Offensive Line Play for Jaguars, Chargers

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by unoriginal, Jan 31, 2008.

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  1. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

    The two AFC playoff games were very similar from a pass blocking standpoint: both the Jaguars and the Chargers elected to go with down rushers and few blitzes, much like the Giants game. Unlike the Giants, however, the Jags and Bolts didn't really have the interior linemen to pull it off. Actually, they didn't have the linemen to pull it off, period.

    Because both teams elected not to run intricate blitz packages, sending in safeties, corners and linebackers from every which way, the Pats utilized their RBs, especially Faulk, more often in the passing game then we are used to this year. Off-tackle screens, an old favorite, were run with success against both defenses' up-the-middle pressure scheme. This helped keep both teams' linebackers dropping back into coverage as the game went along.

    Coverage-wise both teams alternated between press man and deep zone.

    First, the Jags game. It didn't get off to a great start, with John Henderson single-handedly backing Logan Mankins into the QB, like Ngata did a few times in the Ravens game. Thankfully, that was all that Henderson could muster on the day.

    Relevent Reiss postings:
    Positional groupings
    Offensive Participation

    Mostly 3, some 4 down rushers, no blitz
    10:43	1 & 10	[COLOR="Red"][B]Mankins: sack[/B][/COLOR]	(Henderson)
    10:14	2 & 14	(RB screen)
    09:38	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"](scramble)[/COLOR]
    07:42	4 & 4	
    07:05	1 & 10	
    05:40	1 & 10
    05:07	1 & 3
    4 rushers, no blitz
    03:30	1 & 10	[COLOR="Orange"][B]Light: pressure[/B][/COLOR]	(Spicer)
    02:12	1 & 10	
    mostly 4 rushers, few blitzes
    07:42	1 & 10	(RB screen)
    06:04	2 & 11
    05:21	3 & 2
    04:36	1 & 10
    01:23	2 & 8	[COLOR="orange"][B]Mankins, Koppen, Neal: pressure[/B][/COLOR]	(Spicer, Durant)	(blitz stunt)
    		[COLOR="Red"][B]Mankins: Chop Block[/B][/COLOR]	(called on Neal)
    01:12	3 & 14
    4 rushers
    14:57	1 & 10	[COLOR="Orange"][B]Light: pressure[/B][/COLOR]	(McCray)
    13:35	1 & 10	(WR screen)
    12:19	3 & 3	
    11:54	1 & 10	(WR screen on play action)
    10:32	1 & 10
    10:27	2 & 10
    09:40	3 & 3
    08:55	1 & 6
    4 rushers
    03:58	1 & 10	[COLOR="DarkOrange"][B]Light: knockdown	[/B][/COLOR](Roughing Passer on Landri)
    02:18	1 & 10	(WR screen)
    01:36	2 & 10
    00:55	3 & 3
    More blitzes
    09:02	2 & 9	[COLOR="Orange"][B]Koppen: pressure[/B]	[/COLOR](broken RB screen)
    		[COLOR="orange"][B]Kaczur: pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    07:31	2 & 8	[COLOR="orange"][B]Light: pressure[/B][/COLOR]	(McCray)
    06:46	3 & 1	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure on corner blitz[/COLOR]
    02:38	3 & 7	[COLOR="Orange"]Pressure wide left[/COLOR]	(play action WR screen)
    As the game went along the Jags got a little more desperate with their pass rush, on some plays sending up to 6 rushers, such as on the broken RB screen play at 9:02 in the 4th that ended up as the long fade to Donté Stallworth.

    Name		Sack	Knock	Press	Foul
    Light		0	1	3	0
    Mankins		1	0	1	1
    Koppen		0	0	2	0
    Neal		0	0	1	0
    Kaczur		0	0	1	0
    A banner day for Nick Kaczur on the right side.

    The Jags' pressure scheme was so boring, actually, that besides the stats I don't have much to talk about, just two plays:


    The first sequence occurs at 7:31 in the 4th quarter, and is an enlightening example of the kind of pressure the Jags got most of the day. As you can see, Brady holds on to the ball for so long, Matt Light shoves Bobby McCray all the way around the line into Tom Brady's face. I credited this as a pressure on Light for no other reason than that I am mean and expect perfection. My baseline for this game was anything that caused Tom Brady to move or feel as if he were playing in a real game against a hostile opponent.

    One of the few times the Jags did anything interesting at all up front occured at 1:23 in the 2nd quarter:


    Not only did they blitz, but they stunted their NT, Paul Spicer. The farside linebacker bites down on Koppen, and the NT and nearside linebacker stunt behind him into Neal's area of the line.


    The success of the stunt is predicated on the leading linebacker making a little pile in the center, preventing Mankins or Koppen from reaching the stunting lineman.


    It's unclear whether the nearside linebacker is simply covering Faulk, who started the play to Brady's right in the shotgun, or if he had a cover/blitz option depending on if Faulk blocked the nose or ran a pass pattern.

