I wrote a post the other day that looked at a few plays from the defense against the Baltimore Ravens last Friday night. In case you missed that post you can find it right here. The original idea of that post, and this series that we'll have after each game, was to look at a few plays from the game, good and bad, and talk and discuss those plays more in-depth.
I know that when I first started snooping around AP a few years ago there were posts that were dedicated solely to breaking down plays. It's what first got me hooked on AP. I apologize for not being able to remember who was posting them but I'm sure a veteran will let me know in the comments. Anyhow, they were written by people who are far more knowledgable about the X's and O's of the game than I am, but that doesn't keep me from wanting to discuss the plays and create a thread for conversation.
After my last post I got an email from the AP user "timmer", who had a great idea to get AP's video guru Bfett81, and to get the plays I would discuss and let everyone see them. It would be much better if everyone could see the clip of that play and then it wouldn't just be those who DVR'd the game that can jump in the conversation. Bfett81 was gracious enough to find the plays for this post. They are linked after the jump along with a little description. It's something that we'll do each week after the games.
Like I said in the last post, I just found six plays on offense that I thought were worth discussing. They aren't always the top-6 in the game as you'll see.
You can view that play right here.
Despite the announcers giving a lot of credit to Jarret Johnson on this play, I think Lilja did enough that should have resulted in a touchdown run. Lilja pulled on the counter and took on the OLB. But a few things could have been different on this play. For starters, this play was a foot here or there away from being a touchdown. Lilja gave a good pop to Johnson that you'll see in the second replay was plenty good enough to get Johnson off-balance. Charles could have bounced it to the outside and probably scored. The first view will show you that it was open for a TD.
Secondly, LeRon McClain needs to not hesitate to make contact with that block. You'll notice his footwork right before contact stalls Charles from hitting the hole at the right time. If he just goes right after that linebacker without slowing down it's a touchdown. This could all just be a timing issue and it's not something to worry about right now. It's preseason and this is a perfect example of the reasons why reps with the first team offense in preseason are so important. They cannot replicate that speed in practice, and McClain will understand when/how to hit holes if he's going to lead for Charles.
This second play is on 3rd and 4 and results in an incomplete pass to Dwayne Bowe.
You can see that play right here.
This is one of the plays that scares me about the offensive line this season. Cory Redding just absolutely blows right throw the offensive line, well right through Wiegmann and Asamoah with a simple swim move and is bearing down on Cassel. I'm not sure by looking at the play if Cassel saw Redding, or just felt him. But he knew that someone was coming and it didn't take long for him to get there.
Luckily the pass was just incomplete. The scariest thing about that play is that Baltimore only rushed four, technically only three because you'll see Haloti Ngata is simply spying on Cassel in case of a scramble (I'm assuming, or he's taking the play off, but considering it's 3rd and short you'd figure they wouldn't want Cassel scrambling for a 1st down). That's where that drive ended.
The third play is a result of the second play. It's the very next offensive play once we get the ball back.
You can see this play right here.
Baltimore blitzes two linebackers on the play and where do they go? They saw the same thing on the sideline that you just watched. They go right at the spot that Redding just blew through. Fortunately the Chiefs picked up the blitz this time but what does Cassel do? He gets happy feet and rolls out and throws the ball too quickly to Jones in the flat.
I can't understand what a player is thinking in that moment because I'm not a NFL quarterback. But it would seem that Cassel saw the blitz coming through the same hole that they had just been successful, rather than compute that there is probably an open receiver where both blitzers came from (middle of the field) and that someone might be open (Bowe), he just tried to get rid of the ball because he doesn't trust they'll pick up a blitz because they didn't pick up a non-rushed DL on the previous play. Maybe I'm looking too much into these two plays but it seems that one play had a direct negative result in the next play.
The fourth play is also a little troubling for our offensive line. It's first and 15.
You can view the play right here.
You'll see Lardarius Webb coming on a blitz from the corner position as he's on the middle receiver at the top of the screen. Branden Albert does a good job of picking him up and as Mills pointed out in his post, this isn't what Dex is needed for as a pass blocker. He takes the DL on and Cassel see's that coming right in front of him. But that's not the side of the line I'm even worried about. I know Dex shouldn't be taking on DL in pass rushing situations.
Paul Kruger didn't give Barry Richardson a big-time move to blow right past him. He hesitated and then went 100%. That play is troubling and I believe an example of why B-Rich's name gets thrown as expendable for a hopefully healthy and ready Jared Gaither. But let's face it, if Paul Kruger (who I really liked out of Utah) is getting passed B-Rich this easy we're in trouble. I wanted to hope that B-Rich could improve his pass-blocking abillity and try and get it on-par with his run-blocking ability. But that hope faded just a bit with this play. Hopefully we see better in the next two preseason games.
The fifth play is when the backups are in and it's 3rd and 6.
You can see the play right here.
I've talked about this play on a few different threads already and based on what coach Haley said in Josh Looney's report for Sunday, I like what Tucker did in this game even more.
The play result was a 1st down and I'm glad we got to see the replay that was strictly showing Tuckers route. He was getting off press-coverage with a triple move and saw that Palco was moving out of the pocket and came back to the ball. His route was very crisp and especially coming out of that last break, you can even see the defender stumble a little bit. That was still pretty good coverage by the corner IMO, but it was a better route. He didn't round them off or get lazy coming out of his breaks. That's the reason we got that first down. He showed crisp routes and an ability to create some separation and come back to the ball when the QB needed him to. I like where Tucker is headed.
The last play is for all the Stanzi lovers out there. Granted it wasn't a great game for him overall, for reasons that are both in his control and out. But this one play I really liked and it wasn't one of his big throws down the field.
You can see the play right here.
This is a very underrated pass in my opinion. He's throwing that ball from the far hash to past the near numbers. It was also one of the few times it seemed that the OL picked up the blitz while he was in there. But this throw was absolutely on the money and I wish we had an angle from farther away. But I think he started to throw that ball before the WR had made his break. I like his quick release and while this out-route may have only picked up 8 yards, the pass actually traveled a long distance and was right on time and right on the money.
There you have it AP. What do you think of these plays and what could it mean for some of our guys moving forward?