Category: Film Room

FUN WITH WEAPONS; CHRIS THOMPSON CAN TAKE REDSKINS OFFENSE OVER THE TOP

It’s really hard to quantify how much of an impact Alfred Morris had on the Redskins in his rookie season. His 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns propelled this team to having a top 5 offense. While Robert Griffin III is an elite talent, without Alfred Morris’ hard nosed, physical style of running, the offense likely doesn’t work quite the same way; Morris allowed us to keep a balanced attack. With RG3′s accurate passing and his Morris’ threat as a runner, play action passes out of the pistol and the zone-read were a problem defensive coordinators could never figure out.

But, as awesome as Alfred Morris is — and let’s be clear here, Alfred Morris is awesome — his contributions in the passing game were lacking. Usually utilized as a last resort after Robert had gone through all his progressions, Alfred Morris only totaled 11 receptions for 77 yards out of the back field, while back-up running back Evan Royster had 15 receptions for 109 yards and fullback Darrel Young had 8 catches for 109. All told are running backs had a combined 34 receptions for 295 yards.

Many things help Kyle Shanahan’s offense go, but a running back that can pass protect on third down and catch the ball out of the back field can be just as deadly as anything else. Morris is a willing pass protector, and while he wasn’t the best at it in year one, I’d expect to improve in year 2. But when it comes to a change-of-pace back who can break the big play, that’s not Morris’ job. His job is to mash you into mush, tire you out and make you sick of hitting him all day.

Chris Thompson’s job is to make you pay for that laziness.

Mark over at Hogs Haven already showed one concept for a halfback wheel route using play action out of a two-back pistol formation. Here, we have an example of the Houston Texans running a similar play off a bootleg from a standard I formation.

The zone stretch and the bootleg suck the defenders up in the run game as they try to attack Matt Schaub before he can get the ball off. The receivers run inside seam routes to draw away the coverage outside, while Foster leaks out of the traffic and is wide open. Arian Foster wound up celebrating in the end zone after this play. With Chris Thompson, it’s as good as putting six on the board the second he gets his hands on the ball.

Another element that went missing from our offense was the screen game. With Helu out of commission, plays like this one completely disappeared.

Chris Thompson has some nagging health issues of his own, but despite being smaller than Roy Helu, I actually think he’s somewhat less of a health risk than Helu. Helu’s up right running leads to more hits on his legs and therefore more smaller, nagging injuries on his hamstrings, where as Thompson runs behind his pads a little more. And without having to take all the carries of an every down back, that would allow Thompson to be fresher. Here’s Thompson running a similar play at Florida State.

One more downfield block, and Thompson houses this for a touchdown, no doubt.

Another missing element from our offense was working the cutback lanes. It wasn’t that Alfred couldn’t do it; he could and can. But when defenses over pursue on the stretch run, we need to be able to punish them for chunk yardage.

I had to make this one bigger just so you can see the nasty, nasty cuts Thompson makes on this play. The defense over-pursues, taking away the end on the zone stretch run. Thompson sees it, puts a foot in the ground and accelerates through the backside hole, then has not one, but two lateral cuts that leave defenders asking where the hell he went. A tired defense that’s been getting beaten to mush trying to take down Alfred Morris and chasing Robert Griffin III is not going to stop Thompson on this play.

Another formation the Seminoles utilized with Thompson was a split back formation out of shotgun. Typically, you’ll see a split back formation with a running back and a tight end, which gives the offense latitude to have max pass protection while keeping their passing options open. The Seattle Seahawks actually utilized this formation a lot with Russell Wilson in their variation on the read-option offense. Check on this Field Gulls article to see more on how they utilize it. (I may not like the Seahawks, but the guys at Field Gulls do really great, knowledgeable work.)

At Florida State, they used this formation with their own mobile quarterback E.J Manuel. Here we see a zone run play, with Manuel in the gun with Thompson and #24, Lonnie Pryor.

Pryor gets a piece of number 40, and that’s all Thompson needs; he sees the hole form, plants and cuts up field. He breaks a few tackles and then it’s pretty much seven after down field blocks by his receivers. This is the kind of play easily transplant-able to the Redskins offense, and can be run with either Alfred Morris or Darrel Young operating as the lead blocker.

They also ran play action passes with this same formation, after Thompson rips off some big runs.

Pryor and Thompson cross the formation, sucking defenders up on the run action. The tight end, #35, runs a deep post. The linebacker is actually able to sink back under the throw, but an accurate throw beats him and it’s another big play in the red zone.

Ideally, Thompson could become our Darren Sproles; a change of pace back who can catch the ball out the backfield and turn what would ordinarily be a two-or-three yard chain mover into points on the board and big time plays.

If Thompson can come to camp relatively healthy and able to contribute even playing spot duty, he’ll add a huge dimension to our offense and make it much, much harder to defend. Watching Thompson play is going to be a fun ride, so get on board now and watch the magic happen.

BREAKING DOWN DAVID AMERSON: IS HE THE RIGHT PICK FOR THE REDSKINS?

