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Cosell Coaching Tape: Conference Championship


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Cosell Coaching Tape: Conference Championship

We are proud to share NFL Films Legend and Tape Wizard Greg Cosell’s raw notes from his film observations. As we enter the playoffs, Greg goes back through the season and points out notable observations.

  • Chiefs dime had Fenton in the slot with Thornhill the third safety, Niemann the dime lB on 3rd down; Chiefs nickel had Sneed in the slot

  • Chiefs out of dime heated up Brady early (2nd + 6 on first possession) with a 5 man pressure concept with a green dog element with cover 1 behind it, Hitchens got in clean and hit Brady just as he delivered; Brady catchable throw to Evans on fade ball versus good Breeland coverage but Evans could not make the catch

  • Chiefs went zero out of dime on first 3rd down of the game, Sorensen and Niemann were the blitzers; Brady incomplete to Evans versus Breeland on high throw

  • DC Spagnuolo game -planned pressure out of dime, Chiefs again zero on second 3rd down (second possession) with Sorensen and Niemann again the blitzers; Kpassagnon unblocked off the edge forcing hurried Brady incompletion

  • Bucs 01 personnel to start their third possession, Chiefs matched up with dime and rushed 5 with Sorensen and Hitchens blitzing and Okafor dropping out

  • Sorensen featured as a blitzer out of Chiefs dime, On 3rd + 2 late in the 1st quarter he was the fourth rusher in a cover 1 concept

  • Gronkowski 29 yards on 1st + 10 on Bucs first TD drive came out of 12 empty versus Chiefs dime split safety trap to the boundary behind 5 man rush (Sorensen and Hitchens) with Okafor dropping into coverage, Gronkowski from LOS TE alignment to the field ran the seam and got on top of Okafor

  • Sorensen the predominant TE matchup when he was not used as a blitzer – That’s a matchup Brady will like if it happens in the Super Bowl

  • Gronkowski 48 yards on 1st + 10 on first possession of 3rd quarter came out of 12 3x1 versus Chiefs nickel cover 3, Gronkowski deep crosser part of flood concept to the boundary with boundary x Evans lifting corner Ward

  • Bucs backs not very good in pass protection versus blitz in this game, Both Fournette and Jones had bad snaps; Godwin 44 yards in 3rd quarter came on great deep seam throw by Brady despite Fournette missing block on Sorensen

  • Next play Jones bad execution block on blitzing Mathieu, Breeland interception on Brady fade ball to Miller

  • Chiefs did not feature disguise late movement to cover 2 with Mathieu the middle hole defender, First time they did that was on 3rd + 10 early in the 4th quarter

  • Spagnuolo stayed aggressive with man coverage and blitz including zero when the Bucs got the ball in the middle of the 4th quarter and the Chiefs up 10

  • Chiefs played 34 snaps of dime, 19 snaps of nickel and only 1 snap of base defense; They played 1 snap of dollar: 4th + 3 in the 4th quarter, Evans 31 yard TD versus Ward - Bucs 12 snaps of 12 personnel versus Chiefs

  • Chiefs 5 snaps of zero versus 42 Brady drop backs, 19 snaps of blitz; They played 26 snaps of man coverage with cover 1 the most played - Pressure and man coverage was the game plan versus the Bucs

  • Dean did not play in the week 12 matchup, Davis and Murphy-Bunting played outside with Cockrell in the slot; Davis was the matchup on Hill when the Bucs played man coverage

  • First 3rd and long (3rd + 8) Bucs out of 3-2-6 dime showed 2 man versus Chiefs 11 1x3 set with Kelce the reduced split boundary x and Hill the inside slot to trips, They rotated to cover 1 behind 5 man pressure; Hill ran by Davis on over route for 44 yard TD

  • Second 3rd and long (3rd + 8) Bucs out of nickel went cover 4 lock behind 4 man DL rush versus Chiefs 11 1x3 set with Murphy-Bunting man-to-man on Kelce, Mahomes hit Kelce on in-breaker 9 yards

