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)

 

Front 7 Tips – Football 201 from an NFL Scout

NFL Scout Report on front 7 tips

PART I. We’ve all heard about NFL Scouting, how do they make reports? What is in them? We’re going to give you answers with a real Scout’s data and his input. This installment is on Front 7 Tips.

I’m not going to reveal the NCAA conference or who the Scout made his reports for, but it covered every snap against ten teams and how one team and its players performed. I’m going to use the letter, “P”, as fill in when a team’s name was used or a player’s number.

When I read his first Front 7 Tips report, some of it was like looking at Greek, so I asked him to explain. His answers inspired me to start this series. Below is one page of analysis and then the explanations for each number. This is football 201, so I won’t be explaining as much as in the Football 101 series.
Tips:

  1. G Front team
  2. Will flip front on RB shifts
  3. Rock and roll safeties
  4. Will reduce in a ‘okie 4’ look
  5. Will show a muck-luck line on 3rd down
  6. Will flop fronts to TE motion/shift
  7. #P is a true N, strong, no feet
  8. #P is more athletic than P, more of a gap player.  Wreaked havoc against P in zone game when 4 hands didn’t get on him
  9. N/3T are cross-trained
  10. Will loop blitzers on 3+L
  11. Will run line games while #P is mugged
  12. DE’s are fast, speed rushers, will need help on 2+L, 3+L
  13. Will drop out of dbl mug look, double mug will look like a bear/pinch front
  14. #P will try to come across your face, but doesn’t always bring his hands
  15. LB’s and DE’s can be influenced in the zone game
  16. #P, if plays??, natural bender, disengages well.  P fan protected him when lined up over LG/LT.  When lined up on right, used TE and RB to chip.  Kept sliding protection to him. Also has ability to get his hands up in quick game. Will line him up to weakside as often as possible. Has had a lower leg injury.  Status unknown
  17. P and P went 5 against them and middle of field was open for all crossing routes and QB draw
  18. Against P, ran a lot of bomb/attack/wrap vs. Gold
  19. Will green dog the RB
  20. Showed P some true Okie fronts

After #1’s explanation, is a graphic for readers who are between 101 and 201. Obviously, below is just for you readers, it’s not needed for the pros. Hope you find how above translates into below to be informative.


Front 7

1. G Front teams: In a 4-3 base defense, typically the 2 interior DL are lined up in a 3 Technique (outside shoulder of the Guard) and in a ‘shade’ look (opposite shoulder to where the 3T) is. If they’re a G Team, that ‘shade’ now moves into what we call a ‘1 Tech’. He is now lined up on the inside shoulder of the guard.

Now it may not make a difference on some plays, it certainly has a few effects:

1. Changes the count in pass protection. It frees up the center to go opposite the nose and help clean up on the other side if they choose.

2. It changes the angle at which he gets blocked. If the center is looking to double team him with that guard, it changes how he’s going to approach that block and how it’s all going to time up. The guard needs to get his hands on him sooner because the Center is gonna be a hair late to get there to help.

3. If the nose lines up as a G, there’s more of a chance that he will slant (stunt) across the guards face and get into the B gap. This would mostly happen when there is pressure coming into the A gap from the 2nd level.

2. Will flip front on RB shifts: in a 4-3 base defense (the Denver Broncos are an odd *okie* 3-4 front team, but we still use the shading system that is used more in 4-3 defenses), there are different ways to designate where the 3Tech is going to line up and where the Nose is going to line up. Sometimes it’s set to where the TE (Y) is lined up.

Sometimes it’s based on hash marks. And sometimes, especially in 11 personnel 3rd down shotgun situations, the RB is the indicator to where the 3T will line up. Sometimes it’s opposite the RB, sometimes it’s to the RB.

Often teams will shift the RB to the other side to see if they can get the front to ‘flip’. Basically, that’s the old, ‘move move move’ thing where the defense either slides over, or the 3T moves real quick over the other guard. If they don’t move, you know you’ve got them locked into a front.

In this case: 1. When you move the RB and they flip the front, you know EXACTLY what front you’ll get, and you can dial up the exact run play that you want. 2. Moving the RB changes how the protection is going to change. If they flip, you can get them into exactly the front you wanna protect against.

3: rock and roll safeties. In basic 3 deep coverages, 1 safety has the middle 3rd of the field and 1 screws down to differing areas of the field depending on what the rest of the defense is called. Having rock and roll safeties just means that both guys can and will do both responsibilities, therefore making the qb’s presnap read even more difficult.

