Monday, November 19, 2007


Its time for a lesson in playcalling in football school. With respect to CBS, the NFL, and the Dolphins, here's a play that had some ramifications on the outcome. Beck drove the Phins to 1st and goal on the 1 with about 8 minutes left. The score was 17-7.

First down saw Chatman get stuffed on a line plunge. The blocking didn't happen and he lost a yard.

Second down was a pass. Halterman (the elusive #80) came from the tight end slot into the endzone, and was open. The pass was on target, but he dropped it.

Third down was another shot at a run, this time between the left guard and left tackle. Chatman drove his legs forward and regained the lost yard.

Its decision time. Do you go for it or do you take the field goal? Time's ticking. Cameron made the right call, I think, and decided to go. But, it took him a few moments to get the players onto the field. There are a few seconds left, so Beck has to take a timeout.

Now its 4th and goal at the 1. Beck sets up the play that's called, and looks over the defense. Only, there are three problems: (1) the way the defense lines up is going to cause problems for the blocking scheme, (2) Beck can not call timeout, because he took one a short time ago, and you can't call two in a row, and (3) he apparently had no audibles.

The blocking scheme is approximated with the purple lines. Philly's #75 is the problem here (orange x): he's not accounted for in the blocking scheme.

And while I'm showing this, take a look at Chatmans direction (yellow). Its a wide sweep to the right, while the blocking is mostly going left. Its designed to be an option run where he can go inside or out, or possibly can pass.

The issue I have with it is that you're a yard away from the endzone. Why are you dropping 13 yards away from it to try and get there? Its slow developing, and you've moved further away. If it works, you're a genius. If it doesn't, well....

So, here's the start of the play. Satele is the lead blocker. He either doesn't see 75, or he thinks someone else has him. Either way, he just runs past him, and that guy catches Chatman in the backfield for a huge loss.

And that's why I say the scheme was wrong for this defense. The linebacker lined up inside the end. And that meant the right tackle was going to block the linebacker, rather than the end, and Satele was going to block no one, because he was looking for the linebacker.

I have no idea - other than misdirection - what the right guard's assignment was. Its entirely possible he ran the wrong assignment as well.

In any event, I did not like this call. It left too many variables on a 4th and goal at the 1. Better to pound it in than this. Or maybe this could have been the third down play or something. Or if Chatman had the option to pass, he shoulda/coulda done that...
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