Monday, October 18, 2010
Normally the day after a game I do my Tampa Bay defensive line critique "Bull Rush" post and my "The Good The Bad And The Ugly" post about the performance of the Buccaneers team as a whole. I decided not to do that today in light of how ugly things got yesterday against the Saints. Instead I wanted to highlight a few of the running plays on defense so as to place blame where necessary. Plenty of people will be blaming different people for the Saints gaining more than 200 yards on the ground against the Bucs defense yesterday but I thought maybe people would want to know exactly what happened.
Here are 8 plays that gained a total of 134 yards on the ground. You can look at the diagrams and follow along by the numbers. You can also go back and watch the game online at www.nfl.com for the next couple of days to see the plays for yourself.
1. First and 10, 11:49 in the 1st quarter and the first time the Saints touch the ball starting at their own 6 yard line. They come out in a one back set with a tight end and wide receiver to each side of the formation. The run a zone cutback that bounces outside for 18 yards. The Saints doubled the left end, Tim Crowder, with a tight end and the right tackle. The nose tackle, Roy Miller, is lined up in a G alignment just inside the right guard and the center and guard double him up to the Mike linebacker Barrett Ruud. The undertackle, Gerald McCoy, is double teamed by the left guard and left tackle up to the Sam Linebacker, Quincy Black. The tight end to his side tries to cut Stylez G. White off from the C gap between the tight end and the left tackle. The wide receiver to the defense's right blocks Ronde Barber.
Everyone fits up pretty well into their gaps but Barber gets a little too heavy into the wide receiver and isn't able to come off and make the tackle on the running back. Because he is the contain element of the defense, once the running back bounces it outside of him there is no one else to make the tackle until the Safety gets there. If Ronde keeps leverage and is able to either make the tackle or turn the running back inside to his help, the play probably doesn't gain much of anything. Instead the run gets the Saints off to a good start on the day.
Another note on the play is Roy Miller got pushed around and that would be a recurring theme all day.
2. First and 10, 8:27 in the 2nd quarter from the Saints' 24 yardline. The Saints come out in the same formation which they used quite a bit all game. This time they sealed the left end, Michael Bennett with the tight end, and they cracked on the Strong Safety, Sean Jones with the wide receiver on the defense's left side. When the wide receiver crack blocks the corner on that side is supposed to replace the Strong Safety's fit to the outside. Instead E.J. Biggers continued following the wide receiver and there was no one to turn the ball back inside. The Saints running back bounced it outside and gained 33 yards before he was taken down.
3. Second and 6, 7:05 in the 2nd quarter at the Bucs' 39 yard line. The Saints came out with one receiver to the defense's left and two to the defense's right with two backs in the backfield. The fullback was offset to the right. This was essentially an ISO running play with the fullback leading up on Ruud. The center and guard double teamed Miller up to Black and there was a lane between the fullback and the center. Jones had an opportunity to make the play but missed the tackle. The Saints gained 8 yards on that play.
4. First and 10, 6:33 in the 2nd quarter at the Bucs' 31 yard line. The Saints go back to a one back set with a tight end and wide receiver on each side. This time the Bucs used a line stunt where McCoy rips into the A gap from the B gap and Miller rips from the A gap to the B gap. The tight end on White's side gets inside of him and cuts him off from the C gap. The Left Tackle goes up to seal Black inside. The Saints running back starts to the defense's left and then cut's back to the C gap where White is supposed to be. Even though White isn't there, Jones has an opportunity to make a play on the running back but he loses sight of him and over runs the play. The result is the play earns the Saints another 16 yards.
5. First and 10, 12:10 in the 3rd quarter at the Bucs' 46 yard line. Same formation again with the one back set and a tight end and wide receiver on each side. The Bucs are in an under front this time with Black walked up on the line to the defense's right side. The Saints run the zone that way and once again Miller gets pushed around by the guard and center. McCoy gets a slip block with the guard and right tackle and the left end gets a cut off block by the tight end to that side. The truth is everyone is in pretty good shape on this play as far as being in their gap, but the Will linebacker, Geno Hayes, decided to try to run through his B gap to make the play. Instead the right guard cut him and the Saints' running back cut back into the hole he was supposed to be in. Instead of little to no gain, the runner ended up with 9 yards.
