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Offensive Line Play for Steelers, Jets, & Dolphins

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by unoriginal, Jan 24, 2008.

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  1. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    I downloaded this game a while ago but have been too busy to take a through look at it until now. Apologizes. Hopefully I can catch up before the Super Bowl.

    Like most games this year, and all the games I've evaluated line play, the Patriots prefer using the spread when passing, with the running back providing blitz pickup. Tight ends almost always run pass patterns, and the Pats go heavy only when they want to run the ball.

    Steelers executed a game plan that called for a lot of zone blitzes, dropping interior linemen to cover crossing routes and "spy" Tom Brady, while rushing from the edges with stunts inside to pin the tackles in place.

    It's a defensive plan tailor-made to exploit the way the Pats run their pass protection in the spread shotgun, which is for the line to divide 3/2 towards the side that the "Mike" linebacker is on. You have by now no doubt heard Brady's presnap jabber on the on-field mics where he points at a player and says something like "96 is the mike" (often heard in the Eagles game where, for example, Omar Gaither actually is their base Sam). Brady is picking out the most inside off-line player on the strong side, naming him the mike, and telling his offensive line to split towards the side he goes to on the snap of the ball.

    Generally, it seems the running back blocks a semi-circle on his side of the quarterback, regardless of the mike call, starting inside and working his way out. This is probably to avoid him interfering with the quarterback by crossing his face.

    Here is an example from the Steelers' game:
    [​IMG]
    The Steelers wait until Faulk has set strong and Brady has called the mike, then drop the corner, Townshend, into coverage. The one down lineman, in the third panel, stops his rush and spies on Brady, while one of the remaining two rushers is sure to drive into Koppen, keeping him from sliding back to the weakside.

    On the weakside, the Steelers bring 3 rushers against 2 linemen, and stunt the down lineman across Light's face to keep him from getting width. They bring the two linebackers through the gaps around Light, giving Larry Foote, on the outside, a relatively direct path to the quarterback.

    [​IMG]

    This one is more of the same. Out of a balanced base look, the Steelers drop all the backers into coverage on the strong side of the line, along with the nose. They are replaced as rushers by the backers on the weak side, and the down lineman stunts inside to pin Mankins in place and make Koppen superfluous. Maroney steps up and slides all the way across to the backside B gap, but that leaves him at a terrible angle for the block and the Steelers end up knocking Brady over.

    If Brady were to audible the back over, of course, the Steelers would simply run the same blitz, except to the other side.

    Of course, its not enough to have a scheme tailor-made to the Patriots; the Pats are so good you also need players tailor-made to beat the Pats. Here is an example why that's so hard:

    [​IMG]

    On this screen pass to Gaffney, Light and Mankins get and maintain blocks 10 yards downfield. Light ends up blocking a corner, Townshend, that Wes Welker lost his block on. That is really hard to do for a lineman in space. I didn't have space to show it, but Light ends up pushing Townshend back another 10 yards into Ike Taylor, taking both out of the play.

    Code:
    [B]Time	Down	Patriots			Steelers	Extra Info[/B]
    14:55	1 & 10	[B][COLOR="orange"]Light: Pressure[/COLOR][/B]			Harrison	Backed into Brady
    14:16	2 & 6	
    14:13	3 & 6	
    
    04:59	2 & 8	
    04:18	3 & 2	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure[/COLOR], overload right
    03:02	1 & 10	
    03:00	2 & 10	
    01:08	2 & 4	
    
    14:16	1 & 10	
    
    11:25	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Maroney: knockdown[/B][/COLOR]		Farrior		zone blitz (see above)
    10:39	3 & 10	
    
    09:53	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Maroney: pressure;[/B][/COLOR] 
    		[COLOR="orange"][B]Brady: knockdown[/B][/COLOR]
    09:05	3 & 10	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure[/COLOR], overload left
    
    02:26	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Mankins/Koppen: pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    02:00	1 & 10	
    01:55	2 & 10	
    01:34	1 & 10	
    01:02	1 & 10	[B][COLOR="Red"]Holding: Faulk[/COLOR][/B]
    00:58	1 & 20	
    00:54	2 & 16	
    00:51	3 & 16	[COLOR="Orange"]Kaczur: tipped pass[/COLOR]
    
    12:35	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Hochstein: pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    11:57	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Light: false start[/B][/COLOR]
    11:33	1 & 15	
    10:51	2 & 6	[COLOR="orange"][B]Light: pressure wide left[/B][/COLOR]
    10:17	1 & 10	
    
