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Cosell Coaching Tape: Week 16

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Cosell Coaching Tape: Week 16

At Fantasy Points this season, we’re going to be posting the Raw Film Notes from NFL Films legend Greg Cosell each and every week. These are quite literally Greg’s scribblings and observations he throws on his notepad as he watches all-22 tape.

As Greg is just one man, he can’t get to everything each week, but we’ll be bringing you everything he sees in raw — and unedited — form. This is something all-22 nerds will love, and certainly something fans who want to learn more about their teams should read.

JOE BURROW VERSUS RAVENS DEFENSE

  • Averett left corner and Seymour right corner the outside corners with Young the slot corner, Averett hurt after 11 snaps replaced by Worley

  • Ravens featured 2 shell zone coverage behind 4 man DL pass rush on Bengals first possession, Oweh and Bowser were the edge rushers with Ferguson also getting snaps

  • Ravens were able to generate pressure on Burrow winning one-on-one matchups versus Bengals OL but Burrow avoid and second reaction ability resulted in 2 completions to Higgins

  • Ravens personnel approach versus Bengals was the same as it was versus the Packers last week, They played predominantly nickel with snaps of dollar but no snaps of dime; Ravens 48 snaps of nickel and 12 snaps of dollar

  • Bengals OL still shows too many issues in one-on-one pass protection, Too many snaps with Burrow getting quick pressure

  • Boyd 68 yard TD on 2nd + 7 early in 2nd quarter came out of 11 empty with Boyd #3 to trips versus Ravens nickel cover 3 with post safety Stephens, Boyd ran stick nod and no one carried him vertically down the seam; Burrow excellent job looking left right at the snap moving Stephens to twins before coming to Boyd, Pitch and catch for the easy TD

  • Ravens coverage foundation was more zone than man, They featured split safety concepts – Injuries and COVID have changed DC Martindale’s coverage approach

  • Ravens did not blitz as much as we are using to seeing from them, Only 8 pressures with 5 or more rushers on 50 Burrow drop backs – Jefferson sack late in 2nd quarter came on a blitz out of dollar, Jefferson clean through the B gap in an overload concept

  • Higgins 52 yards on 3rd + 16 late in 2nd quarter came out of 11 personnel with Sample and Perine offset in the backfield, Ravens out of dollar doubled all 3 WR; Burrow aggressive vertical throw to Higgins on the go route with Seymour on the outside and Stephens inside, Higgins went up and made the contested catch

  • Higgins 1 yard TD late in 2nd quarter was a one-on-one designed for him as the boundary x, Return route versus Seymour

  • Ravens played some snaps of big nickel versus Bengals 12 personnel, Jefferson was the third safety with Clark and Stephens – Jefferson replaced Stephens in the nickel with Clark in the 3rd quarter

  • Doubling all 3 Bengals WR on 3rd down out of dollar was part of Ravens game plan approach, They did it behind 3 man pass rush with man matchups on the TE and the back

  • Burrow light feet in the pocket with an excellent feel for pocket movement, Stays on balance easily to deliver with his feet under him

  • Chase 22 yards on 4th quarter TD drive came out of 11 empty versus Ravens 4 man zone exchange pressure out of nickel, Burrow immediately read the zone match coverage behind the pressure and hit Chase from #2 to trips on the in-breaker underneath Boyd vertical from #3

  • Higgins 10 yard TD on 2nd + 7 in 4th quarter came on 3 man route concept to the field that had both man beater and zone beater elements to it, Ravens out of nickel went cover 1 and the 2 inside underneath routes to the trips side opened the passing lane to Higgins on the condensed bang 8

  • Bengals continued to feature empty sets as a foundation of their pass game, Against the Ravens Burrow 11-13 for 246 yards and 2 TD out of empty sets; Ravens only blitzed Burrow twice in 14 empty drop backs – Burrow second most empty drop backs in NFL this season behind Stafford

  • This was an outstanding game for Burrow, He was efficient from the pocket playing with timing and rhythm and showing higher level elimination and isolation traits, He made second reaction throws when forced to leave the pocket – Overall a big-time performance by Burrow

TITANS OFFENSE VERSUS 49ERS DEFENSE

  • Norman right corner and Thomas left corner continued to be the outside corners for the 49ers, Warner and Al-Shaair were the nickel LB

  • 49ers 3rd down coverages: Cover 6, cover 4, cover 3, 2 man – 49ers continued to feature split safety coverages as a foundation

  • Westbrook-Ikhine 24 yards on 3rd + 15 on Titans first 3rd quarter possession may have been the most important play of the game: 02 personnel with Tannehill in empty set with both TE part of 7 man protection, 49ers cover 3 out of dime (first snap of dime) behind loaded front 4 man pass rush; Tannehill stuck it on Westbrook-Ikhine between the hashes on an intermediate sit route in a tight window inside of both hook defenders – Big-time throw on 3rd and long with Tannehill secure in the pocket

  • Brown 18 yards on 3rd + 7 on first 3rd quarter possession another big play: Tannehill in the shotgun in 1x3 set with Brown #3 to trips, 49ers 5 man pressure with slot corner Williams blitzing from the field on the side of the loaded front; Tannehill secure in the pocket hit Brown on the out cut away from Warner who was matching Brown in the 49ers single high safety blitz coverage

  • 3rd down conversions became the key to the game beginning with the Titans first possession of the 3rd quarter – Titans converted 6 of 9 3rd downs in the 2nd half with the first 3 on their opening FG drive being 3rd + 15, 3rd + 7 and 3rd + 10

  • Titans featured empty sets on 3rd down on first 3rd quarter possession, They did it out of 02 and 11 personnel with the focus on protection: primary 7 man protection and chips on the outside to help the OT

  • On TD drive following Hooker interception Titans ran trap and inside zone with McNichols, Inside zone featured a dominant double team by RT Quessenberry and RG Davis on 3-technique Street

  • Foreman 3 yard TD featured 2 strong double teams by OC Jones and LG Brewer on 2i DT Jones, and Quessenberry and Davis