6. Third and 4, 3:07 in the 3rd quarter from the Bucs' 27. The Saints came out with a trips bunch set close to the formation with one running back and one wide receiver on the opposite side. The Bucs were in nickel personnel. It appears that because it was 3rd down Ruud and Black expected pass and didn't read the run right away. The tight end in the bunch formation closest to the right tackle came across the formation to kick out White which he did. The left tackle was able to get up to Black and seal him inside. That created a lane for the running back to run through for 16 more yards.
7. First and 10, 5:35 in the 4th quarter from the Bucs' 45 yard line. The Saints came out with two tightends and two running backs with one wide receiver. Both tightends lined up to the defense's left and the wide receiver lined up to the opposite side of the formation. This was actually a play that the Saints had success against the Bucs with last year. So much so that the Carolina Panthers copied the play and ran it against the Bucs last year after the fact. But its still a good play design and its hard to defend.
The tightend furthest from the ball and off the line of scrimmage takes off for the flat giving the impression that it is a passing play and pulling the corner away from the formation. The tightend lined up on the ball avoids the defensive end inside to get up on the linebacker but to the defensive end it looks like a pass route. For that reason the defensive end's first instinct is to get up the field and pass rush. But the fullback takes a step to the defense's right and then runs right behind the offensive line almost hiding till the last moment to kick out the defensive end. And that's exactly what happened to Bennett. He has to get under that block and either make the play or make it bounce outside. Ryan Sims was in at undertackle and he is also partially at fault because they initially double teamed him with the right tackle and guard but the right tackle eventually came off to block Ruud. Sims however had been knocked out of his gap at that point and couldn't get back in it in time to make a play on the running back. This play netted the Saints another 7 yards.
8. Second and 3, 4:52 in the 4th quarter at the Bucs' 38 yard line. The Saints keep the same personnel but this time they start off with a tight end on each side and the wide receiver to the defense's right. Before the snap the tightend on the defense's right side steps off the line and motions all the way across the formation. Once the ball is snapped he goes out to block the corner. The stationary tight end comes off and base blocks Bennett. Sims gets double teamed by the right tackle and guard. The fullback comes to kick out the Free Safety, Cody Grimm. The left guard pulls to block Ruud. Hayes' fit is inside the fullback's block and he actually gets there. But the running back ran inside off the fullback's block and for whatever reason Hayes wasn't able to make the tackle on him. That one was all on Geno and I'm sure he knows it. Unfortunately because he didn't make the play in his gap and because Jones and Black also weren't able to bring the runner down, the Saints picked up another 27 yards at the end of the game.
So what do we make of all this? Well first of all aside from Roy Miller getting tossed around on several plays which is unacceptable, we mostly gave up the big yardage because guys weren't on the details or missed tackles rather than having been physically manhandled. Second of all there are some problems that we are having that are recurring. Our defensive ends aren't getting underneath kick out blocks like they should and that's all about technique and using your eyes. That's something that can definitely be fixed but you have to wonder why it hasn't been to this point. Thirdly you will notice that aside from the one line stunt, these were plays where the Bucs just lined up in front of the Saints like it was drawn up on a chalkboard. I don't know that movement or blitzes would have solved all of our problems but I have to wonder when we will at least TRY to start helping ourselves on early downs with a few zone blitzes to give offenses a different look to block.
It was a terrible day for our defense, make no mistake about it, but in watching the replay online I didn't get the sense that we were physically dominated anywhere but our nosetackle position. The Bucs tried to play a lot of G with Miller which is something I thought might be useful, but with his outside hand down and outside foot back I think he was going to have a hard day regardless. Still you can't make any excuses, he HAS to play better. Otherwise I'm pretty sure that it won't be long before Price is out there with the starters. After all if we are going to suck on defense against the run we might as well suck with our rookie 2nd round pick in there getting some good experience.
I have some other random thoughts about the game in general so here goes.