4: okie 4. True odd teams that are playing nickel, be it big nickel or regular nickel, will have a true bulldozer at NG, and 2 5T’s to rush the passer. Okie 4 is now where the NG and one 5T are lined up regularly, but on the other side, that 5 will reduce down into the inside shade of the tackle, and the WLB is walked up on the LOS.

5. Muck luck lines are what a lot of teams do on 3rd and long. They don’t particularly line up. They’re all standing on the LOS and at the snap, some will rush, some will drop. What this does is cause issues with the count for the QB as he can’t declare who the Mike is, therefore the lineman have trouble communicating who has who.

The Kansas City Chiefs run a version of okie 4. The Oakland Raiders used to, I would imagine they’re gonna be more of a Tampa 2 team now because that’s Jon Gruden’s baby. It also has very Belichickian principles to it.

6. TE motion to fronts. Same as shifting RB’s. Same concept.

7-9: true NG’s are road graters…farm strong guys who can battle a double team. They have to be thick on the bottom, and their ass better be massive. It’s a dirty work job. Bring your hard hat and lunch pal. 3 techniques are a slimmed down version of the NG, who are much more athletic. They don’t need to be quite as strong, but they need to be able to move their feet.

Their job is to be more of a disruptive force in the backfield. A lot of teams cross train their guys because college offenses run plays so fast that you can’t ‘flop’ your front.

10. Looping blitzers are self explanatory. Their goal is to not only come, but to get 2 OL blocking 1 blitzer and get the other blitzer a clean run through the backfield.

11. Line games: line games are like blitzes, only they just include D lineman. We see a lot of Tex and exit stunts. On a Tex stunt , the 3T will go across the face of the tackle, and the DE will loop around him hoping to get a free run to the qb. Similar to looping blitzers. (*editor note, I wrote about Jacksonville’s DL and their games=55 sacks.

12. DE’s are fast, speed rushers, will need help on 2+L, 3+L. Self explanatory.

13. Mugged LB’s: a lot of teams mug their backers. All it means is that their MLB will line up over the center on the LOS and he may come or he may back out. But again, in the count, he has to be counted in.

14. Bear front. This is a true 3-4 defense, only instead of a Nose and two 5T’s, now you have a Nose and two 3T’s. This is a fun stopping defense especially interior running games.

15…influenced backside DE’s and LB’s: these are guys who get nosy and try to chase down plays instead of staying home on the zone read stuff, or their backside responsibilities.

16 & 17 are about a player and explained

18Bomb, Attack, and wrap: these are 3 types of blitzes. Bomb is 2 LB’s going through both B gaps. Attack is 2 LB’s going through the A gap. And wrap is either a double A gap stunt or an A and B gap blitz to the same side. The trick is that this is a loop blitz. One guy goes first, and the other comes off his ass into the other gap.

19...Green dog the RB: this is something certain defenses use if the RB stays in on protection. If the RB stays in, the LB who has him, reads that the RB is staying in, so he now has to blitz. But he’s gotta make sure the RB is truly staying in for protection. But if he stays in, the LB picks a lane and attacks.

20True okie is just the old style 52 defense. It’s an odd front with two OLB’s on the LOS. A lot of teams have gotten away from this true front because they’re playing more nickel defense, and that OLB has been replaced by a Nickel Safety/Corner.  This is where okie 4 comes into the mix.

Under Center Concepts: I-Formation, Ace Set, Pro-set – Football 101

I-Formations

In this installment on Offensive Formations, we tackle formations where the play starts with the QB under center.  Those branch out into various base formations like the I-Formation, Ace Sets, and Pro Set formations the West Coast Offense (WCO) was built on.

Before we get into each of the three, there are some concepts and benefits that each of the three share.

Unlike a RB/FB being handed the pigskin in a shotgun formation, he’s not getting the ball at a standstill.  He’s already moving when he gets it, which gives him more of a head of steam when he hits the LOS. Harder to stop a moving train.

The quarterback and back move towards each other, and as soon the hand off is complete, each head in separate directions. This way the QB isn’t in the way for the back. In addition, if the QB is scanning the field because he’s pulled the ball down and about to throw a play-action pass, he doesn’t want the back there.

It’s a dance that requires practice to get the timing right and handoffs must look the same as his fake handoffs, each and every time.

In a recent trend, some quarterbacks spend the majority, if not all of their college career in the shotgun/pistol formations, so NFL QB coaches are having to teach, and to an extent, waste time on teaching concepts. Ones that should have been drilled into their head from when he first started playing the game. Therefore, there is an adjustment to taking snaps for some.