Leading up to the NFL Draft if you would have asked me if the Redskins would select David Amerson with the 51st pick I would have laughed it off and listed a few other cornerbacks they should look at instead. Nothing personal against Amerson but I spent most of the pre-draft process looking for a player who could slip in the draft but had potential as a “shut down” cornerback or dynamic playmaker that could dominate as a nickel back.

The first two tapes I watched on David Amerson were vs the Miami Hurricanes and the Tennessee Volunteers. What I saw was a talented player that gave up a lot of big plays and didn’t play in the slot, after two games I didn’t see the guy I was looking for. Shortly after the watching those games everyone from Mike Mayock to Bucky Brooks echoed what I thought I saw on film, that Amerson was a boom or bust player with some really bad tape from 2012.I believe Mike Mayock even said he had never seen so many vertical routes given up by a cornerback.Once the “experts” co-signed what I saw on tape that was enough for me to close the book on Amerson and I made up my mind that he wasn’t a good fit for the Redskins, Or so I thought.

Sometime around 8pm on April 26th, 2013 the Redskins showed how smart I was and Selected David Amerson as their first pick in the 2013 NFL draft. I did what everyone does in 2013 when you want to vent your frustrations to the masses and took to twitter. My first tweet after the pick was “Son of a bitch”.. I try to keep the twitter pg-13 but nobody is perfect.Once I calmed down my next move was to spend the next seven days analyzing, possibly obsessing, over every play I could find of Amersons career at NC State. I started out disgruntled but then this Kevin Hart stand up popped in my head about trying to pick up women with car seats in your car…

In a weird way Kevin Hart was responsible for getting me to focus on the positive in Amerson’s game and not the negative, and I found a lot of positives that have completely changed my opinion of the pick and the player.Let’s find out what changed my mind and why I feel David Amerson can be a pro bowl player for years to come for your Washington Redskins.

Lets start with an overall video package listing some strengths and weaknesses in Amerson’s game…

One of the things that stood out to me in the video was this graphic.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen or read a scouting report that says Amerson struggles at the top of his back pedal,In fact it shows up on film a lot vs double moves and the vertical routes he gave up in 2012. Amerson’s issues at the top of his pedal look to be balance, weight transfer, and accelerating out of his stem when driving on underneath routes vs good route runners and faster Wide Receivers. Most people will chalk up Amerson’s flaws to eye discipline and call it a day. my feeling is eye discipline, and trying to compensate for the issues transitioning out of his pedal lead to him getting beat deep.

Lets check out some film…

In this shot David Amerson is defending the 11 yard square in vs DeAndre Hopkins With 2:37 left in the second quarter. The idea of this timing route is for Hopkins to eat up the space between him and Amerson and drive him into his back pedal to create enough separation to inside for the completion.

Amerson gets a good break on the route by reading the Quarterback and the Wide Receiver to force the incompletion.

 

On 2nd down & 10 with 2:31 left in the second quarter Clemson will use the same play but with Hopkins will run a double move on Amerson.

 

The pump fake by Boyd and In cut by Hopkins is enough to get Amerson to break on the route. Hopkins gets vertical as soon as Amerson bites.

 

Amerson is off-balance and could not make up the ground to stop the touchdown pass to Hopkins.

Nobody likes missed tackles and Amerson is too talented to be whiffing on ball carriers like this. The main reason Amerson misses tackles is because you can not tackle what you can not see. he needs to pick his head up and keep his eyes on his target. Amerson’s physical talent is not an issue, but he needs to clean up technique flaws to be a better all around Cornerback.

So why did I completely change my opinion on the Washington Redskins picking David Amerson? Simple, The Redskins cornerbacks do not back pedal.The coverages used by the Redskins are heavy in shuffle/pattern match techniques that enable the Cornerbacks to play with their eyes on the Quarterback while always being in a good position to make plays on the football. The Redskins main coverages consist of man trail, off man, zone, with some press/bail ( player decision ).

Here are a few examples of the shuffle technique used by the Redskins…

  • Pre-Snap read
  • Post Snap
  • Pre Snap in off man coverage
  • Post Snap shuffle
  • Pre Snap

  • Post Snap  shuffle

 

Anytime you can take a player and not only hide one of his biggest weaknesses but almost eliminate it all together that is a win in my book. The consensus among the scouts and draft niks is Amerson excels in zone, off man, and man trail coverage concepts, the same main concepts in the Redskins coverage schemes.

Now that I know Amerson will not be backpedaling a lot, if really at all in Washington, it was easy to re-watch all of his games looking for specific areas that mimic how he would be used with the Redskins. I came away thinking Amerson was a pretty impressive cornerback who could thrive in the Redskins secondary.

Here we have Clemson going for a shot play with a double move route concept for Deandre Hopkins vs David Amerson. On this play Amerson uses a shuffle/ slide technique (Like he will in Washington ) instead of a backpedal.

Hopkins breaks down trying to get Amerson to jump the in route so he can get vertical for 6. Amerson plays the concept well while reading the Quarterback and Hopkins.

Boyd trusts Hopkins to make a play vs Amerson and puts the ball up for grabs. Amerson keeps himself in between Hopkins and the goal line, gets square easily, and puts himself in position to make a play on the ball in a jump situation.

Amerson out jumps Hopkins and deflects the pass for the break up.

