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4 Hopeful Signs from the Jets Game

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Metaphors, Nov 27, 2012.

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  1. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Obviously the entire game was fun to watch, but there were 4 plays that demonstrated team strengths that haven't really been utilized much this year...and bodes well for eventual use in the playoffs.

    1) Gregory interception

    The Pats back 7 is typically very predictable. They drop vertically and chase horizontally. Avoids confusion and mistakes but is easy for QBs (even average ones) to read. On this play, Gregory and McCourty showed a cover 2 look (check their feet pre-snap). At the snap, Gregory sprinted across the middle and McCourty dropped into a single high look. Sanchez took a 3 step drop and took his first read...having no idea that Gregory would undercut the route starting from the offensive left. From the pre-snap look, Sanchez eliminated that side of the field (1 receiver, 2 DBs) so Gregory was invisible to him.

    Any QB (Goober included) will have problems with defenders changing vertical lanes post-snap. Do it wrong and the defense could expose itself to a big play. But Gregory seems instinctive enough to pull it off at key times.

    2) Option on 3rd and short

    A frustration I've had in the past (not so much this year) is that the Pats are really good at getting 9 yards in 2 downs. Left an inordinate amount of 3rd-n-1 situations. Once you get to playoff time, you really can't count on winning all those scenarios.

    In the Jets game, the Pats faced a 3rd-n-1 in their own end and lined up in an I formation (2 TE) with Vereen and Ridley in the backfield. Even ignoring the passing options available, this leaves 3 rushing options for the defense to defend:
    a. Brady sneak...DL needs to collapse to the middle
    b. Ridley FB dive...LB and S need to crash the strong side of the formation
    c. Vereen handoff/pitch

    On this play, Brady fakes the dive to Ridley and option pitches to the weak side to Vereen. There aren't enough defenders to account for this. The Jets defend this pretty well and Edelperson/Solder don't do a great job on their blocks...and Vereen still gains about 5 yards before contact. In an ideal situation, Vereen gets the outside at full speed with only the weak side safety between him and the end zone.

    The ability to threaten the outside on short yardage (seen again on Ridley's TD) is a new dimension that should make it much easier to sustain drives without feeling forced to pass on short yardage situations.

    3) Mayo Sack

    On a 3rd and 6 (I think?) for the Jets, the Pats show a man look with only Mayo in the middle of the field with 2 deep safeties. The OLBs are wide on the LOS with the option to rush or drop. At the snap, Mangold doubles Wilfork and the Pats rush both defenders to take on D'Brick/Slauson. This leaves a gaping hole that Mayo knifes through to sack Sanchez before any receivers can get free and before the TE/RB can release.

    This worked for 3 reasons...Mangold didn't recognize the Mayo blitz until it was too late, the Pats defenders jammed up all the receiving options for a couple of seconds and Sanchez wasn't ready for a free rusher. These situations don't always align so you need to pick your spots carefully. But it was nice to see the Pats roll out a blitz scheme that was unexpected and scored a clear, decisive win on a key down.

    4. Vereen TD Catch

    I've been begging for this since seeing Vereen in the preseason. After the non-butt-induced fumble recovery, Brady had a basic 3 wide set with Vereen in the backfield. Motioned Welker and saw that the 2 DBs on the offensive left were in a man/switch scheme. The LB (Scott) on that side stayed inside so the defensive right was pretty sparse.

    After the snap, everyone has been saying that Welker ran a rub route on Scott to free Vereen. Actually Scott moved to bracket Welker inside and when Lloyd ran Cromartie deep, that side was essentially empty. If teams are going to press inside like this, Vereen is a weapon to make them pay. This went the distance because a) Vereen runs and catches like a WR and b) Cromartie was still covering Lloyd even after Vereen had caught the ball and started downfield.

    Each of these situations reflect areas that the Pats have struggled with in the past, but that they now have the talent to address. File these away in the memory bank and look for them when the real bullets start flying in January.
     
  2. Gumby

    Gumby 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Collinsworth was pretty laudatory of the pats on this play; immediately identifying it as suckering sanchez into this on one of the jesters favorite bread-butter staples of their attack the inside-slant. I think it definitely led to a lot of Sanchize's uncertainty throughout the rest of the day.

    Also, I think that was the first time I ever recall hearing an announcer crew ever talk about a designed-trick defense in the secondary. they love to talk about & diagram stunts, blitzes etc involving DL and LBs.

    But the DBs they just always seem to talk about them in the different coverages schemes as if they are set in stone from pre-snap through execution.

    good stuff.
     
  3. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice post. Did you think the Mayo sack, defensively, was a bit of a gamble in that situation? I ask this because, if he can't get there or if the opposing quarterback diagnoses it, that play could go for a big gain over the middle? I watched the replay of it and felt more comfortable only because it was Sanchez. It would be interesting to see how many times the defense does that should they play, say, Manning in the playoffs.
     
  4. Palm Beach Pats Fan

    Palm Beach Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    The safety play was by far the best we have seen, and not just from Gregory.

    McCourty was there to break up plays on a consistent basis, or at least to prevent yards after catch. People were not catching balls with nobody nearby and running untouched, like in the past. Dennard and Talib were covering well for the most part too, despite the 300 junk yards from Sanchez.
     
  5. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Eh, they weren't all junk yards. Before the Gregory INT, for example, the Jets were humming down the field. After that INT, we blew open a big lead and the game was essentially over. The secondary is improving from a pass defense standpoint. But there's still a good amount of work to do.
     