Ace/One Back/Single Back/Lone Back:

The Ace/One Back set is discussed in greater detail here, but it is simply a single back set that offers an abundance of options for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to dial up. He can filter through various groupings (See Chart below) of  3WR/4WR sets and then go back to a 2TE set.

The team’s base set of running plays will be able to be run out of most, if not all of the looks. Personnel can change from 4WR to 2WR/2TE but the same dive play can be run up the gut from any of the looks.
Ace set formations

  1. 11Set 1RB, 1 TE, 3WR with the TE split out.
  2. 12Set 1RB, 2TE, 2WR with the WRs in a Twins Left look.
  3. 12Set 1RB, 2TE 2WR with the LTE split out in a Twins look with the X.
  4. 10Set 1RB, 0TE, 4WR with a Trips Right look.
  5. 10Set 1RB, 0Te, 4WR with a Trips Left look.

2-digit offensive formation chartWhen Blake Borltes is under center this season, variations of the Ace set will likely be the primary concepts that are used.

A huge stable of the quarterback dropping back is the play action pass. Even teams that use an Air Coryell system with the QB is shotgun will use the PAP. Teams think he’s dropping back to hand off for a run, but instead, he keeps it and tosses it deep because the defense sucked up for the run. Or he keeps the ball himself if he’s got wheels. They don’t know what they’re getting because every play starts off looking the same. That’s its greatest asset.

West Coast Offense/WCO: 

For a West Coast Offense, most of the snaps historically came from under center however, the offense has continued to evolve from Bill Walsh’s base concepts. Coaches have added and meshed other concepts and today quite a bit of it is run from the shotgun as well.

A WCO, quickly, is a scheme that capitalizes on short quick passes, as an alternative to an underperforming running game. They dink and dunk down the field with runs and short passes and then hit a go type route when the coverage loosens to stop the short. This eats up clock so the opposing offense has less time. If a team can score in these slow marches down the field, it’s a good scheme. If they can’t, they just ate up a bunch of clock with nothing to show for it.
bill Walsh west coast offense formation

  1. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR Pro Set
  2. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR Far/Weak (TE/RB Opposite Side)
  3. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR Near/Strong (TE/RB Same Side)
  4. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR FB in a Wing Left position
  5. 22Set 2RB 2TE 1WR Double Tight

A coach can use boot-action in a spread to employ a FB and keep a defense guessing.

I Formation:
The I formation is a formation that every NFL playbook has a chapter on.  It is a bit more friendly to the pass/run ratio. The I-formation comes with the QB under center and a Fullback and Tailback, sometimes called the I back, behind the QB. It can come in variations that have 3WR, or 3 TE, or 2 of either 1 and one of the other. It’s not exactly as dynamic as the single back set above, but it is still versatile and offers more running options with the pair of backs in the backfield.
I-Formations

  1. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR with more of a spread out look.
  2. 23Set 2 RB 3 TE with a Tight/Heavy look.
  3. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR  with more of a tight look.
  4. 22Set 2RB 2TE 1 WR with one TE positioned on the wing.
  5. 23Set  2RB 3TE 1 WR with a Heavy unbalanced line to the right and the 3TE in a wing on the left.

It’s a big component of a team’s short yardage and goal line package simply because of the fullback. They are the battering ram that open holes and occupy defenders for half/tail backs to pick up extra yardage. Often, a FB with be in front of a RB to clear a path. It’s a lot easier if the QB isn’t in his path, which is why in the shotgun, the FB lines up differently. He’s useless if the QB is standing in his way.

 

Ace Set: a staple in every offense.

ace set

The Ace Set is a common name for an offensive formation that uses one running back. It is run with the QB under center. The running back generally lines up behind the QB but can be staggered off to one side.

Each of the generic sets shown  are variations of the Ace Set, which are also known as single back sets, lone back sets and obviously the 1-back set.  These sets have been utilized in a lot of proficient offenses from Joe Gibbs running it with the Hogs in Washington, to more pass happy versions utilized by the top quarterbacks over the last two decades . Each team has variations of it as staples in their offenses.
Ace set formations

  1. 3WR/1TE set with a four-wide look
  2. 2WR/2TE with the 2WR in a Twins left look
  3. 2WR/2TE with the LTE and X in a Twins look
  4. 4WR Trips right look
  5. 4WR Trips left look

ace set

6.   3WR Twins on the right

7.   3WR with the Y in a wing/slot opposite the TE to even up the formation

8.   2TE/2WR

9.   4WR with 3WR in a bunch/trips set to the left

10.  4TE Heavy set

The Ace Set is a very dynamic formation system since it allows the receivers to line up multiple places, giving the defense various looks. However, they can run the same routes, same play same call, just based on the various formation and where they are positioned.
Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 7.41.58 PM
11.  3WR/1TE with 2WR in a tight wing formation on the right hand side

12.  3WR/1TE with the back offset to the left and 4 receivers on the left hand side of the offense

13.  3WR/ 1TE with the TE/Z stacked in a “Queens” look and the back is offset to the right

14.  4WR and TE in the back field

15.  2TE/WR with the back offset to the right. The TE/WR are stacked in a “Queens” look.