    You can see how the stunt has caused Neal to lose positioning. It doesn't show real well in the pictures, but he actually executes a baseball turn to get away from the farside linebacker and back into his zone, which explains his odd position here.

    You can also see how Mankins has to chase Spicer around the line.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  2. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

    Jags cont., Chargers


    Spicer beats both Neal and Mankins, so Mankins chops him. That allows Brady to escape without getting crushed, but it is a 15 yard penalty and a big no-no:


    I credited this play as a pressure on all three of the interior linemen, though Koppen was probably least to blame, as its hard to react to a linebacker like that coming out of a shotgun snap.

    Unlike the Jags, who are a base 4-3 team, the Bolts have a more flexible 3-4 base for their pass rush. Of course, its nothing the Pats haven't seen before in practice, and on the whole the Chargers were very vanilla with their pressure, prefering to send either one, both or none of their OLBs to augment their three down linemen. If inside linebackers came, it was often on a delay blitz off of press man coverage.

    Relevent Reiss postings:
    Offensive Participation
    Positional Groupings

    As in the Jags game, the few times there was real pressure on Brady were the result of something unusual coupled with a Pats lineman getting blown up off the snap. The following occurs at 8:40 in the 4th quarter:


    Steve Cooper, an inside linebacker, lines up directly over Logan Mankins and rushes right through his outside shoulder. This is exactly the kind of speedy inside rush that worked so well for the Giants in week 17.


    The problems of Mankins getting beat and turned off the snap are compounded when he sticks his drive leg right underneath Dan Koppen. This is why proper footwork is crucial on the offensive line.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  3. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up



    Tom Brady, seeing one of his lineman on the ground and a linebacker in his face, simply turtles under. In real time, it looks like the entire left side of the line disintegrates around Brady, but in slow-mo you can see Koppen is tripped and Brady drifts left into Light's man to escape Cooper.

    5 rushers
    13:13	1 & 10
    12:25	3 & 8
    4 and 5 rushers
    09:06	2 & 11
    08:25	1 & 10	[COLOR="Orange"][B]Neal: pressure[/B][/COLOR] (Castillo)
    07:42	2 & 10
    07:09	3 & 2	[COLOR="Orange"]Pressure on late blitz[/COLOR]
    5 rushers
    05:13	1 & 10	(Kyle Brady blocks right)
    4 and 5 rushers
    02:50	1 & 10
    02:18	2 & 1
    01:01	1 & 10	(Wide screen)
    00:26	1 & 10	(Wide screen)
    00:01	2 & 6	[COLOR="Orange"][B]Pressure: Light[/B][/COLOR]	(Merriman)
    14:29	1 & 8
    4 rushers
    09:09	1 & 10	
    08:03	2 & 5	(WR screen)
    07:23	3 & 3
    3 and 4 rushers
    04:36	1 & 10	
    03:57	1 & 10	
    4 rushers
    02:24	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Neal: pressure[/B][/COLOR]	(Castillo)
    		[COLOR="orange"][B]Kaczur: pressure[/B][/COLOR]	(Phillips)
    02:00	3 & 2
    4 and 5 rushers
    14:55	1 & 10
    14:51	2 & 10
    13:15	2 & 9	[COLOR="Red"](Brady scrambles, sack)[/COLOR]
    12:40	3 & 12	[COLOR="orange"][B]Kaczur: pressure[/B][/COLOR]	(Philips)
    3 and 4 rushers
    07:13	2 & 10
    03:48	2 & 10
    03:05	3 & 2
    4 and 5 rushers
    01:32	1 & 10	
    15:00	2 & 6	(WR screen)
    13:51	1 & 10	(RB screen)
    12:21	2 & 6	
    4 rushers
    08:40	1 & 10	[COLOR="Red"][B]Mankins: sack[/B][/COLOR]	(Cooper)
    08:04	2 & 18	(RB screen)
    07:16	3 & 11	
    05:49	2 & 9	(WR screen)
    05:17	3 & 3
    In both games combined, there was only one play where a tight end (Kyle Brady) stayed in to pass block.

    Name		Sack	Knock	Press	Foul
    Light		0	0	1	0
    Mankins		1	0	0	0
    Koppen		0	0	0	0
    Neal		0	0	2	0
    Kaczur		0	0	2	0
    For the third straight game, there were no false starts or holds committed by the offensive line.

    As always, please keep in mind that the difference between a pressure and a knockdown is often whether or not they broadcast a shot of Tom Brady crawling off the turf.

    The last item of interest is related to the earlier point about Faulk and the RBs going out into pass patterns more against the coverage-focused Jags and Chargers. I've explained before that splitting these backs out wide allows Tom Brady to get a clear idea of whether the defense is running zone or man.

    Both the Bolts and Jags alternated between press man and deep zone, two coverages that are easy to differentiate (and exploit) with backs split wide.


    The Chargers start out in a Man 1 look until Faulk motions wide right. The linebacker only follows Faulk halfway out, over Gaffney, the slot receiver.


    The CB moves out over top of him and (along with everyone else) adopts an outside-in stance, watching the QBs eyes. This is indictative of a zone coverage.


