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Cosell Coaching Tape: Week 5

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Cosell Coaching Tape: Week 5

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.

MATTHEW STAFFORD VERSUS SEAHAWKS DEFENSE

  • Seahawks nickel: Jones left corner and Reed right corner with Amadi the slot corner, Wagner and Brooks the nickel LB; Blair continued to get significant snaps in the slot in rotation with Amadi

  • Seahawks continued to play 5 man fronts (at times reduced) out of nickel with Brooks on the ball and Wagner stacked, 5 man fronts a staple of Seahawks nickel

  • Seahawks on second Stafford throw showed a hybrid coverage look out of 5-1 front versus Rams 3x1 set: It was split safety with cover 2 to trips and man-to-man to the back side with the boundary safety playing quarters technique getting his eyes to trips to play any crosser or over routes

  • First 3rd down (3rd + 6) Seahawks versus 11 personnel went cover 1 out of nickel behind 5 man pressure from diamond front (Brooks was an edge rusher from the boundary), Adams was the matchup on Higbee

  • Second 3rd down (3rd + 9) Seahawks went dime and again went cover 1 behind 5 man pressure from diamond front (this time Wagner was the fifth rusher from 0-technique), Adams was an add-in to the pressure depending on the reaction of offset back Henderson; Blair was the matchup on Kupp and dime safety Neal was the matchup on Higbee

  • Adams was game planned to blitz on multiple snaps in the 1st quarter, Rams beat his boundary edge blitz on 2nd + 10 with screen to Henderson 17 yards

  • Woods 17 yards on 2nd + 17 late in 1st quarter came on hi-low concept versus cover 6, Hi-low was to the quarters side of the coverage

  • Seahawks continued to have issues in their zone coverage concepts, It looked like they played some coverages that featured both zone and man concepts and they still struggled: Woods 25 yards late in 1st quarter

  • Rams continued to feature empty sets as a significant part of pass game, Against the Seahawks it was a featured part of the game plan: Stafford 8-14 for 126 yards and 1 TD with a red zone interception

  • After playing 24 snaps of dime versus 49ers week 4 the Seahawks only played 6 snaps of dime versus the Rams – Why?

  • Jackson 68 yards on 3rd + 10 on Rams first TD drive of 2nd half came versus Seahawks 2 man coverage out of dime with Diggs and Adams the deep safeties, Neal was matched on Higbee; Jackson easily got on top of Jones and Adams lacked the spatial awareness to locate both Jackson and the ball

  • Rams continued throughout the game to attack Seahawks predominant zone coverage with hi-low concepts: Woods 20 yards in 3rd quarter (blitz pickup by Henderson versus Wagner), Woods 20 yards in 3rd quarter, Woods 24 yards on 4th quarter TD drive (blitz pickup by Michel versus Brooks)

  • Higbee 13 yard TD to end second TD drive of 3rd quarter came out of 11 empty versus Seahawks cover 1 blitz with Brooks off the edge in diamond front the fifth rusher, Higbee #2 to twins ran corner route and Adams played with inside leverage giving Higbee the corner

  • Seahawks featured a good amount of 5 man pressures with Brooks and Wagner predominantly the fifth rusher, Adams not used much as a blitzer

  • Rams continued to feature reduced WR splits and bunch and stack concepts, all staple foundations of their passing game

  • Seahawks have been a high percentage zone coverage defense through 5 games and they have not been very good in pass defense – Will they look to play more man coverage and if they do will they play more dime with Neal as the TE matchup, Adams cannot effectively cover quality receiving TE

PANTHERS OFFENSE VERSUS EAGLES DEFENSE

  • Eagles featured more single high safety on 3rd down than they had played in the previous 4 games, Single high was predominant 3rd down coverage with snaps of cover 3 and cover 1

  • Another change the Eagles made was they travelled Slay and lined him up over Moore when Moore lined up outside, Eagles still did not play much man coverage

  • Eagles featured 4 and 5 man pressures on 3rd down out of nickel, Avery used as an edge rusher in 5 man fronts

  • Darnold was not comfortable in the pocket in this game, He played a little fast and hurried himself; His feet were not calm, Result was at times he created his own pressure and missed routine throws with poor ball placement

  • Eagles 2 nickel 3rd down front personnel and fronts: 4 man DL front with Singleton and Wilson the LB, and 5 man front with Avery on the ball and Singleton/Wilson the LB

  • Eagles 3 sacks, all came on 3rd down: 1) Hargrave beat LG Daley on 3rd + 4 in 2nd quarter, OL slide away from Hargrave to 4i Cox, Cover 3 behind 4 man DL rush; 2) Sweat on 3rd + 10 in high red zone in 2nd quarter, E/T stunt with Cox the outside looper forcing Darnold to step up into Sweat who drove back RT Christensen into the pocket, Cover 4 behind 4 man DL rush with E/T stunt and T/E stunt on the other side; 3) Cox on 3rd + 5 in 3rd quarter out of 4 man DL rush with cover 3 behind it, Cox drove back RG Miller into the pocket

  • Eagles almost had a fourth sack on 3rd down (3rd + 7) late in 3rd quarter resulting from E/T stunt with Hargrave looping behind Barnett with a clear path to Darnold who had no throw in initial timing of drop and route concept and then ran away from clean Hargrave before getting rid of the ball just as Hargrave got to him

  • Big 3rd + 2 in 4th quarter: Avery beat TE Thompson to the inside and tackled Freeman for 1 yard loss, Sweat physically handled LT Moton and was there to clean up with Avery

  • Darnold poor ball placement throw on 3rd + 3 with 4 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter gave the Eagles the opportunity to win the game: Anderson quick out from the slot off boot action and Darnold threw it too wide

  • Multiple stunt concepts part of Eagles 4 man DL pass rush on 3rd down, They featured both T/E and E/T stunts

  • Thomas 24 yards on 2nd + 5 in 3rd quarter came out of 11 2x2 versus Eagles cover 2, Thomas ran the seam from the boundary and MIKE Singleton opened to the field-passing strength with no awareness of Thomas

