If you did not see last night´s game between the Colts and the Cardinals, you didn´t miss much. However, if you missed Tony Dungy breaking down the Colt´s offensive pre-snap signals, you missed a thing of beauty. Dungy essentially took all of America through Petyon Manning´s pre-snap reads, what all of the hand gestures meant, the line calls and when they are made, the 3 plays that were relayed into Manning from the sideline, how Manning determined which of the 3 plays to call from his pre-snap reads, and finally, how he figures out whether he is in man or zone coverage with the most simple of moves. It was genius.
Most teams can send a man in motion to determine if the defense is in zone or man coverage. If they are in zone coverage, the guy in motion will not be shadowed by a defensive player. If in man, then it´s more than likely, the QB is facing man. However, Manning makes it even easier. He simply moves the running back a few yards right or left before the play. If the Linebacker moves with him, it´s man coverage. If not, he´s reading zone.
Clearly I wasn´t the only one in America that thought Dungy was giving away the keys to the city. It appears as if the Colts were worried about it too. This from the AP:
Colts coach Jim Caldwell took time Sunday night to watch his predecessor's television debut. He gave Tony Dungy a thumbs up.
Caldwell believes Dungy's quick analytical skills will serve the longtime NFL head coach well in his new job with NBC's "Football Night In America."
"There's true football knowledge there," Caldwell said, smiling at reporters.
But there is one thing the Colts would have preferred Dungy not have done.
As the Super Bowl-winning coach broke down Reggie Wayne's 35-yard touchdown reception from Peyton Manning on the telecast, he called out the play name and explained what each part of the call meant. Dungy was asked if he was giving out too much information, but Dungy said Manning normally uses a one-word audible in that situation and that he didn't know what that word was for Sunday's game against Jacksonville.
Still, it's something the Colts would have preferred not gotten out.
"Well, he knows the system inside and out, so there may be a time or two when he disperses a little more knowledge than we'd like," Caldwell said. "But that is his prerogative."
Listening to Dungy was worth the wasted hours watching that horrible game last night. It also gave me a lot more respect for Peyton Manning and what he does at the line of scrimmage. He gets 3 plays. He's got to call one. He gives Jeff Saturday the line call. He gives all 11 guys the play. Then he reads the defense again. If he sees something he doesn't like, he audibles out to one of the other plays. Then he uses the running back to figure out right before the play if it's zone or man. Once he gets this, he knows which receiver to go to. Often these receivers have option routes (you saw this a lot with the Broncos on Sunday too). And Manning does all of this in about 20 seconds.
Most of this information isn't new. However, seeing Dungy break it down the way he did was like suddenly understanding a foreign language.
All of those Wild Card games in which the Colts pasted Denver? Well, at least now I can sleep better at night knowing how it happened.
Mr. Manning, you deserve all the props that come your way. Imagine if you played in a major market. When you get to the Hall of Fame, you'll have earned it.