who is progression #3.  Usually that's a no-no, but this is gots to have it time.  The rotation of the safetys and that linebacker way over there with Julio tells Matt that Miami is a man short to the bottom of the screen.  Take a look at Hardy about to come open on the dig.

 

I really wish Atlanta had won this game, so I could et even more effusive with the praise.  But this is great quarterback play right here.  You can't do it any better.  Look at how fast Matt gets through 4 progessions.  Look at how quiet his feet are as he resets to Hardy in the middle of the field and how he sticks that front foot in the ground when he makes his decision and drives the ball in there.

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But all that is neither here nor there.  Point being, you go where the coverage takes you.  I don't give a sh** that Julio doesn't have a touchdown.  If defenses are going to keep doing stuff like this to Julio and leaving players wide open, I'll take it every time.

Edited by PeytonMannings Forehead
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17 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

Here's a play from the last drive of the Miami game.  Julio is running a 7 route.  His split is cut down to give him extra space to work to the sideline.

Now take a look at what Miami is doing.  The top of the screen to the 3 receiver side, it looks like they're playing a Cover-3 concept.  To the bottom with Julio it's straight man with a bracket over the top from the safety.

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Right off they've got him in traffic, with the linebacker trying to get over the top to get to Freeman coming out of the backfield.

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Matt makes a perfect throw.  I mean, you cannot throw it better than this.  Dropped it over the corner and in front of the safety and it was thrown with velocity.

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It looks nice because it was completed, but I have 2 concerns: it requires an absolutely perfect throw by Ryan...and why does the route bring Freeman and his defender so close to Julio.  My untrained eye has seen lots of this.  Route combinations where 2 receivers are 5 yards apart.  Have you noticed this?  Maybe it’s not as big a problem as I think.

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14 minutes ago, Flyin' In DC said:

Overall do you think the route trees are any different from last year? Timing? Matt still getting comfortable with proteciton? It just seems that Matt and the WR's are just a step(or even just a half step) off from last year. Are defenses better defensing what we do? Or is it just me.

Or is it just that last year everyone was perfectly in sync on everything???

These plays do give me hope that it will get better. MR and JJ and MS didn't just forget everything 

Route trees are basically the same. 

A little bit of everything else....which is NOT that unusual first 1/3 of a new season. 

P.S. We really miss Tamme/Aldrick R/ and DiMarco

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I know it was a different year but PMF but how differently did KS use Julio in comparison with how Sark chooses to use him?

Also if I do recall in the SB and NFCCG double covered single coverage Matt really leaned on Julio when a play needed to be made.

Theres that catch on the sideline against the Pats and the catch in traffic in the same game also the catch where he landed on his head against GB really stick in my mind.

Just wondering if it's how the OCs used him or are those throws in particular on Matt playing what he sees?

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3 minutes ago, Falconsin2012 said:

It looks nice because it was completed, but I have 2 concerns: it requires an absolutely perfect throw by Ryan...and why does the route bring Freeman and his defender so close to Julio.  My untrained eye has seen lots of this.  Route combinations where 2 receivers are 5 yards apart.  Have you noticed this?  Maybe it’s not as big a problem as I think.

That's the NFL and this is what high level quarterback play looks like.  In the NFL that is considered open.  When you see the back of a defender's helmet in man coverage, you let it rip.  That's what you're trained to do.  And Matt has been doing this long enough with Julio that he knew when Julio got that corner on his hip he was beaten and all he had to do was throw it to that spot.  

And that's what he did, he didn't throw the ball to Julio, he threw it to that spot and with that placement is was Julio going to get it or no one.  That's a relatively routine completion in NFL terms.

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7 minutes ago, kiwifalcon said:

I know it was a different year but PMF but how differently did KS use Julio in comparison with how Sark chooses to use him?

Also if I do recall in the SB and NFCCG double covered single coverage Matt really leaned on Julio when a play needed to be made.

Theres that catch on the sideline against the Pats and the catch in traffic in the same game also the catch where he landed on his head against GB really stick in my mind.

Just wondering if it's how the OCs used him or are those throws in particular on Matt playing what he sees?

A big part of it is health.  The Falcons offense was a lot healthier last year.  Sanu didn't miss a game until late last season.  Already he's missed a game and a half.  Even though Julio is by far the best player on the field, Sanu commands respect.  There are certain choices you have to make when both of those guys are on the field.  It gets a lot easier to roll coverage and throw up those brackets to Julio when you don't have another big, physical receiver on the field.

Also, Atlanta worked a lot more play-action last year, which needs to come back into the gameplan.  I mean Kyle would play-action from any look, shotgun, under center, it didn't matter.  That action, when the running game was going, helped freeze that underneath coverage which gave Julio space underneath to work.

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2 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

A big part of it is health.  The Falcons offense was a lot healthier last year.  Sanu didn't miss a game until late last season.  Already he's missed a game and a half.  Even though Julio is by far the best player on the field, Sanu commands respect.  There are certain choices you have to make when both of those guys are on the field.  It gets a lot easier to roll coverage and throw up those brackets to Julio when you don't have another big, physical receiver on the field.

Also, Atlanta worked a lot more play-action last year, which needs to come back into the gameplan.  I mean Kyle would play-action from any look, shotgun, under center, it didn't matter.  That action, when the running game was going, helped freeze that underneath coverage which gave Julio space underneath to work.

That's where I was going next play action especially when we've established the run like we did last week.

The play we used in the Hall TD was a thing of beauty to watch.

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40 minutes ago, Flyin' In DC said:

Overall do you think the route trees are any different from last year? Timing? Matt still getting comfortable with proteciton? It just seems that Matt and the WR's are just a step(or even just a half step) off from last year. Are defenses better defensing what we do? Or is it just me.

Or is it just that last year everyone was perfectly in sync on everything???

These plays do give me hope that it will get better. MR and JJ and MS didn't just forget everything 

The routes aren't different.  Sark is just a different playcaller and I think he's still trying to get all the way into the offense.  Like I could see how he was attacking Buffalo and it was beautiful stuff.  It wasn't verbatim what Kyle did.  It was his own thing and it was working.  Then Julio went down.  Then Sanu went down.  That meant he had to cut huge chunks off the call sheet.  Even then with spare parts the offense moved, but it was a stupid penalty were, a bad play there that kept killing drives.

Similar deal with Miami.  I broke down the second half in that other thread... sack on the first play of the first drive of the second half.  That killed that drive.  Second drive that rolled over into the 4th quarter they get into field goal range.  They start to get their rhythm back then that drive gets killed by a holding penalty by Jake and then a sack.

Next drive of the 4th, they completely whiff on a block on that toss sweep and it's a 5 yard loss.  That drive is dead.  Can't really put it on the playcalling like a lot of folks in some of these other threads wanted to when you start off with negative plays and can't sustain drives.

Defenses are doing some different things this year which is limiting the big plays.  Buffalo for example, they were keeping them safetys way back.  I mean on some of those plays it looked like they were lining up in Buckhead.  They just were intend that they were not getting beat over the top.

So it's a combination of a lot of things.  The execution has been lacking at the worst possible times.  Defenses are doing some different things this year, and Sark -- IMO, needs to tweak some things and get back to the play-action, get that outside zone going, etc.

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1 hour ago, Peyton said:

PMF, have you broke down the last play, the INT?

I talked about it some in that thread the other day, but I didn't do any pictures and gifs or anything like that.

Now that last play, I was not in love with that concept.  Looked like a spacing concept to the three receiver side, which more or less meant that Hooper on that skinny post was the only place to go with the ball.

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