AFC South Week 2 game reports. Read their stats, injury reports, and passing charts.

AFC South Week 2 game reports

AFC South Week 2 Game Reports

In order to get a feel for the teams we will play, I’ll be watching our divisional foes and who they face (especially if they’re in the NFCE) each week. This week was tortuous as the rest of the games were messes. Good football was tough to be be found.

After watching these three games, the Jacksonville Jaguars are clearly the cream of the crop. Will this continue? Who knows, it’s only two games, but they seem far more efficient and better coached than their divisional rivals.

Texans 17 (0-2) vs Titans 20 (1-1)

Only 12% of teams at 0-2 go on to the play-offs, which is not good news for the Texans. Their penalties were an issue as they came at the worst times. They started the game behind as the result of a fake punt going 66 yds for a TD, which put them in catch-up mode all game.

A big issue for Houston was a new left tackle that didn’t help a porous O-line which looked dreadful. Flags, sacks (4/21), hits. 11-88 on penalties.  However, Houston won the stats, looked better, but that first TD killed them. Plus Watson’s RZ interception, which was a terrible decision on his part.

To make up for the O-line they used six man protection, but that limits a receiver; luckily for Deshaun Watson he has Will Fuller (8-9 113 yards, 14.1 avg), and Hopkins (11-6, 110, 18.3 avg) .

Watson was inconsistent with some terrible throws (mostly from bad choices), but some very good ones. They suffered a missed FG in the game as well which is how much they lost by.

As far as the Titans, they too had a new tackle and Blaine Gabbert starting. He was ok, more consistent than Watson, but nothing special. In fact, the Titans used the wild cat formation with Derrick Henry four times in a row, and a fifth time with Henry throwing a pass. They tried it later in the game, too.

Using the wild cat that many times shows they don’t trust the QB. Reports say Marcus Mariota has issues with full feeling in his hand since his thumb injury.

The lone Gabbert TD came from an RPO play. to Taiwan Taylor on a screen pass that he ran in for 17 yards. They resorted to a lot of gimmicks, which worked, but to say the Titans looked good would be far from the case. Not to mention, it isn’t sustainable. They’re facing Jacksonville on Sunday and that defense will eat them alive.

This was one of those games where it was a mess to watch and without Derrick Henry and penalties at the wrong time by the Texans, it would be a L. Which is sad because I like Mark Vrabel and Matt LeFluer, but their offense was anemic and the defense allowed 437 yards.

  • 1st Downs HT 21 TT 15
  • Rushing HT 6 TT 7
  • Passing HT 13 TT 7
  • 3rd Downa HT 5-11-45%  TT 5-15-33%
  • Total Yards HT 437 TT 283
  • Offensive Plays HT 62 TT 57
  • Yards per play HT 7.0 TT 5.0

INJURIES

Titans

David Fluellen RB (groin)

Colts 21 (1-1 ) vs Redskins 9 (1-1)

Redskins vs the Colts was another game where the winner was not anything to write home about as it was about mistakes rather than better play. I will say this though about the Colts, while they weren’t anything special, they did look crisp. The same cannot be said about the Redskins.

How Andrew Luck played last week continued to his one: almost all throws ten yards or under, and if Washington had better inside linebackers they may have stopped him. Also, they didn’t rush him often.

On offense, Alex Smith reverted to check down Charlie when he saw his receivers drop crucial passes at the worst moments. But, if I were to lay the blame at any one group, it would be the O-Line. They were pitiful.

It seemed like Smith often had little time and their run blocking was poor. When Jay Crowder is the leading rusher with 29 yards, things are bad. Add to that, Jay Gruden did not change up the play calls when he saw the run game was DOA.

There were sloppy tackles on defense. I’d say all the crispness the ‘skins had last week wilted on the road, because what I saw was a team that didn’t seem motivated.

DJ Swearinger intercepted Luck twice and still Washington couldn’t score a single TD. That’s pitiful. I’d say the bottom line was third downs, they just couldn’t get them. Indy was 9-16-56% and Washington was 5-15-33%. 33% is how you lose no matter if you have all the yards unless those yards are inside the RZ.

3-3 and 0-2 is why Indy won. They didn’t do a whole lot between the 30’s, but they converted when it mattered. There just isn’t much to say when one QB out does another and still loses, especially when he has the ball six more minutes.

The Colts looked better than they have in a long time, but all Jacksonville will need to do is take away the short passes inside and make them run and they should win. The Redskin’s receivers dropping balls at the worst times is what did them in, not so much Indy’s defense.

INJURIES

Redskins

Rob Kelley  RB (toe)

Brandon Scherff G (knee)

Trent Williams T (knee)

Colts

Hassan Ridgeway DT (calf)

Jordan Wilkins RB (ankle)

Quincy Wilson CB (concussion)

Patriots* 20 (1-1) vs Jaguars 31 (2-0 baby)

What a game!
I was there and it was so freaking fun to see, not just because of the win, but because a) it was a win vs the Patriots* b) if we see each other in the playoffs, home field advantage will matter and c) that team Sunday was so balanced.

That’s the key to going far: balance. The defense smothered Tom Brady* who was off all day, sometimes because of pressure coming at him, but sometimes because he was seeing ghosts. The ghosts of heat shimmering from the stadium as he sweltered in the hottest game in 15 years. Ambulances were carting Patriot fans away and in fact, after half time, many didn’t return. Either in dejection or to get away from our nice summer weather.

