Aaron Donald and company toppled our pass protection and took away any plays that involved long developing routes; even our max protect concept resulted in a sack. Their defense left us no choice but to resort to quick throws and a punishing run game.
We stretched out their 5 man line and attacked the middle with an Inside Zone double team:
Once we established that, the linebackers were looking to cheat inside so we responded by shifting the double team to their 3-technique (‘Counter’ run shown here):
The Rams responded in a couple of ways, first they shifted their 3 technique outside (5 technique) and made us use a Tight End to double team him,
while our Tight End corps will burn you in the passing game they can’t block a college walk-on much less an NFL defensive lineman.
Our Nickel line: Kerrigan-Ioannidis-Allen-Smith. Ioannidis and Allen lined up directly over the guards to take away any Outside Zone and Power runs.
Last week McVay dialed up about a dozen Outside Zone runs, but against this formation he didn’t try it once. When they did run outside it was away from Jonathan Allen who showed last week against Philly he could run that stuff down.
To the top of the screen you see the WRs in a stack formation, they rolled that out a ton. We played it with Fuller underneath, since he’s the screen destroyer our DB coach Torrian Gray built.
The 3-4 had a starting line of McGee-Hood-McClain flanked by Anderson and Galette. McGee lines up over Tackles and tight ends, McClain over the guard and Hood is at nose.
We rotated the defensive ends and OLBs somewhat, but for the most part Kerrigan and Smith had their hand in the dirt in our Nickel front, while Anderson and Galette were stand up OLBs in our 3-4.
Positions that seem set:
3-4 Line: Anderson-McGee-Hood-McClain-Galette
Nickel Line: Kerrigan-Ioannidis-Allen-Smith
Inside Backers: Brown and Foster
Corners: Norman and Breeland backed up by Dunbar
Slot Corner: Fuller
Free Safety: DJ Swearinger
Strong Safety is the lone question mark. It looks to be a two-way battle between Everett and Nicholson with rookie Fabian Moreau working his way in for a couple of snaps. In week 1 it was Everett’s job to lose, as it stands now the winner of that battle might be whoever makes the fewest mistakes.
If it weren’t for Smith and Kerrigan getting pressure the line would’ve finished on the wrong side of zero. The interior doesn’t have a QB terror like Jason Hatcher or Chris Baker just yet, the closest guy is Ioannidis who charted a couple of pressures. He’s been holding up to doubles against zone runs and the QB pressures are a pleasant surprise, the only knock on his game is speed to the outside:
The guard doesn’t even check him on his way to sealing out Foster. The center had the impossible task of cutting him which tells me the plan was to beat him with speed. I contrasted that with a clip from last week where Allen was sliding down the line, fighting off blocks and making plays at the sideline. That right there is why they didn’t poke at the beast.
[After the jump: Coverages, linebackers, predictions]