S.Alabama will run a single route play pass on 3rd & 1, 10 NC State players will sell out vs the run. Amerson is the only player to recognize the play action and bails to cover the Tight End.

Amerson gets back and high points the ball for the interception. His athleticism and elite ball skills really stand out on film,

Amerson in man vs Cincinnati.. Sorry for the picture quality but it was the best I could find.

Amerson shows off his leaping ability, long arms, and ball skills for the interception. Quarterbacks have less room for error with a guy like Amerson on the field because he makes the windows a little smaller to fit the ball in.

Clemson will run a post wheel combination vs NC State in the cover 3 on 4th and 18. The Wide Receiver across from Amerson will run a post route which Clemson hopes pulls Amerson to the middle of the field, opening up the sideline for Andre Ellington on the wheel route.

Amerson bails to his zone keeping his eyes on the Quarterback and reading his shoulders. At this point Amerson is baiting the Boyd to throw this football.

Ball is in the air and Amerson gets in between Ellington and the goaline and gets square to make a play on the football.

Amerson shows off his play making ability by high pointing the football and turning over the Clemson Tigers with the interception.

 

 

looking back at last year I feel like Amersons size and ability to play the football could have turned around a lot of plays last season …

All this talk about David Amersons physical ability but what about the mental part of his game ?  Watch the video below to learn about Amerson in the film room and the work he puts in to set up Quarterbacks.

Welcome to Washington D.C. David Amerson, It is great to have you on the team.

P.S. I really didn’t mean the son of a bitch comment.. Nothing personal #HTTR

DOES ATTACKING THE QB REALLY STOP THE READ OPTION?

How do we stop the Read Option? That is the question Defensive Coordinators will debate while preparing for the 2013 season. According to Mike Tomlin the answer lies with an Offensive coaches commitment to putting their QB in danger ,Tomlin said “We’ll see if guys are committed to getting their guys hit.”. I respect Tomlin as a head coach but I don’t think the answer is that simple and he is focusing on the one part in a multidimensional offense.

NFL head coaches have been hard-wired to believe that pressure on the Quarterback cures all ills. Teams have built their whole identity around a dominate Defensive Lines relentless pursuit to hit the passer. We watched one of the best offensive football teams of all time go undefeated for 18 straight games, only to fall victim to a team with a strong pass rush. Coaches are so focused on stopping the running QB they act like the Running back and passing game are an after thought.

Lets go back to the NFC Championship game where the Atlanta Falcons had a plan to attack the Colin Kaepernick on every read option play. Atlanta’s plan was to have the unblocked DE ignore the RB and attack the QB… Let’s see how effective that plan was for the Falcons.

San Fransisco sets up to run HB Off Tackle with Colin Kaepernick out of the pistol. A benefit of the pistol is teams can run a traditional run game & zone read out of the same pre-snap looks, This is a problem #1 for a defense looking to attack the QB in the read option.

Abraham’s up-field pursuit plays right into the hands of the 49ers
Kaepernick has already handed the ball off to Frank Gore
Abraham arrives at Kaepernick
Gore bounces the run outside into the vacated space left open by the DE
San Fran vs Atlanta

Gore hits the open edge for a 7 yard gain
Offense wins every time they can get their RB into the last level of the defense untouched


San Fran will run the outside zone read with LeMichael James in at RB
DE takes a wider split anticipating the Outside Zone Read

The DE reads the mesh point waiting for Kaepernick to feed the RB or keep it himself
OL works to wall of the outside pursuit
Kaepernick has already fed James the ball
DE locks in on Kaepernick

DE jumping inside on Kaepernick opens the edge for James
Vernon Davis gets on the Safety and will seal him off to the inside
Ted Ginn Jr will seal off the CB to the outside

James will hit the alley for a 15 yard TD
Kaepernick is in the Pistol running the inside zone read
Stephen Nicholas locks in on Kaepernick and will ignore the inside run action

Nicholas turned the corner locked in on the QB
Gore has received the hand-off and heads up field
FB will get through the hole to seal off the LB

FB gets his block on the LB
Davis seals off the Safety
Gore hits the opening originally vacated by Nicholas for a TD

Later in the game and in scoring position the 49er’s score another TD on the same run play they ran before..

Abraham will ignore the inside run action and attack the QB

Abraham over runs the play
Kaepernick fed Gore
OL/FB seal off outside pursuit
Davis works on the Safety
Gore hits the open lane for a TD
“People getting up the field to pass rush is what it’s all about because of the type of quarterbacks — the Tom Bradys of the world, Drew Brees, that’s what you’ve got to stop. You’ve got to put pressure on the quarterback. Well, that’s just what you don’t want to do against [read-option quarterbacks]. You have to play on the line of scrimmage just like old option football.” – Nick Saban

Defensive coordinators can say they hitting the QB will discourage the Read Option, but that is not the case. The QB running the scheme dictates the action more than the defense. When a defense predetermined it will have the edge defender attack the QB -Like the Atlanta Falcons above-then feed the back and watch the RB have a banner day. Just because a team is running the read option doesn’t mean the QB has to force running the football.