- I thought Josh Freeman was off just a little all game. He made some nice throws but at times his accuracy wasn't what I was used to seeing this year. I did love it that he went after the Saints player who went after his knee. That's the kind of fight you have to have to lead a team.
- The 3-3-5 may be a useful tool but we are using it too damn much. And Coach Morris can't keep using the excuse that Quincy Black is a good rusher because he isn't. As I have said time and again he is a good BLITZER not a good rusher and there is a helluva difference. I went back and looked at my notes and aside from that sack against Carolina, Black has only had two pressures by my count. And those were on plays where he ran a pass rush game with Gerald McCoy. I don't believe that I have seen him win a single one on one pass rush against an offensive lineman this year. And I doubt I WILL see him win one because he for as strong and as fast as he is, he doesn't have any moves. Every time he is out there as a rush end that is a play where a true pass rushing defensive end is on the bench, our two rookie defensive tackles aren't pass rushing from their normal alignments, and there is zero chance to run a pass rush game unless its on his side.
We are cutting off all of that potential pressure just to get Black on the field. Hey, I have a novel idea. Why not just sub him in for Ruud or Hayes? If he is really THAT indispensable then why not allow him to play what he is best at? Hell you can blitz him from those positions too! You can even call Bark and have a FIVE man rush!
But here's what you CAN'T do. You can't say you want more pressure on the quarterback if you continue to refuse to use four defensive lineman for a four man rush. You can't say you want more pressure when you refuse to call overload blitzes to either side. You can't complain about not getting pressure when you aren't allowing guys to pass rush from their more natural positions.
You can't, you simply CAN NOT. Oh you can tell a few beat writers here in Tampa but its not going to fly with me. I SEE what's happening on the field and what isn't. McCoy didn't have a great day but he did make one helluva move when he was rushing from his undertackle spot and got a pressure. I can only wonder how many more times that happens if he gets more opportunities to rush from that position. Or hell maybe he gets to run a true TEX game with a defensive end instead of being a crash test dummy trying to free everything up for Black. Or maybe he can run a TOM game inside with Price where they create pressure up the middle on the quarterback who now can't step up and gets sacked by our defensive ends coming around the horn.
Or.....maybe we keep running that bullshit 3-3-5 and then complaining after the games about how much time the quarterback had.
- I am still waiting to determine what our bread and butter running plays are. One thing that makes watching a team run up and down the field against the Bucs defense even more frustrating is then watching our offense and never or rarely seeing them use similar blocking schemes. I know it isn't actually that way, but I swear at times it looks like every running play we run during a game only gets run once. A zone, then a split belly, then a sweep, then an iso, then a counter (if we're lucky). Never any rhyme or reason to it. Almost like we are just pulling running plays out of a hat.
We hardly ever double team defensive linemen up to the second level, we hardly ever cut block the backside defensive tackle or defensive end, we hardly ever just punish people in our running game. And that's the major problem we are having right now. People can say its Caddy all the want to. I want y'all to watch the replay of the game and tell me where you see any holes that he's missing. Better yet I want you to tell me what he's supposed to do when he keeps seeing the defense in the backfield play after play. Yeah maybe he could get another yard or two a game, but I can tell you this much unless we sign King Kong, nobody we put back there is going to put up big numbers on the ground until we fix our schemes and play calling.
- I'm really sad to hear about Kareem Huggins tearing his ACL and being out for the rest of the year. The kids worked his way up from the bottom and was finally about to get his chance to shine. Hopefully he takes his rehab seriously and can come back next year in time to give it another shot. Also we are really thin at running back now with Earnest Graham hurting his hamstring. Along with the fact that Huggins was our only true "scat" back I would say we are in the market for a guy with some speed. It will be interesting to see who the Bucs bring in, if anybody.
- Connor Barth...WTF MANNNNNNN?!
- Not sure what Aqib Talib's deal was yesterday but his effort both times he got bombed on left a lot to be desired. I believe Talib is a Pro Bowl player but he has to PROVE it every week.
Welp that's all for now, As always if you have questions just leave them in the comments section.