  • Brown 42 yards on 3rd + 23 on last play of 3rd quarter came versus 49ers nickel cover 3, Tannehill climbed the pocket and threw it up to the one-on-one on the outside with Brown versus Thomas

  • Another big 3rd down conversion came on 3rd + 10 early in 4th quarter: Titans 11 1x3 versus 49ers nickel 2 man with Ward matched on Brown #3 to trips, Brown physicality and Tannehill mobility to avoid edge pressure by Ebukam resulted in 12 yard completion

  • Brown 18 yard TD on 1st + 10 early in 4th quarter came out of 11 2x2 with Brown plus split to the boundary versus 49ers 5 man pressure with blitz match single high safety coverage behind it, Brown skinny post versus outside leverage corner Norman with a precise ball placement throw by Tannehill

  • Tannehill 23 yards on winning FG drive came versus 49ers nickel cover 2 – It was the play that set up the GW FG

  • Rookie LT Radunz making his first NFL start had an uneven debut, He struggled in pass protection with anchor leverage and strength consistently showing up as an issue; There is no question Radunz needs to play stronger

  • Titans could not run the ball versus the 49ers, Their backs combined for 21-68; The difference in the game was 3rd down passing: Tannehill 11-13 for 149 yards on 3rd down with 9 of those completions resulting in 1st downs, Almost all of the big 3rd down completions came versus zone or zone match coverage

  • This was a Tannehill game: He had to execute the drop back passing game on 3rd down and he did at a high level

49ERS OFFENSE VERSUS TITANS DEFENSE

  • Titans base defense had Skrine at left corner and Fulton at right corner, Skrine moved inside in the sub defenses with Jenkins at left corner; Cruikshank was the dime safety

  • Cunningham and Evans were the stacked LB in the Titans base defense and in the nickel, Brown was the LB in dime

  • Aiyuk 17 yards on 2nd + 5 on first possession a great example of putting a zone coverage defender in conflict: Outside zone to the field from a closed boundary formation, Aiyuk from the slot to the field and on the ball crossed the formation to the boundary flat; Autry the on-the-ball edge defender to the boundary was the flat defender but he was blocked by Woerner in what looked to him like outside zone away – Great design to put Autry in conflict

  • Landry continued to play on the ball and off the ball in the Titans base defense, His alignment is a function of the offensive formation

  • Titans game plan approach versus 49ers base personnel both 21 and 12 was zone coverage, They played cover 3 and split safety with cover 4 and cover 2 predominant; They did not come out playing man coverage

  • Kittle 16 yards on 2nd + 10 on 49ers second possession came out of 21 1x3 with Kittle attached in closed boundary formation, Titans out of base 5 man pressure with 3 under-3 deep behind it; Kittle vertical release into the open void between the hashes, One less underneath defender and corner Skrine did not squeeze inside far enough

  • Jenkins end zone interception on 2nd and goal came out of nickel versus 49ers 12 closed boundary twins to the field (first sanp of nickel versus 12 personnel), Titans played what looked like cover 4 matching routes based on releases; 49ers 3 man route concept to the boundary with Kittle running the 7 stop, Jenkins played the route perfectly with Garoppolo throwing to the matchup of his beast TE versus a smaller corner – Outstanding play by Jenkins

  • 49ers missed opportunity from +40 yard line on third possession: Juszczyk wide open on post-wheel concept versus cover 3 but Garoppolo just not precise with his ball placement

  • Titans first snap of dime came on 3rd + 4 on 49ers third possession, Cruikshank was the dime; Titans went 1 robber versus 11 personnel with Cruikshank the matchup on Kittle: Hasty 3 yards

  • When the Titans went 2 man/1 robber out of dime Cruikshank was the matchup on Kittle, That was the game planned matchup out of dime – Will Cruikshank be the matchup on top TE going forward?

  • Titans did not play many snaps of cover 1 out of nickel but when they did Byard was the matchup on Kittle

  • Autry sack on 3rd + 10 later in 2nd quarter came out of dime cover 2 with Hooker the middle hole defender and slot corner Skrine dropping as a half field safety, Autry and Dupree were the edge rushers with Landry and Simmons inside; Autry beat Kittle off the edge for the sack

  • Titans started the 3rd quarter playing nickel to the 49ers 21 personnel, They played cover 1 with Skrine the matchup on Kittle; Garoppolo looked to Kittle on the stick route then came back to an open Samuel on the crosser from the other side, High inaccurate throw that was intercepted by Hooker

  • One change the Titans made in the 3rd quarter was to play nickel to the 49ers 21 personnel, Jenkins was the left corner with Skrine the slot corner

  • First 3rd and long (3rd + 7) in 3rd quarter Titans went dime and played 1 robber, Cruikshank again the matchup on Kittle (clearly game planned); Garoppolo hit Jennings versus Skrine for 11 yards

  • DT Jones has been a strong inside player for the Titans, He flashes on film every week; Jones and Simmons can be dominant at times in the run game

  • Titans got lucky on 4th + 6 late in the 3rd quarter, There was confusion due to the 49ers 4x1 empty set and no one matched Aiyuk and Juszczyk on the mesh; Garoppolo read the coverage as man with the 3 outside receivers to the 4 man side each being matched man-to-man so he lead Aiyuk, But Aiyik read it as zone since no one ran with him and slowed down into what he believed was a zone void – Garoppolo too quick to move in the pocket, There was no pressure

  • 3rd + 4 on 49ers late 4th quarter drive Titans out of dime doubled Kittle with Cruikshank and Brown in a cover 1 concept, Garoppolo hit Hasty out of the backfield on the option route versus Byard

  • Samuel 56 yards on 2nd + 10 on late 4th quarter TD drive came out of 11 2x2 versus Titans nickel cover 1, 3 man route concept to the field opened passing lane to Samuel on the in-breaker versus Fulton; Samuel explosive and powerful run-after-catch

