The Week 2 NFL Notebook: post game notes, X’s and O’s, plus some game balls to hand out…
The Morning Buzz…
V.Y. gets the hook: Jeff Fisher has already said that Vince Young will get the start next week for the Titans, but when you yank your No.1 in Week 2, I am going to start to question the overall confidence the head coach has in the QB. You don’t sit the starter unless he can’t win for you.
ICONFavre turned the ball over four times in the Vikings 14-10 loss to the Dolphins.
The 0-2 Vikings: Minnesota looks uncomfortable on offense and when Brett Favre starts to turn the ball over, this team looks very average. Miami tried to give them this game and they still couldn’t find a way to make a play inside of the five-yard line with Adrian Peterson. Four turnovers for Favre on the day.
QB talk in Philly: Andy Reid says Kevin Kolb is the starter, but this league is all about opportunity. How do you sit Michael Vick after his second half against the Packers in Week 1 and his production yesterday (21-34-284-2TDs) in the win over Detroit? That will be a tough sell for Reid to that Eagles’ locker room right now.
Jets over the Pats: That is a big win over a good New England team for the Jets with a short week of preparation after the Monday night loss. The play calling was aggressive on offense and Rex Ryan’s defense once against forced turnovers. That looked like a completely different team that we saw stumble around on offense against the Ravens.
The 2-0 Bears: QB Jay Cutler is making plays in Mike Martz’s offense and the Bears’ front seven on defense looks healthy, quick and are getting downhill to the football. Big win at Dallas for the 2-0 Chicago Bears—who host Green Bay next Monday night.
Post game notes…
Steelers’ defense/ special teams: Doesn’t matter who is taking the snaps for this Steelers’ team when they can produce seven turnovers on defense and score in the kicking game. Pittsburgh held Titans RB Chris Johnson to 34-yards on 16 carries. Plus, they were able to generate pressure and throw enough exotic looks at the Titans to absolutely suffocate that offense. As we talked about above, if you can get the opposing head coach to bench his No.1 QB, you have a defensive game plan that the offense just can’t figure out.
ICONSanchez and the Jets had an aggressive game plan against the Patriots.
Sanchez rebounds: As we talked about earlier in the week, Sanchez needed to give offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer a reason to expand and open that playbook. Against the Pats, he did. He was much more decisive with his reads, quicker with the ball and took some chances in the red zone. The play calling was ideal, and the combination of the run game, the movement passes (boot, play action) and the aggressive nature of running double-moves in the red zone fit the attacking style of the New York offense. Execute the game plan and you will see production. 21-30 for 220 yards and 3 TDs in a must win for Rex Ryan’s Jets.
Indy’s offensive game plan: We will always see the seam routes, the smash routes and combination routes from the Colts’ offense in their Posse (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) and Ace personnel (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB). But, against the Giants, the Indy game plan was heavy in one back runs. The stretch, the inside trap, the zone read, etc. Keeps the Colts defense off of the field—something that got them beat at Houston.
The Atlanta running game: This is how the Falcons want to script their game plan under offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. RB Michael Turner left with an injury, but still racked up 75-yards on 9 carries before Jason Snelling took over and picked up 129-yards and 2 TDs on 24 carries. Yes, QB Matt Ryan was efficient, but when the Falcons can run the ball, control the clock and use the play action game they are a dangerous offense.
Schaub’s numbers: Texans’ QB Matt Schaub lit up the Redskins’ secondary yesterday for 497-yards. What is impressive about Schaub is his ability to step up into the pocket and challenge defensive backs. He gives his receivers opportunities to make plays for him. And, when you have receivers like Andre Johsnon and Kevin Walter making catches down the field, it opens up your entire playbook in the intermediate to deep passing game. Impressive day.
Zimmer’s defense: Give some credit to Mike Zimmer’s defense in Cincinnati. They were exposed last week at New England, but made the proper corrections and played outstanding football against Baltimore. They can rush with their front four and play coverage, and when they do blitz, this defense can make plays in the secondary. Forced four INTs against Ravens’ QB Joe Flaccco.
ICONRomo and the Cowboys are 0-2.
The Cowboys’ game plan: Dallas struggled against the ‘Skins in Week 1 and when the Bears dropped the SS down into the box yesterday, the production was once again absent. This is an offense that is structured to run the off-tackle power game (Power O, Lead Strong, Lead Open) and see results in the Lead Draw scheme. But, when they get shut down and forced into third and long situations, the game plan falls in QB Tony Romo’s lap. Dallas won’t win when their QB throws the ball 51 times on a Sunday afternoon.
More Vikings: When we will see the explosive plays outside of the numbers for this Vikings offense? Favre has a target in TE Visanthe Shiancoe who can cause a number of matchup issues for teams that play any form of zone coverage in the middle of the field, but this offense needs those vertical plays. Stagnant right now for Minnesota.
2-0 Packers: Too easy for Aaron Rodgers (19-29-255-2 TDs) and Green Bay against the Bills. Chan Gailey's squad isn't good enough right now to win on offense or defense. I don't think the Packers are playing great football after two weeks, but they are winning and making the plays on defense. That is what you have to take from Sunday. Brandon Jackson stepped in for the injured Ryan Grant and only registered 29-yards on 11 carries. Not good enough for a team that is going to need to run the ball in the NFC North.