  • Bucs featured doubles on Hill and Kelce out of nickel on the Chiefs third 3rd and long, with safety Edwards the double with White on Kelce and Winfield the double with Davis on Hill; Mahomes second reaction movement throw to Robinson 13 yards

  • Cover 4 boundary lock with boundary corner Murphy-Bunting matched on Kelce in 11 1x3 sets was game planned 3rd and long coverage for the Bucs

  • Bucs 3rd and 10 snap in the high red zone late in the 2nd quarter with Pierre-Paul aligned at 3-technique DT and Suh out of him at wide 9, Bucs cover 4 lock behind 4 man DL rush versus Chiefs 11 1x3 set; Pierre-Paul beat RG Wylie to the inside forcing Mahomes out of the pocket and into an incompletion

  • 3rd + 5 in the 3rd quarter Bucs again doubled both Hill and Kelce with David and Edwards on Kelce, and Davis and Winfield on Hill; Mahomes worked opposite the doubles and threw incomplete to Robinson versus Cockrell

  • 3rd + 2 in the 4th quarter was a big play: Chiefs 11 with Hill motion outside of Kelce to 2x2 set, Bucs cover 3 behind 4 man zone exchange pressure with White the fourth rusher and Nelson dropping into underneath coverage; Mahomes kept drifting left and hit Hardman in the middle of the field late in the down

  • Pierre-Paul was a factor as a pass rusher, predominantly outside but also inside; He was used as a looper on T/E stunts and was effective

  • On 3rd + 7 with 1:15 remaining in the 4th quarter Bucs went 2 man out of versus Chiefs 12 personnel, Hill 8 yards versus Davis

  • Hill had some big plays outside the numbers: 23 yard back shoulder fade versus Davis in man coverage, 75 yard TD out of 12 personnel versus Bucs base on out-and-go versus Davis in cover 3

  • Kelce 20 yards was his longest reception of the game, It came on 1st + 10 out of 11 personnel versus Bucs nickel cover 2 with Winfield the middle hole defender from his post safety position

  • Hill 21 yards on 2nd + 8 in the 3rd quarter also came out of 11 personnel versus Bucs nickel cover; Bucs disguise late movement from single high with Winfield expanding as a half field safety and David sinking as the middle hole defender, Mahomes read it and hit Hill in the outside void

  • Bucs only rushed 5 on 9 snaps versus Mahomes drop backs, and only twice on 3rd down; They played coverage as the foundation of their pass defense

  • Mahomes had an excellent game versus the Bucs, He showed high-level elimination and isolation traits and won a lot of downs before the snap of the ball, He manipulated defenders and consistently made throws within the structure of the pass game

  • Brady converted three 3rd and long plays on Bucs opening TD drive: Evans 27 versus dime cover 1 blitz beating Sullivan, Godwin 14 yards versus dime 2 man beating Sullivan, Evans 15 yard TD versus dime cover 1 blitz beating King – Packers man coverage on all three 3rd and long snaps

  • Packers continued to be a dime defense on 3rd down, Redmond was the dime; Packers featured man coverage on 3rd down, cover 1, 2 man and 1 robber

  • Clark beat RG Stinnie for sack of Brady on 3rd + 10 in the 1st quarter, 4 man DL rush with cover 1 out of dime behind it

  • Bucs featured 1x3 sets out of 11 personnel with both Gronkowski and Brate the boundary x receivers in multiple splits

  • Bucs OL had some issues with one-on-one pass protection versus Packers 4 man DL rush out of dime – That could be a concern versus Chiefs DL

  • Miller 39 yard TD with less than :10 remaining in the 1st half happened because of Fournette, Blocking scheme had Gronkowski one-on-one versus P. Smith and Smith quickly beat Gronkowski to the inside, Fournette from opposite offset alignment scanned and picked up Smith allowing Brady to make the throw

  • Alexander first interception came on 3rd + 2 with the Packers in nickel: Miller from #3 in bunch motioned across the formation, Savage from the bunch side blitzed and no one picked him up, Brady threw up the fade to Evans and Alexander made the pick on the inaccurate throw