A QB is vulnerable past the LOS when he decides to run the ball. At that point the QB still controls the action but must make smart decisions and at times slide 5 yards too early rather than take a hit after gaining the extra 5 yards. The onus is on the QB to play smart and reduce the damage over the course of a season. A coach saying ” We will see how committed teams are to running the read when we hit their QB” sounds good in theory but doesn’t do much in terms off slowing down an offense.

I can’t be the only one that feels Defensive Coordinators dedicating their off-season to stopping the read option – which might get called 4-7 times a game – is a little unusual. Rest assured, Offensive Coordinators are working hard to expand the Read Option to stay two steps ahead of the defenses in 2013

THE REDSKINS NEED A “TAVON AUSTIN” TO EXPAND THE OFFENSE IN 2013

As the 2013 NFL draft approaches, Redskins fans are clamoring for Tavon Austin. NFL personnel departments anticipate Austin being selected well ahead of Washington’s second round pick, But let’s take a look at how a ” X-factor utility” player could fit into Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

The Redskins tried to incorporate WR/KR Brandon Banks into the offense while Pierre Garcon missed time with an injured foot. That plan did not work out; Banks did not provide a consistent offensive threat. After being ineffective on special teams and unable to produce on offense, Mike Shanahan benched Brandon Banks prior to the week 14 game vs the Baltimore Ravens.

Even though the Banks experiment failed Kyle did show a glimpse of a spread offense that will be dangerous with the right pieces around Robert Griffin III. The ideal x-factor would be Tavon Austin, but the Redskins can still find players like Ryan Swope and Theo Riddick later in the draft.

Let’s take a look at an interesting sequence of plays the Washington Redskins used vs the Minnesota Vikings.

Redskins come out with 12 personnel- 1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR- and line up in a 4 wide set with Niles Paul and Fred Davis as the outside Wide Receivers. The formation, and use of personnel has the Vikings top two corners defending Tight Ends. Josh Morgan and Brandon Banks are defended by the nickel corner and a Safety.

This play will be a simple inside zone run but it serves as the base play for Kyle Shanahan’s package plays.

Washingtons formation spreads Minnesota out, creating a 6 on 6 -7 on 7 if you want to count the Free Safety and the Quarterback -match-up.

Alfred Morris is stopped for a 4 yard gain by a diving Linebacker. Had Will Montgomery held his block longer than Morris is in space 1 on 1 with a Safety.

2nd & 6: Redskins come out in 12 personnel showing the same formation as 1st down only now Robert Griffin III has options. The pre-snap read shows Minnesota still honoring Brandon Banks in the slot. Robert will turn his focus to reading the Safety while riding the mesh point with Alfred Morris.

The Safety attacks the hole anticipating the hand off to Alfred Morris. Fred Davis will break his route off into the are the safety has vacated.

Fred Davis hauls in the reception for a 16 yard gain.

1st & 10: Redskins come out in 12 personnel showing the same 4 wide formation, this time, Fred Davis moves to the slot while Leonard Hankerson moves outside. Brandon Banks will motion into the Backfield and Niles Paul will motion behind the Right Tackle and Right Guard. Get ready for option football.

Robert Griffin III hands off the ball to Alfred Morris on the dive for a three yard gain.

2nd & 7: Redskins come out in 12 personnel with Logan Paulsen taking over for Niles Paul. Like the play before, Banks will motion into the backfield while Paulsen motions behind the Right Tackle and Right Guard. Robert Griffin will read the Linebackers and hand off if they drop in coverage or pull and pass if they take false steps towards the line of scrimmage.

The Linebackers take false steps towards the line of scrimmage leaving a open passing lane for RGIII to connect with Fred Davis.

1st & 10: The Redskins come out in 12 personnel with 4 wide receivers. Brandon Banks will motion to Running Back while Logan Paulsen motions off the outside hip of the Right Tackle. Washington will begin to get Banks involved in the offense running the stretch zone for a loss of 1 yard. xa

Early on the play looks like it has potential to get Banks 1 on 1 with the Cornerback. One of Banks biggest assets is his speed, but he is not a decisive runner.

Banks runs out of real estate and into the Cornerback. This play could have gained 4 or 5 yards with more patience and a decisive cut up field.

2nd & 11: Redskins come out in 12 personnel running one their package plays for this game. Minnesota has defenders in the box which gives the Redskins a number advantage in the running game. Robert Griffin will feed the ball to Alfred Morris, but he also had Banks and Davis open.

The All-22 endzone angle gives you a better look at the blocking scheme.

Chris Chester shows you how one missed assignment can effect the outcome of a play. The Vikings Defensive Tackle throws Chester aside to make a play on Alfred Morris, stopping him for a gain of 3 yards.

Here is the broadcast view so you can see Banks and Davis routes develop. Minnesota has stopped respecting Banks on the swing route the last few plays.

2nd & 11: Redskins come out with 4 Wide Receivers and 1 Tight End with Santana Moss subbing in for Alfred Morris. Brandon Banks will motion into the backfield alongside Robert Griffin III. Washington will run the option for a 5 yard gain. xaaa

Griffin decides to use the shovel pass to Moss on the inside zone. Banks had some room on the edge to make a play.