ICONNew England's Randy Moss.
Moss vs. Revis: Didn’t get to see the entire matchup due to Darrelle Revis’ hamstring injury, but the TD pass to Moss is worth talking about. In a pressed position vs. the Pats’ WR, it is crucial for the CB to use his hands at the line of scrimmage. Instead, Revis jumped to the outside and allowed a free release. And, when you do that against Moss it is nearly impossible to get back “in-phase” (on the WRs hip). Moss can run away from Revis’ leverage in this situation and make a play with the CB now chasing.
Big play Chiefs: We saw it on Monday night in the win over San Diego, and yesterday, K.C. used a Brandon Flowers INT return to get the ball in the end zone. Big plays win games on the road in this league, but how long is it going to take for QB Matt Cassel to start producing in this offense?
Broncos’ Kyle Orton: I said this during the preseason, and I still believe it when we talk about Orton’s control of Josh McDaniels' offense. He can make all of the throws in the Denver play book, and when he is asked to make a play down the field, he has the ability to throw the ball to the up field shoulder of the receiver. He is a great fit in Denver.
X’s and O’s…
Bears’ Cover 2: Chicago forced two turnovers in this scheme yesterday—and both came on tipped balls. The first on a 9 (or fade)/ Option combo, and the second on a short TE Dig (square in). Both are Cover 2 beaters, but in this scheme, everyone is reading the QB—which allows defenders to drive downhill and make a play on the ball. The two picks both came to D.J. Moore.
ICONMiami's Brandon Marshall.
Brandon Marshall: Nothing complicated here, but when you have a WR that can win in one-on-one matchups, the basic 9 route on an outside release vs. any single high safety defense (Cover 1, Cover 3, etc.) gives him a chance to win at the line of scrimmage. Had a big play yesterday, and Miami needs to use this simple concept at least once per half.
Quick slant vs. Cover 0: Saw this in the Carolina game. 4th down situation with Steve Smith vs. the Bucs’ Cover 0 (no safety help). The quick 3-step slant is a great call because it puts the pressure on the defense. With the CB aligned inside at the snap, he has to hold his leverage and use the blitz and the sideline as his help. Smith beats him off the ball and it is time to strike up the band after he crosses the CB’s face and goes for a 37-yard TD.
Deep play action: Saw this yesterday early in the Pats-Jets game. New England comes out in Ace personnel (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB) and uses Wes Welker in “ghost” motion (WR motion into the backfield) and throws the one-man deep ball to Randy Moss. An incomplete pass, but a good coaching point in this league. Near mid-field, offenses will max protect and use play action to throw the deep ball.
TE Throwback: Big numbers from Donovan McNabb (423-yards passing). And, is this offense, the ‘Skins QB will move out of the pocket to create plays. The TE Throwback is ideal for a team that uses the “dash” (think of sprint action with the QB pulling up just outside the tackle box.) Get the defense to pursue to the QB and rotate their coverage while you bring the TE, Fred Davis, back across the ball. It is a big play opportunity and part of Shanahan’s playbook.
Film rooms you don’t want to be in today…
Redskins’ DB meeting: It is going to be hard to even show up at Redskins Park today if you play in the Washington secondary. Blew a 17-point lead and gave up almost 500-yards passing.
The Carolina QB meeting: Might be time to sit Matt Moore. Red zone turnovers in Week 1 and a rough day in a home loss to Tampa. Too early to name rookie Jimmy Clausen as the Week 3 starter?
The Arizona team meeting: Derek Anderson struggled, but this Cardinals team laid down at Atlanta. I wouldn’t want to be in that meeting with Ken Whisenhunt today.
The Giants' team meeting: Tom Coughlin after a blowout loss in Indy. Not good.
Game balls to hand out…
Jahvid Best, Lions: Didn’t pick up the win, but the rookie RB rushed for 78-yards with 2 TDs and caught 9 passes for 154-yards and a TD.
ICONSchaub threw for 497-yards in the OT win at Washington.
Matt Schaub, Texans: Overcame 17-point deficit in the second half , led the game winning drive in OT and finishes 38-52 for 497-yards and 3 TDs for the first place Texans.
The Steelers' defense: Force 7 turnovers (plus 4 sacks) and the entire defense gets a game ball in their locker on Monday.
Vonte Davis, Dolphins: Was all over the field. Ends up with 6 tackles, 2 PBUs and an INT. The Miami CB competed and was also active in the run game.
Jay Cutler, Bears: Took some hits and finished 21-29 for 277 and 3 TDs. More importantly, was solid in the red zone against the pressure defense from Dallas.
– Chargers’ TE Antonio Gates is still the toughest matchup for any defense in the red zone.
– Is Tampa WR Mike Williams the steal of the draft so far? The 4th round pick continues to find the end zone for the 2-0 Bucs.
– The Raiders’ Darren McFadden goes for 145-yards on 30 carries—exactly the type of game plan Tom Cable wants in Oakland.
– If David Garrard wants to be considered a solid No.1 in this league, he has to be more consistent. 3 TDs last week in the win—4 INTs yesterday in the loss.
– Talk about a big letdown for Pete Carroll’s Seahawks. Big Week 1 win and then they get shut down in Denver.
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