Tag Archives: Defense

Redskins DEFENSE vs The Lions

Formations & Depth Chart

We were in a 3-4 defense for about a quarter of the snaps throughout the game, otherwise we were mostly in Nickel with the line shifted toward the tight end:

nickelover

In passing situations we lifted Foster for Cravens or Garvin.  Cravens is seen here in our “Okie” front.  Okie means all the lineman and linebackers are standing at the line pre-snap:

nickelokie

A few times, we replaced a safety for a 4th cornerback (line is ‘split’ for a better pass rush):

nickelsplit4cb

Depth Chart – Nickel (out of 53 snaps):

  • DE:  Kerrigan (40) and Smith (38), backed up by Murphy (31)
  • DT:  Hood (44) and Baker (43), backed up by Francois (16), Jenkins (10) and Ioannidis (4)
  • ILB:  Compton (53), Foster (40)
  • Cravensbacker:  Cravens (11), Garvin (3)
  • Strong Safety:  Whitner (44) backed up by Nacho (9)
  • Free Safety:  Blackmon (39) backed up by Whitner (9)
  • CB:  Breeland (49) and Norman (28), backed up by Dunbar (27) and Toler (5)
  • Slot/Nickel CB:  Fuller (40)

‘Cravensbacker’ is the hybrid Linebacker/Safety position we play in place of Foster in passing situations.  With the 3-4 defense, Fuller gets lifted for an extra defensive lineman which was usually Francois.  Compton and Whitner were the only guys to play all 53 snaps.

The Show

Against the Giants we faced guards pulling from side to side which created moving gaps that our second level backers struggled to defend.  This time around the Lions tested us not with pulling guards but with pulling H-Backs (red path).  The tight end lined up in front of Murphy (red X) is running a route, just pretend he’s not even in the picture:

splitzoneWe responded to the pulling H-Back by bumping down a Safety and the front 8 gap coverage went like so:

  • Whitner replaces Compton’s gap, so
  • Compton can replace Foster’s gap, so
  • Foster can replace Murphy’s gap, so
  • Murphy can play contain on the extra gap added to his side by the pulling H-Back.

All gaps are accounted for.  Ioannidis comes off his block to make initial contact with the back and Whitner is in position for the fill:

[AFTER THE JUMP:  The Last Play, A Link to the Chart, Grades, Safeties, Safeties WTF!]

Continue reading Redskins DEFENSE vs The Lions

Redskins Defense Vs The Eagles (I)

Formations:

The Eagles opened up with 13 (1RB, 3 TE) personnel:

nickelvs13

and, for the first time I think ever, we responded with a Nickel defense.  Normally we come out in a 3-4 if there is more than 1 tight end or a fullback is in the game.  This matchup got us a sack as Kerrigan matched up one on one with the tight end closest to the center.

Otherwise it was mainly our Nickel vs their 11 and our 3-4 vs their 12 and 13.  On 3rd and longs we gave a few exotic looks.  A couple of times we went 3(DL)-3(LB)-5(DB):

335

and a couple of times we showed a 3-2-6, the 3 lineman in this play–which resulted in a sack–were Kerrigan, Murphy and Smith:

326

On 3rd and 5 we pulled Compton off the field and went into a Dime package (4-1-6) with Terence Garvin at linebacker:

dimegarvin

We also had a few plays where we lifted the slot corner off the field in favor of a 3rd safety.

Depth Chart for our Nickel:

  • DE:  Kerrigan and Smith with Murphy off the bench.
  • DT (Nose and 3Tech):  Baker, Hood, with Francois and Ioannidis off the bench
  • ILB:  Foster, Compton with Garvin on some 3rd downs
  • CB:  Norman the whole way.  Breeland shared time with Dunbar on the first drive.  Dunbar had a hard time getting lined up with Whitner on one play and I don’t think we saw much of him after that.
  • Slot CB:  Fuller, sometimes replaced by a 3rd safety.
  • Strong Safety:  Nacho with Whitner off the bench
  • Free Safety:  Blackmon with Whitner off the bench.

In the 3-4, where we replace the slot corner with a 5th defensive lineman, Francois got the start.  I’m going off of memory so if I missed a guy let me know in the comments.  Also you can like, comment in the comments.

The Show:

Where the disembodied head of EA Sports’ Kirk Herbstreit revolves around me and repeatedly chants “He just simply used POWER”:

The Power play reared it’s ugly head again.  In the preview I talked about how the Eagles like to fake like they are going to run Power and throw a bubble screen to the outside.  This time they switched it up and actually ran the Power play, because it’s us, so obviously you have to try.  Instead of passively reading blocks and getting run over, we attacked it with our play side linebacker (Foster in this case) and Safety.  Both guys will aim for the pulling guard and stop this play for a short gain:

power

Video:

Philly ran Power 3 times for 11 yards.  It’s become a non-factor which is something that seemed light years away from happening after the Giants’ game.  Having a safety willing to fill against the run has been the most important addition to this defense for the season.  On a Power play in the 4th quarter, Foster and Whitner did the same thing to the pulling guard, forcing Sproles to bounce outside into Smith and Breeland.