The offense was aggressive and without Leonard Fournette, OC Nathaniel Hackett let Bortles sail. And boy did the BOAT ever. 4 TDS, 377 yards. He was docked for an INT but it went through Austin Sefarian-Jenkins’ hands, otherwise it would’ve been a pristine outing. Beyond the passing game though, Bortles gave everyone the giggles as he laid into defenders–twice, on runs. Flat out leveled Deatrich Wise Jr. (I believe it was him) who left with a finger injury.

The first drive for both teams was indicative of their whole game…one sputtered out and the other scored. Half way through the 4th quarter and the Pats* wide receivers had a total of 38 yards. That’s how NE’s* day went.

When a team has 71% third down conversions, good things happen — like wins against a team with a lot of rings. The only item that needs to be cleaned up is penalties (again). 71 yards of them. The only “silver” lining is most weren’t at bad times

Keelen Cole made a catch I’m sure you’ve seen, Corey Grant and TJ Yeldon combined to make up for the missing Leo and Josh Wells filled in nicely for Cam Robinson.

Look at these stats, 27 first downs and 14 third downs. Stats typically only give 1/2 the story, but when a team gets 22 passing first downs, it means they’re aggressive and clicking.

Finally, have to bring up that the Jags used a safety and a linebacker (rotating which ones) to cover Rob Gronkgowski. Which is pretty ballsy. By using them, it allowed the corners to cover receivers hence the lack of receiving yards going into the 4th.

 

INJURY STATUS

Jaguars

Calais Campbell (eye)

Cam Robinson (ACL-IR)

Donte Moncrief (knee) *he looked fine after the game

Pats*

Patrick Chung S (concussion)

Trey Flowers DL (concussion)

Deatrich Wise Jr. DL (finger)

 

AFCS Scouting Report Week 2- checking out the Enemy

AFCS Scouting report week 2

AFCS scouting report

Considering the Jacksonville Jaguars will not only play their divisional rivals twice, but also face the NFCE teams, staying up to date on them, informs you, the reader. Must say up front, the first four games shouldn’t be viewed as much more than a measuring stick.

For QB’s on new teams (or with new coach/new system) or new starting QB’s the first games can either be their savior as defenses have only pre-season game film or they’re learning games and they get better as the season goes on. Therefore, offenses with the above, should be judged lightly, good or bad.

In the first divisional match-up of the season, the Texans/Titans is a must watch for Jags fans. While our offense is nothing to write home about, these two teams were on CPR last week. The reasons are fairly standard.

  • as often happens with QBs returning from injuries (Watson) and one who is barely more than a rookie, fear of re-injury combined with defenses having more game film equals Deshaun Watson struggling.
  • Marcus Mariota is banged up (thumb) and has another new coach and system. The combo of both can be the death knell for young guys.
  • when an offense has QB’s on shaky ground and have issues with their O-line, little good comes from it.

For right now, I think the Texans have a better team, so in this match-up, they may have the leg up. The key for both teams is to go after the QB. Whomever has the best pass rush, wins. Oh, and Blaine Gabbert could be playing, again. Insert the OMG face.

Mark Vrabel is a first time head coach with a defensive background, so the Titans defense should improve; however, many times we’ve seen the reverse. either way, don’t see a big turn around this week. This game should help Watson improve a little with more playing time.

Texans 0-1 @ Titans 0-1 CBS 1:00

 

Colts 0-1 @ Redskins 1-0 CBS 1:00

Another game with QB issues from above; however, Washington has a better offense. Add the putrid Colts’ defense and it’s tough to see how they get a win on the road against this team.

The only way Indy has a chance is to force Smith to throw intermediate throws to the middle of the field and hope like hell their safeties with a gimpy Clayton Geathers can intercept one.

Minus key injures, it’s tough to come up with any way to scheme against Washington. Especially if you look at this passing chart from Luck. 53 passes, rarely do teams win with that kind of lopsided production. 68 rushing yards (minus Luck’s 7) compared to 319 passing. That’s not a formula for success.

Indy allowed 101 rushing yards against the Bengals; however, Houston gave up 122 vs NE*. The skins had 182 rushing (wow) vs the Cards. These two QB’s are accurate short passers, so more than likely the game will come from rushing and defense. TO make matters worse, 4 Colts players are out, two being on the O-line, the last thing Luck needs. While the skins look pretty healthy.

Only Troy Apke is out for Washington. Alex Smith will also be down an OL. Every team has issues with health on the OL except the Texans. Even so, Smith is a better athlete than Andrew Luck, this match-up should go their way.

Patriots* 1-0 @ Jaguars 1-0 CBS 4:25

Like the Jaguars, the Patriots* have two RB’s who are banged up. However, it’s the Patriots* and more times than not, Belichick always finds a way to work around his roster.

Let’s address Leonard Fournette right from the jump. NE* gave up 167 rushing yards to the Texans last week. That’s a lot and if Leo was healthy, this match-up would be leaning heavily towards Jax; however, a hamstring injury shouldn’t be rushed. Read here as to why.

This means Jax will need to lean heavily on TJ Yeldon, but he’s not a power runner. What Doug Marrone ought to do is pull a NE* and motion him around so they have a linebacker on him. In addition, they should play rookie DJ Chark. He’s big, he’s fast and can block well.

With no film on the rookie, he could give NE* a headache especially if they use him as a quasi-TE. They won’t know if he’s blocking or running a route. Not to mention, that receiving corps needs help. Hopefully, last week it was the rain that gave them the drops.

To beat Brady*

  • rush him up the middle, so the pocket is gone. He’s usually good against the blitz, so they should only rush three.
  • have Leon Jacobs and Myles Jack take on Gronk
  • play man
  • hit him as often as possible

I believe I saw a stat that Brady* has only won one game with the heat over 90°. With the humidity, it will feel 102°. That will help Jax since they practiced all summer during the heat of the day. The warmth may be the deciding factor, the 12th man. The hottest I’ve ever felt was during a Jags game in September, the ambulances couldn’t keep up with those suffering from heat stroke.

