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Let's Talk About: A Defensive Play or Two (for old times sake...)


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Havent even read this yet but wanted to comment by saying...

 

 

YES! This was the best thing on this forum! Thank you @PeytonMannings Forehead

 

 

Now that I have read it, I had a feeling it was going to be this play. Neal had it the whole way and didnt second guess it once. Its great to see the defense work well AND see the results on the field. People are starting to remember who Debo and Neal are and I dont think its a coincidence that the defensive play has been elevated since they started playing better. 

Edited by DirtyBird2
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The defense really benefited from the loss of Takk and Fowler being out for a month.  Sounds odd, but it forced the coaches to get creative with the pressure packages.  We are finally using our speed at LB to not only play coverage but also to get the quarterback off his spot.

Once we figure out our EDGE, this could finally be a complimentary defense.  A gap pressure from Foye which our EDGE cleans up when quarterback X runs for his life

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Here's a couple more.  Once again, it's subtleties.  Small stuff that adds up.

This is another one from the 1st quarter.  Raiders are backup up after a penalty against Jacobs.  We're looking at 2nd and 16.  Call is our customary Cover-3.  Raiders are in a Trio formation.  Three wide receivers to the top of the screen.  Tight end in-line to the bottom.  This is usually the type of formation that can wreak havoc on that coverage.

What I wanted to focus on is once again, the physicality.  Remember the OP I  talked about the curl/flat defender and his job to jam.  Take a look at Oliver here in the nickel.  Look at the chuck he gets on Renfro going up the seam.

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If you're flying F-14'a in the Navy, you never leave your wing man.  And if you're playing curl-flat in Cover-3, you never let a receiver run up the seam without putting hands on him.  It doesn't look like much but the distribution of the routes was so thrown off that the two receivers almost bumped into one another.  I can't even tell for sure what the concept was, but it might have been sail, with Renfro running the 7 route... but that's dead and the short curl is all that's left.

And we leverage it well.  Inside out, Deion and Denard have him boxed.  I don't like the way Denard let him get to the sideline.  Situationally, it's going to come up eventually where we're going to need him to keep that receiver inbounds, but it's a solid play all around, and set up the third down.

 

 

Next play, 3rd and long, we bring another pressure.  This time it's both linebackers in a sort of Rush Buzz 3 -- with Neal playing the Buzz.

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I'm used to seeing us get eaten up by screens, but once again, Neal's eyes are perfect.  Waller never had a chance.

 

This is a merciless game.  To think about how an athlete spends every waking moment battling back from injury, all that monotony, all those lonely days where it's just you grinding away, all just to be carried off the field again.  It's humbling to watch the way Neal has carried himself.  He is an absolute difference maker when he is healthy.

 

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36 minutes ago, Osiruz said:

Finally you are back! Thought you went into hiding after those hideous first 5 games lol. 

That actually ain’t far from the truth. 😆

31 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

The defense really benefited from the loss of Takk and Fowler being out for a month.  Sounds odd, but it forced the coaches to get creative with the pressure packages.  We are finally using our speed at LB to not only play coverage but also to get the quarterback off his spot.

Once we figure out our EDGE, this could finally be a complimentary defense.  A gap pressure from Foye which our EDGE cleans up when quarterback X runs for his life

Definitely addition by subtraction. I have no idea how it’s gonna shake out, but it’s been a solid coaching job by Ulbrich. I was really struck at how much more bite this defense had after DQ got put out if his misery.

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PMF great stuff as per.

What I’m liking about Neal is and have noticed it the last few months he’s trusting what he’s seeing getting those shoulders up field and finishing guys.That’s his strength finally we are using him in the way he always should have been.

Throw in the growth from Olukoun and a resurgent Neal and Debo defense is getting back to where it always should have been.

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This defense does not work the same without Neal and Jones playing to their physical potential. The underneath stuff is a back breaker if you don't have read and react instincts, speed and finishing ability. Those guys are difference makers that we have sorely missed as a tandem. 

Also going under the radar is Oliver in the nickel making a presence. Reminds me of Sanu playing slot receiver as a big guy. Something about having size and physicality in the middle of the field that leads to good things.

The D Line rotation has been tremendous, havoc by committee.

And Foye is just a playmaker. A super smart, fast and physical player. He is being unlocked this year.

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8 hours ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

Good afternoon beautiful people.  It's been too long.  I've been meaning to do one of these for the longest buuttt... you know, 2020 and all.  But the Falcons left me in a good mood Sunday so here we go.

Let me just start off by saying, the first five games or so -- and I don't want to be too hyperbolic about this, but this was some of the sh**iest defense I have ever seen in my life.  I don't wanna say they were the worst defense I had ever seen, but I can't think of too many worse off-hand.  And the defensive play calling (whoever was doing it) was atrocious.  It was a total repeat of last season's first quarter where everyone was in the wrong position.  We were blitzing when we should have been playing coverage.  We were playing coverage when we should have been blitzing.  There was no anticipation as to what the offense was doing.  For all the mess Dirk takes around here for his play calling, the defensive play calling was worse.

I'm not totally sure if Jeff has been completely handed the keys or if it's another one of those combinations like last year where Jeff calls early downs and Raheem calls the 3rd down stuff, but it's been working.  It's been working like a mother******.

The thing I think that has really stood out lately has been the 3rd down package.  We've really mixed it up nicely with this fire zone stuff that we'll roll out from time to time to keep offenses off balance.  There are a couple of calls I want to look at -- this might be the only one I get to, so bear with me -- but this first one from the opening quarter was a beauty.