 

Myles Jack switching from Outside Linebacker to Middle Linebacker isn’t simple.

Myles Jack switching to middle linebacker

With the retirement of Paul Posluszny, the Jaguars drafted Leon Jacobs and moved Myles Jack (wasn’t down) to middle linebacker. How he does could determine how Jax does on defense. Yes, it’s that big of a move.

Little is said about the nuances that come from switching from being a Sam to being a Mike. It’s manyfold. The first factor in this is the Jags must feel very confident that Jacobs can handle the SLB position.

Before getting into this, know that moving Jack to the MLB means they think they’ll be playing with a lead most the time. 65% of time, teams with leads play sub packages. Hence, the last thing a team would want would be Jack riding the pine 35% of the plays.

Often when teams go from base to nickel, they usually sub a DB for the SAM. Since Jack is a hell of an athlete and strong enough to hang with tight ends, plus stop the run, they want to keep him on the field as much a possible.

How will moving change how he plays?

If a player is the Sam or Elephant, not only does he have a different responsibility, but how he sees the field, reads the entire offense, changes. Not only is he viewing plays from a different perspective, but his timing is affected, as well.

In a 4-3 defense, the SAM is a bit slower, but stronger. They time their first step, their tilt to arrive at the quarterback or whomever is on the edge to hit him with maximum force and the right height. With so many rules in place, they’re like a pitcher trying to throw a strike in a small area.

What they think, how they react is stems from the C gap. Quick twitch guys.

Moving inside changes everything. Besides making them cover Y’s/TE’s requiring them to cover more area, they also have to stop the run up the middle if the back gets past the tackles.

OLB in a 4-3 predominately tackle backs around the edge where speed is a big factor. When backs power up the middle, one arm tackles won’t get it. Their shoulders need to be squared up. They’re also looking at the play with more bodies in front of them.

4-3 defense (under)

The first step they take instead of barreling toward their target, is now one that requires a different technique and the ILB is who quarterbacks are looking to exploit with ins, slants, etc. Hence, he needs to be smart.

The short passing game goes through the ILB. Stink at stopping them and it’s going to be a long day. While a Mike has the DL to help stop runs up the middle, they’re often alone in the passing game. Sure, the safeties can and do move up, but if they’re involved, often it means the ILB didn’t do his job.

Fans should understand that it will take Jack a little while to nail this position because he needs to retrain his muscle memory on how to react to each play. Most likely, quarterbacks will throw in his area to challenge this. Don’t be surprised if he’s a little inconsistent until he’s had a few games under his belt.

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.

Scouting Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: Traits the NFL looks for

scouting wide receivers and running backs

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the player in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used. Scouting wide receivers and tight ends gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting wide receivers and tight ends, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.

They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual one below is based on, had photos showing:

  • route running
  • sticking defender
  • downfield avoidance
  • homerun ability
  • catch in stride
  • body shield DB at catch point
  • body control at top speed
  • fast twitch
  • threat red zone

When Scouting Wide Receivers and Tight Ends they look for

  • Catch outside the frame ⊃
  • Speed Cut 〉
  • Square Cut ⌈
  • Double Move ζ

Body

  • coverage recognition
  • ball reaction – see & adjust track ball
  • body unravels in stride/cuts
  • crowd catch
  • extend to pluck
  • ball vs body catcher
  • adjust body on the move
  • fluid athlete
  • separation from defender body position
  • release vs man press (body strength, hand strength)
  • hands (soft/hard)
  • excess movement in stride
  • natural ball catcher
  • burst in route stem
  • top end speed
  • burst in/out of cuts
  • jumping ability/timing
  • R.A.C. – burst/acceleration/elude/efficiency/toughness
  • extra gear to separate
  • initial quickness
  • build to speed
  • release vs zone/man
  • lateral elude/make you miss

Mentality

  • interest in run game
  • blocking tenacity
  • crack block
  • settle in voids/spaces underneath in pass game
  • scramble drill
  • make himself available to QB on run
  • work back to ball
  • find holes

Notes

Here are notes used when scouting wide receivers and tight ends. Notice that for most of the TE’s, he cared more about blocking than catching. That’s the #1 job in most scout’s eyes.