    08:24	1 & 10	
    08:02	2 & 2	[COLOR="orange"][B]Hochstein: pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    07:37	1 & 10	
    06:53	1 & 10	
    06:49	2 & 10	Brady scramble
    06:04	3 & 6	
    05:21	4 & 1	
    04:37	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Hochstein: knockdown[/B][/COLOR]			Defensive holding
    04:33	1 & 5	
    03:56	2 & 2	
    03:52	3 & 2	[COLOR="orange"][B]Kaczur: knockdown[/B][/COLOR]
    
    Lot of quick throws on this drive
    
    13:27	1 & 10	
    12:41	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure wide right[/COLOR]
    12:03	1 & 10	
    11:18	2 & 3	
    10:34	1 & 10	
    09:48	2 & 2	
    09:10	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Light: pressure on blitz stunt[/B][/COLOR]
    08:47	2 & 4	
    08:03	3 & 1	
    07:16	1 & 10	
    07:13	2 & 10	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure on blitz stunt[/COLOR]
    07:10	3 & 10	
    On the whole, it was a good night for the Pats offensive line; no sacks and not too many pressures despite blocking most of the night with a 5 man line against 4 and 5 rushers. According to Reiss they spent most of the night in 4 and 3 WR sets.

    The applicable Reiss postings:
    Offensive Positional Groupings
    Pittsburgh Blitzes

    Code:
    [B]Player		Sack	Knockdown	Pressure	Holding		False Start[/B]
    Light		0	0		3		0		1
    Mankins		0	0		1		0		0
    Koppen		0	0		1		0		0
    Hochstein	0	1		2		0		0
    Kaczur		0	1		0		0		0
    Maroney		0	1		1		0		0
    Faulk		0	0		0		1		0
    Brady		0	1		0		0		0
    Also note Yates played one series in place of Hochstein; in fact you can see him in the second picture series above. Nothing bad happened so I didn't put him on the chart.
  2. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Jets part 1

    Despite the inclement weather, the Pats spent most of the game in the spread, which means the Jets spent most of the game in their stand-up nickel and dime packages.

    Here's the relevent Reiss link: Positional groupings

    The Jets rushed 3 people most of the time; sometimes they sent as few as 2, though more often they sent 4, but they obviously preferred to play coverage and let the weather help them.

    [​IMG]

    Here's your standard successful Jets blitz: against 5 wide one entire side of the defensive line evaporates into coverage, while the other two down linemen crash inside to keep Kaczur and the line from sliding over. This gives the blitzing nickel back, Drew Coleman, a good lane to the QB. This would still be something I'd credit against Kaczur, however.

    [​IMG]

    A rare Pats pass that's not out of the shotgun. There's no real run fake on this play, so I don't know what Maroney is doing commiting so quickly to an empty hole. Perhaps the protection called for him to fill it and for Light to pick up the widest man? Its doubtful, as lineman usually pick up lineman on their face, while the running back picks up free rushers. In this case, that's Eric Smith, coming in wide off a jam on Kyle Brady.

    In any event, this play is obviously designed to be executed quickly, as you can see Kaczur up top log his man. Perhaps thats why Maroney isn't initially looking wide left for his man.

    [​IMG]

    The Pats handle this wide blitz a lot better, chiefly because Light blocks two people at once. It continues below:

    [​IMG]

    That's what happens when you don't pin the tackle inside, C. J. Mosely.

    Code:
    Time	Down	Result
    14:55	1 & 10	
    13:35	3 & 4	
    10:28	3 & 4	
    
    05:54	2 & 7	
    03:21	2 & 7	
    03:15	3 & 7	
    02:01	2 & 6	
    01:23	1 & 10	
    00:40	3 & 6	[B][COLOR="Orange"]Brady: pressure[/COLOR][/B]
    15:00	4 & 2	
    14:14	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Koppen: pressure on delay blitz[/B][/COLOR]
    13:27	3 & 6	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure on overload[/COLOR]
    
    10:05	2 & 7	[B][COLOR="orange"]Pressure: Kaczur[/COLOR][/B]
    08:08	2 & 8	
    07:28	3 & 3	
    
    06:29	2 & 8	[COLOR="orange"][B]Pressure: Light[/B][/COLOR]
    06:25	3 & 8	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure overload left[/COLOR]
    04:35	2 & 9	
    
    11:16	3 & 5	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure overload left[/COLOR]
    
    06:37	3 & 2	
    04:24	3 & 6	[COLOR="orange"]Pressure overload left[/COLOR]
    