As an aside, air travel increases dehydration.

Half of the 122 rushing yards NE* had last week came from Burkhead, so if he’s out that could even things a tad for the run games of each team. If NE* can

For the AFC South teams, the only thing left to wonder is which 46 will dress out on Sunday. This concludes the Week 2 AFCS Friday injury report. We will post game day rosters as they come in.

NFL week 2 viewing areas for the Jaguars game

Week 2 Game Predictions: He Said/She Said

NFL Week 5 Game predictions - He Said/She Said
Last week Jay got nine out of fifteen and Jules got eight (went with Raiders just to be different and it bit me). We don’t pick Thursday games because there’s not enough turn around time with injury reports.
Have to say, the NFL choosing the Cowboys 0-1  and Giants 0-1 to play each other for Sunday night football is BS when there are a couple far better match-ups like the Panthers and Falcons, Vikings and Packers, Jaguars and Patriots*. The Dallas/DC rivalry is as exciting and fresh as listening to Chris Collingsworth.

Week 2 game predictions

1:00 GAMES

Panthers 1-0 @ Falcons 0-1 FOX

Jay: I think this has the makings of being a very good game. The NFC South is a crapshoot this year. Give me Atlanta by 5 in a whacky game.
Jules: No clue. I do know that without Kyle Shannahan, Matt Ryan and his offense has been inconsistent. Because Devonta Freeman is out, going with the Panthers.

Chargers 0-1 @ Bills 0-1 CBS

Jay: A kid who begged for a ‘redshirt’ year in his last presser during the preseason is now taking on a team that SHOULD be a playoff contender…give me the Chargers.
Jules: Chargers. Uncle Phil has got to have his receivers catch the ball this week, right? He could’ve had 600 yards and thats not an exaggeration.

Vikings 1-0 @ Packers 1-0 FOX

Jay: if AR plays, I think the offense will be structured in a similar structure as what you saw in the 2nd half against the Bears: quick, quick and quick releases. The Vikings are very good, and this is going to be a fun one to watch. I’ll take the Packers by 3.
Jules: Can Rodgers play again drugged out of his mind? Don’t know, but do know without him, they’re SOL. That Vikings defense is good and will give him fits when healthy, can’t imagine them against a wounded duck. While Kirk Cousins is all right, it’s Dalvin Cook GB has to stop. I’m picking the Vikings defense.

Browns 0-0-1 @ Saints 0-1 FOX

Jay: Saints. Ya think the Saints are gonna be a little salty after last Sunday?
Jules: Saints. Just can’t imagine where the Browns win because Brees rarely turns the ball over, plus Cleveland couldn’t stop Connor, so stymying Kamara seems like a tough task.

Dolphins 1-0 @ Jets 1-0 CBS

Jay: I have no confidence in this pick, but I’ll take the Dolphins here. I think the Jets are very much a work in progress and might end up being the better team at the end of the year, but right now, I’ll take the Dolphins in a close one.
Jules: Dolphins. Rookie QB’s tend to start their first games as heres or zeros, there’s not usually much in between. Based on that, can see Darnold’s star crashing into the aqua sea. But, the Fins lost their Guard who’s pretty good. Tannenhill and company better be prepared.

Chiefs 1-0 @ Steelers 0-0-1 CBS

Jay: you think Pittsburgh is going to be a little pissed off after last week? Look for another steady dose of James Connor and the Pittsburgh defense to show Pat Mahomes looks that he hasn’t seen yet. The terrible towels will play a factor here. Pittsburgh grabs this one by 6.
Jules: Another tough one to call. Chiefs defense isn’t that great, which Big Ben will need to bounce back against. Now that’s there’s some game film out, see Mahones not doing as well as the simple plays will start to get picked apart.

Eagles 1-0 @ Buccaneers 1-0 FOX

Jay: oh-oh Fitzmagic. Oh-oh Fitzmagic. While I think there is some merit to rolling with Ryan this season instead of Jameis (I don’t trust the kid enough to give him a 5 year/$125 million deal in the least), the Eagles go down to Tampa and get to 2-0.
Jules: Eagles. While Nick Foles looked like a hot mess and Ritzpatrick was cake, I don’t see this a good match-up for Fitz. Guys like him rarely put two break-out games like that together.

Texans 0-1 @ Titans 0-1 CBS

Jay: I think these teams aren’t that far apart. I’ll take Watson over Mariota here
Jules: Both these teams are banged up already. Watson is like the other young QB’s: raw and using simple game plans. They work until defenses know what’s coming. I think Houston wins only because of Mariota and Gabbert.

Colts 0-1 @ Redskins 1-0 CBS

Jay: Redskins. I don’t see me picking the Colts to win very often this year
 
Jules: Redskins. Andrew Luck had a great game with five and under passing yards…beyond that, not so great. I think the Hogs will give him fits and take away those short hops, meanwhile Alex Smith will make them work.
 
4:05 GAME

Cards 0-1 @ Rams 1-0 FOX

Jay: The Rams will take care of business here, and the countdown to the Josh Rosen era will officially start.
 
Jules:   If the Rams don’t win this, they’re in bigger trouble than the hapless Cards.

Lions 0-1 @ 49ers 0-1 FOX

Jay: I’ll take the 49ers here. The final score of the Vikings/niners game last week wasn’t indicative of how the game went. 
 
