Sunday, 19 August 2012

Few observations on Titans game (part 1)

1st O possession

OK, first play of the game, Bucs were banking it all on the play-action. Titans didn't bite, VJax heavily covered. Free tries to force anyway

It looked like MWill was open over the top on the back side but Free never looked in his direction at all

Second down, Blount gets 4. As usual, Lorig gets a good initial thump on the DT but fails to engage&maintain a block, DT tackles Blount with the safety. If Lorig had sealed DT inside, Blount would have had big hole to outside. If Lorig had sealed DT outside, Blount would have had an extra yard or two before the safety got to him. Instead, Lorig failed to block, only thumped, so Blount only got 4. Lorig must do better.

3rd down Free locks in on VJax again but at least it's caught for the 1st down

1st down power O, Nicks on pull seals outside man, Blount follows Lorig through hole but Lorig fails to drive his man back. Also, Zuttah fails to seal his man inside, and his man moves over into the play hole, squeezing it shut. Blount had nowhere to run, gets 2. Lorig & Zuttah fail.

- 2nd down play-action pass (note Clark in at fullback). Line block as if power-O towards left. Line dispersed but blocking defenders. Nicks blocking a DT away from Free, towards Zuttah blocking another DT. Zuttah's DT loops around, so Zuttah doubles with Nicks, Nicks peels off to pick up looping DT but is too slow to get there. Looping DT hurries Free, which causes him to scramble out of pocket, throws ball away.

- 3rd down drop-back pass, Freeman sits a few seconds in the pocket but DT spins inside Joseph, comes free, and runs at Freeman, causing him to take off (also on the line, Dotson beaten inside, gets pushed over coz of crossed legs, also Trueblood on a DE, Martin runs up and chips him, but the chip actually seems to cause the DE to spin to maintain balance, but that spin leaves him free inside of Trueblood). Freeman scrambles but slides short of a first down.

- PUNT good punt terrible coverage. Cutera & I think Tandy (don't get clear view of second digit on shirt) get pushed away. First player to get a hand on returner is Q Black but he overshoots, tries to arm tackle, which is broken easily, big shock. Economos the LS makes the tackle low, and Parker finishes. 

1st D possession

- 1st down Bucs in nickel with Myron Lewis on the outside, Wright in slot. Hand off to Johnson, who runs to left where most of front seven flow, but Johnson cuts back. Bennett has good contain, forces Johnson back inside to where Barron should be able to take him down. Barron hesitates though, and Johnson is able to out-wiggle him. Barron grabs him as he goes past and brings him down (with McCoy & Barber piling on) but if Barron hits him in the hole rather than hesitate, it's a 3-4 yard gain. Instead, 7 yard gain.

- 2nd down Bucs still in nickel. Power O. FB takes on Foster but Foster able to shed him and grab Johnson as he goes past, McCoy uses his arms to push himself off of his blocker and wraps Johnson up high as Foster has him low, bring him down for 2.

- 3rd down Bucs still in nickel. Hand off to Johnson. TE simply whiffs on Bennett, who hits Johnson high, then wraps him up low, bringing him down - Barron comes down into the hole, and Clayborn comes on a TEX loop, both hit Johnson as he goes down for no gain.

- PUNT Parker fair catch

2nd O possession

- 1st down Martin in backfield play is zone run, Martin follows Lorig but then cuts back across formation into open space. DE gets off Clark's block but is only able to grab Martin's jersey. Mike Williams doing a good job of sealing the CB outside. Safety comes down and trips Martin up, two players hit him but he was going down anyway, gain of 9.

- 2nd down play-action pass exactly same problem as first time, Bucs bank on the defense to bite on the play-action and only send two on routes, though Martin what looks like a wheel route on delayed release. Freeman scrambles towards sideline (looks like he felt phantom pressure) then tries to throw to Williams but pass is too high (Williams should have been able to catch the ball if it was thrown to his numbers).