  • Aiyuk 2 yard TD late in 4th quarter came out 11 1x3 nub with bunch to trips, Titans went 3 corner base and played man coverage; Fulton on the outside played releases (Skrine and Byard matched the receivers) and did not match Aiyuk on the in-breaker

  • Titans played snaps of cover 1/1 robber out of dime but overall the coverage template versus the 49ers was zone with cover 3 the foundation

TEXANS OFFENSE VERSUS CHARGERS DEFENSE

  • Texans OL from left to right: Christian, Toner, Morrissey, Scharping and Heck

  • Chargers base front continued to be 5-2, Against the Texans White and Tranquill were the stacked LB with Nwosu and Murray the edge defenders; Egbule also snaps as an edge player

  • Adderley and Gilman were the Chargers safeties with James inactive, C. Harris was the slot corner in nickel with D. Harris the boundary corner and Samuel the field corner

  • Murray aligned on the ball as an edge player in both 5 man and 4 man fronts, both in the base defense and the nickel; He was used as a pass rusher

  • Chargers featured both 5-1 nickel fronts and 4-2 nickel fronts, White was the LB in the 5-1 fronts

  • Mills showed a feel for progression reading from the pocket, Good example was Collins 11 yards on 3rd + 8 on first possession: Hi-low concept to the field versus cover 2 but the corner route did not time up with Mills drop so Mills came to the back side shallow in the underneath void

  • Burkhead 25 yard TD on 2nd + 13 to end first possession came out of 11 3x1 with Jordan return motion to trips versus Chargers nickel with a light 5 man box, OC Morrissey and LG Toner outstanding double team on 2i DT Tillery up to stacked LB Tranquill, There was no other second level defender to play side

  • Too many run game snaps in which the Chargers DL was physically handled at the POA especially on double team blocks: Burkhead 25 yard TD in 1st quarter, Freeman 13 yards in 2nd quarter, Burkhead 15 yards on first play of 3rd quarter

  • Mills is an easy natural thrower of the football, Weight transfer and core torque from strong lower body mechanics allow his arm to come through with little effort yet the needed upper body mechanics to further generate velocity and distance

  • One trait that stands out with Mills is he is aggressive throwing the ball from the pocket, There are times he doesn’t read it as cleanly as he needs to but that is likely a function of his inexperience

  • One area Mills needs to continue to improve is his poise and effectiveness in muddied pockets, He has shown a tendency to play fast and break down when the pocket gets a little squeezed; Mills will need to play more settled in noisy pockets and he also must improve his pocket movement

  • Conley 41 yard TD late in the 2nd quarter came out of 11 2x2 versus Chargers nickel cover 1, Conley from #1 to the boundary ran go route versus off coverage corner D. Harris and got on top of Harris; Mills precise ball placement dropped it in the bucket – Burkhead crossed the formation to pick up blitzing LB Ogbongbemiga

  • Tranquill hurt late in the 2nd quarter, Niemann and Ogbongbemiga both got snaps at stacked LB

  • Conley 18 yards on 3rd + 3 on first 3rd quarter possession came out of 4x1 empty with a 3 man bunch to the 4 receiver side, Chargers cover 1 out of nickel playing the bunch with man and not the releases; Great design by the Texans with Conley the inside receiver in the bunch tempoing and widening his release before breaking inside on his angle route, Adderley was matched on Conley and he got caught in the bunch traffic

  • Texans 7 snaps with Mills in empty sets, He was 6-7 for 83 yards; Chargers only blitzed the empty sets one time

  • In the 2nd half Chargers nickel snaps with Harris the boundary corner and Bassey the slot corner; Safety Gilman was the predominant TE matchup in the Chargers cover 1 versus 11 personnel

  • Overall a very efficient performance by the Texans offense, They were 9-13 on 3rd down conversions; Mills 7-10 for 74 yards on 3rd down with 6 of those completions resulting in 1st downs, Chargers only 3 blitzes on those 10 3rd down drop backs

CHARGERS OFFENSE VERSUS TEXANS DEFENSE

  • Wallow and Hewitt were the nickel LB, King at right corner and Smith at left corner while Thomas continued to be the nickel slot corner – Texans have been a 100% nickel sub defense, They have not played any snaps of dime this season

  • Kirksey was the third LB in the Texans base defense, Hewitt was the MIKE flanked by Wallow and Kirksey

  • First 3rd and long (3rd + 7) Texans out of nickel rushed 5 and went cover 1 with Wallow the fifth rusher and safety Owens matched on TE Cook – Cover 1 with 5 man pressure was a foundational 3rd down approach for the Texans

  • Jackson 25 yard reception on 2nd + 7 on second possession was a well-executed boundary screen off zone run action to the boundary and a boot action look by Herbert, The boot look with the split flow action took stacked LB Wallow and Hewitt to the field away from the screen and that set up the blocks

  • Cover 2, cover 2 and cover 1 have been the foundational coverages the Texans have played this season with cover 2 and cover 1 the most played – Texans began the season playing a high percentage of cover 2 but they have played much more single high safety as the season has progressed

  • Allen 15 yards on 3rd + 10 on Chargers first TD drive came out of 11 2x2 condensed versus Texans nickel cover 1 behind 5 man pressure with Wallow again the fifth rusher, Allen from his reduced split just outside of Cook ran the shallow crosser and out-leveraged corner Smith who was lined up with depth and width

  • Owens interception later in 2nd quarter came on Chargers shot play concept: Initial look was similar to Jackson 25 yard screen reception with outside zone and boot action, 2 vertical routes with Moore outside and Palmer down the seam versus Texans 2 shell zone coverage; Hebert looked to Moore and then came to Palmer but Owens but in good position to play the route and the throw – Throw was not there and Herbert tried to make something out of nothing

  • With the lead in the 4th quarter Texans played predominant zone coverage, both cover 3 and split safety schemes; They also rushed 4 not needing to blitz

  • Chargers pass game was condensed, Herbert not many intermediate and vertical throws, No big plays; Statistics piled up in the 4th quarter on throws under 10 yards in the air