  • High points ball well. elusive in screen game. A little sloppy on his routes. Good feet. Question his game speed. Tough, but rough around the edges. Feel like game film would look different.
  • Long, good blocker. Facemask to chest type blocker. Finishes on his feet. Big frame and great bend. Put 30 pounds on him and he’s an athletic tackle. Really explodes through defender. Big legs.
  • Tough. Able to get to 2nd level. A little high on his drive blocks. Questionable hip bend. Hands like a WR. Queen TE. Does not look like he likes blocking.
  • Long legged strider. Runs with ease. Nice route runner. Comes back to ball well with ease. Good hands. Gets to you of his route with ease.
  • Runs through tackles. Elusive, fast and tough. Creative. Don’t know if he has a 4.4 speed, but would play well in the slot. Catches ball with hands. A little sloppy on his 3 cut. Goes and gets the ball. Good player.
  • Whoa tough as nails blocker. Refuses to be tackled solo. Uses body to box out smaller players. Football awareness high. Good bend and sink. Strong upper body. Could add 20 pounds. Good player.
  • Smooth route runner. High points ball. Basketball type player. Fluid movement, soft hands and hard to tackle. Climbs to 2nd level well on doubles Don’t know about brute strength. Skinny legs.

Hope this gives you insight into what the NFL looks for when scouting wide receivers and tight ends. Any questions, you can comment below.

Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks: read what the NFL is looking for

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. The first was quarterbacks. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the backs in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used.

Scouting halfbacks and fullbacks gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting backs, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for.

Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge. They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual one below is based on, had photos showing:

Style

  • one cut
  • slasher
  • compact
  • upright/erect
  • pick & slide
  • screen type
  • slippery

Overall Size

  • bruiser
  • diminutive
  • lengthy
  • high cut

Inside run

  • acceleration in hole
  • strength
  • balance
  • effort
  • burst

Outside run

  • stride
  • speed to corner
  • cutting ability
  • elude

Elusive run

  • make defender miss
  • vision
  • darter vs weaver
  • iline & open field

Routes

  • precise cuts vs round off
  • gather body
  • separation quickness
  • body stiffness to adjust on move
  • flexibility to adjust

Run after catch

  • acceleration
  • elude
  • toughness

Fumbler? Reason

  • carriage
  • carelessness
  • extra effort
  • physical make-up

Pass Pro

  • willing? effective?
  • adjust
  • vision/blitz recognition
  • inside power
  • outside lateral adjust
  • chip
  • cut block

This is an important list scouting halfbacks and fullbacks

  • instincts
  • vision (cutback), hole/block read
  • pad level
  • durability
  • stamina
  • workload limitations
  • center of gravity
  • ball security
  • suddenness
  • best in open space
  • hands? extends to pluck vs gather
  • balance after contact
  • elude (in open field)
  • balance
  • make defender miss
  • bender?
  • explosive speed
  • burst through hole
  • initial quickness
  • lateral bounce
  • leg/fee management on contact
  • short strider

All the lists above will have remarks, numbers, grades. In addition, after watching games and film, the scout could make notes like these, which were after a game. Each paragraph is a different player.

  • Squirter. Elusive, low to ground runner. Does not take a hit square. Good vision that belongs between tackles. Strong legs, keeps them driving. Runs through, not around you. Power game runner, question his vision. 1 cut and go. Not a HR hitter.
  • Keeps legs pumping. Tough, quick burst back. elusive, but one cut guy. Low center of gravity. Doesn’t get squared up to get t tackled. Little target. Can break away.
  • Nice hands, smooth mover. Breakaway speed, hides behind and sets up blockers well in screen game. Low center of gravity. Hard to hit. N/S runner. Great vision and elusive player. Doesn’t stop legs.
  • Shifty, breakaway speed. electric. Open field=gone. Runs through arm tackles. Low center of gravity. Good hands. Good patience and vision. Really pops off the screen.
  • Like him, more of an outside the tackles RB. does well squaring up his shoulders. Lines up in the slot at times, ran a fairly sloppy 5 cut, but cuts looked fine. Has ability, but for being a speedster, I question his breakaway.
  • Breakaway speed. elusive, but not a dancer. Downhill runner. Big body. Tall, but runs low. does not give a big tackling target. Long legged strider. Tough runner. does not turn down a tackler. Like this kid as both a spread and dot back.

