NFP Week 1 playbook

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Every Tuesday here at the NFP, I am going to breakdown a key play from the NFL schedule; giving you an inside look at the Xs and Os of the game. Today, let’s go to St. Louis and check out the replay of Michael Vick’s TD pass to DeSean Jackson in the Eagles 31-13 win over the Rams.

Before we get to some coaching points, let’s set this up. The Eagles have their Regular personnel (2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB) on the field in a “Slot Exchange” formation (No.2 on the line of the scrimmage) vs. the Rams’ base 4-3 front playing Cover 0 (blitz-man with no safety help).

Check out the replay first…

Coaching points...

Playing Cover 0: I like the call here from St. Louis. Inside of the 10-yard line, what you will see in the NFL is a mix of coverage and pressure. Think Cover 2, Cover 4 (quarters) and blitz-man. Here, the Rams are going to bring 7-man pressure and go after Vick. Force the ball to come out and try to rush with contain principles off the edge.

Jackson’s split: Go back to the replay and look at the pre-snap split of Jackson. With the ball in the middle of the field, the Eagles’ WR is in what I call a “reduced” split in the slot. The idea here is to align Jackson in a position where he can take a hard inside release and work back across the field. For this to happen, Jackson has to cut down his split. Always look at the pre-snap alignment of the WRs when you break the huddle as a DB—because they tell you a story.

Swap Boot action: Break this route concept down by levels. Jackson on the deep crosser, TE Brent Celek on the late release to the second level and RB LeSean McCoy off the “swap” boot action in the flat. What we have is a 3-level route that is working back to the Vick’s throwing hand. And anytime you use the boot action with the Eagles’ QB, there is a always a run-pass option.

Press-man technique: I want you to check out the technique of Rams’ FS Quintin Mikell aligned over Jackson in a press-look. First thing to talk about is leverage. In a Cover 0 scheme, the DB has to play with an inside shade (no safety help). Here, Mikell is beat on the line of scrimmage, and although I like the jam from the FS , he doesn’t bring his feet when he punches. That immediately will “open the gate” and give Jackson an opportunity to stem his route at a vertical angle. With Mikell now in a trail position, he can’t recover.

The throw: A 7-yard TD pass isn’t going to look flashy in the box score, but this is a big time throw from Vick. He is able to give ground, extend the play and throw off of his back foot to Jackson. Impressive...

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