    15:00	2 & 8	
    14:13	2 & 4	
    14:08	3 & 4	[COLOR="orange"][B]Kaczur, Hochstein: Pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    
    06:08	1 & 10	
    06:04	2 & 10	
    05:58	3 & 10	
    04:53	1 & 15	
    04:00	2 & 6	
    03:55	3 & 6	[COLOR="Red"][B]Hochstein: sack[/B][/COLOR], [COLOR="orange"][B]Mankins: Pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    
    01:55	3 & 8	[COLOR="orange"][B]Britt: pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    Code:
    [B]Player		Sack	Knockdown	Pressure	Holding		False Start[/B]
    Light		0	0		1		0		0
    Mankins		0	1		0		0		2
    Koppen		0	0		1		0		0
    Hochstein	1	0		1		0		0
    Kaczur		0	0		2		0		0
    Britt		0	0		1		0		1
    Brady		0	0		1		0		0
  3. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Jets part 2

    If it seems the Pats have been really good in the 4th quarter this year, its because they seem to hold back some adjustments until late in the game. Appearantly they think that introducing changes that late gives the other team no time to counter them. For example, in the Ravens game they waiting till the last defensive series of the 3rd quarter to start 1-gapping and run blitzing, changes that shut down the Raven's offense.

    [​IMG]

    Against the Jets, they went to a new protection scheme to help protect against the wide weak side blitzes discussed above, especially those from the Steelers game. Here you see Koppen drop deep in the backfield and essentially fill the place of a 2nd blocking back. It works because the Jets drop one of their interior lineman into a short zone.

    [​IMG]

    Of course, if the defense DOESN'T drop their nose, things get a good deal more complicated. Koppen doesn't move outside, and his deep drop, coupled with Light's technique, puts Mankins on something of an island in the middle. Evidently Koppen didn't send him the memo.

    [​IMG]

    For all those who think Mankins is far and away our most talented lineman, this is why he doesn't play tackle. The situation isn't helped by Hochstein falling down. His man gets the sack.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, here is how you don't want to blitz the Pats: line up across the line of scrimmage, then send exactly as many rushers as they have blockers. Not only do you tell Tom Brady exactly what kind of coverage, man, you are running, you do nothing to confuse the protection scheme. You can see Kevin Faulk up top leisurely waiting for his man to get free of Light.
  4. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Dolphins

    I'm in kind of a rush so no pics of the Dolphins game; its similar to the other two and it was over a lot quicker, so meh. Jason Taylor was moved around and he and Joey Porter made many outstanding plays, but it was very similar to the Jets game in terms of scheme: outside pressure with inside stunting against 5/6 man protection.

    Relevent Reiss link: Positional groupings

    Code:
    Time	Down	Result
    14:02	1 & 10	
    13:24	2 & 4
    12:53	1 & 10
    12:12	2 & 1
    11:33	1 & 10
    11:26	2 & 10
    10:47	3 & 5	[COLOR="Orange"][B]Pressure: Kaczur on stunt[/B][/COLOR]
    10:10	1 & 10	[COLOR="Red"][B]Light, Kaczur: sack[/B][/COLOR]
    09:38	2 & 13
    08:52	3 & 2	[COLOR="orange"][B]Pressure: Kaczur[/B][/COLOR]
    
    07:44	1 & 10
    07:39	2 & 10
    06:27	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Koppen: knockdown, Kaczur: knockdown[/B][/COLOR]
    
    15:00	1 & 10
    14:22	3 & 5
    13:40	1 & 10
    13:36	1 & 1
    
    11:24	1 & 10	
    10:49	2 & 2	[COLOR="orange"][B]Pressure: Light[/B][/COLOR]
    
    06:33	1 & 10	
    04:57	3 & 4	
    04:26	1 & 10
    03:41	2 & 9
    
    14:54	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Pressure: Mankins[/B][/COLOR]
    14:18	2 & 5	[COLOR="orange"][B]Pressure: Light[/B][/COLOR]
    14:12	3 & 5
    13:31	1 & 10
    13:28	1 & 10
    
    12:00	1 & 10	[COLOR="orange"][B]Knockdown: Light[/B][/COLOR]	 (Taylor)
    11:14	3 & 4	
    
    05:26	1 & 10	[COLOR="Orange"]Knockdown: Light but 6 seconds time[/COLOR]
    05:17	2 & 10
    05:13	3 & 10
    
    00:29	2 & 8	[COLOR="orange"][B]Hochstein, Kaczur: Pressure[/B][/COLOR]
    14:16	2 & 5
    14:08	3 & 5	[COLOR="Red"][B]Sack: Light[/B][/COLOR]
    
    11:18	2 & 14
    10:32	1 & 10	[COLOR="Orange"][B]Knockdown: Mankins[/B][/COLOR]
    09:08	4 & 7	[COLOR="red"][B]Sack: Kaczur[/B][/COLOR] (Porter)
    
    06:47	2 & 8
    06:43	3 & 8	[COLOR="Red"][B]Koppen: holding[/B][/COLOR]
    I didn't count the 6 second play on Light, obviously that's on Brady and the receivers. As always, these are demerits, not stats. For example, I gave both Light and Kaczur sack demerits on the same play. Obviously there weren't two sacks on the same play.