There you have it, what scouting halfbacks and fullbacks look like, the type of items they look for and some notes they’ll make. Obviously, the bulleted items above will have numbers or notes and on their RB/FB eval sheet will have many hand scribbled notes.

Hope this was helpful, you can comment at the bottom of the page or send a direct message to @the_teal_zone on twitter.

Offensive Line: power vs zone – Football 101/201

Offensive Line: power vs zone. We’ve “talked” often about power gap and zone block offensive lines, but this article will go deeper.

Quick history lesson. The Denver Broncos introduced the ZBS to the NFL back in 1997 with Alex Gibbs. It’s all about the run, the quarterback is the ultimate game manager, hand the ball off and throw enough to keep defenses honest. Instead of the OL worrying about who to block, they just defend their zone. Tandems double team to create space for a back to run through.
This changed the type of offensive linemen teams wanted from big mammoths to smaller more agile guys. While most OL can play both, most teams draft/sign players to be one or the other.

This part will cover Offensive Line: power vs zone as Football 101

Power guys use their feet to plant and push power up and out is the simplest way to explain it. Sumo wrestlers whose motion is more north/south. 5 guys making a wall, worrying about protecting their gap and/or focusing on a particular player.They are made to protect the quarterback.

Whereas, Zone guys need quick feet because they often move laterally. They need to slide sideways while blocking, often hip to hip with their partner. Run-first teams want to push the DL in one direction while the RB goes the other OR the RB runs laterally behind the line and then cuts through a gap.

This changes the responsibility of the guards. He isn’t pulling for the RB because everyone is. While the line is moving in one direction, they can ignore blocking the guy farthest away from the play. This gives them the ability to also use tight ends efficiently. Does he block or catch?

Zone block scheme is dependent on a running back having great vision

When a lineman changes the torque on how he uses his body, some players will obviously be better than others at certain movements. Also, in zone, OL team up in duos, so communication is vital, they’re two guys taking on two.

Play action works great with this because a team doesn’t know if the QB is dropping back to hand off or throw. Also, ZBS lines don’t need to block long. The QB takes the snap, hands it off or often throws on the move behind the sliding line.
If the line makes a pocket for a pass, it’s more than likely going to break down quickly because they’re not made to block for 3-5 seconds. Hence quick passes are the name of the game.

Teams who throw 70% get their runs because teams back up to cover the pass and the back should have easy yards. No loaded box, it’s the element of surprise. Since these teams are built for passing, the pocket needs to hold so WRs can get depth and/or shake their defender.

The above is Football 101, it’s a simple explanation. Most sentences can have “usually” or “typically” slipped in it because there are all kinds of variances, but this is about teaching the basics.

This part is more Football 201 on Offensive Line: power vs zone

Below is more in-depth, but to understand it, you need to know the above. The reason we’re going into this is because I’m interested to see if the Jags use more or less ZBS based on how Blake Bortles and Fournette do.

Center or guard in a zone scheme
The center must be one of the smartest players on the field.  The point of using an inside zone run or an outside zone run is to get 4 hands on the defensive lineman, and 4 eyes on the linebacker. If the play is coming to his right, and the C has nobody on him (4-3 scheme), he knows he needs to work with the Right Guard.

This tandem will take the defensive lineman who’s lined up over the guard and the inside linebacker.  Neither knows which one is going to block yet, so at the snap they drive block the defensive lineman. If the ILB shows up in the A Gap, the Center should disengage from the defensive lineman and block that ILB.

If the ILB shows up in the B Gap, the guard will now disengage and block the ILB, while the Center stays on the DL. For this block to be effective, it is IMPERATIVE they 4 hands on the defensive lineman and 4 eyes on the ILB.  If they lose track of the ILB he will make the play.

Tackle in a zone scheme

A Backside Tackle (Left Tackle when the play is scheduled to go right) in a zone scheme, needs to be able to move his feet.  If he can’t help the backside Guard and climb up to the WLB, the line is in trouble. He must protect that B Gap while climbing the ladder to the WLB.

If done correctly, the RB has the ability to press the hole to his right, and if he sees a line, bend it back to the left.  It’s not a cutback as much as the defense is overloaded the right side. If he can get that backside blocked up well, there will be a natural lane to the left for the RB to use if he so chooses.

The Playside Tackle, depending on the front (in this instance, lets put a 5 Technique over him), has to work with the TE to block the DE and SLB.  Many times the TE Will end up climbing the ladder to the SLB, but this still needs to be a 4 hands on the DL, 4 eyes on the SLB.