1st & 15: Redskins come out in 12 personnel and line up in 4 wide. Minnesota is not respecting Banks as a Wide Receiver and leaves him uncovered in the slot. Robert Griffin identifies the weakness in coverage and points out Banks for the swing route.

Banks makes the catch with some room to work. Niles Paul gets put on his butt after trying to block Vikings Cornerback Antoine Winfield. This play had the potential for big yardage if Niles maintained his block on the Corner.

Kyle Shanahan shelved this portion of his offense after Fred Davis was lost for the season vs the New York Giants. Logan Paulsen stepped up in the absence of Davis, but he is not as versatile to flex out in formations as a reliable Wide Receiver. Fred Davis is set to become a Unrestricted Free Agent but he is expected to return to the Redskins.

Brandon Banks has played his last season in Washington, but the role he leaves behind still needs to be filled, but by who?

Who will be the Redskins ” x-factor” for 2013? and where do they find him ?

REDSKINS SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM RYAN MUNDY

#29 S – 6’1″ – 209 lbs

Birth Date: February 11th, 1985 (Age:28)

Birth Place: Pittsburgh, PA

College: West Virginia

The Redskins #1 offseason priority is upgrading their personnel at the safety position. I have already broke down Corey Lynch and Kenny Phillips, now it’s time to take a look at Pittsburgh Steelers Safety Ryan Mundy.

Ever since Dan Graziano mentioned Mundy as a possible solution to at safety I have received a lot of requests for his film review. The film shows that Ryan Mundy is not a fit for the Redskins if they plan to upgrade their safety play. Mundy struggles vs the run, tackling in the open field, and in man coverage.

Let’s check out the film…

Ryan Mundy is the cover 1 deep safety vs a standard zone run from the Oakland Raiders RB Darren Mcfadden. The Linebackers will penetrate the line of scrimmage to stop the run leaving Mundy as the clean up man in the middle and last line of defense.

The RB breaks through the line untouched. Mundy takes a bad angle down to the line of scrimmage and gets flat-footed. He stopped all his momentum and will try to stop a running Mcfadden. You can’t give a RB like McFadden this much grass to make a move on you in the open field.

Mcfadden makes a cut at full speed that leaves Mundy grasping at air.

Here is another angle so you get the full effect of the play.

The mistake by Mundy allowed Mcfadden to go 63 yards for the Touchdown on his first carry of the game.

Here we have Ryan Mundy in man coverage vs Darius Heyward- Bey. Oakland will have the outside Wide Receiver running a in – really a pick route- while Heyward -Bey runs a wheel route to the corner of the endzone. Mundy is forced to go over the top to avoid the pick.

Mundy gets in a decent position to make a play on the ball. I would like to see him turn his head to find the ball, but the Wide Receivers hands are up so Mundy knows the ball is coming.

Perfect route, perfect pass, and Mundy just a step slow to the corner. Overall not a bad play by Mundy but it’s never good to allow touchdowns, and so far Oakland 14 Mundy 0.

Oakland will run the ball inside the Steelers 5 yard line. Ryan Mundy and the LB will fill the hole and try to tackle Darren McFadden.

Mundy goes high on Mcfadden.

Mcfadden spins of and stiff arms Mundy to the ground. The ruling on the field was a touchdown but it was overturned on a booth review. Touchdown or not, Mundy is unreliable in run support.

Oakland will motion the FB into the slot and run a bubble screen. Mundy has man responsibility on the FB. This should be an easy play.

Mundy attacks the line of scrimmage and gets flat-footed, stopping his momentum to the ball carrier. I understand breaking down and getting square to the ball carrier, but Mundy needs to do that on the move. You will not consistently tackle NFL ball carriers waiting for them to come to you.Reese Sheds Ryan Mundy for the first down

The FB stiff arms Mundy to the ground and gets the outside edge. You don’t want to see your safety juked by a FB.

Mundy is in man coverage vs Brent Celek. In this shot he is already off-balance and has lost his leverage.

Celek makes the out cut and is wide open for the touchdown.

The Tight End catches the ball while falling to the ground. Mundy jogs lightly to touch the player down.

The lack of awareness and urgency by Mundy gives the TE enough time to get to his feet and make a play.

The TE evades Mundy and gets a first down for the Denver Broncos.

Denver will run a pick route to try to get the TE open in the flat vs Mundy.

It looks like teams like to get Mundy in man coverage, and I can see why. Mundy is easily picked off the route and the TE is open for the TD.

Ryan Mundy reminds me too much of Madieu Williams with bad angles, missed tackles, and all around bad play. The plan is to upgrade the position, not carry over things as they are into 2013. Just say no to Ryan Mundy to the Redskins.

Feel free to leave a comment or a suggestion for future film reviews below.

REDSKINS FREE AGENT TARGET-GREG TOLER

#28 CB , 6’0″ , 192 lbs

Birth Date: January 2, 1985 (Age: 28)

Birth Place: Washington, DC

Experience: 3 years

College: St. Paul’s (Va)

Greg Toler is one of the more underrated cornerbacks available in this years free agency class.Even though Toler was a key piece for the Arizona Cardinals top 5 passing defense, there hasn’t been a lot of buzz surrounding him. He is a physical player, solid in coverage, and has played well when on the field.