Jules: Yuck. Here’s the thing: it takes a while for QB’s to pick up a Shanny playbook (ask Matt Ryan), so Jimmy G may have stumbled because he’s not quite ready for the full one. Or that’s his real self. As far as Stafford and Patricia, they can’t screw up again that badly can they? This feels like a snoozer that SF wins.

4:25 GAMES

Raiders 0-1 @ Broncos 1-0 CBS

Jay: Oakland does not look very good on offense, period. It’s that simple. Protect the football if you’re Denver and you walk away 2-0.
 
Jules: Oakland doesn’t have a pass rush and the Bronco’s O-Line looked really good giving Keenum plenty of time. IF he doesn’t continue with the head-scratching picks, they should win easily with their defense.

Patriots* 1-0 @ Jaguars 1-0 CBS

Jay: I realize that the Pats usually throw up a clunker in the first 4 weeks, and this might be the game where they lay an egg, but if you’re asking me to trust that Blake Bortles is going to need to go out and win this game, I say no. Pats in a tight one.
 
Jules: SACKSONVILLE. I will be at the game screaming my fool head off and sending good ju-ju down on the field that their receivers CATCH THE DANG BALL! Thats the difference in this game. Without Fournette, or even if he plays gimpy, the win must come from Borltes. He’s not a great QB and he can’t afford another week of the dropsies. Forecast says no rain, 78° humidity so that should help wilt the northern team.

8:20 GAME

Giants 0-1 @ Cowboys 0-1 NBC

Jay: hard to say that a week 2 game is do-or-die, but I think we’re at that point here. I’ll take the Giants by a touchdown.
 
Jules: eh. I’m taking the better QB.

MONDAY

8:15 ESPN

Seahawks 0-1 @ Bears 0-1 ESPN

Jay: The Bears need to learn how to put teams to sleep for good. Seattle has a qb who already knows how to do that. With that being said, I’ll take the Bears to make a few big plays on the defensive side of the ball. Bears by 6
 
Jules: I’m going with the Bears, too. The Hawks have no wings and Chicago looks like they’re close to putting their pieces together.

Week 2 AFCS Friday Injury Report: Jaguars, Patriots*, Colts, Texans, Titans, Redskins

Week 2 AFCS Friday injury report

The biggest changes from yesterday to today was teams saying who will be out for the games. “Questionable” doesn’t mean much, it’s a 50/50 call so teams don’t know. Typically though, if teams have a player DNP all week, he usually doesn’t play on Sunday.

Texans 0-1 @ Titans 0-1 CBS 1:00

Gamesmanship is going on, but more than likely all the Texans will dress out (minus Kayvon Webster). The good news for the Texans is their OL is healthy…If that O-Line could be considered, “good”. Nine players on the report is eyebrow raising after one game, but their opponent said, hold my beer.

The Titans are a walking triage unit. A banged up QB and two OL out are not a good thing for Tennessee fans. These two teams facing each other may end up being a war of attrition because neither offense looked good. Flip a coin on who wins.

Colts 0-1 @ Redskins 1-0 CBS 1:00

Not to be outdone by the Titans, the Colts have four players out. Andrew Luck without a tackle will have fans sweating a bit. Or a lot. In DC, this could be another loss for the boys in blue.

The Redskins look pretty healthy, with only Troy Apke out. Alex Smith will also be down an OL. Every team has issues with health on the OL except the Texans. Even so, Alex Smith is a better athlete than Andrew Luck, this match-up should go their way.

Patriots* 1-0 @ Jaguars 1-0 CBS 4:25

Like the Jaguars, the Patriots* have two RB’s who are banged up.But, it’s the Patriots* and more times than not, Belichick always finds a way to work around his roster.

Not to panic, but Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon doesn’t give one the warm fuzzies for this offense. However, the rest of the team looks healthy and having Brandon Linder and Jeremy Parnell full is a good thing to see. This should be the game to watch this week.

For the AFC South teams, the only thing left to wonder is which 46 will dress out on Sunday. This concludes the Week 2 AFCS Friday injury report. We will post game day rosters as they come in.

AFC South Week 1 Review: Read the latest on our enemies.

AFC South Week 1 Review

AFC South Week 1 Review – Each week, I’ll be previewing and reviewing the other teams in our division. The road to the Play-Offs and Atlanta go through them. Starting this week, look for Injury reports for the four teams and the teams they play.

NE* 27 vs Houston 20

As it often happens, some rookie QB and/or first year starter rips off a few wins in a row and the NFL crowns them the next Brady*. Almost without exception, these narratives are false because the “pundits” and fans overlook their newness is why they win.

Last season, Deshaun Watson was given about ten plays, eight of them deep and Bill O’Brian let him rip. Deep balls work because in a 50-50 match-up, the receiver wins far more than he doesn’t against the cornerback (unless he plays for Jacksonville or LA Chargers).

This can work for a time, but soon defenses get enough tape and simple plays and deep balls start getting picked or batted. Add to this, QB’s who come back from injury are notoriously skittish in the pocket and panic. With a weak and injured OL, Watson was in trouble. He looked like a typical rookie.

While it was week one and a lot can change in a few weeks, the Texans D-line wasn’t great and JJ Watt looked rusty. Combined with a leaky door O-line that allowed 12 hits on Watson and it wasn’t pretty.