    While overall the Pats allowed much more pressure this game then previous, it was the first time in a while there were no false start penalties. So that's a plus.

    Code:
    Player		Sack	Knockdown	Pressure	Holding		False Start
    Light		2	1		2		0		0
    Mankins		0	1		1		0		0
    Koppen		0	1		0		1		0
    Hochstein	0	0		1		0		0
    Kaczur		2	1		3		0		0
  5. fillylabinga

    fillylabinga Rookie

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    Re: Dolphins

    Very interesting and truly valuable analysis.

    Interesting that with the exception of the Miami game you grade Kaczur pretty highly. To a casual observer like me he has seemed like the weak link on the O-line. He seems to get beat head up by speed rushers even without stunts or trickery.

    I was theorizing that the Pats were sandbagging a bit in some of their games, keeping things close, and making adjustments pretty late. Certainly they have dominated their opponents in the 4th quarter all year. I'm curious, did you do something similar for the Colts game? That's one where I really thought the Pats line play really picked up in the 4th.

    If everything goes as planned we won't see much of Hochstein and Britt in the SB. Do you have any similar data on Neal? Does the protection scheme change that you can tell when he is in versus Hochstein?

    Also, it would obviously be interesting to see the same for the Giants game in week 17. From what I've seen from them they are more of a straight rush the 4 down lineman type of team--I haven't seen much of the corner and zone blitzing out of them that you show here. How do you think the Pats match up against that scheme and personnel?
  6. theflinger

    theflinger Rookie

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    AWESOME as usual, unoriginal. You're the man!
  7. shakadave

    shakadave Rookie

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    In honor of a thread 100% dedicated to football, a well-earned bump!
  8. Koettbulle

    Koettbulle Rookie

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    Nice read! Thanks
  9. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x Rookie

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    Bump for exceptional analysis :cool3:
  10. LaBrady

    LaBrady Rookie

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    Goog job man! I wonder if opponents pick up on the Pats keeping their adjustments until the 4th quater.
  11. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Once again, awesome stuff unoriginal.

    Quick Q...

    I understand your point here...but is this to say we shouldn't view Mankins as the most talented lineman, b/c he's suited to play guard? Following the games you have reviewed and in the previous thread, it would seem he grades best anyway.
  12. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Bumping, hate to see good threads get buried.
  13. chunkypony

    chunkypony Rookie

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    I agree here. Mankins is our best O-Lineman because he is the best player at his position on the Offensive Line. Just because he can't play tackle doesn't make him a bad O-Lineman. That's like saying Asante isn't our best defensive back (for example, not stating a fact) because he can't play safety.
  14. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Tackle is a tough job. In my mind its the toughest of the line positions. I think Kaczur manages well enough, considering the historic burden we're placing on our o-line: we pass a lot and we do it out of a short 5-man line. You'd expect the tackles to have a bunch of pressures each game under those circumstances.

    Didn't break down the Colts game. You can also do a search for "Threads by User" to find the ones I did do. I don't have many threads to sort through - about half of them are breakdowns like this. I've also tacked a few on to already existing threads.

    I'm not sure its sandbagging, really, just trying to maximize the value of their adjustments. In the Giants game, for example, they kept Watson in to block during the 4th quarter on several place and sent Faulk out on routes. That's the opposite of what they normally do. It got them a couple huge first downs.

    I'm working on it. They don't zone blitz but they do blitz heavily and stunt like mad on the defensive line. O'Callaghan had difficulty in the 2nd half but really the pressure came from all over. I'd say its a pretty good matchup. If their defensive backs would just top falling down they might really make it a game.

    As above, its easy to grade best as a guard in pass protection. I just want to caution people against thinking Mankins and Neal are our best lineman just because I don't demerit them much. Just about the only way they can give up sacks is succumbing to a bull rush, and half the time they have help from the center anyways.

    Not trying to belittle the interior linemen, but you'd expect them to grade better by default.

    There is a certain school of thought that Mankins is physically our best lineman and, in a quickly upcoming off-season, should be moved to left tackle because by now he's "seasoned," and Matt Light should move to right tackle where he'll suck less. You don't hear it as much now that Light is Mr. Pro Bowl and an All-Pro left tackle, but I still couldn't let the above illustration of a guard suddenly finding himself playing tackle go unnoticed.

    I will say that I'm sure Mankins could fill in decently in a pinch, à la the Giants' David Diehl.
  15. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    #37 Jersey

    Fantastic job. Seems like several posters are raising the bar for Super Bowl Week.
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