Posted by: A1 on Aug 30, 2010
Another week, another play being dissected in the Phinzmania laboratory.
The Dolphins faced the Falcons last Friday and there were a lot of ups and downs in the game. The offense struggled quite a bit. They lacked rhythm, timing and it was just a collectively bad game. The defensive line did a pretty good job applying pressure at times whilst the outside linebackers struggled to set the edge. In the secondary, the young cornerbacks made some mistakes but quickly got over them and played a solid game. Vontae Davis showed quality ball skills and anticipation of the ball whilst Sean Smith bounced back after getting burned by Roddy White. In the back line of the defense, Chris Clemons had some of his own struggles, specifically with discipline and assignments. There was a play in which he was suppose to be the safety help but he was not and Roddy White beat Jason Allen for the touchdown. On the other hand, Yeremiah Bell had a very solid game for Miami. One of the positive things he did was make an interception on Matt Ryan on a deep ball. The interception is the play that we will be looking at right now.
First off, we are going to look at the Falcons personnel group that is out on the field on this particular play. The Falcons are in shotgun formation with a single back (Norwood) next to Matt Ryan in the backfield. The Falcons are using a spacing concept, meaning they are spreading out the field and looking to get their players in space to make plays. They have what we call a Doubles Formation, meaning they have two wide receivers to each side of the signal caller. It is pictured below.
Something to take note of on this play is the short splits of the wide receivers at the top of the screen. Focus on the slot receiver at the top of the screen. The slot receiver's short split likely means he is doing one of two things; he is either having a short split to create enough space for him to develop into a route outside of the numbers or he is showing that he is likely to run an outside route but he will come back inside. In this case, it is the latter. The slot receiver is going to be running what we call a pivot route. A pivot route consists of the slot receiver running quickly to the outside to draw the cornerback with him and then quickly changing directions back inside to get open. The route is pictured below.
This route is ran underneath the linebackers to draw them toward the receiver so his partner, the receiver outside of him, can run a Dig route (up and sharp turn inside) and get behind the linebackers for the catch over the middle. The Dig route is pictured below. Please focus your attention on the X receiver on the left.
Moreover, the Dolphins countered this Doubles Formation with a 4-2-5 formation. This means they have four defensive linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs. The image is below (It is the same one, I just didn't want to have you guys lose your place as you're reading by scrolling up).
The defensive line is the standard 4 man line. There is a 1 technique (nose tackle) and then there is a 3 technique (defensive tackle). The near defensive end is lined up in a five technique whilst the defensive end at the top of the screen is lined up in a wide open five technique. There are differences here. The wide open five technique defensive end is lined up wider to have more space to work against the pass blocker as well as to widen the lineman splits. Widening the lineman splits makes it harder for the blockers to get to blitzing players. Below are two pictures, one is of the techniques and another is of a wide open five technique. Please focus on the end to the right of the image to see the wide open five technique.
The cornerbacks are lined up seven yards off of the wide receivers whilst the strong safety ($) is three yards outside of the hash. The free safety, not pictured above, is in the middle of the field.
At the snap, the outside cornerbacks are to jam or reroute the wide receiver and then sit on the flats. Once they jam the wide receiver, they let him go to the deep sideline right into the safety.
Vontae Davis is jamming the receiver above.
Simultaneously, the strong safety Yeremiah Bell, is responsible for a 1/2 of the field, which means that Roddy White is his responsibility once Vontae Davis passes him off down the field. On the other side of the field, Chris Clemons has shuffled from the middle of the field to outside of the hash to cover the wide receiver at the top of the screen. The receiver at the top of the screen is running the aforementioned Dig route.
In conclusion, Yeremiah Bell comes up with the interception because of his quality range and closing speed. Also, with the cornerbacks sitting on the flats and the safeties responsible for the deep halfs of the field, it is a Cover 2 Zone from the 4-2-5 formation.
P.S. I'd like to thank all of you who read this nonsense. It is a pleasure writing these, even though I wrote this one four times due to internet issues. :)
Hope you enjoyed it.