  • Anderson 25 yards on 3rd + 15 late in 4th quarter with Panthers trailing by 3 came on dagger with Anderson running the deep dig versus Eagles cover 4

  • Eagles 3 interceptions: 1) Slay on 2nd + 9 in the 1st quarter from Panthers 6 yard line, Eagles cover 8 behind 4 man DL rush with halves to the field and Slay the cover 2 corner sinking underneath the hole shot by Darnold; 2) Slay on 2nd + 12 in 3rd quarter, Eagles 5 man front with 3 under-3 deep behind it, Slay matched Moore intermediate sit route and Darnold put the ball outside away from Moore allowing Slay to make the interception; 3) Nelson with 2 minutes remaining and the Eagles leading by 3, Cover 6 behind 4 man DL rush with Nelson a cover 4 corner to the field outstanding job never getting out of his pedal and then jumping the throw on Anderson out route, Textbook quarters coverage

  • Eagles mike-star blitz on 2nd + 10 in 1st quarter with Singleton and Maddox the blitzers from the field and boundary DE Jackson dropping out into underneath coverage as part of disguised-late movement blitz split safety coverage, Maddox was clean to Darnold and Singleton blew up back Hubbard tipping the pass but the result was still Thomas 13 yards

  • Eagles won the 3rd down matchup in this game, and that was a critical factor in the win; Eagles 4 man DL pass rush consistently squeezed the pocket on Darnold, That was a matchup the Eagles had to win versus a below average Panthers pass protecting OL and they did with a strong overall performance especially pass rush

  • Overall Eagles still played high percentage zone coverage featuring a good mix of cover 3 (behind 5 man front), 3 under-3 deep and split safety with cover 4, cover 6 and cover 8

JALEN HURTS VERSUS PANTHERS DEFENSE

  • Panthers nickel: Jackson the boundary corner and rookie Taylor the field corner with Bouye the slot corner, Carter and Stanford the nickel LB with Thompson inactive; Franklin was the dime safety with Carter the LB

  • Henderson also played snaps at field corner opposite Jackson; Luvu played snaps at stacked LB with Carter in the base defense and was also used as a Joker in sub fronts

  • Chinn continued to be the predominant TE matchup when the Panthers went cover 1 out of nickel versus 11 personnel, Franklin snaps as the TE matchup in dime; Chinn matched up to Gainwell in dime

  • Eagles continued to feature the RPO game with slants the foundation, They struggled with it versus the Panthers

  • Eagles continued to feature empty sets with Gainwell in the game, He has become a featured part of 3rd down passing game

  • Panthers featured a higher percentage of man coverage versus the Eagles than they played through their first 4 games

  • Panthers featured diamond fronts out of nickel to dictate one-on-one pass protection, Reddick at times on 3rd down lined up over the OC and was used as a spy on Hurts

  • Eagles started second possession of 3rd quarter with a shot play: Go-wheel with Smith running the go route and Ertz the wheel route; Ertz open on the wheel with cornet Jackson and safety Chinn in cover 4 bracketing Smith, Hurts turned it loose but put too much air under it and overthrew it and Jackson with outstanding recognition made a great interception

  • Reddick beat RT Mailata for consecutive sacks in 3rd quarter: Hurts was looking to Smith on stutter-go on the first one, Second sack Mailata was late off the ball

  • Panthers played more zone coverage in the 2nd half with the lead, They relied on their pass rush to disrupt the Eagles passing game and that was the case in the 3rd quarter

  • Watkins 53 yards on 3rd + 10 late in 3rd quarter was the game changer: Eagles 1x3 set out of 11 personnel with Watkins #3 to trips and Goedert the boundary x, Panthers went 3 under-3 deep zone behind 4 man DL rush with Reddick as the spy on Hurts, One of the hook-to-curl defenders (Carter or Chinn) has to carry Watkins vertical but neither did and that put Watkins screaming at post safety Franklin in a clear mismatch; Hurts hit by Fox as picker in delayed E/T stunt right after he turned it loose, Hurts laid it out perfectly for the wide open Watkins

  • Panthers came back to more man coverage in the 4th quarter after the Eagles 3rd quarter TD drive – Eagles attacked cover 1 on 3rd + 4 with just under 6 minutes remaining with Gainwell wheel route from offset alignment in the backfield, Natural rub element with boundary bunch allowed Gainwell to get on top of LB Carter but pass rush pressure (Reddick off the edge, Luvu on long stunt from 0-technique) prevented Hurts from making a clean throw

  • Goedert 20 yards on 2nd + 9 on go-ahead TD drive came out of 11 2x2 with Goedert slot to the boundary, Panthers out of dime overload zone pressure concept (5 man rush) with a 4 deep-2 under blitz coverage; Burns cannot get beat inside by Goedert and he does setting up pitch-and-catch for Hurts

  • There’s no physicality to the Eagles offense, There is no meaningful running game and Hurts is in the shotgun on almost every snap; Eagles have been in the shotgun on 280 of 306 offensive snaps (92%), the most shotgun snaps in the NFL through 5 games

  • Eagles have been in 11 personnel on 70% of their offensive snaps through 5 games

TOM BRADY VERSUS DOLPHINS DEFENSE

  • Dolphins played snaps of dollar (7 defensive backs) versus Bucs 11 personnel, They played 2 man out of dollar with Holland and McCourty the deep safeties

  • Dolphins have played an equal number of snaps of nickel and dime through 5 games, Dime has been predominantly 3-2-6 with some snaps of 4-1-6; Against the Bucs Baker and Eguavouen were the LB in 3-2-6

  • When the Dolphins went man coverage they matched Jones on Evans and Howard on Brown with Needham versus Godwin in the slot

  • Evans 24 yards on 1st + 10 in 1st quarter came out of 6 OL closed to the boundary twins to the field (a formation the Bucs feature), Dolphins matched up with base and cover 4; Power run action with Evans deep comeback versus Jones with Brady big-time spot throw from the far hash