  • Texans defense was active, They played fast on tape; Overall their secondary with Smith and King on the outside and undrafted free agent Owens at safety with Reid played well

EAGLES OFFENSE VERSUS GIANTS DEFENSE

  • Crowder and Smith were the Giants LB in both and nickel, Ryan moved from safety in base to slot corner in nickel with Love at safety with McKinney; Safety Parker was the dime

  • Williams again the starter at corner opposite Bradberry, Bradberry predominantly travelled with Smith but the Giants did not play a high percentage of man coverage

  • Carter, Ojulari and Roche continued to be the edge pass rushers in the Giants nickel and dime fronts

  • Eagles first 2 plays were the same concept: Snag-flat, a basic 2 man route concept with a one defender read for the QB – It was evident the Eagles game plan approach with the passing game was half field reads for Hurts, Flood was a game planned concept

  • First 3rd down (3rd + 6) Giants went 3-2-6 dime and used LB Smith as a spy on Hurts, That was the only snap of 3-2-6 dime the Giants played

  • What was evident was Eagles game plan featured more 11 personnel than they did last week versus Washington

  • Sanders 13 yards on 1st + 10 in 2nd quarter came out of no huddle tempo with 11 personnel: Inside zone out of shotgun with outstanding combo block by LG Dickerson and OC Kelce on 2i Johnson with Kelce coming off to block LB Crowder

  • Reagor 13 yards on the play after Sanders 13 yards was just another way to get to the flood concept, Show tunnel screen look to Watkins from #3 to trips to bring up the underneath coverage to create space for Reagor on the intermediate out route

  • Smith 46 yards on 2nd + 10 in 2nd quarter came out of 11 2x2 with Smith #1 to the boundary versus Giants nickel cover 4, 4 verticals concept with Smith getting on top of Bradberry and Hurts laying it out there in what was essentially a one-on-one matchup

  • Scott 3 yard TD on 3rd and goal to end first 3rd quarter possession came on counter concept with Scott the I back, RG Herbig was the puller with the play side double team by Goedert and LT Mailata and the one-on-on-one play side block by TE Stoll

  • Watkins 39 yards on 2nd + 1 on second 3rd quarter possession came on designed shot play out of 12 personnel: Hurts boot right behind 7 man protection, Throwback concept with Watkins from the slot running the deep over across the field; Eagles got the coverage they anticipated (cover 3) and that put Watkins on the post safety Love

  • Smith 6 yard TD on 3rd and goal in 3rd quarter came out of 11 personnel versus Giants nickel tight red zone man-to-man, Smith return motion then motion across the formation resulting Giants coverage switch with McKinney matching Smith on sprint right option; Precise ball placement throw by Hurts and excellent job by Smith keeping his feet in bounds

  • Eagles effective on 3rd and short due to the run game dimension presented by Hurts, Always have zone read and inside zone element and that can result in the defense being outflanked off run action; Saw it last week with Sanders 16 yard reception on 3rd + 2 and then this game with Goedert 16 yards on 3rd + 2 late in 3rd quarter, Same concept with different personnel

  • For the second consecutive week the Eagles featured zone as the foundation run game concept

  • Giants coverage foundation was zone featuring both cover 3 and cover 4, They played some snaps of cover 1 but they predominantly played zone coverage with cover 4 the most played coverage on 3rd down

  • Hurts did not have a scramble in this game and there were few designed QB runs, It was a basic game plan approach versus a zone heavy Giants defense

  • What stood out versus Giants was how basic the Eagles pass game was re: concepts, Focus on 2 man route concepts and half field reads; That surprised me given Hurts has now started more than the equivalent of one full season

  • Every drop back but one versus Giants came with Hurts in the shotgun, He had 30 drop backs in the game with 29 out of the gun: 16-28 for 194 yards with a TD – It was the second consecutive game the pass game worked almost exclusively out of the shotgun

GIANTS OFFENSE VERSUS EAGLES DEFENSE

  • First 3rd and long (3rd + 13) Eagles out of nickel came with an inside blitz-stunt concept with Avery from stacked alignment the looper behind Cox the penetrator, Sweat versus RT Peart squeezed the pocket from the outside and hit Fromm’s arm as he delivered

  • Avery and Edwards were the nickel LB on the Eagles first 3rd and long play, Singleton predominantly played with Edwards in the nickel

  • Eagles aggressive with blitz early in the game, Clearly game planned; First two 3rd and long situations Eagles came with 5 man pressures: Avery on the first one and Singleton on the second

  • Sweat gave RT Peart all kinds of problems with his edge pass rush through the first couple of possessions: Hand usage, power, bend and flexibility

  • When Peart left the game with what turned out be a torn ACL Sweat worked his replacement Cunningham, Sweat is one of the better edge rushers in the NFL

  • Barkley right now is lacking the short area burst and power-explosiveness that he once had, He did not show the kind of acceleration we saw in the past – The question is can he get it back with another off-season

  • Edwards and Singleton were aggressive in the run game, They showed good key and diagnose and were decisive attacking downhill

  • This was a nickel game for the Eagles defense, They played 64 snaps of nickel with only 4 snaps of dime and 5 snaps of base defense – Eagles first snap of dime came on 3rd + 4 late in 1st quarter and they went 1 robber, Cox aligned at DE with Barnett the standup 4i

  • Cox at DE and Barnett inside at standup DT featured in the Eagles dime, They at times ran stunts from that front

  • Rookie DT Williams continued to flash with his desirable combination of quickness-change of direction and natural power as a pass rusher; Williams has a chance to be a dominant inside player

  • Epps significant snaps as part of safety rotation with McLeod and Harris, Epps has shown he can play both in the box and on the back end; Epps at times shows some suddenness and explosiveness to his movement

  • McPhearson started the 3rd quarter at right corner opposite Slay, Nelson was back to start Giants second possession

  • Eagles also started 3rd quarter in their 5-1-5 nickel with Avery the SAM LB on the ball, They stayed with that nickel package through the 3rd quarter mixing it with 4-2-5 with Edwards and Singleton the LB