[After the jump:  All-22 video, Counter, Link to the Chart, Grades…and more words!!]

Continue reading Redskins Defense Vs The Eagles (I)

Redskins Defense Vs The Ravens

Formations

(Note:  Cliff Notes are at the end, along with the Chart)

We stayed in a 3-4 for the majority of the game.  Blackmon and Nacho were the safeties with Blackmon lining up to the side with more wide receivers:

3-4

and Nacho lining up to the side with more tight ends:

3-4b

We occasionally lined up with new lines on passing downs, this line consisted of Smith-Murphy-Garvin(linebacker, standing up) and Kerrigan:

nascar

Norman and Dunbar were the starters at corner with Toler backing both of them up.  Fuller was our Nickel/Slot cornerback.  Whitner was our “Dime” defensive back, he came in on passing downs to cover tight ends.  Garvin (52) played the role of Su’a Cravens as the linebacker who replaced Foster on passing downs.

The Show

Baltimore spent most of the first drive running it away from our Safety in the box (Blackmon/Nacho) and towards Dunbar’s gap.  Our defensive end had contain while Dunbar had to cover gaps inside:

dunbar1

Dunbar gets to handle an Iso block from the fullback and is out of his element:

They tried to attack Dunbar’s gap again in the 3rd quarter, again the defensive end has contain while Dunbar is playing the gap denoted by the yellow line:

dunbar2

But we adjusted by slanting the line towards the gap:

Continue reading Redskins Defense Vs The Ravens

Redskins DEFENSE vs The Browns

Formations:

Note:  A brief overview of our ‘Nickel’ and ‘3-4’ formations can be found here

Cleveland started the game in 11 (1RB, 1TE) personnel and we responded with our Nickel package which had Compton lined up to the passing strength (2 WR side):

formationstart

When the Browns brought in a fullback or extra tight end we responded with our 3-4:

3-4a

Notice Compton is away from the passing strength and is lined up over the guard and tackle.  The thicker and stouter Foster (aka Rumble) is lined up over the ‘A’ gap in between the center and guard.

We got a little whacky with our 3-4 alignment on this play as we slid Baker over to defensive end.  We stood up Preston Smith, moved him around and then sent him blitzin’:

Continue reading Redskins DEFENSE vs The Browns

Breakdown: Defense vs Giants (I)

Lining Up:

Giants stayed in 11 (1 RB, 1TE) personnel the whole way and we responded with our Nickel defense:

comptonalignment1

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:

comptonalignment2

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:

power

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:

dallasdpower

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:

saintsdpower

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!

Continue reading Breakdown: Defense vs Giants (I)

Extra Gaps

Inside Zonin’:  In the fourth drive Dallas lined up in 13 personnel (1 OL moonlighting as a TE) with a bunch of big uglies to the left of the center and just two guys to the right.  They ran it inside and destroyed our nose tackle with a double:

insidezone1

Both Hood and Baker got doubled with Hood getting discarded out the way.  One Dallas blocker from each double team was able to climb up to the 2nd level and double Foster.  On coaches film you can see our pre-snap alignment had Foster (54) lined up in between Hood and Baker:

Continue reading Extra Gaps

Breakdown: Defense vs Cowboys (I)

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!)


Lining Up:

We tried a few different looks versus Dallas’ 11 (1RB, 1TE) personnel, first we tried a 2-4-5 look:

2 DL, 4 LBs, 5 DBs
2 DL, 4 LBs, 5 DBs

Smith blows a zone coverage, Dez gets an eighteen yard gain.  So we scratched that and tried a 3-3-5 look:

335vs11

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:

34vsbig

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.

On with the Show:

“[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:

Continue reading Breakdown: Defense vs Cowboys (I)

Breakdown: Defense vs Steelers

Note:  I stopped charting after the 8th drive because…reasons.

Lining Up:

Pitt came out in 11 personnel (1RB, 1TE) and we matched up with our Nickel defense:

alignmentnickelover

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:

slantaway

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:

alignment34over

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.”

Anyways, on with the show:

Defensive Line            
  Run     Pass    
Player + total + total
Baker 3.5 1.5 2 2 0 2
Golston 4 4.5 -0.5 0.5 1.5 -1
Kerrigan 3 1.5 1.5 0.5 0 0.5
Francois 0.5 0 0.5 1.5 0 1.5
Hood 2 4.5 -2.5 1.5 0.5 1
Smith 1 5.5 -4.5 3.5 0 3.5
Reyes 2 2.5 -0.5 0 0 0
Murphy 0 0.5 -0.5 0 1 -1
Total 16 20.5 -4.5 9.5 3 6.5

Continue reading Breakdown: Defense vs Steelers