  • Gronkowski 29 yards on 2nd + 11 in the middle of the 4th quarter came on well-designed screen to the boundary with a misdirection-deception element to the field, Miller screen look off initial orbit reverse action was the misdirection element

  • Brady had 9 completions of 12 or more yards, 7 of those 9 came on 3rd down – Bucs pass game was outstanding on 3rd down, beginning with the first possession of the game

  • Packers defensive personnel breakdown: 30 snaps of nickel, 15 snaps of base and 14 snaps of dime – They played much more nickel than I would have anticipated

  • Packers 22 snaps of man coverage with 17 snaps of cover 1 and 5 snaps of 2 man, Packers far more snaps of man coverage than zone coverage; Packers were a much higher percentage zone coverage defense in the regular season so they changed their tendency versus the Bucs

  • Sneed was the Chiefs slot corner, Hitchens and Wilson were the nickel LB; Thornhill continued to be the dime safety, Niemann predominantly the dime LB with Hitchens getting some snaps on first and second down

  • Chiefs do not match up with their corners: Ward is the left corner and Breeland is the right corner

  • Beasley 17 yards on second play of the game came on RPO concept, Sneed dropped into slant passing lane so Allen waited and hit Beasley in the second window

  • Bills featured snaps of no huddle tempo on their opening possession, A tactic to minimize Chiefs pressure schemes out of nickel and dime

  • First 3rd and long (3rd + 7) Chiefs went cover 1 out of dime behind 4 man DL rush with dime LB Niemann the underneath lurk defender (Beasley factor), Sorensen was matched on Diggs in the boundary slot: Diggs 6 yards on whip route, Poor ball placement throw by Allen

  • DC Spagnuolo matched up at times in normal down and distance situations to Bills 11 personnel with dime, Bills a passing team with almost no run volume

  • Sneed has become an important part of Chiefs pressure concepts out of dime: 3rd + 3 on Bills opening possession Chiefs went zero and took away Allen quick throw to Beasley

  • Bills continued to feature no huddle on their second possession, Chiefs matched up with cover 1 playing the Bills tendency to work the short middle of the field

  • Sneed sack on 2nd + 8 on Bills second possession came on well-schemed 5 man pressure with Sneed and Sorensen coming off each edge and DT Nnadi dropping out, Chiefs blitz quarters match behind the 5 man pressure

  • Chiefs zero out of dime on 3rd + 7 on Bills fourth possession, Mathieu clean off the boundary front side edge forcing Allen intentional grounding

  • First play of Bills fifth possession Chiefs beat Allen before the snap: The showed a singe high man coverage concept and Allen changed the play at the LOS to a vertical route by Brown outside the numbers to the field, Chiefs then rotated to cover 2 and took away Brown with corner Ward sinking underneath the route; Allen got caught focused on Brown and forced it to him, Ward dropped the interception

  • Spagnuolo profile out of sub (especially dime) continued to be man coverage and pressure, with snaps of cover 2 part of the mix; Chiefs multiple with pressure concepts featuring man pressures, zone pressures and 4 man zone exchange concepts – Chiefs more snaps of zero than any team in the NFL

  • Two other Spagnuolo staples: pressure with quarters match behind it, and disguise late movement to cover 2 with Mathieu the middle hole defender

  • Chiefs disguise late movement to cover 2 with Mathieu the middle hole defender on 1st + 10 late in the 2nd quarter: A Chiefs staple

  • Brown 17 yards on first possession of 3rd quarter came on well-designed route concept that had answers versus man and zone coverage, Chiefs went cover 6 behind 4 man DL rush and Allen hit Brown on the dig to the field

  • Bills continued to feature snaps with 4 WR, That has been part of their offense all season

  • Blitz tell with the Chiefs: Sneed lined up over #3 to trips with no one lined up over #2, Sneed will be coming and the Chiefs will play quarters match behind the pressure – Beasley 23 yards on Bills first possession of 3rd quarter came versus this pressure/coverage

  • Sorensen continued to be a featured part of Chiefs pressure concepts out of dime, both 5 man pressures and 4 man zone exchange concepts