  • McLeod interception on second play of 3rd quarter was the result of T/E stunt with Williams the penetrator and Avery the looper driving back LG Skura into the pocket impacting Fromm’s throw

  • Eagles more split safety versus Giants but single high safety was still the coverage foundation with cover 1 and cover 3

COWBOYS OFFENSE VERSUS WASHINGTON DEFENSE

  • Washington continued to play 5-1-5 and big nickel with 3 safeties, Mayo was the only LB; 5 man fronts have been a staple all season

  • Big nickel was Washington’s personnel versus Cowboys 12 personnel and 11 personnel in normal down and distance situations

  • Washington played a high percentage of dime versus Cowboys, They played 31 snaps which was more than 42% of their defensive snaps

  • Johnson continued to be the third corner in both conventional nickel and dime

  • Washington continued to be a high percentage zone coverage defense, That has been their profile since week 10: Cover 3 and split safety have been their predominant coverages, Only the Seahawks have played a lower percentage of cover 1 since week 10

  • Cowboys were able to work the seams versus Washington split safety coverage: Cooper 24 yards, Lamb 22 yards; That should not happen versus split safety

  • One thing that stood out was Washington’s defensive front was able to generate pressure on Prescott at times in the 1st half; Washington too many breakdowns in coverage

  • Cowboys featured snaps with 6 OL personnel, McGivern was the sixth OL often lining up in an offset fullback position

  • Lamb 25 yards on 1st + 10 in 2nd quarter came out of 11 2x2 versus Washington big nickel 3 under-3 deep behind 5 man pressure, Prescott conventional play action with Lamb from the slot to the field running the deep over route with LB Mayo responsible for hunting him up from underneath; Hi-low concept to the boundary with Cooper showing run blocking before breaking outside to hold down corner Roberts

  • Cooper 18 yards on final TD drive of 1st half an excellent throw by Prescott in the outside void in cover 2, Hi-low concept to the boundary with Prescott delivering with timing and anticipation and precise ball location

  • Prescott 1st half numbers: 27-35 for 322 yards and 4 TD; Cowboys were 7-9 on 3rd down conversions with Prescott 6-8 for 73 yards and 2 TD

  • Prescott 1st down passing: 11-17 for 132 yards and 2 TD – Cowboys clearly believed they could throw the ball versus the Washington defense

  • Washington played almost all zone coverage until the Cowboys final drive of the 1st half when they played some man coverage out of dime

  • Cooper 13 yard TD to end the 1st half came out of 11 3x1 tight bunch to the boundary versus Washington red zone cover 4, Levels concept to the boundary with corner Fuller the hi-low defender, Fuller sunk a little too deep giving Cooper just enough space for the Prescott throw

WASHINGTON OFFENSE VERSUS COWBOYS DEFENSE

  • Cowboys on first play of the game matched up with nickel to Washington 12 personnel, With Lewis on COVID list Brown was the slot corner with rookie Joseph outside opposite Diggs

  • Cosmi continued to play RT with Charles at RG, Ismael was the OC – Scherff came off the COVID list so he will play RG versus the Eagles

  • Washington went deep on first play of the game out of 12 personnel: Go route by McLaurin versus off coverage corner Diggs, Diggs stride for stride with McLaurin to make the interception

  • Diggs was the matchup on McLaurin – Cowboys have played the highest percentage of cover 1 of any defense in the NFL, More than 50% of snaps versus QB drop backs have been in cover 1

  • Cowboys showed 5-1 fronts out of nickel with Parsons on the ball, Parsons continued to play snaps at stacked LB and on the ball predominantly on the edge but also inside

  • Parsons continued to be used as a second level blitzer from stacked LB alignment, He generates speed and velocity and power and is a mismatch for running backs

  • Parsons also used as the middle hole defender when the Cowboys played cover 2 out of nickel

  • Cowboys have played dime on about 1/5 of their defensive snaps this season; Wilson and Kazee both played snaps at safety with Kearse in the nickel

  • Cowboys continued to be multiple with their personnel and front alignments out of dime, Lawrence interception return TD came with Lawrence aligned at 3-technique DT inside of Golston

  • Cowboys continued to play snaps of big nickel with 3 safeties, That has been a staple personnel package all season

  • Brown 48 yards to start Washington only TD drive of 1st half came out of 13 personnel versus Cowboys big nickel with Brown the boundary x, Post-cross combination with back side dig, Post safety Kazee stayed too low with eyes on the crosser by Seals-Jones and Heinicke went over the top to Brown on the post versus Diggs; Brown got inside of Diggs and Heinicke made an outstanding throw

  • Kearse continued to be the Cowboys predominant TE matchup in their man coverage concepts, high percentage cover 1 but also snaps of 2 man – Kearse has been a key part of the Cowboys defense this season, He has played at a high level

  • Gibson 8 yard TD reception on 3rd and goal came out of 11 2x2 with Gibson offset to the field running the swing route as a check down, Cowboys red zone cover 4 and flat defender Brown came too far inside opening the perimeter for Gibson; Outstanding job of progression reading by Heinicke working from his right to the middle to his left to Gibson as the final read

  • Parsons sack on first play of Washington 2nd quarter possession came on a blitz from stacked LB alignment, He beat LG Flowers who had no chance to handle Parson’s lateral quickness and explosiveness

  • Kearse sack on 2nd + 6 in 2nd quarter came on an edge blitz and he beat back Patterson to force Heinicke out of the pocket and then chased him down

  • One coverage concept the Cowboys showed at times was man on the outside with zone match on the inside, They showed that out of nickel behind 5 man pressures with Parsons an edge pass rusher – Gibson 21 yard reception on angle route out of the backfield came versus that defense

  • 3-technique DT Odighizuwa great job beating trap block by LG Flowers to tackle Gibson for 1 yard gain late in the 2nd quarter: Balance, body control, change of direction