- 3rd down looks like a zone run. Martin follows Lorig, the cuts inside of Lorig. Looks like Joseph was over powered by the DT which shuts down any holes, pile of linemen collapses on top of Martin. OL made no holes on that side for Martin, if Martin was looking for cutback lane there was one outside of Nicks but he wouldn't have been able to see it as Zuttah was pushed so far into backfield that it would have obscured Martin's sight of the cutback lane.

- PUNT good punt coverage again holes, returner just makes people miss with his wiggle. First man to get his hands on him is Cutera but just an arm tackle, but he holds on to returner causes returner to spin, Q Black gets arms around returner high which drags him down (tho Quincy lets go), Hayward wraps him up from behind and forces him down.

2nd D possession

- 1st down Bucs line up in base 4-3. Empty backfield Foster pretty good coverage on TE but Locker just places it where Foster can't get to it and the TE makes a great grab, Foster brings him down straight away. 3 yards. Another McCoy/Clayborn TEX but both picked up.

- 2nd down power O. McCoy just tosses DE aside and chases play down from behind. LT fails to seal in Miller and chases down Johnson. Wright on blitz makes the pulling guard miss and wraps up Johnson around the legs, with the two DTs hitting him up high, brought down for loss of 2.

- 3rd down Titans empty backfield, Bucs in dime package - three man line (Clayborn McCoy Bennett), Foster & Watson LBs, Talib & Lewis outside CBs, Ronde & Wright slot CBs, Barron & A Black safeties. Locker scrambles because coverage appears to be good on his right, looks across to his left. Two open receivers, one with Lewis over the top of him, and one who appears to be completely open (Myron Lewis's man). Locker over throws the first receiver, Black jumps it, picks it and returns it to the 2. The scary thing is, if Locker had the arm strength and accuracy, if he had gotten the ball to the deep man it looks like that would have been a long, long completion, probably taken to the house if i'm being honest, looks like there is NO-ONE on top of him (hard to tell because All-22 hasn't been put up yet).

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A study in LeGarrette Blount's 2011 season, part seven: Week 10 vs. Texans

1st Quarter

(14:41) 1st & 10: Blount lines up singleback, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Winslow), right and H-back (Stocker), right. Play is a dropback pass off of play-action. Blount fakes receiving the handoff, which freezes some of the LBs momentarily, then runs up through the the weakside (left) A-gap and runs into the left flat to present a checkdown option. Freeman throws the ball out of bounds downfield (Winslow was in the area of the ball). Blount was open for the first half of his route, and while a linebacker came down to cover him, Blount could have been in position to catch a dumpoff pass.

What could Blount have done better?

Nothing, he did nothing wrong - if Freeman had thrown the checkdown there would have at least been a few yards gained on the play. Freeman didn't really have time to progress through the reads, however, as protection broke down thanks to bad pass protection by Penn on Connor Barwin.


(14:33) 2nd & 10: Blount lines up singleback, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Winslow), right and H-back (Stocker), right. Pre-snap, Stocker motions across the formation and sets up H-back, left. Play is a simple zone run to the strongside (right). Blount takes the handoff and runs to the strongside (right) of the line. Winslow blocks the SLB and Trueblood blocks the strongside DE, but they don't actually push their respective defenders back at all (the DE actually gets off of Trueblood's block pretty easily). Blount therefore cuts back to the left of the line, where there are pretty much no Houston defenders coming free. As he runs back towards the weakside of the line, Stocker 'pops' the WLB (Barwin), and while he doesn't lock him up, the pop is enough to slow the LB down, allowing Blount to cut downfield through the weakside C-gap (i.e. between Penn & Stocker). Penn has done an admirable job of sealing in the weakside DE, sealing one edge of a running lane, while Zuttah has actually moved outside of Penn and seals the the weakside ILB, sealing the other edge of a running lane. Blount hits this hole, but as he passes those two blockers, the strongside ILB, who was unblocked - he should have been the responsibility of either Faine or Joseph, who were doubleteaming the NT, so one of them should have peeled off to pick up the LB - tackles Blount. Blount spins round to maintain balance, breaking the tackle, but as he's unsteady, one of the safeties and a corner (who had been completely dominated by Benn's block, pushing him right out of shot, so I can't see how on earth the CB got off of the receiver's block) close in on Blount to bring him down for a gain of 8.

