Skins DEFENSE vs Saints

Formations

Safeties: The Saints had hot reads and gadget plays to attack our flat zones when we went with a single high safety:

We played with 2-high safeties a lot more than usual to guard the flats against these types of plays.

When Nicholson was on the field we finally used him as something other than just a deep safety.  We put him in the slot and in the box and because of his extra effort he was rewarded with a concussion.

Lining up: With Compton out Zach Brown handled lining guys up and there were a few struggles early on.

Against this “Split Zone” run Brown and Spaight needed to follow the motion of the HBack who was pulling across the formation, instead Brown (highlighted) lines up over and fires into the same gap as Nicholson.  That left Spaight to guard the middle of the field and he was unable to fit his gap inside of Anderson:

Compton’s (and Foster’s) absence was felt two-fold:

  • guys not lining up properly (three times)
  • Brown played a little slower and out of position at times.

4-3: The only new formation of note was the 4-3 we used when we were in our Heavy personnel and expected the Power run.  Last week against Minnesota the “over” shift from our 3-4 created an alley on the backside that they exploited for a big run.  This time we moved Anderson to linebacker then shifted Spaight and Brown toward the tight end which gave a more balanced look:

this also spared our safeties from playing in the box against Power.

I swear there is some good news ahead.  Not much, but I scraped out what I could.

What Happened

 

The 36 yard touchdown:  We were actually prepared to stop this.  It was a “Power” run (this was prior to the 4-3 deployment) and we had the line slant inside with Brown and Spaight scraping over top:

Spaight takes on the TE, and Brown ‘stacks’ (i.e. hides) behind him making it tough for the pulling guard to reach him.  It’s an effective strategy that left him unblocked but cost him a step and made him late to the RB.  DJ uses a spin move to avoid the WR block but that put him out of position and unable to find the RB:

Usually Brown and DJ are attacking downhill versus run, but in this case they both avoided contact as much as possible; injuries being the most likely reason.  Meanwhile DHall is 16 yards off the ball with no vertical routes showing and barely makes an effort to fill.  The next time they ran Power, we changed to the 4-3 shown above and kept the safeties out of it.

Iso: The Saints had a package of Iso plays where their Fullback attacked through the weakside B-gap and up into the Will linebacker (Zach Brown):

we responded by having Ioannidis meet the Fullback at the B-gap and tucked Brown inside of him (A-gap).  The Fullback was now unable to reach Brown, and Ion and Brown created a pile that forced the RB to cut it to the backside of the play.  That is where we had a 5 on 4 numbers advantage (counting Josh Norman):

so hooray, we stopped it.  Until overtime when Ioannidis, who was on his 54th snap, got torqued outside by the Left Guard:

Also not helping matters was DHall taking an angle that only he would think was correct.

The very next play we adjusted by slanting Ion into the A-gap and Kerrigan took the B-gap with DJ scraping over top into the C-gap.  But instead of Iso, they had called an HB pitch and out leveraged us outside with crack blocks:

Also, the fake to the fullback fooled Brown and DHall.

The two 4th quarter touchdowns: The first touchdown was propelled by a coverage bust from Brown and DJ that gave up 25 yards, followed by another busted coverage from DHall which ceded 24 yards.

The second touchdown drive started off with Spaight carrying #3 vertical and abandoning the crossing route underneath him:

That play was followed by Zach Brown failing to get depth when a Dig route was being run right behind him.  Norman has the guy underneath but Brown still keeps his attention on the underneath route.   That’s frustrating because even if that guy catches it, so what let him have it:

Also note that when the WR broke off his route inside, DHall was 12 yards away.

The next play was a dagger that saw Ioannidis with outside contain on Brees and Kerrigan in man coverage.  To compound matters, we blitzed Brees right out of Ion’s contain.  Ioannidis is a strong player, he’s a smart player, he’s one of our best players, but he is not a fast player:

I have no clue what Manusky was trying to accomplish with that play design.  Same goes with the very next play which left Martrell Spaight one on one with Alvin Kamara who had a 2-way go:

Normally we would have Brown (squared) and Spaight doubling that Kamara route on either side (hook zones) while leaving a safety man-to-man in the slot.  The other safety would play deep (man-free coverage.)  Either Brown screwed up his assignment or those are back-to-back horseshit calls from the sidelines.