  6. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Any blitz is a gamble but this one worked because it seemed to be completely unexpected. Mangold (possible best C in the league) was late in getting off the Wilfork block and could just flail his arm as Mayo went past. The TE on the right got bumped but didn't get his head around for a hot read. Same for the RB on the left. Sanchez didn't see Mayo until it was too late. So Sanchez was only part of the problem.

    Goober hates being sacked and has to be anxious about taking a clean shot. Against the Jets, the Pats rushed 6 but I wouldn't recommend that against the Broncos. But certainly have the potential to rush any of the front 7 and vary when you blitz and who rushes/drops. You don't need to reach Manning to influence him adversely. You just have to be able to knock the receivers off rhythm and cover for a second or two.
     
  7. scott99

    scott99 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I love #4. Vereen has such great hands for a running back (Cal used to line him up wide as a receiver), that I've been practically begging that they have him run the wheel route out of the backfield. It was a good play we used to run w/Kevin Faulk. Vereen won't go 87 yards every time, BUT, if you run that play on first down, it's practically a 10 yard gain every time. I'd also like to see Vereen spread out as receiver, it would cause some confusion.
     
  8. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Naturally it's a gamble any time you blitz. But that particular package, I hadn't seen from the Pats this season. My question was more or less centered around that premise and I should have made it more clear. You've studied the film so would you say that they utilized that blitz simply because of the quarterback on the other side of the line of scrimmage?
     
  9. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    I don't think so but obviously can't be sure. Sending all 6 players is more likely intended to target Sanchez (or another non-elite QB) than the formation itself. I expect to see similar formations in the playoffs in key situations, but expect to see only 4 or 5 rushers with the ends dropping off into hot routes.
     
  10. BradyBranch39

    BradyBranch39 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yeah, I loved this play so much.
     
  11. abdul7

    abdul7 On the Game Day Roster

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    Great post ,,,but sorry for my ignorance can someone kindly tell me who is Goober ?!
     
  12. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #93 Jersey

    Frankenberry
     
  13. abdul7

    abdul7 On the Game Day Roster

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    Cheers Seymour,,but but who is Frankenberry ? Gotta remember i come from Bahrain !! I could go over to my friends at the 5TH Fleet based here and ask them,,but i guess my friends here are much closer to me.
     
  14. BingoBrown

    BingoBrown On the Game Day Roster

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    The defense played excellent in this game.Its as if the jets hit a
    beehive with a baseball bat.Pats defense was hitting hard and
    swarming all over the place.
     
  15. scott99

    scott99 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Peyton Manning is Goober, sometimes called Frankeberry as well.
     
  16. pdangle

    pdangle On the Game Day Roster

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    I too have been waiting for something like that Vareen toss #2 in that situation for what seems like a dozen seasons now. :)
     
  17. Avenger

    Avenger Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #11 Jersey

    Vereen, Shane Vereen
     
  18. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In some quarters, brother Eli is Gomer.
     
  19. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

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    This is sort of nitpicking the play description but it might be educational to some: "option" is not a good word for anything that goes on on this play. This is a simple FB Fake HB Toss Weak play. The QB does not make any option reads on this play. It is somewhat similar to an option play in that it leaves a dangerous lineman completely unblocked, but he's not dealt with via an option read but purely by the fake. Here, I'll show you:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Two things to see: Solder leaves the weakside LB/DE completely unblocked and just heads for the second level, and Vereen takes no fake (or "buck") step with his right foot in the direction of the play action. That Vereen immeadiately goes weak means this cannot be an option play, as option does not expect the QB to read two sides of the line at once (Strong dive, weak toss) or anything directly behind him, as we shall see.

    Now, it's true that a hallmark of the option game is that defensive lineman are left completely unblocked. But those are playside lineman, and here the play action is to the right. Above it is the weakside end-of-line player that is left unblocked, which rarely happens in option football as he could crash inside and chase down the action from behind.

    [​IMG]

    Furthermore one can see here that Brady never once looks at the line of scrimmage. What is he reading for an option key? Nothing that the Jets are doing, that's for sure.

    Let's see if I can better explain why Vereen's first step is significant. In normal I-form midline option, in which the fullback hits the A gap (between the center and playside guard) the QB opens to the playside while stepping back weakside, which gets him out of the way of the fullback while putting him in a position to read his first key on the play, usually the playside defensive tackle. (Here, it would be the playside defensive end, between Cannon and Connolly, as the Jets are in an odd-man solid front). That guy is supposed to be left mostly unblocked, and if he crashes on the fullback dive, the QB pulls the ball away from the fullback and steps down the line of scrimmage playside with the halfback off his hip, reading the pitch key, either the playside end or linebacker, also left unblocked.

    That Brady opens up directly back in a conventional QB drop, along with Vereen not even faking stepping right with his right foot before shoving off to the left (the "buck" step, used a lot in counter plays), means there is not so much as an option fake on this play. Add to that that Connolly and Cannon actually combo block that B-gap DE before Connolly goes to the second level and we are very far removed from any sort of option football.

    [​IMG]

    Vereen is simply getting wide as fast as he can so he can run the circle cleanly on the backside player that almost always IS left unblocked in the conventional run game.
     
  20. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

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    As illustration, here's an option QB's standard set. Just going to hotlink it and hope it doesn't die.

    [​IMG]

    You can see how different it is from what Brady does above, and it would be very hard to pitch it to Vereen if Brady had emulated it.

    What's been circled is the playside DT being left unblocked.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
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