We usually lined up in 11 (1RB, 1TE) personnel, but also threw in a few heavier formations throughout the game. In the first drive we came out in 12 (1 RB, 2 TE) personnel:
with a WR split out wide to either side. The Browns dropped a safety into the box and played Cover 3–meaning the 2 cornerbacks and 1 free safety (off the screen) played deep coverage. Cousins attacked this by throwing quick 3 step drops to Garcon and Desean on the outside. On 3 back to back plays it picked him up 9, 3(first down), and 5 yards.
Giants stayed in 11 (1 RB, 1TE) personnel the whole way and we responded with our Nickel defense:
Compton stayed aligned to the side that had more wide receivers. Fancy people call it the ‘field’ or ‘passing strength’. It tends to be the side of the field with more space when the ball is lined up on the hash:
He’s lighter and can cover more ground than Foster and has a better grasp of zone drops than Cravens, so it looks like no matter which linebacker he’s on the field with the coaches will ask him to stay lined up to the passing strength.
I might have missed it, but I didn’t see a 3-4 defense one time in this game.
On With The Show:
The Giants ran a play some people call “Power” which allows for a double team to the side the running back runs toward and has an offensive lineman pull and lead the back through a hole. The Giants usually doubled our 3 technique (lined up in between the guard and tackle) and pulled the backside guard as shown above. They ran it versus Dallas in Week 1:
and Dallas chose to keep 2 safeties back and defend the Power play with 6 in the box:
The Giants running backs profited as Vereen finished that game with 6.3 yards per carry and Jennings with 4.2 yards per carry. The following week the Giants played New Orleans and the Saints tweaked things around a bit:
They consistently brought down a safety and played with 7 in the box, blitzed linebackers and changed up their fronts to match up with and confuse the Giants’ Power blocks:
Vereen finished that game with 3.0 ypc and Jennings with 2.1 ypc. Guess which game plan we picked!
Note:The idea for these Breakdowns come from a Michigan blog called mgoblog.com.Brian Cook is the founder of that site and if you want to find where all good things on the internet come from you should check out his site.He’s got the football acumen of Belichick and the writing chops of David Foster Wallace-adjace.You can’t ask for a better combo than that so check it out.Unless youre a buckeye, in which case you should check out Ross Fulton at rivals.com by clicking here.He has got some great Xs and Os but like Ohio State recruits, you gotta pay for it (take that!)
We tried a few different looks versus Dallas’ 11 (1RB, 1TE) personnel, first we tried a 2-4-5 look:
Smith blows a zone coverage, Dez gets an eighteen yard gain. So we scratched that and tried a 3-3-5 look:
They hit Dez for a 17 yard gain–this was more a function of a poor pass rush–so we scratched that formation and stuck with our ol’ reliable Nickel defense. We stayed in Nickel for 39% of all snaps. (I didn’t chart 4 plays because they were run-out-the-clock runs prior to half and end of the game.)
Any formation that had 2 backs or 2+ tight ends we responded with our 3-4 front which puts 5 guys on the line of scrimmage:
Personnel was same as last week except Reyes didn’t play so Francois and Jenkins got a lot of snaps. DHall played a ton of strong safety and matched up on-one-on with the tight end where as last week he was more of a free safety playing deep coverage.
“[Zeke] had a few big breaks” I think the drive that is annoying Francois is the 5th one which was the 1st drive of the 2nd half. Throughout the 1st half the Cowboys ran it outside with zone and we slanted our line to get into the backfield and stop it. Here they come out in 12 (1 RB, 2TE) personnel which means we come out in our 5 man line 3-4. They run it at Francois and Smith, Francois penetrates and blows up the play:
Note: I stopped charting after the 8th drive because…reasons.
Pitt came out in 11 personnel (1RB, 1TE) and we matched up with our Nickel defense:
That yellow line is where the Steelers tried to run the ball. You see Baker labeled as “3-tech” which means he is lined up on the outside shoulder of the Guard (i.e. in between the Guard and Tackle), the Steelers ran away from the 3-tech and into that space/bubble almost the entire game. I charted runs AWAY from the 3 tech and runs TOWARD the 3 tech and got:
AWAY: 16 carries for 81 yards (5.1 ypc)
TOWARD: 6 carries for 31 yards (5.1 ypc)
They didn’t attempt a single run to the 3 tech side until the 2nd quarter. Coming into the game it looks like they wanted to run away from Baker and toward any combination of Reyes, Hood and Golston. The yards per carry were the same to both sides but that’s a little misleading. There was one big gain on a run toward the 3 tech that was a function of our line slanting away from the direction the RB was running:
That’s just the perfect play call from the offense. They pulled the guard and down blocked on our slanting line. Outside of this play the Steelers could only manage 3 ypc when running toward the 3 tech–which was usually Baker before we started shuffling guys around.
We stayed in Nickel and Dime until the 3rd drive. Pitt starting deploying 2 and 3 TEs and we responded with our 3-4:
DHall is off screen as the Free safety where he played the majority of his snaps. Strong Safety was manned by Bruton (top of the frame, yellow shoes.) He spent most of his time lined up over the tight ends and we brought him down into the box more frequently in the 2nd half. Compton and Foster started at LB. Compton went the whole way, Foster was subbed out for Cravens on 3rd downs.
Cornerbacks were Norman and Breeland with Dashaun Phillips coming in as our Nickel corner. Cravens is the Dime package substitution but plays with linebacker responsibilities. I wasn’t sure how to classify those formations so I just called them “Cravens Dime.”
So you know that play where Will Compton sacked the quarterback and then immediately followed up with an awkward DABZ? No? Well no worries because I’ll walk you through how we got to the thing that should’ve died 6 months ago. The sack that spawned Quavo Compton happened on the 2nd drive but it’s origins are connected to an earlier play:
The formation is a 3 x 1 set with a tight end lined up tight next to the offensive tackle. The WR from the trips (3 receiver) side will go in motion. The center and guard are going to flow left like the play is an outside zone running play. The RB will also sell it as an outside zone running play by running parallel to the line of scrimmage as he fakes getting the handoff:
So things happened man. One of those things was zone running. The Bears were zoning inside and outside runs all day long and with the exception of 1 drive that came after the Cousins INT, the Skins were ready for it and stopped it:
At the line: Baker and Kerrigan are slanting. This does two things:
That’s Nickel personnel we just moved Kerrigan to LB depth. From this formation we blitzed twice for 2 incompletions, forced Cassel to call a timeout, and gave up a 6 yard PI penalty. So a pretty successful wrinkle.
The Cowboys used 13 personnel (1 RB, 3TE) 9 times. One variation of 13 personnel had them lined up in the following formation with the WR as a tiny H-Back. I called it “Ace 3×1 Twin TE WR H” because what the hell else do you call this, I have no idea:
The Giants were in 1RB, 2TE (12) personnel or 21 personnel for 6 snaps. That’s it. When they did this we responded with a 3-4 defense. For the rest of the game the Giants were in 11 personnel almost the whole way. We first responded to their 11 personnel with a Dime package:
Compton is the LB, we have 4 DL and 6 DBs (Free Safety is off camera.) Jarrett and DHall are playing at LB depth but without any LB instincts. Also of note: Ricky Jean-Francois is playing nose (Baker just left the game) when he is normally slated for 5-tech DE. So instead of handling blocks from Tackles and willowy tight ends, which he is really good at, we are asking him to handle blocks from ogres at Center and Guard. The Giants see this and decide ‘lol, run’:
Jean-Francois just gets blown off the line and DHall is hiding behind Breeland hoping the big bad tall people don’t hurt him.