CHART

The Show

D-Line
Player + Total
McGee 1 0 1
Ion 3.5 3.5 0: culprit on first Overtime run
Hood 4 2.5 1.5:  better game that score reflects
Lanier 2.5 2 0.5
McClain 0 0.5 -0.5
Total 2.5
Pressure 11 17.5 6.5
+ plays are good.

- plays are bad.

If it's a ho-hum play, like a 3 yard gain on first down, then usually nobody will do worse or better than -1 or +1. But give up a 64 yard touchdown (-4) or get a TFL/Sack (+2) and I go higher in either direction.

Pressure: Did the quarterback comfortably hold onto the ball for longer than 3 seconds: -1. Did the QB feel pressure in 3 seconds or less? +1

Ziggy Hood along with Ioannidis pulled lineman away from where they needed to be and created run through lanes for the linebackers (an example is shown in the ‘Defensive Backs’ section.)

Anthony Lanier showed why he has been relegated only to passing downs for the season.  On an early run/pass down against an inside zone double team, he was taken off his feet:

He was yanked after that play and saw only a couple more opportunities on early run/pass downs.

Linebackers
Player + Total
Kerrigan 3.5 0.5 3
Smith 3 5 -2
Galette 3 1 2
Anderson 2.5 0 2.5
Brown 3 9.5 -6.5: two coverage busts
Spaight 4.5 9 -4.5: missed tackles and coverage
Total -5.5

Martrell Spaight had a couple of minuses come in coverage, here he passes off the crosser to Brown but never gets any depth.  He’s checking for the RB in the flat but Fuller clearly has him:

Brees could still make that throw, but at least tighten the window and make him work for it.

Against the run his gap fits were great but against Kamara his tackling woes crept back in.

D-Backs
Player + Total
Norman 0.5 1 -0.5
Fuller 3.5 1 2.5
DJ 3 11.5 -8.5: burned in coverage twice, also two bad angles vs run
Dhall 0.5 18.5 -18: worst score ever
Moreau 0 2 -2: failed to sink on a cover 2 route beater
Total Very BAD
Coverage 16 17 -1

The Coverage score is close to even because a lot of big plays were attributed to a lack of pressure.

Kendall Fuller got mentioned by Gruden as an option to fill in at Safety while Nicholson deals with a concussion, here he is filling in at Safety:

He filled his gap as good as DJ or any other safety has all season.  Also notice how Hood made the play by stretching out his double team which gave Spaight an alley behind him to run through.

Drew Brees kept serving up Kamara on a platter to Baushaud Breeland.  All those kill shots were a product of Breeland playing underneath in Cover 2 and Brees repeatedly checking it down to Kamara:

I charted that happening at least four times, I don’t know what Brees was thinking, but thanks!

Played Well: Hood, Fuller, Breeland, Galette in his homecoming stepped up his pass rush, Kerrigan.

Player of the Game: Ziggy Hood.  He freed up guys behind him and played extra snaps on a D-line that had a limited rotation versus the run.  Honorable Mention: Ioannidis for all the same reasons.

Gotta Get Better: Lanier versus the run, DHall, DJ in man coverage, DHall, Smith for the RTP penalty and losing leverage on the 2 point conversion, DHall.

Predictions From Last Week

  • Kamara breaks one long
    • At least one.
  • We give up a touchdown early and in the last 2 minutes of the first half.
    • Touchdown early and then a Field Goal in the last 2 minutes.
  • We exceed expectations in the second half and only give up 6 points.
    • This was 3 and 1/2 minutes away from being true.

What Does It Mean For New York?

  • ABD, Anybody but DHall
  • Kind of hard to draw parallels between a real offense and the Giants…
  • But Thursday football means guys will be sore and a step slower, weird games tend to pop up on Thursdays
  • Main issues to iron out: Safety play, LB coverage versus the 2-minute offense, and getting healthy.

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