Points to take away for the Jags in future match-up:

  1. Brady* did better than he should have because Houston’s front 7 was pitiful. Belichick also used some creative ways to create mismatches by motioning running backs and slots changing who covered them. The Texans often found their defense caught off guard.
  2. Watson will be meat to a starving Jax line
  3. NE* pass rush will give the Jags fits

Jags 20 vs Giants 15

This game was one missed tackle by Calais Campbell, 112 yards of penalties given to the Giants in the form of 3 FGs and dropped passes. The drops can’t be overlooked and if you think so, you didn’t see the Chargers vs Chiefs game. Philip Rivers could’ve had a 600 yard day if not for drops. His passes weren’t bad, they were on the money dimes.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs had gorilla glue on their gloves, they caught everything and that was the difference in the game — catches vs drops.

Bortles isn’t Rivers and if you’re not a great QB, you’ve got to have some help. No Leonard Fournette and the dropsy triplets isn’t a good recipe for continued success. The defense being on the field that long, will take its toll. In a game and in the season.

No doubt if you’re reading this, you saw the game, but did you see how well Myles Jack made the switch to middle linebacker? Very impressive, as was rookie Leon Jacobs. Neither guy faced some plebe QB, but a longtime savvy vet. Kuddos.

Jacksonville played a lot of zone which worked, except against OBJ. This is to note as the Pats* don’t have a WR like OBJ, but rather utilize an array of different receivers/catching backs that tend to surprise.

Takeways:

  1. penalties can fixed
  2. Hackett needs to use DJ Chark against the Patriots* and if there’s a drop repeat, bring in a vet and pronto
  3. hoping that barely using FB Tommy Bohanon and the RPO being absent was Jax wanting to keep some surprises for this Sunday

Bengals 34 vs Colts 23

Indy’s defense is bad and the sun is hot. I take that back, their D-Line pass rush is ok, but the secondary and run stopping is bleh. They were no match for the weapons that the Bengals have in Joe Dixon, AJ Green, Tyler Eifert and John Ross.

Andrew Luck showed why fans marked off days on the calendar in anticipation, his accuracy is something special. He’s not the same daredevil he once was as a dual threat, but his arm is just fine in the short game.

Their run game though? Not great. It wasn’t because of Cincy being All-Pro worthy on their line, more that their stable is a little weak. I also believe they went heavy on pass protection personnel over road graters. Against a secondary as good as Jacksonville’s, Luck may not see the same the production.

Neither team has front trenches that’s making people drool.

Takeaways;

  1. Luck is the Colts. If he can’t throw, game over.
  2. he had six completions over 10 yards out of 9 passes. 5 of them within 12 yards. Of the 4 over 12 yards, a comp at 16, incompletes at 20 and 32 and a TD at 25. He threw 9 screens, was 7-9. He was lethal inside the five at 20-22. This should be stowed away for later. 20 of his 53 attempts were completions inside the 5.
  3. the way to beat him is with linebackers and a pass rush

Titans 20 vs Dolphins 27

First off, hand clap to anyone who watched the game live. I’m thankful for the NFL Game pass which boils games down to no commercials or only the plays (plus A-22) because this was an ugly game to watch.

Titans scoring summary: 2 FG’s, a 4 yd run and a kick off return. Those 20 points were ugly scores and as a Jax fan, we know ugly scores. One run points are not sustainable for a successful season.

To note* Derrick Henry is fast, he was clocked at 21.46 MPH. Jax couldn’t run down Shaquon Barkley at 19.82…Lewis averaged 4.7 yards a carry; however, he ripped one off for 26 yards which skews things a bit.

I figured the Titans would lose with a new Head Coach and staff, but didn’t think Mariota would stink so badly they’d bring in Blaine Gabbert, who didn’t do much better. The two combined for 3 interceptions, 0 TDs, 220 yards and a rating of 37.2. What’s worse is neither was sacked.

Their receivers had one catch that resulted in yards over 20. Now, it’s not like the Dolphins were burning the world, their offense was almost as pitiful, but the turnovers are what killed Tennessee. Minus that and the stats between the two teams were very close.

Takeways:

  1. the Titans are in trouble. They only had 220 passing and 116 rushing, 15 was from Marcus. If you can’t pass and you can’t run and your defense doesn’t sack or can stop Ryan Tannehil who was 20-28, you are in trouble.
  2. Mark Vrabel is a defensive coach, one could think that unit will get better.
  3. Mariota is in a bad spot and faces an uphill battle. There’s not much worse than having a parade of coaches, schemes and playbooks to ruin a quarterback. Plus to suffer and injury. I think only Cleveland and Denver has screwed up worse when developing first round quarterbacks. Shameful.

Week 1 NFL Predictions: He Said/She Said

NFL Week 5 Game predictions - He Said/She Said

A fellow writer and I give our week 1 NFL predictions in a head to head match-up of the sexes. He’s a former coach, so he’s got the leg up on me, but I’ll be giving it the college try.

SUNDAY GAMES

1:00

Bills v Ravens CBS

Jay: I’ll take the Ravens.  Look for more offense than you’ve seen from the Ravens in the past few years.  While I think Peterman is going to be a backup qb in this league for a long time because he can understand and teach the game at the next level, I see the Ravens being too good for Nate in his 2nd start.

Jules: Ravens. It seems Flacco is pulling an Alex Smith and awakening from a slumber with the addition of Lamar Jackson behind him. Meanwhile, the Bills are starting Peterman against a Baltimore defense. Yikes.

Steelers v Browns CBS

Jay: Sorry Cleveland, even without Bell, Hue Jackson is going to 1-32 in his career as the head coach of the Browns

Jules: Pitt. no offense to Tyrod Taylor, but I think he’s only had four games in his career with more than 300 yards, against the Steelers, he’s going to need all that.

Bengals v Colts CBS

Jay: I’ll take the Bengals because their roster is just better.  Andrew is the better qb, but I’m not sure where he stands yet.  I’ll take the Bengals here

Jules: Cincy is one of those teams that is always, eh. Andrew Luck is rusty and the Colts are, eh. Only giving Indy the edge because it’s a home game.