  • Cowboys nickel and dime defensive fronts are very strong when it comes to pass rush, They are multiple with their personnel alignments and they have multiple players who can win one-on-one matchups

KYLER MURRAY VERSUS COLTS DEFENSE

  • Okereke and Speed were the Colts nickel LB, Colts played nickel on 54 snaps playing base on only 10 snaps – Both Okereke and Speed played every snap

  • Colts continued to show loaded fronts on 3rd down, At times they had both LB Okereke and Speed on the ball opposite the load; They featured different stunt and blitz concepts from that front look

  • Colts aggressive with blitz on Cards first two 3rd downs of the game, When they went cover 1 versus 11 personnel Speed was the predominant matchup on Ertz with safety Odum also getting matchup snaps when Speed was part of pressure schemes

  • On Cards third 3rd down (3rd +3) Colts went with 4 corner-1 safety nickel versus 11 personnel and they showed a double mug look with Okereke and Speed in the A gaps, Colts went cover 1 versus Cards 1x3 set with corner Rodgers matched on boundary x Ertz, They deployed Speed as a spy on Murray – Colts have always used a spy on mobile second reaction running QB

  • Murray great throw on 3rd + 3 on first possession: Slot fade to Kirk that he dropped right in the bucket but Kirk dropped it

  • Murray 57 yards on 1st + 10 on second possession came on zone read, Unblocked DE Muhammad chased back Ward on the inside zone action

  • 4 corner-1 safety was a nickel package the Colts clearly game planned, That put a corner on Ertz when the Cards were in 11 personnel

  • Colts aggressive with blitz on 3rd down from multiple pressure front looks, Colts blitzed on every 3rd down but one and had good success

  • Pressure and man coverage part of Colts approach versus Cards offense: Loaded fronts, double mug looks, safety on the ball on the edge (almost always Addae); Multiple stunt concepts especially from loaded fronts

  • Wesley 24 yard TD on 2nd + 3 to end first possession of 3rd quarter came out of 11 2x2 with Wesley the boundary x receiver (Ertz in a wing alignment off the ball), Colts out of nickel played zone to the field and matched up man-to-man to the boundary; Wesley fade route versus Rodgers with Murray great throw again dropping it in the bucket to beat good coverage

  • This was consecutive weeks in which defenses (Lions and Colts) featured pressure versus the Cards and it was the second week in a row they struggled; Cards did not Green involved in the pass game, He did not have a target in the 1st half

  • Murray had Kirk wide open on deep over route on 2nd + 10 early in 4th quarter versus nickel cover 3 but Murray was late with the throw and that allowed post safety Odum to make up ground to knock the pass away – A big play opportunity missed on a well-designed concept that beat cover 3

  • Green 33 yards on 3rd + 10 (the play after Murray was late to Kirk) came versus Colts nickel blitz out of double mug look with safety Addae off the edge, Green the single receiver on the back side of trips ran the fade versus Rhodes and Murray made a great throw again dropping it in the bucket

  • It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys increase their blitz frequency versus Cards, We know the Cowboys will play man coverage (they lead the NFL in percentage of cover 1, the only team playing cover 1 on more than 50% of QB drop backs)

BILLS OFFENSE VERSUS PATRIOTS DEFENSE

  • Bryant was the slot corner for the Patriots, In conventional 3 corner nickel Dugger and McCourty were the safeties

  • Patriots still featured big nickel as a foundation with Dugger and Phillips the safeties with McCourty; They still played significant snaps of dime with 3 corners and 3 safeties

  • Jackson was the matchup on Diggs, He travelled with him going in the slot when the Patriots played man coverage

  • Bills showed different personnel groupings on their first possession: 11, 21, 6 OL, all part of giving Patriots different looks to see how they would match up

  • What stood out on the Bills first possession and it continued throughout the game was Allen’s willingness to take the check down and get 5-8-10-12 yards when it was there: Don’t force throws, don’t try to make something happen, don’t get sacked or make a negative play, take the running opportunity if it presents itself – Play smart and move the chains

  • McKenzie 3 yard TD on 4th + 2 to end first possession came out 11 motion to empty versus Patriots dime zone match-switch concept, McKenzie kept running on what was a quick slant with slot corner Bryant passing him to safety Phillips but Phillips was slow to react leaving McKenzie open on the back line

  • Boettger tore his Achilles tendon early in the 2nd quarter, Resulted in a shuffling of the Bills OL: Dawkins came in to play LT with Brown moving to RT, Bates moving to LG and Williams moving from RT to RG

  • Bills first 2 possessions: 13 plays for a TD, 10 plays for a FG; 7 minutes of clock on the first one, 5½ minutes of clock on the second

  • McKenzie jet sweeps part of Bills offense, Safe risk-free play that attacked the perimeter of the Patriots defense and forced them to tackle in space

  • Diggs 23 yards on 4th + 2 on late 2nd quarter TD drive came out of 11 2x2 versus Patriots nickel cover 1 with Jackson matched on Diggs #1 to the boundary, Allen looked to the field and did not get any definition so he came back to Diggs on the slant, Collins was sitting in the slant window so Allen hit Diggs in the second window

  • Diggs 12 yard TD on 3rd + 11 late in 2nd quarter came out of 11 empty versus Patriots dime zero coverage with Jackson matched on Diggs in the slot to twins and safety McCourty bracketing McKenzie #2 to trips, When Diggs got inside Jackson on his seam there was no one in the middle; Allen read it and delivered a strike

  • Patriots continued to play cover 1 as their coverage foundation but they also played meaningful snaps of cover 3 and some cover 2

  • Allen made some big-time throws on crossers versus man coverage on the first possession of the 3rd quarter: McKenzie dropped one and caught another for 18 yards

  • Saw more vertical route concepts from the Bills in this game, Man beaters with intermediate crossers featured; That’s something we have not seen a lot from the Bills this season that we saw a lot of last year, Defenses not playing as much man-to-man versus Bills this season