  • Sneed hurt late in the 3rd quarter (concussion protocol), Fenton replaced Sneed as the slot corner

  • Fenton interception on 2nd + 10 early in the 4th quarter came on Bills RPO concept, Chiefs were in press cover 1 with Breeland getting his hands on Brown on the release; It is much tougher to run RPO slants versus press man coverage

  • Jones is a tough matchup one-on-one for OL in one-on-one pass protection, He predominantly lines up inside but also snaps at DE rushing versus OT where his speed-to-power strength is evident

  • Bills were not able to make big plays in the passing game versus the Chiefs defense, Diggs 34 yards was the longest play and it came late in the 4th quarter with the Bills trailing by 17

  • Chiefs defensive personnel breakdown: 54 snaps of dime, 16 snaps of nickel – Not surprising versus the Bills

  • Chiefs played high percentage coverage with cover 1 the foundation, They played 22 snaps of man coverage in addition to 10 snaps of zero; Chiefs 15 snaps in which they rushed 5 or more plus snaps of 4 man zone exchange pressures

  • First 3rd down (3rd + 4) Bills went 3-2-6 dime with Neal the dime, They showed 2 man pre-snap then rotated to 1 robber with Edmunds sinking as the robber; They matched White on Kelce initially but Kelce motion inside of Hill put White on Hill, Hill deep sail easily beat White but he dropped Mahomes excellent throw

  • Bills initial game planned 3rd down approach was to play man coverage out of 3-2-6 dime, They went 1 robber and 2 man on first two 3rd downs

  • In 2 man out of dime on Chiefs second 3rd down Bills matched Neal on Kelce, Chiefs 11 1x3 set with Kelce plus split as the boundary x

  • 3rd + 6 in the 2nd quarter Bills showed double mug look out of nickel with Johnson and Epenesa in the A gaps and Edmunds and Milano the edge players, Johnson and Epenesa dropped out with the Bills playing cover 3 behind 4 man DL rush; Chiefs squeezed protection inside allowing Milano clean to Mahomes, Mahomes subtle movement and great throw to Kelce under duress 11 yards

  • After playing dime on first two 3rd downs Bills then went nickel on 3rd down, They played cover 3 and cover 1

  • Chiefs feature a lot of motion, with multiple players and multiple concepts; It puts a lot of pressure on the defense

  • When the Bills played dime on 3rd down (only 3 snaps) and went man coverage dime Neal was the matchup on Kelce

  • Kelce 16 yards on 1st + 10 late in the 1st quarter came out of 11 1x3 with Kelce reduced split boundary x and Hill from inside slot to trips motion across the formation then back on orbit reverse action, Bills cover 4 out of nickel behind 4 man DL rush; Chiefs stretched the coverage vertically and expanded it horizontally with Kelce crosser in the intermediate void

  • Mahomes made some outstanding second reaction throws versus zone coverage, Kelce 15 yards just outside the red zone versus Bills cover 3 a good example; Again Chiefs route concept had a vertical and horizontal component to it

  • Hill 33 yards on 1st + 10 in the 2nd quarter another second reaction throw by Mahomes, Bills cover 4 out of nickel; Another vertical stretch and horizontal expansion component with Hill running the crosser

  • Kelce 17 yards on 1st + 10 on third TD drive of 2nd quarter came out of 11 3x1 with Kelce the inside slot to trips versus Bills disguised cover 1 out of nickel, Bills showed split safety initially but Poyer had Kelce man-to-man and had a long way to get to the flat

  • Hill 71 yards on 2nd + 10 in the 3rd quarter came out of 11 3x1 with Hill #2 to trips versus Bills nickel cover 1 with slot corner Johnson matched on Hill in press man, RPO concept moved MIKE Edmunds who had back Williams man-to-man and opened the passing lane for Hill on the quick slant with run-after-catch

  • Bills featured cover 1, cover 2 and cover 4 as their most played coverages versus the Chiefs; Bills not blitz heavy but they did have 9 snaps with 5 rushers versus Mahomes drop backs