Titans v Dolphins Fox

Jay: I see a very low scoring game here.  I’ll take Vrable here to get his first win, but have very little confidence in this pick.

Jules: I love Vrable, but he’s a first time HC and Mariota has been sporadic. Going with Gase and Tannehill finally getting on the same page down in Miami.

49ers v Vikings Fox

Jay: I’ll take Kirk Cousins because I think with his defense leading the way, he will manage the game and not put the 49ers in advantageous positions.

Jules: First game that should be good to watch. Going with MN because I think Jimmy G against that defense won’t hold up.

Texans v Patriots* CBS

Jay: This is going to be a very good game to watch.  I’ll take the Pats, but that Houston defense is legitimately a top 5 defense in this league, and Watson gave the Pats (and every other team he played) hell.  I’m not sure there is a gameplan that Belichick can implement to totally stop Watson, but the book on Watson’s first reads, his drops, his tendencies…the book is out.  Look for the Pats to take away his first security blanket from the jump.

Jules: Not a fan of NE*’s defense, but also think Bilichick knows that Watson had eight plays, six involved throwing deep and he’ll find a way to disrupt him. Pats in a squeaker.

Buccaneers v Saints Fox

Jay: Saints…this pick is extremely self-explanatory

Jules: Saints. Fitzpatrick against their defense and Brees abusing theirs, going to be a long night for the Bucs.

Jaguars v Giants Fox

Jay: I think the Giants have some special players on the offensive side of the ball, but I need to see that O-line compete before I buy in. Jags win on the shoulders of their defense and Leonard Fournette.

Jules: #Duuuval! Eli moves like I do and I’m walking wounded. He has a new coaching staff, too. I’ll take King Ramsey over OBJ and Calaias Campbell over their OL. With that said, I can see smart Mr Manning targeting the linebackers early often for a lot of success between the 30’s. Not nearly as fortunate in the RZ.

4:05

Chiefs v Chargers CBS

Jay: Give me the Chargers at home (although this is the type of game they lose every year).  Too strong on defense and Mahomes is going to throw interceptions.

Jules: The Chiefs defense hasn’t shown much, almost rookie Mahones has been rookiesh. I’m going with Phillip Rivers and the Chargers, they’re the most complete team.

4:25 Games

Redskins v Cardinals Fox

Jay: Alex Smith manages his team into another win.  The playbook will be wide open and Alex is walking into the same type of offense he has been playing in with Andy in KC.

Jules: Choosing the team without a new coach and walking wounded QB, both defenses leave me yawning, so see this as a battle of offenses.

Cowboys v Panthers Fox

Jay: I need to see the Cowboys passing game before I get behind this team.  I think Carolina wins a tight one here.

Jules: I was never on the Dak train, think it was Jason Garrett and a fantastic OL/RB. With 1/2 that equation missing, more is on Prescott’s shoulders and I don’t think he can pull it off. However, Newton isn’t all that great either, but it’s a home game for them.

Seahawks v Broncos Fox

Jay: When in doubt, take the better QB.  Give me Seattle in a hard fought game.

Jules: Denver has a habit of winning its first games on luck, or good QB play or teams not having enough film on the ever-changing QB rosters. I know everyone is down on the Seahawks, but Denver has Vance puking Joseph and Case Keenum in a new offense. Seahawks because of Wilson unless Justin Simmons makes a pick.

8:20

Bears v Packers NBC

Jay: Even with the signing of Mack and the drafting of Smith, I’ll still take AR in Green Bay.

Jules: Bears in a squeaker. Shocking, but I think Chicago has a better overall team and while AR12 was the best QB in the league, I need to see him play a few games to see how healed he is…plus, there’s the Danica factor.

MONDAY

7:10

Jets v Lions ESPN

Jay: Welcome to the league Sam Darnold.  You’re going to see some things in this game that you haven’t even thought about Sam.  Look for Patricia to force Jim Bob Cooter to run the football and keep Stafford’s attempts below 40.  The signing of LeGarrett Blount was the indicator that they aren’t screwing around anymore in MoTown.

Jules: My father was born in Detroit and while he became a rabid Dolphins fan, his heart never left the motor city and he taught me all about Barry Sanders. Can Blount give Stafford the Sanders treatment? I’m betting he does. Normally I don’t pick new coaches, but I’ll take their defense over a barely 21 year old kid.

10:20

Rams v Raiders ESPN

Jay: Bright lights, big city.  Oh that’s right, this game is being played in the hole.  Doesn’t matter…the Rams are clearly better and will win this game.

Jules: Oakland has a new coach, no Khalil Mack, a roster on AARP benefits, so no one should pick them. I’m going to only because we’ve been agreeing too much.

Over/Under defense, learn more – Football 201

This article goes further in depth about over/under defense then a previous  one vs two gap defense. Even though that article is a 101, it covers more about gaps.

Back in the day, over/under defense was the old 4-3 front. If the front was over, the 3 Tech would line up to the Y. If it was an under defense, the 3 Tech was lined up away from the Y.

Some Okie (traditional 3-4) fronts have turned into Okie Over and Okie Under to accommodate the 1 gap pressure schemes. This means the N is now shading to and from the TE.

This defense makes the count in pass protection tricky. When a QB sees a 4-3 front, it’s really easy to count how many guys are on each side of the ball, but also helps the OL with declaring the MLB (MIKE). This helps the OL start to sort out who’s got who.