  • Bernard 10 yard TD on 3rd + 6 to end first possession came out of 11 1x3 with Brate reduced split boundary x and Bernard offset to the boundary, Dolphins cover 1 behind 5 man rush with LB Baker matched on Bernard; Bernard angle route beat Baker and Brady throw beat blitzing Eguavoen clean off the edge

  • Dolphins continued to be multiple with their front alignments and continued to play snaps of zero

  • Bucs continued to play some snaps of 10 personnel, They played 5 snaps of 10 versus the Bucs: Brady 4-4 for 40 yards

  • Brown 62 yard TD on 3rd + 3 in 2nd quarter came out of 11 3x1 versus Dolphins dime cover 1 with Howard matched on Brown at boundary x, Brady excellent timing throw to beat Eguavoen inside pressure as the picker in an inside stunt with DT Butler

  • Dime LB Eguavoen has become a pass rusher in the Dolphins dime sub defense, rushing from both inside and off the edge

  • There was some leakage at times in pass protection with the interior of the Bucs OL versus inside stunts and slants

  • Fournette plays the most snaps of the backs for 2 reasons: He is an excellent receiver, and he is strong in pass protection – Baker sack on 3rd + 6 in 2nd quarter resulted from Baker driving back Bernard into Brady

  • Dolphins starting to give rookie Phillips snaps inside at boot 3-technique and 1-technique in their sub fronts

  • Evans 34 yard TD on 1st + 10 in 4th quarter came on a go route versus Jones in press man coverage, Evans created separation with the ball in the air and Brady dropped it in the bucket

  • Johnson 19 yards on 1st + 10 in 4th quarter came out of 12 personnel with Brate offset in the backfield versus Dolphins cover 3 out of 5 man DL front (what you will get from the Eagles), Play action with Brady hitting Johnson on the crosser in the middle

  • Evans 22 yard TD on 2nd + 10 in 4th quarter came out of 11 1x3 off Johnson motion across the formation to bunch, Dolphins out of dime late movement from man coverage look pre-snap to cover 2 post-snap; Brady recognition and isolation of the correct throw

  • This was an 11 personnel game for Brady and the Bucs passing game: Brady 23-31 for 329 yards and all 5 TD out of 11, 73% of Brady attempts this season have come out of 11 personnel; Brady versus cover 1 (the foundational coverage of the Dolphins): 9-14 for 180 yards and 3 TD

  • Dolphins played less cover 1 than they had played through the first 4 games of the season (Dolphins had been one of the highest percentage cover 1 defenses in the NFL), Against Brady they played more zone coverage with more split safety

  • Dolphins also lowered blitz frequency considerably versus Brady and Bucs passing game, Defensive game plan more coverage-based than pressure-based

STEELERS OFFENSE VERSUS BRONCOS DEFENSE

  • Broncos nickel continued to have Surtain at right corner and Fuller at left corner with Callahan the slot corner, Johnson and Strnad the nickel LB

  • Broncos continued to play dime on 3rd down with safety Sterns the dime, Broncos snaps of 3-2-6 dime; Sterns at times matched up man-to-man on TE and WR

  • Broncos stacked LB: Strnad lines up to the passing strength of the offensive formation and Johnson lines up to the running strength

  • Johnson continued to be the predominant boundary x receiver for the Steelers with Claypool also getting significant snaps at boundary x as the game progressed

  • Johnson 50 yard TD on 3rd + 7 to end first possession came out of 11 1x3 versus Broncos dime 2 man concept with read element to trips given that Sterns was matched on Claypool off Claypool shift across the formation, With safety Simmons focused to help Sterns Roethlisberger went to Johnson one-on-one versus Fuller on the go route; Johnson got on top of Fuller and a great ball by Roethlisberger

  • Broncos were comfortable with safeties matching up man-to-man on WR in 1x3 sets, There were 2 man snaps they kept a corner matched on the TE on the boundary side; Other times out of nickel 2 man they matched LN Strnad on the boundary TE

  • Harris 20 yards on 2nd + 5 early in 2nd quarter came out of 11 shotgun with a shift to unbalanced OL to the right of the formation with LT Moore lined up outside RT Okorafor, Inside handoff with Harris initial downhill path moving stacked LB Strnad giving him space to work back and accelerate past Strnad

  • Broncos one of the higher percentage cover 1 defenses in the NFL through 5 games; They do not match up their corners, They play sides with Surtain at right corner and Fuller left corner

  • Claypool 59 yards on 2nd + 7 in 2nd quarter came out of 12 1x3 with Claypool #2 to trips versus Broncos cover 4 boundary lock (or 2 man to the boundary) with Miller walked out over Claybool, Nice concept with Ebron from #3 to trips running vertical and Claypool running the tempoed slant underneath Ebron; Stacked LB Johnson opened up and ran with Ebron on his vertical release not getting his eyes on Claypool when Claypool broke inside, Kind of a switch release concept that put Johnson in a little bit of conflict

  • Harris 18 yards on first possession of 3rd quarter came out of 11 3x1 tight bunch to the field versus Broncos nickel 4-2 stack, Outstanding double team by LG Dotson and LT Moore with iso lead element with the insert block by WR White on safety Jackson

  • Harris one of the better backs in the NFL running angle routes out of the backfield (McCaffrey the best but Harris very good as well)

  • Broncos showed loaded fronts on 3rd down out of dime and at times lined up LB Johnson over the OG opposite the load – Great example was 3rd + 12 late in 3rd quarter on well-executed inside stunt with Jones the picker and Harris the looper, Jones tossed aside OC Green and pressured Roethlisberger in his face forcing a hurried throw with no receiver definition

  • Broncos high percentage blitz especially on 3rd down, Pressure was significant part of defensive game plan

  • Claypool 18 yard TD on 3rd + 10 late in quarter came out of 11 1x3 set with Claypool #3 to trips and Freiermuth flexed tight to the formation versus Broncos cover 8 with halves to the field, Claypool clean release and then widened half field safety Simmons and Roethlisberger held the boundary safety Jackson in the middle and then made the spot throw to Claypool