 

 

3rd and 3 - Raiders are close to mid-field.  Now usually, and predictably, we usually just go man right here, which is what it looks exactly what the Raiders were expecting.  Hence the bunch formation.

To the bottom of the screen we got a vertical that's not really part of the read.  He's just there to clear out the underneath coverage to hopefully find some space for the drag route coming from the top.  

To the top is another vertical from the #1 receiver designed to do the same thing; clear out the underneath coverage for Renfro on that speed out.  It's a very well designed play, actually.  Should be money on 3rd and 3.

IMG_3626

 

This is what we answer with -- Buck Zone 3 out of Nickel.  Usually we show a double-A Gap pressure look with both linebacker's mugging the line of scrimmage, but here, and because of the formation, plus down and distance, Deion has to play off the LOS.  

We got a five-man pressure.  Foye is coming on the blitz where he's going to fake up the middle then run a twist all the way around to the C-Gap.  Coverage-wise we're in our customary 3-deep shell.  Because of the loss of Foye, we only have one hook defender, Deion.  Two curl-flat players in Neal and the Nickel corner, two corners playing deep 1/3's and of course the deep safety.  Now this play should work for a first down, but it's the lights out execution that gets us off the field.

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This right here is what I LOVE about defense.  It is the essence of football -- communication and execution.  Simple stuff.  Look at Deion and Neal's eyes.  Right on their assignments.  They're not trying to do the next man's job.  Neal ain't jumping up to take #15, even though his initial steps take him right to the marker, because that's Deion's man.  Instead, he plays his assignment.  We're not spot-dropping here, we're reading patterns, so Neal is playing that curl area first and letting the throw take him to the flat.  He's fading with #11 on the vertical route, while keeping eyes on Renfro.

Now in a spot-drop concept, the hook defender (Deion) has a 10-12 yard drop with 1-2 yards wide of the hashmark, but again, here's we're reading patterns.  That's the only way this type of zone blitz works.  We're letting our guys be athletes.  Deion has the first receiver that comes inside.  Renfro throws an obligatory chip and stumbles, while #15 runs the drag right to Deion's zone.

IMG_3633

 

To the bottom of the screen, you got the Nickel, who is the other curl/flat defender, getting a jam on the receiver.  This is key when you're curl flat... you never let a receiver run up the seam untouched.  You get hands on him and physically displace him on his route to help out the safety.

IMG_3628

 

Meanwhile, Foye is looping while the end to his side takes an inside move, clearing the way.

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Now this is the part I'm really in love with.  These two made the play -- Deion jumps the drag.  Most linebackers just don't have the mobility to run with a receiver there, but Deion actually cuts in front of that route.  And Neal plays this perfect.  He knows the situation, he knows what the offense needs, and he knows exactly where Carr wants to go...

IMG_3634

 

The ball isn't even out and Neal has already gotten his foot into the ground and is driving downhill.

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Thing-of-beauty... Neal knows he's got help behind him.  Passes #1 to the corner, takes the second man through the zone.  Exactly the way it's drawn up and a beautiful hit.  And step over him like a piece of garbage for good measure... punk.

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This is football right here.  This is what we've been missing.  Details.  Fundamentals.  You don't have to have some exotic scheme or all-pro's at every position if you can get your guys playing clean and on the same page. 

Love to see them on TOP if their responsibilities. For some reason they always seemed a tad too slow with Quinn. Almost like the read was slow and the reaction was even slower. They really seem like film study is paying off and they’re playing the techniques EXACTLY how Raheem, Ulbrch, and Whitt want it played. Love to see it. 

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16 hours ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

That actually ain’t far from the truth. 😆

Definitely addition by subtraction. I have no idea how it’s gonna shake out, but it’s been a solid coaching job by Ulbrich. I was really struck at how much more bite this defense had after DQ got put out if his misery.

What do you think the problem was?  What was the disconnect with Quinn and why did we regress at the start of this season from the end of last year?

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13 hours ago, TheFatboi said:

Love to see them on TOP if their responsibilities. For some reason they always seemed a tad too slow with Quinn. Almost like the read was slow and the reaction was even slower. They really seem like film study is paying off and they’re playing the techniques EXACTLY how Raheem, Ulbrch, and Whitt want it played. Love to see it. 

Second that emotion. That game the defense played Sunday vs the Raiders was some of the most enjoyable Falcons football I've seen in a while. They really played like a cohesive unit and made play after play after play. Fantastic job by the coaches and the players.

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On 12/2/2020 at 2:54 PM, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

That actually ain’t far from the truth. 😆

Definitely addition by subtraction. I have no idea how it’s gonna shake out, but it’s been a solid coaching job by Ulbrich. I was really struck at how much more bite this defense had after DQ got put out if his our misery.

:ninja:

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6 hours ago, PokerSteve said:

Second that emotion. That game the defense played Sunday vs the Raiders was some of the most enjoyable Falcons football I've seen in a while. They really played like a cohesive unit and made play after play after play. Fantastic job by the coaches and the players.

No doubt. And everyone here knows that 3rd and short that Neal stopped cold would’ve been a 1st down with Quinn. Neal would’ve been a day late and a dollar short. 

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Great stuff as always PMF!!

 

This is more example and proof that the Falcons aren't as void of talent as many here would lead you to believe and why there should be great hope of a fast turn around in 2021.. I keep saying it because I fully believe it, but the Falcons are extremely close to fielding an elite defense. We need an elite FS to put this defense over the top. It's the position we're in most desperate need of. But I love our linebackers and our DL is so much better than they've been given credit for.

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