This position requires toughness and the athletic ability to block strong and fast 5 techniques (read here about DL techniques) and not get pushed back.  It may be the hardest lineman to find, athletic enough to move your feet, and strong enough to take on a strong bull rush.

The whole genesis of the zone run scheme was to block 3 Defensive Lineman and 3 Linebackers with 5 Offensive Lineman and Tight End. Refuse to block the backside Defensive End, because he has contain and spill responsibilities. If he’s making the tackle, he needs to be running naked boots to his side as he’s getting way too nosy in the run game.

By putting 4 hands on the Defensive Lineman, they’ve given themselves the ability to not need 5 guys who weigh in at 315 pounds and can bench press a cow. Substitute some brute strength for a little more athletic ability.  6’6’’ 315 pound lineman who can bend and move and strike like a Pro Bowl caliber player are rare.

With the influx of collegiate talent coming in that are used to running more and more zone schemes, the NFL has diversified and put a lot of zone schemes right next to their G schemes. They’re running both which is one more thing for defensive coordinators stay up late at night to figure out what’s coming at them and when it’s gonna come. Good ones figure it out.
Offensive Line: power vs zone
Offensive Line: power vs zone

NFL Scouts: read what they look for in Offensive Linemen

Nfl scouting offensive linemen

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group, giving you a glimpse into what NFL franchises look for. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the player(s) in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used. Scouting offensive linemen gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting offensive linemen, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting offensive linemen gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.
They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual report below is based on a player, had photos showing:

  • punch & let feet work vs grab & let feet recover
  • create/generate movement of LOS
  • uses good angles
  • contact balance/sustainability 
  • technically sound
  • on the ground?
  • can he drop hips/weight & anchor
  • positional leverage
  • sink weight (vs bull)

The report also had notes on all of the following:

Technique

  1. set
  2. punch
  3. mirror
  4. recover

Movement

  • 2nd level adjust
  • 2nd level engage/sustain
  • pull on a track (and adjust)
  • pull & trap
  • pull & lead around corner
  • pull & flip hips to seal short
  • lateral slide
  • response to counter move
  • cut blocker in space
  • linear footspeed
  • initial quickness to get position
  • best in 1st steps?
  • inside redirect
  • adjust when coming off doubles
  • slide adjust
  • short area quickness

Style

  • mauler
  • road grader
  • quick boxer
  • swing player (multiple positions)
  • short area (limited ability in space)
  • wide grabber/clamper
  • positional blocker
  • space athlete
  • drive blocker

How does he handle upfield speed? Can he sink & stop the Bull?
6’7″ or able = shows up in throwing lanes for QB
Get pulled on the edge, short arms?
This list was on a player (yes, in the NFL). There’s a lot of good, but some bad.

  • awareness (stunt/blitz)
  • ducks head
  • pad level good
  • gets overextended
  • top heavy
  • late to extend arms
  • explosion
  • sustain (on 1st contact)
  • short jab/arm extensions in pass pro
  • arms to leverage
  • pump arms in pass pro? (compressing for feet)
  • Hip sink/hip explosion
  • rolls hips on contact
  • hands (discipline)
  • placement/patience/timing/reset
  • works to re-position
  • heavy hands
  • active hands
  • punch
  • wide base/narrow base
  • lower body tightness
  • light in ass
  • knee bender vs waist bender
  • base strength/leverage
  • initial quickness
  • movement off ball
  • ankle bend
  • overset
  • heavy feet
  • linear foot speed

Scouting offensive linemen notes on several players:

OT-Like his punch. Very athletic. Gets to 2nd and 3rd level with ease. Almost too anxious in screen game. Nasty in drive blocks. Stays on his feet decently. Questionable leg strength. He’s beating inferior players.
G-Explosive and gets to 2nd level well. On the ground a lot. Not overly athletic. Stands tall in his pass block and doesn’t use his hands very well.
T-Athletic big man. Gets to second level well. For a big guy, has low center of gravity. Finishes blocks. Needs to work pass pro hand usage. Has some issues blocking in space. Wide body. Question leg strength. Not a road grinder.
G-Punisher on run blocks. Athletic enough on pass sets. Gets to 2nd level pretty well. Needs to lower set. Kinds gives a runway to mediocre pass rushers. Tips the play off with his stance.
What we have in all this is notes from several players, a kind of cheat sheet of what they look for and in the top section, an actual player. Hope this gives you more knowledge in watching training camps so you can see why some guys don’t make your team.

Any questions your can comment way down below. Or send a DM to @the_teal_zone. Thanks for reading.