Same thing in the run game. However, when a defense lines up odd, the QB has to wonder, “are they now in a 1 gap or are they gonna play it straight up and 2 gap us?” The running back is looking at this, too. Experienced QB’s will help teach their backs how to read this.

The goal of over/under defense it to make the accounting process for the QB difficult on 2 levels.

Okie 4 defense formation

1) he can’t accurately count how many guys are on each side of the ball and
2) there can be confusion between the C and QB on who the Mike is, leading to protection miscommunications between the OL and RB.
Okie Under

Okie Under can put new QB’s out of their depth in trying to read what these defenses are doing.

The best team to use the Okie Under to perfection was Denver’s defense in 2015. They rarely blitzed, it was all 3 and 4 man rushes, but it was the speed of DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller that didn’t give QB’s time to breathe, nor did OL’s know who to block.Okie Over defense formation
The same odd man formation works in a 4-3, as well. This is why rookie O-Lines, especially with new tackles and slow processing QB’s can get slammed. To counter this, I think is why we’re seeing more RPO’s.
4-3 defense (under)
Jacksonville will be seeing 4-3 defenses this season who will shade their N away from the TE like above. The issue Blake Bortles and Nate Hackett face this season is the starting TE is new.

They practice against a 4-3, so 43 over/under defense won’t give them fits. Plus, this season the OL are a veteran bunch
4-3 Over defense formation
Where’s the pressure coming from above? Will it be a one or two gap and who is Mike? While the 4-3 Over looks like an easy read, it isn’t because any of the three backs can be Mike. A QB needs experience to know who is Mike, what look the defense is giving and also figuring out what the safeties are actually doing. This is why the longer they play, the better they get at the mental side of the position.

Rugby tackling techniques could help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules

rugby style tackling for the nfl

As most know, the NFL changed the rules on how players may tackle each other – a player can’t lower his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules
Not sure about y’all, but I’m wondering how it will affect the players and the game from beyond the LOS. We know the linemen will have issues, but what’s the ripple out affect? From reffing to the play level. I asked a coach (who wants to remain anonymous, like the scout) what he thought about the change.

“I think everybody who has listened to football and interested in football needs to understand that things are changing right now,” Carroll

Jules: Could how the linemen play increase, rather than decease, injuries because they’ll now be playing differently. Could see them standing more up and less squatting.
Coach:  don’t know how this will effect injuries. I couldn’t even speculate about head injuries. What I can say is that I’m concerned about making players think, especially defensively.

The league and this stupid competition committee that is run like a political party with the stark difference being that there’s never any changes as to who’s on the committee have made playing both offensively and defensively very difficult. The head rules are going to make guys think. And if they’re thinking about it, they’re gonna get hurt.

They’ve now changed the kickoff rules to where you have to have 8 guys up front on KOR. All this will do will increase returns because most teams are going to kick it to the 5 yard line and bet that with not enough blockers in the back end of the return, they’ll be tackled inside the 25.

The change to the catch rule leaves some pretty large loops. There are going to be an increase in fumbles that were immediately ruled last season as incomplete passes. Defensive coaches are now more than ever telling their guys ‘dive on the ball if it’s even close’. What does diving include? It includes your head! The exact thing that they’re trying to protect, they’re now exposing!

Jules: With the O-line spending more time thinking, could sacks increase? That split second making the difference?

Coach: I don’t know that this will allow more sacks, because the defense is also put at such a disadvantage as well. From a competition standpoint, it pretty much evens out, especially on the line of scrimmage. If they’re going to call it the way they’ve talked about.

I think that the passing game has become so much geared towards the offense regarding rules (and there will be a re-emphasis on calling pass interference this season) that it’s pretty difficult to play in the back end of the defense. Yes, as football players, the first thing you’re taught is to keep your head up.

A form tackle is made with the core and middle of your body, not your head. But players are so good now and so elusive that it’s almost impossible to bring down a skill player using a ‘form tackle’. That’s where the head becomes involved. This is where the league has totally contradicted itself and is going to turn the helmet rule into another edition of the catch rule.

The helmet rule could affect every single position on the field. It will absolutely affect how a tackle sets, it will put a premium on more athletic lineman, which isn’t exactly a bad thing, but it really makes being a 6’2’’ Left Guard a pretty hard position because if shorter than either the 3 or 1 techniques, his head will be highlighted in the block whether he wants it to be or not.

Jules: Or like a Barry Church vs a Rob Gronkowski, it’s often tough for a “fair” match-up and flags can go both ways.

Coach. Exactly, there’s a 1,000 examples. These aren’t robots. They’re human bodies with brains. Something the competition committee still can’t grasp.

I think offenses will have some adjustments for the quick passing game that will help the OL out. I would be more concerned about the run game, especially the old G scheme runs if I was an OC.

Which could mean you’re going to see more zone type run actions (which is already happening anyway) because that’s what college players are more used to as it is. But I certainly think that your short yardage/GL game plan is absolutely in a different place this year than it was last year.

Jules: what happens if a team’s run game gets stifled, will that change a team like Denver’s run-first scheme in a bad way? Put more on the shoulders of the QB to carry the offense? If so, would that help a type who relies on the quick release?

Coach: You’ll see more zone scheme stuff, which plays to more to that kind of QB’s ability. Teams won’t abandon the run game, it will be a slow shift towards getting the ball in your best athletes’ hands as fast as you can. I also think the NFL is entering the age where teams are absolutely going to have to cross train their RB’s to also be able to line up in the slot and play at the very least as an inside receiver, and be a threat.

I’m not saying LF is going there, but I do believe that the Patriots are on to something with that, have been on to it for a while now, and I think the league is now trending that way.