  • McKenzie 5 yards on 3rd + 2 late in 3rd quarter (on what became a TD drive) a well-schemed man beater concept out of bunch: McKenzie from #3 in the bunch ran the quick out underneath the natural rubs of Sanders and Diggs, Bryant too much traffic to get through – Pitch and catch for the easy 1st down

  • What stood out throughout the game was Allen did an excellent job defeating the Patriots pressures either getting the ball out of his hands both from the pocket or off movement, and at times running: Knox 9 yards on 2nd + 9 on first 4th quarter TD drive a great example with Allen throw beating Van Noy clean through the B gap

  • One player who continued to stand out for the Patriots was rookie DL Barmore, especially as an inside pass rusher; He was very disruptive getting pressure on Allen

  • McKenzie 17 yards on 3rd + 10 on final 4th quarter TD drive came out of 11 3x1 versus Patriots 2 man concept with bracket coverage on Diggs who was the point man in the bunch, McKenzie off short motion into the bunch ran the crosser and beat Bryant – Another well-schemed concept versus man coverage

  • McKenzie-Bryant matchup was an important one in the 2nd half with McKenzie running crossers versus Bryant: 3 big catches on crossers, including 2 on final 4th quarter TD drive that sealed the win

  • Allen made big-time individual plays on the final TD drive: 8 yards on 4th + 1, Diggs 19 yards on 3rd + 10 with an improvised shovel pass off second reaction movement, Flip to Knox off boot action for 2 yard TD

  • This was an Allen game: 47 drop backs, 12 runs both designed and second reaction; He did not get sacked, he did not commit a turnover, and he was efficient on 3rd down: 7-11 for 72 yards with 6 of those completions resulting in 1st downs

PATRIOTS OFFENSE VERSUS BILLS DEFENSE

  • Bills matched up to Patriots 6 OL personnel with 4-3 personnel, Klein was the third LB with Edmunds and Milano – Overall Bills played 18 snaps out of 4-3

  • Jackson continued to be the left corner with Wallace the right corner, They played sides and did not match up; Neal played corner opposite Wallace versus Patriots 6 OL personnel

  • Bills went nickel versus Patriots 12 personnel – Bills have been a nickel defense all season, They have played the highest percentage of nickel on 2021 (more than 90%)

  • Bills came with safety blitz by Hyde on the second play of the game, 5 man pressure out of nickel with cover 1 behind it with Milano the matchup on Henry; Hyde got in clean off the back side edge and forced a hurried incompletion

  • First 3rd and long (3rd + 10) Bills out of nickel went 2 man with Milano again the matchup on Henry, Edmunds A gap blitz forcing Bolden to pick him up; Edmunds blitz part of blitz-stunt with Edmunds the penetrator and Oliver the looper resulting in Oliver sack

  • Bills continued to be a foundational over front defense, Safety Poyer almost aligned to the strength of the front

  • Patriots game plan again featured the run game as the foundation, Harris was the feature back with Stevenson inactive

  • Patriots just as they did in the first matchup week 13 featured a multiple run game that included pin-pull, G pull, gap scheme and zone – Harris 16 yard TD on 1st + 10 to end second possession came out of 21 personnel with 6 OL versus Bills 4-3 personnel: “90 flip” off a gap scheme look, Effective misdirection concept

  • Hyde interception on Patriots third possession came out of 4-3 versus Patriots 6 OL personnel, Patriots staple concept with bang play action off power run look with Jones looking to plus split boundary x Harry on the quick slant off 3 step timing; Klein outstanding job transitioning from attacking downhill as run defender to dropping into coverage and getting his hand on the throw resulting in interception

  • Harris 31 yards on Patriots first play of 3rd quarter came out of 12 2x2 with Harris offset in the shotgun, Power with RG Mason the kick out block on DE Hughes and TE Smith the wrapper leading on stacked LB Milano; Well-executed with a good read by Harris to cut back reading defensive flow in the Bills man coverage

  • Bills triple A gap pressure on 3rd + 8 on Patriots first 3rd quarter possession: Double mug out of nickel with Milano and Edmunds in the A gaps, They both rushed with Poyer following them as the third A gap blitzer; I don’t know if Jones audibled but the quick tunnel screen to Henry 10 yards was an excellent call to beat the pressure

  • Bills featured different defenders matching up on Henry depending on whether they were in base or nickel, and what the pressure-coverage was; Bills played high percentage man coverage

  • Patriots 1-10 on 3rd down conversions, Jones 3-7 for 25 yards on 3rd down with only 1 of those completions resulting in a 1st down; Patriots were 5-6 on 4th down conversions

  • Jones really struggled on 1st down: 4-11 for 57 yards – Overall Jones did not look comfortable versus the Bills, They got him playing a little fast and he was not as poised and composed in the pocket as we have seen this season

  • Bills an aggressive defensive template versus the Patriots: Man was the coverage foundation with cover 1 and 2 man the most played coverages, 2 man was a foundational coverage and that had not been the case this season (Milano was the TE matchup in 2 man coverage); Bills also featured a higher percentage of blitz than they normally do

FALCONS OFFENSE VERSUS LIONS DEFENSE

  • Reeves-Maybin and Barnes were the stacked LB in both the base defense and nickel, Pittman continued to get significant snap sin the nickel; Reeves-Maybin was the dime LB

  • Harris for the second consecutive game played outside corner, Rookie Melifonwu was the other outside corner; Parker continued to be the slot corner, Moore was the dime safety

  • There were snaps Harris was the slot corner with Price on the outside with Melifonwu, When that was the personnel versus Falcons 21 personnel or tight formation 12 personnel it was essentially big nickel given Harris background as a safety

  • Lions edge pass rushers in sub fronts continued to be Harris, Bryant and Lemonier; Berry again got some snaps

  • Lions nickel was predominantly 4-2-5 but they did show 5-1-5 nickel at times playing both cover 1 and 3 under-3 deep behind 5 man pressures

  • Falcons are a base personnel offense, They have played out of 11 personnel less than 30% of their offensive snaps this season (only the Dolphins have played a lower percentage of 11 personnel)

