Thursday, December 30, 2010
With no mid-week games this week (all on Sunday) it means I have a bit of time spare in this mid week. So I've now got the chance to do something a bit more fun with some more pictures, but first... I've remembered the thing that I'd forgotten at the end of yesterday's post. Picks. I finished the week at a tie, 8-8, which takes my season tally now to 121-103 after 16 weeks. Which, if I'm honest, is rubbish. Better luck next year by the looks of it. Now before we get onto the show and tell aspect of this, another article pointer for you. Another one from Michael Lombardi, and affirmation I feel that he indeed is the most improved analyst from any of the major networks. This is what I'm talking about when I say that Lombardi is at his best dishing out the cold, hard truth, as if he was sitting Jerry Jones down and trying to slap some sense into him. Which is something, be honest now, that we'd all pay to see. Right, pictures time. The images I have for you are unashamedly screen captured from NFL networks playbook show, as evidenced by the little playbook symbol in the corner. They have not been edited, so any symbols, lines or shapes etc are those put on by the show themselves and not by me. The original video can be found here. Now what we're looking at is the Saints driving in for a score against the Falcons. It's 3rd and 3 with the ball on the Falcons 6 yard line. What the analysts were interested in is kind of what I'm interested in, but for different reasons. Their focus was on the motion by Reggie Bush (number 25) who you can see just running down to the numbers at the bottom of the picture below, and the effect that this has on the linebacker to the weak side. The linebacker is drawn across to the middle of the defense as the coverage is shifted to accommodate for the motion. The Linebacker in question is now in the left of the two blue circles.
The intent of the shows piece was to demonstrate how the crafty mind of Saints Head Coach Sean Payton produced an opening in the passing game through the use of motion (the "10 yards" you can see in the image above). But what I'm more interested in is the technique of the defender in the picture below, which is Falcons safety William Moore (they're the pair at the top of the picture in the first image).
Whether Moore realises it or not, the ball is headed his way. It's third down, with just 3 yards to go, and of course the Saints are almost within touching distance of the end zone just to add to the problem. So why, my question goes, does Moore not bump the receiver? This is something that has been really bugging me over the last two years as I started taking more note of it.
Moore is clearly aligned head up, man to man on the receiver. Now at this distance, I've always been led to believe (and indeed do believe) that you should be making strong physical contact with the receiver as he crosses the line of scrimmage. Otherwise there is no real benefit to standing that close; if you're not going to bump him, you might as well back up and give yourself a bit of a cushion.
Think about this as well. Brees is in an empty set. If there is a blitz or the front four manage to beat a block, there is no help back there. Brees would be left to simply throw or run. You have to be thinking as a defensive back that if you can just delay the receivers release, then the pass rush will get home, or at least very close. It will also allow the linebacker inside of you to get into his drop and help you out.
So bump the bloody receiver!!
Instead what we get is what you see below:
Moore backs off immediately at the snap (this is a few frames later). If you watch the original video it'll confirm that he makes no effort to even redirect this receiver, let alone get a solid bump on him. As you can see in the final image below, the receiver has plenty of room to make the catch without having to worry about Moore potentially breaking it up.
And it just drives me nuts. From a coaching standpoint I am (ahem, was) more of an offensive guy. But seeing what is essentially free points being given away (something I should be delighted to see) really gets on my nerves. It goes back to the old argument of "you're paid millions of dollars, so why aren't you doing the basic stuff that college/high school kids are taught?"
As a result of Moore's failure to get a good bump (and no, him being a safety is not an excuse) the Saints were able to snatch an easy TD. I guess it's just something about me. I don't like seeing this kind of thing handed away. I like seeing teams made to work hard for their points/wins.
There probably was a point to this other than me just ranting to get something off my chest. But whatever that point was, has now been forgotten. Sod it.