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FalconsIn2012

‘The Blanket’ - Isaiah Oliver

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I’ll be honest, I’m a bit surprised to see Quinn/TD slot AJ Terrell as starting boundary corner opposite Sheffield, especially considering Oliver’s improvement under Morris.  It appears in nickel, Sheffield will move to the slot while Terrell & Oliver man the outside.
 

Falcons coach explains how Isaiah Oliver turned his season around
 

The first half of Atlanta's season didn't necessarily goes as planned for anyone, including Oliver.

"Early on in the year he was doing some things that didn't connect his feet and hands and that got cleaned up during the year," secondary coach and defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt said on Tuesday. The Falcons hired Whitt to be the team's new secondary coach in early January.
In the first eight games of the season, Oliver allowed a quarterback passer rating of 119.4, according to Pro Football Focus. He was targeted 45 times and allowed 30 receptions for 427 yards and three touchdowns and also committed five penalties.

After a 1-7 start, Quinn announced former wide receivers coach now defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris, would be switching over to the defensive side of the ball to work with the defensive backs specifically.

Morris was able to fix some errors in Oliver's technique and his game saw significant improvement, earning him a new nickname. Oliver was named "the blanket"

Why the "blanket" you might ask?

"Because he wraps people up," Morris said. "That's his job. The young blanket."

'The blanket' has really been one of the guys I've been able to directly affect," Morris said of Oliver's development. "Being able to be with him, switch some his technique things, some of his fundamentals. He's a really smart football player, so he's easy to communicate with. He's one of the few guys you can say something too in the classroom and watch him take it to the grass without making a mistake. Extremely smart, wants to be physical, plays it the right way. The blanket has done well for me since I've been over there coaching him."

"Everything within the defense … whether that be communication or playing the techniques of the defense better," Oliver said. "Everything is just kind of clicking a little bit better now."

When asked what some of the technique changes Oliver made during the second half of the season were, Whitt provided further detail.

"I thought over the last eight games he did a really good job of connecting his feet and his hands in his press game," Whitt said. "He stayed more square. That gave him the ability once they got up the field to connect at the top of the routes."

Oliver committed just three penalties over the final eight games of the year and finished the season with 62 tackles. Now that he's improved, he's proven his technique is consistent, Whitt wants Oliver focused on creating more takeaways. Oliver has one interception in his two-year career with the Falcons.

"We're going to make sure we can pull the ball of people," Whitt said.

Whitt, a longtime defensive backs coach in the NFL, is an established teacher of technique. The Cleveland Browns had the No. 7 pass defense in the NFL in 2019. Prior to his time in Cleveland, Whitt spent 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers (2008-18).

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Just now, Faithful Falcon said:

He's physical. All of that zone coverage was killing him. 

Agreed.  That’s why I’m surprised he and Sheffield are not the starting boundary corners with AJ getting his reps at boundary in nickel

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31 minutes ago, Faithful Falcon said:

He's physical. All of that zone coverage was killing him. 

I’ll never understand why we drafted a guy who thrived in college in press coverage to play 15 yards off the ball. 

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Posted (edited)

Oliver needs to drastically improve or we'll be drafting another CB next draft.

65 completions on 98 targets (66%), 527 air yards and 381 yards after catch given up, and 5 TD's and 7 missed tackles on those 65 comps, overall 113 QBR allowed.

That's bad.  Real bad.

And Sheffield wasn't any better.

41 completions on 55 targets (75% YIKES!), 213 air yards and 232 yards after catch given up, and 2 TD's and 5 missed tackles on those 41 comps, overall 110 QBR allowed.

No wonder we were bottom in the league in pass coverage.

 

ETA:  And here's Trufant for reference.  He wasn't any better either.

25 completions on 38 targets (66%), 299 air yards and 143 yards after catch given up, and 4 TD's and 4 missed tackles on those 25 comps, overall 101 QBR.

All terrible.

Edited by Beef

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Unless they're totally switching up the scheme, we like to play physical in zone too.  When Quinn arrived, all anyone talked about was "press bail" coverage.

Trufant was notoriously horrible at it.  Oliver, and the guy we just drafted, are much better at it.

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For what it's worth, not that anyone here is necessarily doing this -- off coverage does not equal zone necessarily, and press coverage does not equal man necessarily.  There is more to look at than where they line up.  You can guess right some of the time with those basic observations, but you'll be wrong a lot too.

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14 minutes ago, Beef said:

Oliver needs to drastically improve or we'll be drafting another CB next draft.

65 completions on 98 targets (66%), 527 air yards and 381 yards after catch given up, and 5 TD's and 7 missed tackles on those 65 comps, overall 113 QBR allowed.

That's bad.  Real bad.

And Sheffield wasn't any better.