  • Falcons have played with a fullback on almost 35% of their offensive snaps with both 21 and 22 personnel significant parts of their offense

  • Lions continued to be aggressive with pressure on 3rd down: Bryant sack on 3rd + 10 to end Falcons first possession came out of 7 man pressure front look versus empty set, Slot corner Parker blitzed from the field and there was no one to account for him with Bryant getting the sack; Lions matched routes from a 4 across look in what essentially became zero coverage with no middle of the field safety

  • Lions featured multiple pressure concepts especially on 3rd down when their blitz percentage was over 50% for the second consecutive game, Man pressures and zone pressures in addition to some 4 man exchange pressures; Multiple stunt concepts also featured

  • What also continued to stand out with the Lions 3rd down defense was their zero looks behind some of their pressures, It was not press man across the board but more of an off coverage match

  • Pitts is the wild card in the Falcons offense: Do you treat him as a TE or a WR re: defensive personnel? That’s the starting point for a defense; Pitts lines up in multiple locations within the Falcons offense

  • Pitts can win on vertical routes from boundary x alignment: 35 yards in 3rd quarter on go route versus corner Melifonwu

  • Falcons pass game continued to have some limitations re: route concepts and combinations due to the OL which is not a good pass protecting unit

  • One Lions defender who consistently flashed in this game was LB Reeves-Maybin: He played with both key and diagnose, and speed and range in the run game

  • Hurst 12 yard TD on 1st + 10 early in the 4th quarter came out of 22 personnel with Hurst motion across the formation from the field to the boundary outside of attached TE Pitts, Lions out of base went cover 3 with Walker the post safety; 2 man route to the boundary with Pitts running the seam and Hurst the wheel off motion, Corner Melifonwu squeezed inside on Pitts seam leaving on-the-ball edge player and flat defender Harris to run with Hurst on the wheel – Good ball by Ryan with precise placement

  • Falcons are not an offense that produces a lot of big plays in the passing game, Ryan efficient re: completion percentage but his yards per attempt is 7.05 which is low relative to the other NFL QB

RAMS OFFENSE VERSUS VIKINGS DEFENSE

  • Rookie Jackson started at LT in place of Whitworth (COVID), Jackson was a 4-year starter at Iowa but went undrafted

  • Michel last 4 weeks leads the NFL in both rushing attempts and rushing yards (89-423, 4.8), He is also tied for the league lead in that stretch with 11 runs of 10+ yards (Taylor also has 11)

  • The Vikings game was an 11 personnel game for the Rams, 65 of 70 offensive plays came out of 11; Michel 24-124 out of 11 personnel

  • Peterson right corner and Dantzler left corner for the Vikings with Alexander the slot corner, Kendricks and Barr the nickel LB

  • Richardson continued to get snaps at wide 9 DE in the Vikings sub fronts, Wonnum was the consistent edge rusher

  • Kupp 19 yards on first possession a good example of the outside zone run game impacting the slot defender McKenzie: Post-wheel concept with Jefferson and Kupp to the trips side of the formation, McKenzie saw the OL run action and looked to play his run responsibility which made him late to his coverage responsibility which was Kupp’s wheel

  • Vikings showed a 5-2 front out of base with Barr on the ball as an edge defender with Wonnum, and Kendricks and Vigil the stacked LB

  • Vikings some snaps with safety Smith in the slot corner position with Woods and rookie Bynum the safeties, Big nickel personnel package they showed more as the game progressed

  • Zimmer still features double mug looks out of nickel on 3rd down, Kendricks and Barr in the A gaps with Smith at times aligned on the ball on the edge

  • Rams run game with Michel was almost all zone, Michel showed a good feel for the tempo and pace of the different zone runs with an innate ability to read defensive flow and find the cut back lanes

  • Michel 16 yards on 3rd + 1 in 2nd quarter showed his feel, his ability to manipulate defenders, his short area burst, his natural power and his strong finishing traits

  • Vikings played some snaps of dime, It was 3-2-6 dime with Kendricks and Barr and Boyd the dime corner; Vikings played almost all 3-2-6 dime in the 2:00 at the end of the 1st half, Boyd was used in multiple ways including as an edge blitzer and man-to-man on Kupp and Higbee

  • Vikings played snaps of 2 man out of dime in the 2:00 at the end of the 1st half with Smith and Woods the deep safeties, With Boyd as the dime the Vikings played with 4 corners which matched a corner on Higbee versus Rams 11 personnel

  • Woods interception on second play of Rams first 3rd quarter possession came on staple shot play concept: Stafford play action boot with Jefferson running the deep over on top of intermediate sit route on the other side, It’s a split safety (cover 4, cover 6) beater concept; Jefferson ran away from cover 2 safety Woods but Stafford left the ball short getting drilled by Tomlinson just as delivered

  • Beckham 7 yard TD on 3rd + 6 early in 4th quarter came out of 11 3x1 with Beckham the boundary x versus Vikings red zone cover 4 match, Beckham great route to beat Dantzler; Stafford initially looked left to the trips side but came back to Beckham on the out cut at the back of the end zone

  • Overall rookie FA LT Jackson had a solid performance especially in the run game but there were some one-on-one pass protection snaps in which he struggled

  • Kupp 37 yards on 3rd + 6 in the middle of the 4th quarter came out of 11 3x1 with Beckham the boundary x and Kupp #2 to trips the front man in a stack with Higbee, Vikings 1 robber out of 3-2-6 dime with Smith the robber and McKenzie matched on Kupp; Kupp excellent release off the LOS to gain leverage on McKenzie on his out cut, Stafford put the ball on him with timing and precise ball placement

  • This was not a game in which the Rams featured empty sets which has been a passing game staple all season, Only 4 snaps of empty versus the Vikings

  • Stafford has had an interesting season, For the most part he has played well and he has made some outstanding throws but he has also missed some fairly routine throws that he is more than capable of making – This showed up again versus the Vikings

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.