Skins DEFENSE vs The Cowboys (II)


Versus this two tight end set we went with a Nickel front instead of the usual 3-4.  There are five guys playing at linebacker depth and I think it may have screwed with the Cowboys’ zone blocking.  Fuller (lined up over the near TE) is playing as a quasi-safety.  It was effective but ended up being just a one off.

Defensive Tackles: In the Nickel front McGee and Ion got the start on early downs, while Lanier and Ion got the start on late passing downs.  Hood was used later on and finished the game with the second highest snap count behind Ion.

Linebackers: Vigil and Brown on early downs, Harvey-Clemons and Brown on late passing downs.  As the game went on Vigil took some snaps from H-C.  Spaight came in when Brown had to leave with an injury.

What Happened

In the first half Offense and Special Teams screwed us.  Defense played phenomenal despite the other two-thirds of the team acting as saboteurs.

In the second half, zone double teams wore us down.  Ion and Francis struggled some while Hood and Lanier struggled a lot.

(FWIW Anderson needed to stay inside his block.) This half was the sequel to last game with most of the same characters up front.

After they softened us up they went to the air and picked on Breeland.

Here he got turned around on an ‘In’ cut and then failed to make the tackle (Brown, underneath, was spying the QB):

This was the first PI call for face-guarding:

Here is a sweep play where Breeland (top of the screen) failed to recognize run.  Instead of taking out the lead puller, he’s covering Dez on a route and takes himself out the play:

The second PI for face-guarding:


The Show

Defensive Line
Player + Total
McGee 7.5 1.5 6
Lanier 2.5 3.5 -1
Francis 4.5 1.5 3
ioannidis 4.5 0.5 4
Hood 0 4.5 -4.5
Total     7.5: McGee and Francis most consistent, Ion with a splash play late.
Pressure 4 6 -2
+ 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: If the quarterback comfortably held onto the ball for longer than 3 seconds: -1. If the QB felt pressure in 3 seconds or less: +1.  I also take into account how many guys are rushing.

The ‘pressure’ score is disappointing considering both Tackles were playing with injuries.

Stacy McGee was a monster in this game, here he is torquing a double team away from Vigil and giving him a one-on-one opportunity at the line:

That is the strongest effort I’ve seen from a lineman all year, also nice form up tackle by Vigil.

Here McGee is two-gapping the Right Tackle on a zone run and causing the Running Back to hesitate with his cut:

Why McGee got eight fewer snaps than Hood is a mystery to me unless it’s a conditioning thing.

AJ Francis remained stout versus run, here he is manning his gap and forcing the Running Back to cut it inside on this Wide Zone play:

McGee was flowing down the line next to him and was there to clean up.

Against Iso Francis was able to lock out and shed the Left Tackle and take away the cutback:

Remember this is against arguably the strongest offensive line we will face each year, there is a lot of promise if we bring Francis back.  He might have played his way into some of Hood’s snaps for next week.

Player + Total
Spaight 0.5 1 -0.5
Anderson 2.5 1 1.5: the best edge setter against the run
Smith 2.5 2 0.5
H-C 3 1 2
Brown 5 5.5 -0.5: looked injured late, couldn’t wrap up
Kerrigan 4.5 1.5 3
Vigil 4.5 4.5 0
Total     6

Harvey-Clemons showed the speed to loop around three gaps and close in on the QB:

He also showed he has the technique to extend his arms and shed blocks.

Here he is again looping, this time from the Center all the way outside the Right Tackle:

His blitzes were effective early and then he quieted down after they adjusted.  His speed is allowing Manusky to draw up some creative stunts.

Ryan Anderson showed strength off the edge when he squeezed Jason Witten down two gaps on his way to the ball carrier:

(Also notice McGee closing off the initial gap the RB wanted, shedding his blocker, and then diving to create a pile.)

When Anderson set the edge he made his presence known, but when Kerrigan and Smith set the edge they just kinda camped out 2-3 yards outside the next nearest guy.  That could be coached–“no matter what, don’t get beat outside”–but it just seemed like a lack of effort.

Player + Total
DJ 1 1 0
Breeland 2.5 10 -7.5
Everett 2.5 0 2.5
Fuller 2 0 2
Norman 3.5 2 1.5
Total     -1.5
Coverage 17 8 9

DJ continues to rack up his best scores of the season since he gets to avoid man coverage and play deep safety while Everett is playing press coverage over the Tight Ends.

Who Played Well: McGee and Francis.  McGee was an All-Pro while Francis way out-performed conservative expectations.

Player of the Game: McGee.  This is arguably the strongest line in the NFL and McGee was owning them.  We could use a stouter version of him at nose.

2017 POTG Standings:

(Credit: Geoff Burke-Usa Today)

3:  Brown (Eagles I, Cowboys I, Giants I)

2:  Ioannidis (Chiefs, 49ers)

1 (seven way tie):

  • Compton (Seahawks)
  • DJ (Vikings)
  • Foster (Rams)
  • Hood (Saints)
  • Kerrigan (Eagles II)
  • McGee (Dallas II)
  • Smith (Raiders)

Gotta Get Better: Hood and Lanier versus the run.  Brown looked hurt, slot him under ‘gotta get healthy.’  Dez hasn’t done anything all year and showed up Breeland in the second half–a little concerning.

Predictions From Last Week

  1. Kerrigan has another multi-sack game
    • Completely shut out against two tackles dealing with back injuries.  Not good.
  2. Dak tests Norman deep
    • Didn’t have to.  Turnovers gave Dallas extra possessions and they were able to wear down our line with the run.
  3. Everett gives up a big play in man coverage
    • Nope, that award went to Breeland.

What Does It Mean For The Offseason?

  • Vigil and Harvey-Clemons are in a battle.  If neither emerges then we are adding a guy from outside.  H-C blew a coverage on the first touchdown and Vigil got some of his snaps after that.  Vigil has to be perfect with his reads because he has zero speed to correct any mistakes but for now he seems to be in the lead.
  • Spaight seemed fine, I’m not sure why Vigil and H-C got the start over him.
  • If we assume the FO keeps seven Defensive Tackles on the roster:
    • One spot goes to an offseason addition, either through the draft or FA.
    • Four spots goto Ion, Allen, McGee, and McClain (his contract is too big to let him go.)
    • That means it’s a 3-way battle between Francis, Lanier and Hood for the last two remaining spots.
      • Hood: Dallas is his kryptonite, otherwise he’s been a must keep over the last month.
      • Lanier: Was serviceable against the run, his most valuable asset remains his interior pass rush which was spotty at best.
      • Francis: Against the run he held up which means he can hold up against anybody.  Only problem is his pass rush, he gets zero push.
  • If I had to guess I would say we bet on Allen and Ion–both of whom can rush the QB–not getting seriously hurt next year and let Lanier go.

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