The Washington Redskins need to upgrade their secondary and sources say Toler is on the teams radar. With the current cap situation Washington is not in position to sign one of the top corners available on the market, and that is not a bad thing. Toler would give an instant bang for your buck that would be a vital piece to the championship puzzle.

Let’s look at a few plays that stood out to me.

Greg Toler is in off man coverage on Roddy White. The design of the route is to drive Toler to White’s outside shoulder, creating space for the curl to the inside.

Toler is patient and stays on top of the route, allowing him to make a play if White breaks inside or out.

Here is where a Cornerback makes his money. Toler shades White to the inside, forcing a perfect pass from Matt Ryan to get the reception.

Ryan tries to give White an opportunity to make a play, throwing the ball high and behind. Toler attacked the play knocking the ball down for an incomplete pass.

Toler is showing man press vs Julio Jones. The Falcons have a screen called to Jones. The Fullback motions into the slot, his responsibility is to create space for Jones by picking of Toler.

Toler quickly identifies the play and gets into position to slip the block of 44.

Toler beats the block, tackles Jones, and prevents a big play.

Toler is the backside cornerback on this run by Miami Dolphins Running Back Reggie Bush. Most Cornerbacks don’t give it 100% on running plays going opposite field like Toler does on this play, and his effort is rewarded. Penetration from the Arizona defense will force Bush to bounce the run back to the outside.

Toler easily beats the block and is one on one with Bush in the backfield.

Toler brings down Bush for a 4 yard loss. You like physicality from your cornerbacks in the run game, and Toler doesn’t disappoint.

Toler is a natural man cover Corner. His route recognition, fluid hips, quick feet, are all on display on this play vs Miami. He is playing man off coverage vs the WR.

The WR is running a 12 yard comeback. Toler is beating the WR to the spot while keeping eyes on the Quarterback.

The WR hits his 12 yard mark and drives back to the quarterback. Toler runs the route better than the WR and finds himself in position to make a big play for his defense.

Toler creates a turnover for his defense by picking of the pass.

I like Toler’s game in man coverage, but lets see one of his mistakes playing in cover 3. Toler will be responsible for the vertical route through his zone.

Here we have the WR running a go route vs Toler.

Toler is reading the QB and anticipating the WR breaking off his route. The WR gives Toler the stutter step then takes off full speed for the goaline. 22 is supposed to give safety help but he drives on the inside route by the Rams WR.

Toler is already a step behind and the WR won’t be caught.

The QB connects with the WR for the Touchdown. Toler tweaks his hamstring on this play and would miss the next couple of games.

Toler is a good zone corner but I feel he is more natural in man coverage. Check out this beautiful press technique from Toler vs Miami.He is square to the Wr, balanced, good hand placement, and not overextending his arms.

For comparisons sake here is Deangelo Hall showing you how not to press a WR. Remember Hall is not a man press corner but you can see the difference in technique.

And last but not least- Check out the awareness by Toler diving out-of-bounds to save the football for his defense.

Toler doesn’t have the biggest name, the best attributes, or huge numbers but he would be a perfect fit for the Washington Redskins.

Leave your comments below and feel free to let me know what players you would like reviewed.

Film Sessions: Redskins Play Action Skinny Post

Bill Walsh-”The Play-Pass is the one fundamentally sound football play that does everything possible to contradict the basic principles of defense. I truly believe it is the single best tool available to take advantage of a disciplined defense. By using the play-pass as an integral pant of your offense you are trying to take advantage of a defensive team that is very anxious very intense and very fired-up to play football. The play-pass is one of the best ways to cool all of that emotion and intensity down because the object of the play-pass is to get the defensive team to commit to a fake run and then throw behind them. Once you get the defensive team distracted and disoriented, they begin to think about options and, therefore, are susceptible to the running game.

In highly competitive football, it is very unlikely that you will be able to run the ball so effectively that you will not need to do anything else to move the football. There is no question that having the play-pass, as a part of your offensive arsenal, can allow you to get a key first down or big chunks of yardage.”

I highly recommend reading the rest of ” Bill Walsh on the Play Pass” ..

lets look at how Kyle Shanahan is using Play pass to open up the skinny post.

Pistol Trips – 3 WR/ 1 TE / 1 RB

Lets go back to New Orléans. Redskins will run a PA pass concept VS the Saints man press cover 1 defense. The goal of this concept is to invite the LBS & Safeties to bite on the run action then hit the open windows for chunk yardage. If the LB & SS attack the run they will put the single safety in a position to fail. Lets see how the play develops.

Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris are at the mesh point carrying out the play action fake. At this point Robert and the offense are doing a good job of selling the run action to the defense. The LB & SS react to Fred Davis pulling across the formation in the backfield . While Robert sells the play action to Morris he is able to watch the RDE and Josh Morgans release from the line of scrimmage.

The LB & SS take the bait on the run action and come to the line of scrimmage.

Josh Morgan has gained inside position on the CB.