What could Blount have done better?

Nothing, great play by Blount, showing a great amount of what is termed on Madden "ball carrier vision", seeing the cut-back lane, and then spotting the running lane sealed off by Penn & Zuttah. Neither Faine nor Joseph made any movement to picking up that unblocked strongside ILB, and by failing to execute that assignment, the play only went for eight yards - had one of those two done their job, we'd had been looking at a first down.


(13:53) 3rd & 2: Blount lines up (yes, on third down) to the right of Freeman, Freeman in shotgun. OL + TE (Winslow) in a 2-point, not 3-point, stance. At the snap, Blount runs immediately to the right flat. Freeman passes to Williams for a 23-yard gain. (Blount was open)

What could Blount have done better?

Nothing - he was completely open on his route, Freeman even looked to him but Joseph & Trueblood were in the passing lane thanks to washing their defenders upfield. Absolutely no complaints about Blount on this play.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A study in LeGarrette Blount's 2011 season, part six: Week 9 @ Saints

1st Quarter

(15:00) 1st & 10: Blount lines up singleback, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Dotson), right + H-back (Stocker), right and H-back (Winslow), right. Play is power-O to the strongside (right) with Larsen (who starts in place of an injured Zuttah) lead-blocking on a pull. Blount takes the handoff and follows Larsen. Larsen attempts to force open a hole through the strongside C-gap (between Trueblood and Dotson) but there is none. Blount follows him but seeing that there is nothing open, bounces to the outside where there is open field. He cuts downfield tight to the outside of the line but there is a Saints DB unblocked to his outside. As Blount runs past, the DB wraps up Blount around the knees which brings him down for a gain of three.

What could Blount have done better?

This is a play where, no doubt, people will be accusing Blount of "dancing", but the fact is there was nothing open in front of him, so he had no option but to bounce outside. It looks like the DB who brought down Blount was covering Winslow, and as no-one blocked that DB, I would guess that he was Winslow's responsibility (Winslow doubled with Stocker on a linebacker instead). Even so, the failure of the play was down to the line not being able to get any holes open, forcing Blount outside. (For those wondering, had Blount stayed behind Larsen and just waited for a hole to open up, he would have definitely been at risk at being tackled for a loss by a safety who, worryingly, Larsen seemed unable to block without having to resort to holding).


(14:24) 2nd & 7: Blount lines up tailback, Lorig at FB, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Stocker), right. Play is a drop-back pass. At the snap, Blount runs up to the strongside (right) A-gap, where there is a linebacker and a safety blitzing. Joseph picks up the linebacker, but as Blount approaches the safety, the safety changes direction and runs to the weakside of the field, as Freeman has already thrown the pass in that direction (which is incomplete to Williams). Williams is dinged in the leg on the play, and Tracy Porter is carted off. (Ironic, huh?)

What could Blount have done better?

His assignment appeared to be blitz-pickup in the strongside A-gap, and seeing two blitzers coming through, he runs towards them with determination. So, he knows his responsibility, and goes to execute it, so he did fine on the play - with the exception of my pet peeve: once the safety has changed direction, meaning he was no longer Blount's responsibility (as he never actually got through the A-gap), Blount did just stand and watch the play rather than chase down the safety. Yes, his assignment may well have been "Stay in the A-gap and don't chase down any potential blitzers", but in that case, he should have remained looking for a blitzer, rather than watching the play. Still, he was in position to execute his primary assignment.


Lumpkin subbed in for Blount on third down.

Friday, 22 June 2012

A study in LeGarrette Blount's 2011 season, part five: Week 5 @ 49ers

1st Quarter

(15:00) 1st & 10: Blount lines up tailback, Lorig at FB, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Winslow), right. Play is a drop-back pass off of play-action. Blount fakes receiving the hand-off, momentarily sucking in the two ILBs, then runs through the line and into the right flat. Freeman throws the dumpoff to him. Blount stops his feet as he turns downfield, sees the strongside ILB on him and tries to cut inside past him. The linebacker wraps him up and drags him down. Gain of two.

What could Blount have done better?