  • Steelers effective on 3rd down, including both Roethlisberger TD passes to Johnson and Claypool; Roethlisberger 8-11 for 118 yards and 2 TD – If you can run the ball and convert on 3rd down you will have a sustaining offense that controls tempo and scores points

  • Steelers offensive approach was far more balanced re: run-pass with Harris getting 23 carries for 122 yards and Roethlisberger with 26 drop backs, Given where Roethlisberger is in his career (and the quality of the Steelers defense) this is the best game plan approach for them

BILLS OFFENSE VERSUS CHIEFS DEFENSE

  • Chiefs matched up to Bills 11 personnel with both nickel and dime depending on down and distance, situation and field location: Sneed and Fenton were the outside corners in base and nickel

  • Allen designed run game part of Bills game plan when the down and distance/field location situation was favorable: 1) Allen 22 yards on 3rd + 2 on first possession, Pin-pull scheme to the boundary on back side of trips with L Feliciano and OC Morse pulling, Knox great one-on-one block on DE Danna; 2) Allen 9 yard TD came on a beautifully designed counter play off run action to McKenzie opposite pullers Feliciano and Dawkins, Chiefs were in cover 1 and the backfield action with Moss and McKenzie away from play side eliminated run support

  • Knox 23 yards on 1st + 10 on first possession came out of 21 personnel with shift and motion by fullback Gilliam, Flood concept to the field with mirrored crosser element, Chiefs cover 3 out of base; Knox ran the crosser that was part of flood and Allen put the ball on him with LB Bolton retreating with his back turned to Allen

  • Allen 11 yards on first possession was not a designed run, Allen with the motion across the formation by Sanders and the press man look on the receivers knew pre-snap it was man coverage and saw the opening as soon as he hit his back foot

  • Bills game plan featured snaps of 21 personnel with fullback Gilliam and a heavy dose of motion across the formation, Bills also featured snaps of 12 personnel with Knox and Sweeney

  • Moss 24 yard reception on third possession came out of 21 versus Chiefs base personnel again playing cover 3, Orbit reverse action by McKenzie with inside zone run action with a deep sail by Sanders and an over route by Knox stretching the coverage vertically, With the underneath coverage retreating to get depth Allen dropped the check down to Moss with a lot of room

  • Sanders 35 yard TD on 1st + 10 in 2nd quarter came on a great throw by Allen, Basic 2 man route concept to the field with Beasley intermediate sit route occupying the half field safety and Sanders then working against corner Sneed and getting on top of him with an out-and go

  • Diggs 61 yards on 3rd + 8 in 2nd quarter came 11 empty versus Chiefs 3-2-6 dime cover 2 from a disguised pre-snap 1 robber look, Chiefs late movement to cover 2 with Mathieu the middle hole defender, Allen read the late movement and behind great pass protection hit Diggs on the post-corner-post from #2 to trips working against half field safety Sorensen in a major mismatch

  • Knox 53 yard TD late in 2nd quarter came out of 11 2x2 versus Chiefs 4-1-6 dime 1 robber with Mathieu the robber, Allen seeing safety Thornhill spin into the deep middle looked to Beasley on the seam away from the rotation; Allen felt the pocket squeezing and got out to his right; Sorensen dropped coverage on Knox and Allen made another great throw on the move

  • Bills started the 3rd quarter in 21 personnel straight I formation – Bills far more snaps of base personnel as a game plan feature than in any previous game this season, Both 21 and 12 personnel; Objective was to limit the pressure concepts of Chiefs DC Spagnuolo that come almost exclusively out of nickel and dime

  • Spagnuolo jacked up the pressure quotient in the 4th quarter with the Chiefs trailing by 11, with multiple pressure concepts out of base and sub; He featured both zone and man pressures including some snaps of zero

  • What stood out was how multiple the Bills were with their formations out of 21 personnel including empty sets – Bills played 19 snaps of 21 personnel and 6 snaps of 12 personnel

  • Bills only ran 54 offensive plays but averaged 8.1 yards per play; Allen only 15 completions (in 26 attempts) yet 6 went for more than 20 yards

PATRICK MAHOMES VERSUS BILLS DEFENSE

  • Bills played 26 snaps of dime versus the Chiefs, Neal was the dime and he was predominantly the matchup on Kelce in the Bills 2 man coverage

  • Bills did not play a single snap of base defense versus the Chiefs, They played nickel versus Chiefs 12 personnel

  • Mahomes wide open Kelce down the sideline on Chiefs first possession, Bills busted in cover 3 (Wallace of Johnson?) but Mahomes overthrew Kelce badly

  • Bills on 3rd down featured 2 man and 1 robber out of dime, They played it well and there were snaps in which Mahomes did not feel he had a clean throw resulting in movement and disruption

  • White continued to predominantly play boundary corner and was not a game planned matchup on Hill

  • One tactic we consistently saw from the Bills in their 2 high zone coverage concepts was they locked the boundary x receiver man-to-man so White often played man in what was a zone coverage call

  • There were man match principles to the Bills split safety zone coverage and they consistently did an excellent job recognizing routes and matching receivers based on those route concepts

  • Bills coverage approach was high percentage 2 high split safety playing zone concepts predominantly out of nickel, with 2 man featured out of dime; There were snaps of 2 man out of nickel with 2 man being the second highest percentage coverage the Bills played

  • Johnson has developed into one of the best slot corners in the NFL, Bills are a sub nickel defense (they have played only 8 snaps of base defense all season) so Johnson plays almost every snap

  • Hyde 26 yard interception return TD on 3rd + 5 in 3rd quarter came out of dime 1 robber with Hyde the robber looking for crossers, Hill shallow crosser versus White with the throw bouncing off his hands right to Hyde who had reacted to the crosser

  • Both LT Brown and RT Niang had some issues in one-on-one pass protection versus Bills edge pass rushers, Mahomes normally quick to move but in this game there were snaps in which it looked like he was anticipating pressure

