Playbook (video): Samuel's 'pick-six' vs. Palmer, Raiders

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During the Falcons’ 23-20 win over the Raiders, CB Asante Samuel stepped in front of a Carson Palmer pass and took it back 79-yards for a score. Today, let’s check out the replay and talk WR splits, DB technique, etc.

Raiders vs. Falcons
Personnel: Posse (3WR-1TE-1RB)
Formation: Doubles Stack
Route: Out/Flat-7

Alignment/WR Splits: From a defensive perspective, alignments and splits can read like an open book. The Raiders come out of the huddle in a “Slot Open” alignment with a Bunch to the open side of the formation before sending WR Denarius Moore in “divide” motion. The key here is Moore’s split before the snap. The Raiders’ WR stops on the “top” of the numbers. That is an automatic alert to play for the “Out” route (WR in a reduced split to create room to run an outside breaking route).

Down and distance: In a 3rd and 2-6 situation, think of three to five step drops with routes that break at the sticks. Out, Slant, Hitch, Smash, etc.

Samuel’s technique: The Falcons’ CB is playing from an off-position and jumps this route. A sign of a veteran playing the alignment and knowing the game situation. I have no issue with a DB going to make a play, however, if you are going to “undercut” a route you better get your hands on the ball. And with Samuel, he has made some good money taking risk at the CB position.

Ball placement: This pass has to be thrown to the upfield shoulder of Moore. And as you can see on the replay, Palmer leaves this ball back to the inside. Given the down and distance situation (plus knowing the personnel in the Falcons’ secondary), this is on the Raiders’ QB. You can’t give Samuel a window to be aggressive and steal one.

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