While going through some of last year’s film, I found a play that demonstrates so precisely how to stop the run, that I wanted to share it with you.
It’s from the first quarter of the Broncos' 30-23 victory over San Diego in Week 11 - the first play of the first possession. It exhibits two versions of classic shed techniques, and in doing so, the Broncos turn a potentially good gain by San Diego into a one-yard play.
In the first shot, fullback Le’Ron McClain (33) is split out to the side and pretends to go in motion, then settles back into the wing slot. Jackie Battle (44) is the ballcarrier. They’re in a two-tight end package, sometimes called a max, max-protect or, depending on personnel, jumbo package.
San Diego ran it a lot due to their odious offensive line - it gave Philip Rivers some degree of cover. Denver lines up with their defensive ends flipped - Elvis Dumervil (92) is on the defensive left, across from the outside shoulder of tight end Randy McMichael (81).
Happy Wednesday, friends. I’m about to enter a period of personal radio silence, as I hit crunch time in studying for the most extensive and difficult section of the CPA exam, Financial Accounting and Reporting.
Since I’ll mostly be offline for the next week, I wanted to leave y’all a little sump’m sump’m to hold you over. Once I’m past this part of the test, I’ll be back with some stuff about defensive backs in the draft class, and then kickers and punters. Then, a few days before the 2013 Draft, I’ll be coming with my fourth annual Rational Actor Mock Draft.
Today, I want to expand upon the article I wrote on Monday, particularly after Greg Cosell’s well-timed piece that was linked in yesterday’s Lard. I really liked Cosell’s comparison of the emerging need for what I call a matchup safety to how the need emerged (and was gradually filled) for quality slot cornerbacks a decade ago.
When Tom Adams was the defensive line coach for the University of Kentucky back in 2000 (he would later move to Baylor and coach the defensive line from 2002-2004), he developed a modern technique based on a very ancient piece of training equipment. One of the presenters at a seminar Adams had attended said he was having his defensive linemen practice their forearm shivers against a wall. Tom took something home from every seminar he went to, and here was the lesson from this one.
Adams’s facility didn’t offer a handy wall near the practice field, so he took eight-foot-by-eight-inch posts and sank them into the ground, leaving about five feet exposed above the turf. He wound each with rope, creating a nine-inch striking surface. His linemen would train with them by using them for forearm shivers and palm strikes. For an offensive or defensive lineman, getting a solid punch, forearm shiver, and slap are standard to the positions.
A recent re-reading of Football’s Eagle and Stack Defenses, written by longtime Penn State linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden, turned up some information on the attacking 4-3 single gap and its versatility, as far as rolling the responsibilities of the players to match up with different downs, distances and probable plays.
It had me thinking about Jack Del Rio and his approach, which has some overlaps with my earlier musings. Vanderlinden’s discussion of the use of linebackers and reads was a perfect next step to reading Complete Linebacking, a book I also recommend highly, and which was written by Lou Tepper, under whom Vanderlinden coached with the CU Buffs in the 1980s.
I’ll get into eagle and stack defenses at another time, but there are some specifics here that can be adapted into many formations and schemes.
It's widely expected that the Broncos will use their franchise tag on All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady this offseason. But what exactly does that mean?
Let's go over the details, including the most basic:
What is a franchise tag?
A franchise tag is a restricted tender used by teams to retain their most important unrestricted free agents. Franchise tags can also be used on players who are already deemed restricted free agents, but this doesn't generally happen, as it's not cost-effective.
Happy Thursday, friends. I happened to notice in the Lard the other day that Jeff Legwold had written a stupid article for the Denver Post. Shocker, I know.
TJ told me recently that Leggy is like 5 foot 4, so every time I think of him now, I picture a Hobbit. And really, how can a dude who is that short have a nickname like Leggy? Shouldn’t it be Stumpy or something?
We ponder only the most important questions at IAOFM. You’re welcome.
This is the article that I’m referring to, and it’s the one in which Jacob Tamme is shouted out by Peyton Manning as a key to the Broncos offense. There are two things that I find completely silly about it, and if you follow me over the jump, I’ll tell you what they are.
Happy Friday, friends. We got a question about the productivity of Elvis Dumervil from a reader the other day, and along with Doc, I am coming off the other edge to help answer it. It’s hard to contain a rush that’s coming off of both sides.
Doc took the position that Elvis has fine numbers, and I agree with him completely. I’m going to come from the schematic angle, and talk about how team strategy is directly feeding into his numbers, and the tactics he’s employing.
If I use the term Wide-9, what does that mean to you? Over the last couple of years, NFL talking heads have decided that it was a scheme that was being employed in Philadelphia. In the true sense of the term, Wide-9 simply means that a defensive player is aligned on the outside shoulder of a second TE, if there were one. He’s very far outside the offensive tackle.
Happy Friday, friends. I was going to write an article today breaking down the Broncos-Bucs game, but Andy Benoit did a really good job of it yesterday for Football Outsiders, and I don’t really feel like it’s necessary to go over the same ground he just plowed.
Instead, I want to write about a topic I’ve been meaning to get to for a few weeks, which is the unusual multiplicity of the Broncos defense this year. Two passages from the aforementioned Benoit article get to this topic. Here is the first one that jumped out at me:
Laudable as Denver’s offense has been, it’s the defense that has this team looking like Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. It’s almost fruitless trying to analyze this scheme, as John Fox and Jack Del Rio have sprinkled it with so many different flavors.
The Broncos are really doing a bunch of stuff on defense this year. They’re switching their fronts, and subtly adjusting their alignments, and mixing up their coverages, and varying their blitzes. It’s to the point that offenses can’t really get a good read on what the Broncos are doing defensively, because they’re doing a bit of everything.
Happy Monday, friends. I wanted to talk a little bit about something that both Doug and TJ made mention of in passing, and that was the strange decision by the Broncos to use a lot of nickel personnel in yesterday’s game against the Chiefs.
I haven’t seen any snap counts published yet, but when we do, we’re going to see that both Chris Harris and Tony Carter played a lot of snaps, and that the Chiefs didn’t play very much in three-WR personnel. Usually, a defense will match the offensive personnel grouping, with a third CB coming on the field to match a third WR. The fact that the Broncos chose to use Champ Bailey, Harris, and Carter as much as they did, and irrespective of the offensive personnel grouping, seems to tell us something interesting.
The best reason to use offensive sub packages is that it usually forces a defense to remove a LB from the game who is a better football player than the DB who replaces him. Since it’s easier to find effective WRs than it is to find CBs, the general assumption that third WRs are better than third CBs is typically a sound one.
I read the USA Today article that Doug linked today, which amounted to an interpretation of a Peter King tweet. Only KSK should be interpreting PK, because this reporter follows him down the path of wrong.
They mention "legal chop blocks," but there are no such things in the NFL, nor have there been any in quite a few years. The problem is apparently confusion about what "chop block" means.
Allow me to explain.
A chop block is when a blocker is engaged with a defender up high, and a second offensive player goes low on the same defender. There must be two blockers on one defender, and one must go high, and the other low, for it to be a chop block. That's a 15-yard penalty on the offense.