  • Rousseau interception in the low red zone with 3 minutes remaining in 3rd quarter was both a big play and a big-time play: Quick screen to Hardman and Rousseau got his outside hand on the throw and made the interception

  • Hill and Kelce were not determining factors in the game, Hill not a factor because his game is built on running to space with his speed and there is less space in 2 man and split safety

  • Bills defensive profile versus Chiefs: Split safety coverage both man and zone with man match principles behind 4 man DL pass rush, Bills did not blitz

  • Mahomes continued too often to play outside the structure of the Chiefs passing game, He at times left the pocket prematurely with the result being that he left a few too many throws on the field; Mahomes was not comfortable versus the Bills showing a tendency to be impatient and to run himself out of progressions

  • Chiefs pass game versus Bills did not have any rhythmic feel to it, It was out of synch and random with Mahomes moving both when the pass rush forced him to and when he didn’t need to breaking down the timing and structure of play design

  • Mahomes has struggled versus 2 man coverage this season: 19-39 for 237 yards with 3 TD and 2 interceptions – Chiefs always try to run away from man coverage with speed but that’s more difficult versus 2 man, Chiefs outstanding versus zone with their concepts getting into voids

TITANS OFFENSE VERSUS JAGUARS DEFENSE

  • Jaguars nickel: Griffin the field corner and Claybrooks the boundary corner with Herndon the slot corner, Jack and Wilson the nickel LB; Ford continued to be the dime safety

  • Jaguars base defense is a 5-2 front with Jack and Wilson the stacked LB, At times the front was reduced

  • While outside zone is the foundation of the Titans run game with Henry there are more snaps of gap scheme both power and counter, Also snaps of pin-pull to get Henry clean to the perimeter with room to build up speed and velocity

  • Titans continued to feature bang play action pass game off multiple run game concepts, Brown effective on slants off that backfield action especially good defeating press coverage; It’s been a Titans staple for 3 years

  • McNichols 25 yard reception on 3rd + 6 (second 3rd down) came out 11 empty versus Jaguars nickel cover 1 behind 5 man pressure with LB Wilson matched on McNichols, Stacked distribution to twins with Firkser on the ball and McNichols off the ball just outside of Firkser, That look forced Wilson to play with depth and width; Firkser natural rub element with McNichols cutting underneath putting Wilson in immediate trail position – Great design on 3rd down to present a defined read and throw for Tannehill

  • Titans on 3rd down did an excellent job with stack distribution versus man coverage: Johnson 10 yards on 3rd + 5 late in 1st quarter another example, Great route by Johnson creating indecision in Griffin and getting Griffin off his spot

  • Tannehill play action through 5 games: 28-41 for 428 and TD, 10.4 yards per attempt is a good number

  • Johnson 22 yards on 1st + 10 in 2nd quarter came out of 12 play action with Johnson the dig route from the boundary

  • Tannehill outstanding on 3rd down versus Jaguars: 8-9 for 95 yards – Johnson 20 yards on 3rd + 4 on first possession of 3rd quarter came versus Jaguars double mug 5 man pressure, Titans excellent job in pass protection allowing mesh concept to develop with Tannehill hitting Johnson on shallow crosser

  • Titans schematic on 3rd down versus man coverage with their use of stacks, bunch natural rub elements; Excellent design to beat man

  • Jaguars featured cover 1 as coverage foundation versus Titans, They played it on 3rd down

  • Jaguars on 3rd down featured double mug looks out of both nickel and dime in the 2nd half, They also featured disguise and late movement to get to cover 2

  • Titans OL looked active and athletic working to the second level in the run game especially in the zone schemes

  • Levin played snaps at LG in place of Saffold, He flashed as run blocker with his movement and his ability to sustain blocks; Levin worked effectively to second level on Henry 9 yard TD and Henry 15 yards in 4th quarter and also made an outstanding reach block on 3-technique DT Gotsis on Henry 11 yards late in 4th quarter

  • Henry 9 yard TD in the 3rd quarter came on inside man blocking scheme with outstanding double team by LG Davis and LT Quessenberry on 3-technique DT Gotsis up to LB Wilson, powerful one-on-one block by OC Jones on 1-technique DT Brown and athletic second level seal block by LG Levin on stacked LB Allen; Henry was untouched into the end zone

  • Henry 15 yards on same play as 9 yard TD in the 4th quarter, Again the double team at the POA and the 2 one-on-one blocks by Jones and Levin; Also an excellent job by Henry cutting inside off initial downhill path

  • Henry through 5 games is averaging more than 28 carries per game which would result in almost 500 carries in a 17 game season: Is that sustainable? – Henry has been effective on 1st down: 88-436, 4.95 yards per rush; He has 35 more 1st down rushes tan any other back in the NFL

TREVOR LAWRENCE VERSUS TITANS DEFENSE

  • Jenkins left corner and Fulton right corner were the outside corners in base, nickel and dime; Titans play sides with their corners, They do match up

  • Titans played dime on 3rd down with Jackson and Molden the inside corners, Long was the LB in dime; Jackson was the slot corner in nickel

  • First 3rd and long (3rd + 10) Titans out of dime played cover 2 invert with slot corners Molden and Jackson spot dropping as deeper flat defenders, safeties Byard and Cruikshank sitting low as deeper underneath defenders, corners Jenkins and Fulton the deep half field players and Long the hole defender opening to the field – Molden hit on Arnold forcing fumble with Byard recovering for the TD

  • Autry played on the edge in 2 point stance in Titans base 5-2 front, He moved inside in the sub fronts; Landry and Adeniyi were the predominant edge rushers in nickel and dime with Autry and Simon also getting snaps

  • Titans featured both 4-2 and 5-1 fronts out of nickel, Simon snaps both on the edge and inside in the 5-1 fronts and on the edge in base fronts

  • Landry continued to play both on the ball and off the ball in base fronts, He has played significant snaps as a stacked LB in a 4-3 1 gap front

  • On the Titans first 2 snaps of cover 1 out of dime Cruikshank was the matchup on the TE with Byard the post safety, In the 2nd half Byard was the TE matchup with Cruikshank the post safety