41 completions on 55 targets (75% YIKES!), 213 air yards and 232 yards after catch given up, and 2 TD's and 5 missed tackles on those 41 comps, overall 110 QBR allowed.

No wonder we were bottom in the league in pass coverage.

They really were not as bad as it seems.  If you simply exclude our two week abomination (Texans, Cardinals) our secondary allowed just 222 ypg over the other 14 games.  That’s 8th best in the NFL

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I also think the scheme works better running zone on the back end, for what it's worth.  It allows them to cover all the run fits and all the potential pass routes if everyone does their job.  The problem is, there are a lot of easy cover 3 beaters that we seem to struggle with.  @Knight of God talks about why that is a lot, even if he doesn't just come out and say so directly.

Hint: relative lack of speed at the free safety position can be a liability.

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5 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

They really were not as bad as it seems.  If you simply exclude our two week abomination (Texans, Cardinals) our secondary allowed just 222 ypg over the other 14 games.  That’s 10th best in the NFL

Not to mention as pointed out...there is a vast and distinct difference between the first part of the year and the second half of the year.

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14 minutes ago, JAxxSmooth said:

Because that's what we do lol

Exactly. This isn’t anything new. Chris Houston was an elite press man corner at Arkansas. Strong as heck, with 4.32 speed. Put him in zone.....therefore introduces “Crisp Houston”. 

Dunta Robinson, drafted two spots after we took DeAngelo Hall, thrived as a press man corner in Houston. We signed him to a big 6 year deal and stuck him in zone. that one failed too. We forever pick up square pegs and stick them In round hole and wonder why we never get over the hump.  This is a Falcons thing smh

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2 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

Not to mention as pointed out...there is a vast and distinct difference between the first part of the year and the second half of the year.

Yes sir...

And even the first part of the year, heading into Week 5 we were allowing just 212 passing ypg which was top 5.

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1 minute ago, falconsd56 said:

Not to mention as pointed out...there is a vast and distinct difference between the first part of the year and the second half of the year.

That Texans game was horrific. But it was the Indy game where I thought Trufant was on Qualuudes.

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11 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

Was not only Trufant.

The entire back 7 sucked that game.

5 yard passes became 15 yard passes with way too much ease

Sorry -- I was utterly mistaken.  It was the Texans game after all.

That play where Trufant covered a half acre of grass instead of communicating with the back end still gives me fits.

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36 minutes ago, cwell1 said:

Exactly. This isn’t anything new. Chris Houston was an elite press man corner at Arkansas. Strong as heck, with 4.32 speed. Put him in zone.....therefore introduces “Crisp Houston”. 

Dunta Robinson, drafted two spots after we took DeAngelo Hall, thrived as a press man corner in Houston. We signed him to a big 6 year deal and stuck him in zone. that one failed too. We forever pick up square pegs and stick them In round hole and wonder why we never get over the hump.  This is a Falcons thing smh

 

Didn't Dunta Robinson have like 2 bad knee injuries during his time in Houston? 

 

Dunta was never the same after those knee injuries. He was robbed of his speed and a good bit of his athletic ability.

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1 hour ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit surprised to see Quinn/TD slot AJ Terrell as starting boundary corner opposite Sheffield, especially considering Oliver’s improvement under Morris.  It appears in nickel, Sheffield will move to the slot while Terrell & Oliver man the outside.
 

He finished the year strong, but after the bye and before Trufant got injured, it was typically Sheffield and Tru starting outside in base, with Oliver only coming in on sub packages. I guess the assumption here is Sheffield is preferred to Oliver and Oliver is the man Terrell has to beat out. 

Given how frequently we're in sub packages, it's a little redundant. Even in sub packages, Oliver was on the field for around 80% of our defensive snaps.

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Why the "blanket" you might ask?

"Because he wraps people up," Morris said. "That's his job. The young blanket."

 

Well, that's a real problem right there, because I was always telling my son, "When is Oliver going to realize that his job is not to tackle guys AFTER they make a reception; his job is to PREVENT the reception from happening in the first place..."

 

Now I know.  This is a big problem...

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Finally they coached him up, wish Raheem Morris had been the DC a long time ago. I was clamoring for him to be either DC/HC but he's made a huge difference in how our DBs play. I still wanna see consistency from him, but with him and AJ outside and Sheffield inside I am ok with that. 

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1 hour ago, JDaveG said:

I also think the scheme works better running zone on the back end, for what it's worth.  It allows them to cover all the run fits and all the potential pass routes if everyone does their job.  The problem is, there are a lot of easy cover 3 beaters that we seem to struggle with.  @Knight of God talks about why that is a lot, even if he doesn't just come out and say so directly.

Hint: relative lack of speed at the free safety position can be a liability.

I wonder how many times per game our scheme causes some people's brains to go "OMG THE SEAMS!! THE SEAMS!!"

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