Santana Moss beat press coverage and is into his go route.The deep safety has to stay in the middle of the field ,in position to play the routes of Morgan & Moss. If the FS comes down to attack Morgan than Moss is turned loose with no over the top help. Robert Identifies the Safety is staying high and will target Morgan.

Morgan makes himself available for an easy first down completion from Robert Griffin III.

Pistol – 2 WR / 2 RB / 1 TE

Lets go back to week 7 vs The New York Giants. Redskins will run a PA pass concept VS the Giants man press cover 1 defense. The goal of this concept is the same as the earlier play. Redskins hope to invite the LBS and SS into the line of scrimmage to open windows in the passing game.

Redskins are running an inverted veer PA game to fool the Giants..

Robert Griffin III at the mesh point of the play action is watching Josh Morgans release from the line of scrimmage. Josh beats press coverage and gains inside position of the line of scrimmage. The Lbs have frozen while trying to diagnose the play.

The CB almost has Morgan blanketed but almost is not good enough on this throw from Robert Griffin III. Anything less than a perfect pass is incomplete or intercepted and Robert threads the needle.

Morgan makes the catch in space and ends up scoring on this play. The play was called back due to an illegal motion call on Fred Davis.Why was the safety so late in coming down to help the corner?

Hankersons go route keeps the safety home just like in the first play.. The safety has to decide on who to take and the #1 rule is ” as deep as the deepest”.

Pistol Trips – 3 WR/1 TE/ 1 RB

Redskins will run an Inverted Veer play action out of 3 wide vs Man press cover 1.. Sound familiar?

The deep safety will shade over top of Pierre Garcon.

Nothing sells run action to a defense more than pulling lineman. The Offensive Line will slide block right while Chris Chester pulls around to pick up the spot vacated by Trent Williams. Let that sink in for a minute.. Yes, if you have not noticed the Redskins are pulling Lineman.

The run fake and the pulling lineman bring all the LBs and SS into the line of scrimmage. The beauty of this play is Robert could have handed it off and Alfred Morris would have been 1 on 1 with a SS. How often have we seen him tackled on first contact ? This play like many others in the Redskins offense could have been successful many ways.

Pierre Garcon beats press coverage and is running free in the Dallas secondary. I have no idea what the safety is doing on this play. If he was playing the middle of the field I could understand him staying deep. Playing the far right hash over top of Garcon you would think he would come down and react.

Garcon makes the play and takes it to the 4 yard line of Dallas.

Critics will say ” Robert Griffin III passes to much of play action” and ” I want to see him in a 3-5-7 step game” .. My question is why ? I thought the goal for an offense was to run it until defenses stop you & nobody has stopped the Redskins PA skinny post.

FILM SESSIONS: ALDRICK ROBINSONS 68 YARD TOUCHDOWN

I am finally done with one of my favorite plays from victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving day. I have to give kudos to Kyle Shanahan for the play calling sequence. Two plays prior The Redskins ran Alfred Morris for 12 yards up the middle out of this same formation. Kyle came right back with a designed shot play so lets take a look and see how it developed.

Pistol Formation: Queen Pro motioned into Diamond Formation

Redskins come out and show “Queen Pro” pistol formation. Queen pro is when the TE is on the line opposite side of the two back set in the backfield.Logan Paulsen will then motion down into a “diamond” formation with Robert Griffin III in the middle of his FB,TE,and HB.The Diamond formation places 9 offensive players inside the tackle box which gives you numbers in the run game and spacing on the outside for the pass game. The Cowboys stay in their cover 2 shell following motion which gives the Redskins 9 vs 7 in the box.

The Redskins will show run action with Their OL and pulling TE from the backfield.Hankerson and Robinson will release and run directly at the safeties.

Post snap we see how the blocking sets up. Trent Williams jumps out on D.Ware while the rest of the OL zones off to the right. The right DE is the “Read’ defender and is left unblocked initially. D.Young comes through the hole to cut down the DE, Paulsen pulling across the backfield helps sell the run action to the defense. Logan will end up filling in the open gap in pass pro vacated by the LG.

The Cowboys have 9 players with eyes in the backfield.

The far safety has his eyes in the backfield but is ready to get to his responsibility. The safety on the near hash is flat-footed and stuck in quick sand.

*As this play develops I want you to remember where the ILBS and Safety began this play

Here is when it gets fun! This “College Offense” is supposed to be 1 read which makes it easy on the QB. The critics like to say “Robert Griffin III is not being asked to read the field like other QBs” etc. I have news for you, Kyle Shanahan has designed an offense that is more in-depth than your typical “college offense”.

Following the PA fake Robert Griffin III puts eyes on his first read in the progression. At this point Hankerson and Robinson are being passed to safeties ( more on Robinsons side later).

The in cut by Hankerson invites the far safety to bite on the route, this pulls him out of deep coverage.With no threats in the flat The CB carried Robinson to the safety.The near hash safety is still in no mans land.

Robert Griffin the III knows he has the Robinson route but stays with his progressions. I think this is significant because it shows maturity as a passer. Griffin could have sat and waited for Robinson to come open and let it rip but he stayed within the offense and took the route when he should have.