  • Jones 25 yards on 3rd + 3 early in 2nd quarter came out of 11 1x3 with bunch to the field with Jones the point man in the bunch, Jackson and Fulton played releases and Jones got outside of Fulton on the corner route; Lawrence an excellent throw with firm touch and precise ball placement

  • Hollister 1 yard TD on 4th goal in 2nd quarter came out 14 empty spread versus a Titans defense that had 1 defensive back on the field (Byard), Hollister from the slot to the boundary ran an out route versus Landry and Lawrence made an excellent throw to take advantage of the mismatch – Great use of personnel and formation

  • Shenault 58 yards to start 4th quarter possession came out of 11 3x1 with Shenault the boundary x versus Titans nickel split safety (elements of cover 2 and cover 4), Outside zone run action to the boundary with dash action by Lawrence and Shenault reading the zone coverage in his intermediate in-breaker and working back outside away from underneath defender Evans; Excellent throw by Lawrence and outstanding run-after-catch by Shenault

  • Lawrence continued to look more and more comfortable, He slowed down a little bit and his delivery looked less hurried – He did miss a TD to Shenault on whip route early in the 4th quarter with poor ball placement on a routine throw, Rookie Farley was the right corner for the Titans

  • Cover 2 invert was a coverage the Titans showed multiple times in the game, It’s a good coverage to show a young inexperienced QB with its element of disguise and difference

  • Rookie corner Farley got snaps in the 4th quarter, Tape showed that Farley in man coverage lost contact at times with the WR, With more experience he will play to his athletic traits which are higher level

JUSTIN HERBERT VERSUS BROWNS DEFENSE

  • Ward continued to be the Browns boundary corner with Williams the field corner and Hill the slot corner, Owusu-Koramoah and Walker were the nickel LB

  • Delpit was the dime safety, Browns predominantly play dime on 3rd down but they will play it in selected down and distance and game situations

  • Safety Harrison was the predominant TE matchup in nickel and dime when the Browns went cover 1 versus 11 personnel

  • Ward hurt after he played 9 snaps, Williams moved to boundary corner and Green played field corner

  • Browns predominantly matched up to Chargers 12 personnel with nickel but they did play snaps of base with LB Walker, Takitaki and Wilson; Owusu-Koramoah also some snaps in the base 4-3

  • Parham 22 yard TD on 2nd + 7 in 1st quarter came out of 12 closed boundary twins to the field versus Browns base cover 3, Play action boot off counter run look with wing TE Parham initially blocking DE Jackson, Corner Williams then reacted to Anderson vertical release reading him as #1 to the boundary and matching the route; Parham wide open in the flat with room to run

  • Williams 72 yard TD on 3rd + 10 in 2nd quarter came out of 11 2x2 with reduced splits versus Browns dime cover 4/2 man combination, Williams from reduced split ran the post with outside leverage corner Green expecting help from split safety Delpit but Delpit’s eyes were on Allen in the slot and he stayed low; Williams easily got on top of Green and there was no one to play the post

  • McDowell sack on 3rd + 10 in 2nd quarter result of T/E stunt with Garrett, McDowell was the picker and he got inside of LT Slater with a clear path to Herbert

  • Browns more zone coverage than man coverage versus Chargers pass game, They played both cover 3 and split safety concepts; It was a coverage-based game plan and approach featuring 4 man DL pass rush with few 5 man pressures

  • Herbert continued to play with a refined sense of timing and rhythm, The ball comes out to the right receiver at the right time; Herbert is a high-level traits QB who is an efficient ball distributor and executor of the pass game

  • Williams 42 yard TD on 1st + 10 in 4th quarter came out of 12 1x3 versus Browns nickel cover 4, Herbert play action boot right off shotgun outside zone to the boundary, Williams from #2 to trips ran the deep post and neither safety (Johnson or back side safety Harrison) matched his route

  • Browns continued to feature loaded fronts predominantly out of sub dime, Owusu-Koramoah was the wild card opposite the 3 man side

  • Chargers featured 12 personnel more versus Browns than they had in any of their previous 4 games: 34 snaps of 11 personnel, 29 snaps of 12 personnel – Herbert far more effective out of 11 personnel: 17-25 for 272 yards and 2 TD; Only 7-16 for 96 yards but also 2 TD out of 12 personnel

  • Allen 20 yards on 4th + 8 in 4th quarter came out of 21 personnel with backs Ekeler and Kelley both offset in the backfield, Browns went 2 man out of dime behind loaded front with Green matched on Allen; 3 man route combination to the field isolated Allen one-on-one and opened throwing window for Herbert

  • Allen 37 yards on 3rd + 5 in 4th quarter came out of 11 2x2 reduced splits versus Browns 2 man robber concept, Herbert felt back side pressure and left the pocket to his right; Allen deep sail route from the field slot versus Hill and Herbert made an outstanding throw that was still within the structure of the route design

  • Ekeler 19 yard TD reception came on a well-designed to the field off jet action by Guyton to the boundary and inside zone run action, Williams nasty split to the field also a key component of the play concept bringing cover 3 corner Green inside and opening space on the outside for the screen to Ekeler

  • Browns continued to feature cover 4 as a foundation coverage, Only the Rams have played a higher percentage of cover 4 through 5 games than the Browns

MAC JONES VERSUS TEXANS DEFENSE

  • Texans nickel again had King and Mitchell outside with Thomas the slot corner, Kirksey and Grugier-Hill were the LB

  • Bourne 15 yards on 3rd + 2 in 1st quarter came out of 11 empty versus Texans nickel cover 1 behind 5 man pressure, It was a basic slant-flat combination to the field with Bourne running the slant from #2 to trips and Henry from #3 running to the flat – Defined read and throw for Jones

  • Again Patriots pass game designed with route concepts and reads to get and keep Jones rhythmic playing with timing from the pocket – Slant-flat was featured from different personnel, formations and motions

  • Jones continued to show a strong pre-snap understanding of coverage and where to go with the ball based on that – Meyers 17 yards on 3rd + 2 in 2nd quarter a good example