Defensive Tackles – Read what an NFL Scouting report looks like.

defensive tackles

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group, giving you insight into what NFL franchises look for. The real report I based this on, had pictures of the player(s) in various movements, with comments about each. You may want to read the companion piece on the Offensive Line to see their counterparts.

To keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used. Scouting defensive tackles does give you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

When scouting defensive tackles, not only do scouts put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities. DTs include nose guard/tackles, basically (but not always) anyone who plays the techniques between 0-5.

Scouts go in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting defensive tackles gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.

Players break down film, do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual report below is based on a player, it had notes and photos showing:

Defensive Tackles TYPES

  • 4-3 1 Tech
  • 4-3 3 Tech (versatility?)
  • 3-4 Tech (versatility?)
  • 3-4 NT

Movement

  • Bend
  • Ankle flexibility
  • 2 gap (lockout & press) vs 1 gap
  • strength to anchor?
  • left & right side of the ball?
  • disruptive?
  • motor
  • strength & POA hand tech

How do they scheme him? (Chip, Double W/TE, etc?)

When it comes to defensive tackles, the amount of data they want on them is impressive. For most fans, the “big uglies” just stand there pushing. (POA=Point of Attack) There’s far more to it. For each bullet below, will be notes on each. Scouts looks for:

  • Stack & control blocker w hands
  • plays under pads
  • uncoils
  • pursuit/range/chase speed
  • short area burst to close
  • zone blitz pass drop
  • counter technique
  • drive-bys(pocket)
  • can he play crossfire vs the cut?
  • can sift through trash (to get to ball carrier?)
  • has to win early? Or work to QB?
  • can get washed at POA
  • segmented as a pass rusher
  • can he anchor/hold edge
  • natural/fluid movements to QB
  • can only win inside
  • leaves a lot of sacks the filed
  • more a rusher than a sacker
  • gives up gap integrity
  • tackle in space/tackle power
  • chase/hustle

Power Rush

  • anticipation
  • take off
  • leverage/explosion
  • push the pocket/press
  • inside stunt/loop/twist

Speed Rush

  • edge
  • anticipation
  • burst
  • speed
  • flexibility
  • quickness to bend corner
  • close off blocks
  • outside stunts

Moves

  • club
  • rip
  • swat
  • spin

Mental/Body

  • snap count anticipation
  • instinct – feel schemes
  • read & react – awarness
  • on field alertness – screens/draws/etc
  • dip shoulder
  • pad level/plays high
  • exposes chest in run
  • contact balance
  • can bend and dip
  • short area quickness
  • clear hips
  • hand strength/speed/activity/tight moves
  • hands to shed
  • initial quickness
  • lateral movement/redirect
  • strength to constrict the block – tm
  • knee bend
  • close speed
  • range outside tackle box
  • slide/skate
  • ankle tightness
  • first step/feet quickness
  • clears feet
  • heavy feet

Does he:

  • win early or late or both
  • play within the scheme vs free lance
  • anchor hold vs double team
  • natural bender
  • can get skinny to split double

Below are notes from a scout concerning several players.

  • explosive, high motor. Hits like brick shithouse. Low center of gravity, but plays high. Uses upper body strength. Is a closer in pass rush.
  • Strong grip, but doesn’t hand fight at all. Plays pretty low. Very quick in the box. Can take on a double. Needs a fair amount of technical work done.
  • Sheds blockers, low at point of attack. Stout, and fairly quick. Against a pulling guard, he’s a truck. Good awareness. Not quite sure on his hand strength and strike. Can play a little high. Not in love with his game/frame.
  • Strong bull rush. Sheds blocks, ok. Explosive off ball. Decent COD (*editor note-change of direction). Very agile and nimble. Need to see more games. He wasn’t blocked against much.
  • Explosive hips, off the ball and very quick laterally. Finisher. Strong. Knows how to use hands. Nice COD. Splits doubles, disruptive player.
  • Raw, athletic, strong motor. Tendency to play high and can’t really tell his level of physicality. Definitely a 1 gap DL.
  • Quick off the ball. Strong bull rush. Goes through OL to get in backfield. Sheds blocks well. Not a fancy player. Failry quick in the box. Skinny, needs to add weight. Powerful lower half. Flexible legs (was a HS kicker). No pass rush moves shown. Kid is a thumper.

Hope the above helped you look at the big uglies with more appreciation than being bulls in a china shop. As always, you can comment below or send a twitter DM to @DenverBroncosZ for any questions.
Thanks for reading!