  • First 3rd and long Bucs out of nickel went 2 man with LB David matched on Tonyan and LB White matched on Jones, Suh was aligned as a standup Joker, 4 man DL rush with Barrett working against RT Wagner; Rodgers had time to throw from the pocket but no throw was there within timing so he moved into the Barrett sack

  • First three 3rd and long plays Bucs out of nickel played 2 man with David on Tonyan, and aligned Suh as a standup Joker; If Adams aligned in the slot then the safety to that side would double

  • Valdes-Scantling 50 yard TD came on 3rd + 3 early in the 2nd quarter: Bucs 2 man with Suh the standup Joker, Double on Adams in the field slot; Valdes-Scantling beat Davis press man on fade route, Aggressive 3rd down throw by Rodgers

  • Pierre-Paul and Barrett lined up on both side in Bucs 3 man 3rd down pass rush front

  • Bucs first snap of zone coverage came on Packers sixth 3rd down of the 1st half, It was in the 2 minute: They went 3 under/3 deep behind 5 man pressure, Suh again standup Joker this time with David and White aligned inside on the ball – Packers ran mesh anticipating man coverage, Rodgers hit Lazard on the zone beater sit route behind the mesh 23 yards

  • First 3rd down of the 3rd quarter Bucs came back to 2 man, Only change was Suh was aligned as the fourth DL rusher – Whitehead forced fumble on Jones recovered by White

  • Bucs DC Bowles game plan was to play 2 man on 3rd down, at times doubling Adams when he was in the slot; 4 man DL pressures with Suh at times in standup Joker alignment – They stayed with this approach throughout the game on 3rd down

  • Bucs first snap of cover 1 on 3rd down came on 3rd + 2 late in the 3rd quarter, Bucs base personnel versus Packers 12 personnel: Bucs 5 man pressure, Williams 11 yard reception on effective man beater natural rub concept

  • Adams 2 yard TD on 3rd and goal late in the 3rd quarter came versus Bucs nickel zero, Adams beat Davis press man off the LOS on quick slant

  • Bucs used safeties to cut shallow crossers when needed, It was part of 2 man coverage approach – Safety Adams cut Lazard shallow crosser on Barrett sack on 3rd + 5 in the 4th quarter, 4 man DL rush with

  • Barrett beating RT Wagner, Back side E/T stunt with Vea the looper also effective

  • Bucs big stop on 3rd + 10 in the middle of the 4th quarter, Again 2 man coverage out of nickel behind 4 man DL rush; Rodgers had St. Brown open on the shallow crosser but did not throw it instead trying to hit Lazard versus Murphy-Bunting tight coverage

  • Bucs only 2 snaps of zone coverage on 14 3rd down snaps for the Packers: one came in the 2 minute at the end of the 1st half (3 under/3 deep), the second came on 3rd and goal with 2:25 remaining in the 4th quarter (red zone cover 4)

  • 3rd and goal with 2:15 remaining in the 4th quarter Rodgers stayed locked on Adams too long versus cover 4 which took Adams stick-nod away, Rodgers had Lazard open on same side of progression

  • Both of Pierre-Paul sacks came on 4 man DL pass rush with cover 3 behind it (2nd + 8, 1st + 10), Both times he beat LT Turner

  • All 5 Bucs sacks came on 4 man DL pass rush, 3 with 2 man behind it (Barrett 3 sacks) and 2 with cover 3 behind it (Pierre-Paul 2 sacks)

  • Bucs overall blitzed 17 times on Rodgers drop backs, a lower percentage than the week 6 matchup; Bucs did not get a sack when they pressured, They got 5 sacks off blitz in the week 6 game

  • Bucs played more snaps of man than zone versus the Packers, Cover 1 was the foundation but significant snaps of 2 man which was featured on 3rd down

One of the preeminent NFL analysts in the country, Cosell has worked for NFL Films for over 40 years. Due to his vast knowledge of personnel and matchups based on tape study, Cosell regularly supplies us with valuable and actionable insight and intelligence that cannot be found anywhere else.

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