  • Jones continued to be efficient in the play action pass game, Against the Texans Jones was 9-11 for 127 yards with an interception – Through 5 games Jones play action numbers: 33-43 for 356 yards with 2 TD and 2 interceptions

  • Patriots low red zone snap out of 12 personnel in which they lined up TE Smith as an I formation fullback, Iso lead run action with Smith catch in the flat for 4 yards

  • In the 2 minute at the end of the 1st half the Texans played split safety zone coverage behind 4 man DL rush, They showed loaded fronts and some stunt concepts

  • Johnson interception came on Jones first throw of the 3rd quarter, Conventional play action out of 12 personnel versus Texans base cover 2; Half field safety Johnson never got out of his pedal and sat on Agholor intermediate sit route, Inside pressure by Lopez forced a hurried undefined throw by Jones and he left it too far inside

  • Jones showed some movement ability versus Texans, He got out of the pocket on some plays – The question will be his vision outside the pocket on the move since he has done much of that at all

  • Patriots featured chips to help both backup OT Herron and Cajuste, Clearly part of game plan

  • Henry 21 yards in 3rd quarter came out of 11 personnel on staple power play pass with Jones quick 5 step drop from under center hitting Henry on the crosser behind the LB, Texans showed split safety coverage the late rotation to cover 3; Jones snapped his head around and processed the coverage instantly and decisively

  • Power play action with quick 5 step drop timing was a foundation of the game plan versus Texans, That was the featured play action concept

  • Henry 13 yard TD on 3rd + 6 in 4th quarter came out of 11 2x2 versus Texans nickel cover 4, Henry #1 to the field lined up on the inside numbers ran an out route and corner Mitchell opened up to the inside which prevented him from turning his body and playing the out route; Jones read Mitchell and knew he had the throw, Precise ball location low and away

  • Meyers 24 yards in 1st + 10 in 4th quarter came out of 21 personnel with iso lead run action versus Texas base cover 3 with the corners playing with a big cushion, Meyers wide open on in-breaker making it pitch-and-catch for Jones

  • Patriots backup OL (with exception of OC Andrews) was not an issue versus Texans, Pass game play calling with emphasis on quick game and rhythm throws and Jones innate feel for the timing of the pass game compensated for any potential trouble spots

DAVIS MILLS VERSUS PATRIOTS DEFENSE

  • Patriots big nickel featured safeties Phillips, Dugger and McCourty; Patriots are a high percentage nickel defense both big nickel and conventional nickel (3 corners), They have played nickel 75% of defensive snaps through 5 games

  • Jones continued to be the slot corner in the Patriots conventional nickel and dime sub packages; Dugger the predominant TE matchup in Patriots cover 1

  • Patriots continued to use Jackson as their matchup corner and versus the Texans he matched up to Cooks

  • Patriots continued to feature 5 man fronts (often reduced) out of nickel, Van Noy was an edge player in those fronts

  • 4th + 2 on first possession Texans out of 11 personnel lined up back Johnson as the boundary x with TE Akins offset in the backfield, Patriots went zero out of conventional nickel; Mills hit Johnson on the quick slant versus safety McCourty for 8 yards

  • Auclair 11 yard TD on 3rd + 1 came on well-designed short yardage-red zone concept out of 13 personnel with TE Brown motion across the formation to the 2 TE side, Patriots out of base were in zero with Dugger matched on Brown; Motion combined with play action had Dugger’s eyes in the backfield and he was late to react to the man switch on Auclair

  • Patriots aggressive with pressure as part of game plan including snaps of zero coverage on Texans first 2 possessions

  • Patriots continued to be a high percentage man coverage defense, with cover 1 the foundation; Patriots also snaps of 1 robber out of dime

  • Patriots played nickel almost 75% of defensive snaps versus the Texans with some dime and a few snaps of dollar depending on down and distance and field location

  • Mills played with poise and awareness, Texans helped him be decisive with play calling featuring quick game and the screen game and play action/play action boot

  • Mills showed plus arm strength and threw with consistent ball placement both from the pocket and on the move, He is a natural thrower with an easy delivery and no wasted motion

  • What stood out was the number of snaps Johnson was detached from the formation as #1 to either the field or the boundary, He was featured in the Texans pass game – Johnson got on top of Phillips on go route late in 2nd quarter and Mills overthrew him

  • Texans showed bang play action with pop pass to TE Brown 15 yards out of 13 personnel versus Patriots base 4-3 cover 3, Another concept that defined read and throw for Mills

  • Moore 27 yards on 3rd + 3 late in 3rd quarter came out of 11 1x3 bunch to the field versus Patriots cover 1 out of nickel, Mills initially took a quick look to the boundary then came back to Moore on the in-breaker from #1 to trips; Judon was aligned and had to stop the receiver who became #3 from crossing into the middle of the field but he couldn’t do it and Moore was open on the crosser

  • In the 2nd half the Patriots conventional nickel had Jackson, Jones and Bryant the 3 corners; Bryant is normally the dollar defender

  • Mills effective throwing versus Patriots cover 1: 13-18 for 246 yards and 2 TD; Mills looked like an NFL starting QB in this game – Davis outstanding out of 11 personnel: 15-18 for 258 yards and 2 TD with 2 sacks

TREY LANCE VERSUS CARDS DEFENSE

  • Alford and Hamilton were the corners in the Cards base defense, Whittaker was the nickel slot corner – Murphy and Wilson inactive

  • Rookie LB Collins continued to play in the base defense but not in the nickel, Simmons and Hicks were the nickel LB

  • Baker interception to end 49ers first possession resulted from a scattershot high throw by Lance who ran up into the pocket when he did not need to and then made an off-balance throw to Benjamin sitting in a zone void

  • 3rd + 7 on second possession Lance QB power out of 11 personnel with Samuel jet-orbit motion, Cards double mug look with Simmons and Hicks: 5 yards – 4th + 2 QB power was again the call: 1 yard