Robert Griffin III gets back to his first read and lets it rip to Aldrick Robinson. I don’t believe many quarterbacks could make this play from beginning to end the way Robert did. The long play action fake to hold the defense (1.2 seconds), the athleticism to quickly get back into a three-step drop while reading the defense (2.7), A flat-footed bounce step ripping the ball 60 yards down field in stride.. IMPRESSIVE.

Over the course of that whole play the LBS and secondary were frozen in place. When they did figure out it was a pass the LB and secondary were only able to get 5 yards depth into coverage which is big win for the offense.

Lets take a look at Robinsons route real quick

Nice free release and heading for the safety

Shoulder dip to keep up his path after contact

Turn on the speed to blow past the coverage

Complete the play for 7.

College offense formations with pro route reads and routes.. Griffin III is doing more than you think.

FILM SESSIONS: ZONE COVERAGE BREAKDOWN FEATURING LONDON FLETCHER AND PERRY RILEY

I was putting the film together for my Redskins 2-4-5 defense review and these plays grabbed my attention. The secondary had a rough day and along with Jim Haslett caught the brunt of the fans anger. The more film I comb through the more the Linebackers are standing out to me as having coverage issues of their own. Lets go to the film and check out London Fletcher and Perry Riley.

Perry Riley- Cover 2

 

 

 

Post snap & the green dots are dropping into their cover 2 assignments correctly,what is the Red dot doing? Perry Riley is the Red dot and for the remainder of this breakdown he will remain the lone red dot. Everyone in Green is in the process of dropping into their coverage zones. Wilson was carrying his WR up the field until Jackson released into his side of the field on a pass route. *Green dot in pic #2 is where Riley began and what his correct path should of been getting into his zone.


Riley has his eyes locked on Sam Bradford which is the norm in zone coverage. The key is to still be focused on completing your assignment while doing so. It appears Riley is thinking that Bowen getting a free rush on Bradford will force the ball to come out to Jackson on the out route. The flat pass would be Josh Wilsons play to make if Bradford wnet to the outlet valve which he does not.

 

At this point Perry Riley is all in and has committed to defending Stephen Jackson in the flat.. Josh Wilson still has outside leverage and would be in perfect position to make a play.

By this point Riley is on his high horse to Jackson while Kerrigan and Bowen are in position to get home on the QB

Kerrigan gets to Bradford but a step late. Remember the green dot and arrow for where Riley was suppose to be ?

Now had Riley been in position this play is changed dramatically IMO. Riley in his zone at depth takes the WR away from Bradford and gives Kerrigan the extra second he needed to get a sack on Sam Bradford. Bowen is also is Bradfords line of sight so who is to say Riley would not have been in position for a hurried pass for a interception ?

That is a hell of a throwing lane created by one out of place LB huh?

Here is Josh Wilson giving his “C’mon man ” speech.
Perry Riley helped the Rams turn a negative situation into a 19 yard gain.

2. London Fletcher- Cover 3

Redskins come out in their 2-4-5 cover 3 zone with Richard Crawford as the inside slot corner. St. Louis will motion Amendola down inside the numbers which gives the CB & SS more routes to think about. M.Williams is on the far hash moving toward his zone coverage area post snap.

Post snap Gomes begins his rotation to the deep middle while Wilson and Griffin begin to fall into coverage. Bradford turns his back to the defense and this movement usually freezes the Linebackers as they wait to verify either A. Run or B. Play action. In this case play action pass is the call. London Fletcher appears to have already taken the run bait. Can London make up for this one false step so early?


Richard Crawford gets a nice delayed jam on the wide reciever which will slow his progress to allow the coverage more time to drop in their zones. Perry Riley identifies pass and as indicated by his weight transfer is begining to drop into his zone responsibility. London identifies pass and looks to be dropping into his area like Riley.


On the far hash M.Williams gets in position to defend his zone & get a good delayed reroute on Amendola. Richard Crawford after his jam begins to flare out towards the flat.After the play fake the RB will release from the backfield and this action draws the attention of London Fletcher. Keep in mind Crawford has flat responsibility on this play so the RB running a out route would be his play to make. London at this point has already tipped Bradford to where he is going with the football.


London is locked on to the RB and releasing into the flat along side Crawford. Amendola is about to break into his in route behind the drop of Perry Riley. Coverage is sound on this play except from London Fletcher.

Amendola begins to clear into a open zone which should be occupied by london Fletcher at this point


Amendola flashes right into a wide open zone for Bradford to throw into. The completion is made and Amendola hits the ground running turning this reception into 56 yards.

Secondary has its issues but coverages require the whole defense to be on the same page. When Linebackers don’t get into their zones big plays will happen in the middle of the field.

FILM SESSIONS: ALEX GIBBS TEACHES STRETCH ZONE & PA GAME PT.2

The first series of Alex Gibbs film sessions was a huge success so now we bring you part 2.In this series the film sessions focus more on FB roles,site adjustments for blocking assignments, silent count scheme for away games, and PA keeper boots and passes.

Video 6 focuses more on UF and Alex Gibbs discussing and adapting each others scheme

Video 7 Is a continuation of #6 until halfway through when the focuses is back on Gibbs scheme (FB roles,Site Adjust,OL silent counts)

Video 8 is focused on the zone pa game (Must watch)