    The CB's deep drop tells Brady that the OLB has the flats, meaning its either a Cover 3 or Cover 4 zone (a deep, conservative zone). He passes it to Faulk before the linebacker can get over.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  4. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

    Chargers, cont.

    Of course, other teams aren't completely stupid, so they change up their zones to press Faulk coming off the line, denying him the quick hitch. This is probably a Cover 3 Roll to the top of the screen, meaning all the DBs have a deep third except the "rolled" corner up top, who has the far flat. That means the near OLB has the near flat.


    What they won't do is change to a Cover 2 or press man, because that would waste half their DBs on running backs.


    So naturally the Pats do the same thing with Evans on the weak side of the field. The only way to adjust now is to take off a linebacker and put another safety on the field.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  5. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up Supporter

    So how do you relate all of this to the Giants D and PATs Oline?
  6. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

    It looks like the Pats are in good form to handle the Giants' front four pass rush, but I still think Justin Tuck and, to a lesser extent, Michael Strahan will cause problems. Their interior linebackers too, if they decide to blitz them up the middle.
  7. Dojo Chargerfan

    Dojo Chargerfan On the Game Day Roster

    great thread. From what I seen, the Chargers did blitze Brady a little but got really creative with their blitzes, but no way were they going to blitze a DB. They blitzed up the middle and hid it pretty well and sometimes even dropped a DE into coverage and had a LB blitze in his spot. The Chargers was really good on disrupting Brady into the 4th but the Charger D just got worn down. Can't sustain that kind of pressure when your offense can't sustain drives consistently. The Jags had no luck on getting to Brady with only their front 4 and actually HAD to blitze up the middle to create pressure, which took away from their pass D.
    Here's the question, was the reason the Chargers D was so effective against the Pats because Brady didn't know where the 4th blitzer came from? In turn, was it easier for the OLine to KNOW that 4 will be coming from one spot all game and rarely see blitzes? I think yes. The Giants may be physically intimidating but the 43 defense seems to be easier for the Pats and Brady. If Strahan or Osi gets pressure he could slide one way or another. Also, you could send chip blocks if your tackle is getting beaten, where in a 34 you can't do that all the time.
    My opinion is that the Pats oline will manhandle the Giants on to winning the SB by 20+. And I'm not a Pat fan, just a realist looking at it from the outside. I just don't see how the Giants' DB's are going to be able to stop ALL of the Pats' weapons. The Charger D is MUCH better than the Giants and Brady eventually found Faulk and the jumbo running game that killed us.
  8. tatepatsfan

    tatepatsfan Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #75 Jersey

    Great post. Love the real football talk (tough to find during Super Bowl week).
  9. ClevTrev

    ClevTrev Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Great post, unoriginal! Thanks for taking the time to illustrate this, as the burning question that most have at this point is how the Giants front 4 will disrupt Brady and the Pats' O-line. Being able to move K. Brady and Watson around along with judicious use of the RBs, it looks like the Pats can handle the Giants' greatest strength. While the Giants' D will look more like the Jags, I believe the Giants' DL is better; yet, their DBs aren't the caliber the Pats have seen the past two games. The strategies deployed on Sunday are going to be fascinating.
  10. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

    I haven't watched the Chargers much this year, so relative to that frame of reference it well may have looked like Cottrell ran a strange new blitz package. Compared to what the Pats have seen in just the 2nd half of this year, however, it was pretty tame, and I think the stats for sacks, pressures etc. bear that out, given the fact the Chargers routinely sent as many rushers as 5 on a play.

    To me it looked like, for the most part, the Chargers would just spread out whoever their rushers were on the line of scrimmage, and then send them. I rarely saw a Pats lineman just blocking air. Look up some of my other threads if you want to see some of the wacky stuff other D coordinators have thought up.

    I don't think either team did real well in that department, nor did I see any precipitous drop-off in pass rushing ferocity from the Bolts. I do think I saw less man coverage as the game went along, so you may have a point about fatigue in the defensive backfield, at least.

    I think defenses are more effective against the Pats when the o-line doesn't know where the pressure is coming from, yes. However, I don't agree that the Chargers were much different from the Giants or Jags in that regard. I think the difference is that the Giants have some really good pass rushers.

    The story in the Giants game wasn't so much Strahan (certainly not Umenyiora) but Justin Tuck on the inside. He played kind of like a Tasmanian Devil. He was the kind of influence on most pass plays that Stephen Cooper was on that one play pictured above.

    I think the reason the Chargers D was effective and the Jags weren't is kind of simple (and to you, probably disappointing): Brady had a bad game, he wasn't sharp like in the Jags game. Plus the Chargers CBs are, on the whole, much better than the Jags'. They played press very well, played trail coverage and used their length to create the turnovers the Jags, Giants and most other teams didn't get.

    It could very well turn out that way. Of course, if Tuck has a repeat performance and the Giants' DBs stop failing down in coverage, who knows, the game could get interesting in a hurry.
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