  • Samuel 26 yards on 1st + 10 on third possession came out of 21 shotgun play action with staple post-cross route combination, Cards out of base went 3 uunder-3 deep behind 5 man pressure with safety Baker the fifth rusher; Lance saw opposing jersey color flash inside and climbed left delivering to wide open Samuel on the crosser with a poor ball placement throw that was still caught

  • Lance needs to continue to develop more pace and touch on short and intermediate throws, He remains too much of fastball pitcher

  • Designed QB runs for Lance were a foundation of the 49ers game plan: Power, QB draw, Zone read – Playing to Lance’s strengths, trying to get him comfortable and settled into the game

  • 1st and goal early in 2nd quarter - Lance poor ball placement on low red zone tunnel screen to Samuel on 1st and goal, A good throw would have been a TD; 2nd and goal was QB power for 4 yards to the 1 yard line; 3rd and goal was a play action pass with Juszczyk the one read target but Juszczyk could not get through the LOS; 4th and goal was a run-pass option with Lance running and getting stopped just short of the goal line

  • Lance big time throw on 3rd + 11 later in 2nd quarter that was dropped by Sanu, Cards played cover 3 cloud to the field and the 49ers route combination out of trips attacked the intermediate void; Lance outstanding throw with anticipation into the window

  • Juszczyk 18 yard reception on 3rd + 9 on first possession of 3rd quarter resulted from Lance recognizing immediately that Juszczyk was not accounted for in coverage in the boundary flat versus double mug 5 man pressure

  • Lance beat another Cards pressure concept out of double mug on 4th + 5 later in the same drive as Juszczyk 18 yard reception, Lance throw to Sanu on out cut from #2 to trips beat cards trap coverage with corner Hamilton working back inside

  • At this point there are snaps in which Lance is too quick to break down in the pocket when the first read is not clean, Also a tendency to drop his eyes and look to move and run

  • One thing Lance can do is drive the football with velocity – Aiyuk 26 yards on 2nd + 25 in 3rd quarter a good example

  • Shanahan called a lot of designed runs for Lance which tells you he was not overly comfortable yet with Lance operating the passing game, It will be a process for Lance to learn the details and nuances of Shanahan’s pass game

  • Lance threw an uncatchable rocket ball to wide open Aiyuk on quick slant on 3rd + 4 in the middle of 4th quarter, A routine throw that must be made; Cards went zero blitz on that play

  • In the 2nd half the Cards showed a lot of double mug looks out of nickel with Simmons and Hicks in the A gaps, They were multiple with their pressures and coverages from that look at times blitzing and other times rushing 4 and playing zone coverage behind it

  • Cards another 6 man pressure on 3rd + 3 later in the 4th quarter, 49ers were in an empty set and Simmons got in clean off Lance front side edge hitting Lance arm on his delivery

  • Lance 14 drop backs on 1st down, He was only 5-11 for 85 yards with 3 scrambles; You need better efficiency from your 1st down passing game – 3rd down pass game also a struggle: Lance 4-9 for 49 yards with 1 scramble

  • Cards were aggressive with pressure especially on 3rd down blitzing (5 or more rushers) on 50% of Lance drop backs

CARDS OFFENSE VERSUS 49ERS DEFENSE

  • 49ers nickel: Moseley left corner and Norman right corner with Johnson the slot corner, Warner and Al-Shaair the nickel LB; Harris continued to be the third LB in base 4-3

  • Run game and quick pass game with one read defined throws (curl-flat, slant-flat) was starting point for Cards offense on opening possession

  • Moore manufactured touches in the Cards offense: Motion, multiple alignments including I back in the pistol, get him the ball in space on the move; 26 yards on opening possession swing pass from backfield alignment, Speed option in 2nd quarter off motion into backfield behind Murray

  • Cards first possession (which ended with TD) featured run game and basic one read and no read throws for Murray

  • Cards started second possession with 6 OL personnel: Murray sacked by Jones on shot play concept, Outstanding job by Warner hunting up TE Williams on the crosser

  • 49ers snaps of dime on 3rd down with rookie safety Hufanga the dime playing on the back end

  • Hopkins 23 yards on 3rd + 7 from Cards 4 yard line early in 2nd quarter big play in the game: 10 3x1 with Hopkins the left side boundary x versus 49ers dime cover 1 behind 5 man pressure out of diamond front with Norman matched on Hopkins, Murray back shoulder fade on stutter-go with excellent body control and hands catch by Hopkins

  • Cards featured snaps out of Pony package with Edmonds and Connor in the game, They also stayed with their average this season of running about 25% of their snaps out of 12 personnel

  • Moore 33 yards on 2nd + 10 on 2nd quarter FG drive was big play: Murray escaped Al-Shaair green dog running to his left and made an outstanding ball placement throw to Moore who made a fingertip catch on the sideline versus Johnson

  • Murray missed an easy 3 yard TD to Hopkins on 3rd and goal that would have finished a 99 yard drive but he made a poor ball placement throw on a routine throw

  • 49ers coverage approach more zone heavy than man heavy versus Cards, They did not play many snaps of cover 1; Cover 1 not a high percentage foundational coverage for the 49ers but they played meaningfully less of it versus the Cards

  • 49ers featured 5 man diamond fronts out of nickel predominantly when they played cover 1, Both Warner and Al-Shaair would be the fifth on-the-ball player

  • Cards did not feature Murray in the designed QB run game very much versus 49ers: 10 yards on QB counter on 4th quarter TD drive was one of the few

  • Hopkins 9 yard TD in 4th quarter was a fade versus Norman, Great throw by Murray and Hopkins catch beat excellent coverage by Norman

  • 49ers limited Cards designed explosive plays in the pass game with their high percentage zone coverage concepts and Murray only made 2 second reaction plays (Moore 33 yards, Hopkins 30 yards on final TD drive)

  • 49ers selective with pressure concepts, They blitzed at a significantly lower rate than what had been their average through 4 games but when they did blitz it was effective

  • Norman lined up over Hopkins on almost every snap and even though 49ers did not play a high percentage of man coverage Norman did a good job limiting Hopkins

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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