He sold the play-action well enough, caught the dump-off and tried to use his power to go for extra yards, even though, in the end, the LB was strong enough to not be dragged. However, I do not like Blount's technique of stopping his feet in order to change direction - he should have continued running to the sideline and turn up field, rather than stop dead to cut up - if he had done so, the momentum might have helped him try fight through the LB for extra yards. Bad technique like Blount, though for what it's worth, it looks to me like he's stopping his feet to turn downfield, not to try and out-dance the LB.


(14:24) 2nd & 8: Blount lines up singleback, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Franklin), left and TE (Winslow), right. Play is a zone-stretch to the left with Zuttah lead-blocking on a pull. Blount takes the handoff and runs to the left of the line, aiming for the point where Zuttah is trying to force open a gap between Penn & Franklin. Blount sees a running lane open between Faine & Trueblood, thanks to Joseph going up to the second level, and cuts downfield through this lane. He then, however, sees a big gap to his right, outside of Trueblood, and looks to lean in that direction; but he continues running towards Trueblood rather than bounce outside. Trueblood leaves his DE alone as he continues zone blocking to the left, leaving the DE free to get a hand to Blount, slightly unsteadying him. The right ILB (from the Bucs' perspective) evades Trueblood's block and trips up Blount, bringing him down for a gain of six.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A study in LeGarrette Blount's 2011 season, part four: Week 4 vs. Colts

1st Quarter

(10:26) 1st & 10: Blount lines up singleback, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Winslow), right and H-back (Stocker), right. Pre-snap, Stocker motions into the backfield and sets up at FB, offset to the weakside (left). Play is a simple FB-lead run up the weakside B-gap. Blount takes the handoff and follows Stocker up the playhole, but Winslow cannot block his DE, who pushes Winslow all the way across the formation, then gets off the block and wraps up Blount as he runs past. The DE's arms drop down to the ground but he's able to trip up Blount by an ankle tap. Blount crashes into the WLB who Stocker is trying to block, while the SLB comes across the formation and joins in. Gain of three.

What could Blount have done better?

Not much. He followed his blocker, and had no real room to do anything else thanks to Winslow's abject failure to block the DE - if he had, then Blount would have been able to bounce outside of Stocker, and then might have been able to go a fair distance. As it stood, Blount didn't have much opportunity to do anything thanks to Winslow's blown block, and truth be told, he was lucky to get even those three yards.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A study in LeGarrette Blount's 2011 season, part three: Week 3 vs. Falcons

1st Quarter

(13:57) 1st & 10: Blount lines up as singleback, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Stocker), right and H-Back (Winslow), right. Play is a dropback pass. At the snap, Blount runs up the middle, then runs an out route. Freeman completes to Williams.

What could Blount have done better?

Nothing on this play. In this case, I believe Blount's assignment was to run a route straight away, with Stocker staying in as the extra blocker instead.


(13:23) 2nd & 2: Blount lines up at tailback in I-form, Lorig at FB, Freeman under center. OL + TE (Winslow), left. Play is a simple zone lead run. Trueblood pushes the DE outside and locks him up solidly, while Joseph, after chipping on the DT, releases downfield to block a linebacker. This creates a large hole in the right of the line. Lorig runs through the hole and meets an LB, originally trying to seal him to the outside. The LB gets off the block, but Lorig quickly reacts and puts his hands back on him, sealing him on the inside. Blount reads this block and cuts outside of Lorig. Meanwhile, Blount runs inside of Trueblood, then sees Faine trying to deal with a spinning DT. Blount reads the block very well, and noticing that Zuttah has sealed the other DT, sidesteps inside Faine, who washes his DT outside. He then see Lorig's LB in front of him, but notices Lorig coming back to block and seal him inside, and reading that block, cuts back outside Lorig. The LB that Joseph had gone block had gotten off of the guard, and came down to hit Blount, but he notices this and cut downfield, making the LB (Lofton) miss. He crosses the first down marker, and is hit in the gut by a safety, who had gotten off of Williams' block. Blount stops forward progress, but is doesn't go down. Several Falcons defenders come in and wrap him up for a gang tackle. Gain of 5.