Hey everyone, I'm back again to do a small breakdown of another play that seemed to torch us over and over again. The first one focused on the TE Post that burned us repeatedly. Now I look at another: the simple Off-Tackle running play. Sure, it seems like an easy enough thing to game plan around and organize, especially when the opposition's QB can't seem to throw the ball (*ahem*Browns*ahem*). With that said, let's go through these plays and see what exactly went wrong.
Touchdown #1 - Rashad Jennings, JAX
It's our standard 3-4. JAX has just shifted a TE in motion to line up directly in front of Tamba. This has brought Flowers in from the top and Mike Brown into the box. Circled are Glenn Dorsey (yellow) and Demorrio Williams (red). Mays is the other ILB, with Vrabel, TJ, Edwards, and Tamba being the other players on the line. TJ, Edwards, and Dorsey (for those who don't know) should be taking up as many blockers as they can so the ILB's and SS can fill the hole and make the tackle. Tamba and Vrabel's job is to have outside contain and force the rusher back into the pile.
Okay, after the snap gives us a little better idea how it's going to develop. Tamba and Vrabel have their matchups and are going to shove them into the backfield. Because the motioning TE is showing no signs of a pass play, Mike Brown can switch to playing the run. Demorrio has already begun to take steps towards stopping the run as well. In the trenches, Dorsey has successfully reined in two blockers. TJ only has one, but it happens to be the only one he can get to. Edwards had two guys to be responsible for (blue and green lines), and as you can see, the center has come free. As Dorsey has both the guard and the tackle, Edwards should have been playing the center and right guard. Instead, he's picked up the guard, leaving the center free, which happens to be on the side where another D-lineman can't help. This is bad news for Corey Mays.
Tamba gets the outside contain he wants, and since the fullback is running towards the hole, Brown steps up to fill it. Demorrio is also moving in that direction behind Dorsey. Corey Mays has the free center all over him, essentially taking him out of the play. The backside of our defense doesn't look too great, either, with TJ getting moved out of the play, although Flowers is there to make a stop if it goes that direction. Dorsey's still holding his own on his two blockers, but Edwards (trying to get to the RB) has shifted towards Dorsey with his blocker. More on this in the next picture.
Edwards plows into Dorsey and his two blockers, freeing one to turn on Demorrio and seal him out of the hole (hard to see, but he's there). The FB seals Brown out of the hole, and since Mays has been blown out of the play, the only man with a real shot at Jennings is Tamba from behind. Needless to say, that didn't happen. Jennings hits the hole and scampers untouched for a TD. Unfortunately, this one's on our NT.
Touchdown #2 - Jerome Harrison, CLE
Once again, the standard 3-4 lineup, except Dion Gales replacing Dorsey. Gales is circled in yellow, Mike Brown in red. Carr has no split WR, but he's watching the outside TE in the case of a pass play. Brown is kind of in a "free" mode at this point. ILBs are still Mays and Demorrio.
Carr, recognizing a run play, moves forward to cover the hole between TJ and Vrabel. Demorrio and Mays shift towards the point of attack, and Brown searches for where the hole will develop. On this play, the center has pulled to take on Tamba, leaving Edwards and Gales with 1-on-1 matchups. TJ eats both the guard and tackle, and right off the snap has gotten some decent penetration. Gales has started to be pancaked by the LT, creating an obstacle in the hole.
The ball-carrier is behind TJ in this picture...circled in brown, but didn't show up so well. Carr moves up towards the point of attack. Demorrio and Mays seem a little hesitant and...confused?...by the Gales roadblock in front of them, so they ease up. Mike Brown once again takes on the FB (seriously, he does this a TON for us) and gets shoved out of the hole. Tamba gets his good outside contain, forcing Harrison back towards the tackle. Edwards, once again moves towards the hole with his man, actually able to string him along. TJ switches off the double team to move towards the ball carrier. Gales, officially pancaked, is out of the play.
Carr gets there a little late, and in behind the widebodies, is unable to make a tackle. Mays and Demorrio both get wrong-footed by Harrison's cutback...and being on the other side of the pancake block, they are unable to make the tackle. Brown, still sealed by the FB is unable to make the tackle. Edwards gets sealed off by his man and TJ's way on the backside of the play. Vrabel pursues, but is too far away to make anything happen, and Tamba's behind the play. Unfortunately, Gales (from his position on the ground) is in just as good of shape as anyone to make the tackle. Everyone who should be making this tackle is out of position with Harrison cuts back and he takes it to the house.
Now obviously, these are just two examples of home-run plays for the other team, but after watching through the games for my post-season grades, I've found that these sorts of errors happen more often than they'd certainly like. The team simply isn't good enough to handle multiple mistakes up the gut of the defense.
The first play is on Edwards. He essentially took out both of our ILBs by letting the center go free and by bumping the tackle out in the hole. Too often this year he'd let that guard or center run free...usually at Corey Mays, effectively removing him from the play.
The second is on a backup DE and our ILB's. Gales gets pancaked, and that's never good...but it was the indecision of the ILB's that led to the TD. They've got to step up and hit strong at the point of attack, or at least get in to fill the hole while the rest of the defense pursues.
The Denver game was better. Edwards held his own, and Demorrio was better at getting to the hole to make the stop. Unfortunately, that was the exception, not the norm. In an ideal world, we've got a NT that is a beast and always picks up the double. When the center or guard pulls, he's quick enough to get into the backfield and disrupt the play. We'd have ILB's that jump up and fill the holes as they pop up, rather than after the RB is through them. And as long as we're dreaming, beer would be free, too. =)
With Romeo stepping in, I'd like to think these deficiencies will be addressed, either with our players or new acquisitions. He can't allow the gut of this team to continue to be this soft.