Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Football 200

With respect to CBS, The NFL, and The Dolphins, here's a screen capture - in SD...the game wasn't shown in HD thank god! - from the game.

Its time for a more advanced look at the world of football. Miami had scored to close the gap to within 3. The Browns had moved the ball at the 35, and were showing this formation: its an "I" for the backfield, as the backs are lined up in a line, behind the QB. And there are two receivers and a tight end on the field.

But, what's unique is that the receivers are lined up both on the offense's right, and Kellen Winslow, the tight end, is lined up left, close to the line but standing.

He's in the yellow circle, and his route is shown by the yellow line.

Miami had its "base" defense on the field. There are four down lineman up at the line of scrimmage. There are three linebackers. Joey Porter in the purple circle, and Zach and Channing with the blue lines. The corners are playing up at the line covering the receivers. The safeties are not shown, but I've approximated their positions in blue to the right.

But, schematically, Miami blew this coverage. Miami had the corners in man to man coverage, and I *think* Joey was in man coverage as well. You'll understand why that's an assumption in a moment.

The safeties were playing zone in the area shown deeper on the field. Popularly, this is called a cover 2, because Miami was playing the pass. The safeties won't come up to try and stop the run.

Anderson snaps the ball and drops back. Winslow runs his route, and Joey follows him. The defensive line pass rushes, getting a push into the offensive line. Channing and Zach have two assignments: first, they are to watch the line and if it is a run, come up to make a play. Second, to cover a zone, so that the backs have limited opportunity to make a catch if they come out for a pass.

Although I don't show it, the tailback (the guy right behind the QB) went out for a pass to the left side of the field. He's now Zach's responsibility.

But, this is where I wasn't sure what the story was with Joey. He was covering Winslow very "softly" (ie, away from him) and appeared to stay somewhat close to the 40. It was as if he didn't know his responsibility there, and was thinking about the back as well. It could be he was told to play zone. It could be that he couldn't cover the faster Winslow. It could be that the safety was supposed to cover Winslow at a certain point. I can't say.

But what happened was that Winslow was open on the field and made a nice catch for a first down. The safety did make a nice play and knocked the ball loose. But since Joey (okay no one) wasn't around, a lineman made the recovery.

What was it I heard Cris Carter say the other day "sometimes its not the x's and o's but the Willies and Joes"...

Here was a case where the design was flawed because you had Joey covering someone man to man (or a zone with just one person in it), and at least two players didn't execute.

The Browns went on to score and never looked back.
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