For years and years we’ve cross trained all OL so a lot of them have position versatility. We’ve done it with TE’s lining up as WR’s. The defense answered that by playing big Nickel. Now the offense is throwing the versatile backs out there, and it causes the defense to hesitate as to what personnel to line up in.

Jules: Some coaches have said they’re not going to worry about the helmet rules until they see how they’re called. While Carroll says it’s a very big deal.

Coach: With limited practice time in pads actually hitting each other, it’s not helping young players with some of their bad habits, especially tackling habits. If teams can’t get pads on guys to block and hit, it’s really hard to change much at all.

Dan Quinn and Pete Carroll are visionary because they have talked about getting all the defensive coaches in the league together to make a teach tape on how to use the rugby style tackles. I don’t know that it will happen, but I think it would be beneficial for everyone involved on the defensive side of the ball.

Jules: Pete had a rugby coach come in years ago to help the Seahawks, could we see more of that? The Jaguars’ defense was built by a Carroll disciple in Gus Bradley and now he’s in LA with the Chargers. I don’t recall either D-Lines taking big injury hits last season.

Coach: Other teams have introduced it. They just don’t broadcasted it. I know it’s something they do without pads on during OTA’s, which inherently means it’s a less violent type of hit. So yeah, I guess that is a possible answer to the helmet rules, but like Vance said, we don’t know yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HihjPApzCg

 

rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules

rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules
rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules
rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules

Identifying Mike: Football 101

We’ve all seen quarterbacks gesturing wildly at the line of scrimmage, or directing guys to move around. Many fans believe the quarterback is changing the play; however, more times than not, he’s identifying MIKE. He wants a defense to tip their hand based on what he and his offense does.

What is the Mike?

He’s often an inside linebacker, but also the indicator of the scheme the offensive line should use to block. There are two types of inside (middle) linebackers (ILB). Will (weak side) and Mike (middle). It’s confusing, but it’s about the role one fills during a play. There’s also a Sam (strong side LB) who is typically an outside LB, but can line up anywhere. In a 3-4, there’s also a 4th linebacker, the Edge Rusher.

What’s to remember is just because a LB is labeled W, M, S or ER, doesn’t mean that’s where or how he always plays.

There is a double reason in identifying Mike. First, the QB wants the OL to have an even match-up. Offenses don’t want the defense sending four guys to the right of center and they only have two men to block them. If he sees this, he will call out the LB’s number further to his right. That’s who the center and line should change their gap assignments for, or at least keep their eyes on.

Identifying Mike changes the gap assignments and the protection.

offensive line gaps
Secondly, what’s the #1 rule in offense? Protect the QB. It doesn’t matter if it’s a run play because someone, like a Calais Campbell, could get to the QB in a shotgun position before he can hand it off to the RB. Not just him, the whole line could blitz and the RB is getting slammed, too.

In a typical one back set (see diagram below), the offense will want to give the same look, so defenses don’t know if it’s a run or pass play. The defense is also trying to disguise where they’re sending pressure from. They don’t want to tip their hand who has what assignment. QB’s will often try to assess this by letting the play clock run down hoping the LB or safety will move or give a “tell” so he knows what the protection should be.

Let’s say the SS (Strong Safety) is creeping up. The QB (or OL) determines that it’s actually the S who’s Mike. This lets the OL know what gap to fill, also the TE and RB because that’s where the any blitz/rush may come from. As was covered in two separate pieces on one vs two gaps and over/under, it’s all about disguises.

The Center, RG and RT will aim right and the C may line up across from the DT instead of the NT, or shade him. Of course, he could stay put and the tandem of G/T slides instead. The bottom line is the OL now knows who could be coming through and which guys they need to block.

defensive line techniques
will is mike
In the hypothetical play above, there really isn’t a weak side because the field is balanced. The defense decides to play their Will on the TE side because they think the Y is a dummy, or he’s there to help block the Edge. The QB also decides the W is Mike because pre-snap he sees the SS creeping up, plus the LCB is playing press.

While CBs don’t often sack the QB, they can’t be discounted playing at the line of scrimmage, so he determines between the safety and the CB, he needs more protection from that side. Hence, the Will is Mike.

Once he’s identified, the QB yells out his number (LBs #’s are in the 50’s), so you’ll hear, 56 is Mike, 56 Mike. The OL changes its gap coverage so the C is lined up across from the Mike, not the NT making it 5v5. Or not.

That’s the funny thing about football. The Center could stay put, but keep his eyes on the Mike as needed while the G and T move over. He then moves where he’s needed. He could also call one protection, realize after the snap, he was wrong and swap. What’s key is the OL knowing where to look and who to block.

The story doesn’t end there though because defenses could have a LB act as if he’s Mike, but once the ball is snapped, they change responsibilities.

With rookies or first time starters, teams like to confuse the QB by doing the above. He’s only seen a “look” from this year or the last on film, so they will show him one they haven’t used. If there’s an OL or RB who hasn’t been around for a while, they won’t be able to tell him.

Yes, O-linemen can and do change plays based on protection, provided the coach has given them that responsibility. The Jags have a few veterans and with a former O-linemen as a HC, he no doubt allows it.

Based on his pre-snap read, and the play that’s been called, he or the OL, could yell kill, kill and the play is changed to Plan B. Every snap has a back-up play if this occurs. Most often it goes to a run if there’s a back. However, some QBs will yell kill, but they didn’t really. This can get a defense to relax or prepare for a run and the QB passes.

Football is ALL about disguises, stunts, fake-outs

 In summary, a good QB and his trusty wingmen, will diagnose the protection correctly by identifying Mike and he lives to see another day.