NFP Scouting Series: Stanford

For the rest of the summer, the National Football Post will be breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who could warrant the most interest from NFL teams in the 2011 draft.

Therefore, today we take a look at the Stanford Cardinal.


FB Owen Marecic: No. 48 (6-1, 244)
A well-built lead blocker who does a great job using his hands to engage into blocks, seal targets and pump his legs through contact. Looks really comfortable reaching defenders off his frame on perimeter runs, breaking down in space and keeping them from ever getting a sniff of the play. Reads and reacts quickly to defenses inside and has a great feel for the run game. Isn’t the most fluid of athletes and will struggle to maintain balance when asked to quickly change directions. But showcases good pop when asked to lunge into blocks off his frame and can still create a seal for his running back inside. Plays till the whistle and always seems to be working to push the pile, a real team-first guy. Looks comfortable in blitz pick-up as well, quickly locating his target and moving his feet through contact. Also, can catch the football out of the backfield, but isn’t a real natural plucker and is more of a linear guy with the ball in his hands. However, he can be a solid safety valve out in the flat.

Now, physically he isn’t the most dominant guy when asked to drive defenders off the ball and overwhelm them at the point of attack. Possesses good, not great, strength for the position, but relies more so on his coordination, hands and grit to get into blocks and seal in the run game.

Impression: A really impressive fullback who understands angles, has a great feel inside and consistently is able to get into blocks and eliminate his man on contact. Looks like a starting caliber lead guy in the NFL from day one and is one of my favorite fullback prospects in the draft.

WR Ryan Whalen: No. 8 (6-1, 205)
A tall, savvy wideout who showcases impressive body control and hand/eye coordination when asked to extend his arms and go get the football. Isn’t real explosive off the line and isn’t a guy who will be able to run by anyone at the next level. However, does a nice job disguising his routes, changing gears and cleanly working back toward the football. Doesn’t waste much motion when asked to break off a route and does a great job quickly locating the football and using his strong hands to go up and make a play. Will at times lose his balance, though, as he almost looks to be moving too fast for his own good trying to drive defenders up the field, causing him to not be as clean out of his breaks at times. Has an impressive feel vs. zone, quickly finding soft spots underneath, sitting down and plucking the football. Also, will block down the field, but isn’t real physical or strong on contact. However, he works hard to stay on his man.

He just isn’t a real physically gifted athlete and lacks the type of shiftiness, explosion and/or strength to quickly/cleanly get into routes vs. press. Is easily re-routed off the line and doesn’t exhibit much burst when asked to generate separation for himself out of his breaks. Seems to have only one gear and isn’t going to ever be a threat down the field.

Impression: Isn’t capable of playing on the outside at the next level, but because of his ability to find soft spots in zone and be a reliable pass catcher, could end up filling out a wide receiving group at the next level as a team’s No. 5 or No. 6 guy. Isn’t anything more.

OG Andrew Phillips: No. 71 (6-4, 305)
A tough, gritty velcro player who does a nice job sticking to blocks in the run game and turning his opposition away from the play. Isn’t overly flexible in his stance and lacks ideal explosion off the line. But does a nice job of quickly extending his arms into contact, under the chest plate of defenders and working his legs through the whistle. Lacks great range on slide-down blocks, but he looks coordinated when asked to get his body around defenders and has just enough athleticism to stick to interior linemen enough through the play. However, isn’t a guy who is going to drive bigger defenders off the ball as an in-line guy.

Isn’t real heavy-handed in the pass game and doesn’t generate much of a punch on contact. Too often allows defenders to get into his frame, jar him at the point and create separation for themselves. Does a nice job keeping his base down, maintaining balance while sliding his feet and cutting off their initial surge, but isn’t fluid enough to consistently mirror in space.

Impression: Isn’t the most athletic or physically imposing guard in the draft, but just finds a way to get the job done. Doesn’t look to have the skill set to be a reliable starter in the NFL, but could work his way onto an NFL roster.

OC Chase Beeler: No. 72 (6-3, 275)
Snaps and steps quickly in the run game, quickly firing off the football and getting on top of opposing defensive linemen inside. However, fails to consistently get his hands up initially into blocks and can be easily shed on contact. Keeps his base down and tries to gain initial leverage on contact, but isn’t a real velcro player, lacks ideal upper body strength and can be easily disengaged from at the point — even when asked to seal. Possesses only above-average athleticism when asked to scoop block and get around targets on perimeter runs. Displays a good first step, but just really struggles to get into opposing linemen and is easily shrugged off and typically ends up on the ground.

Lacks ideal power in the pass game, as well, and he isn’t a guy who can sit into his stance and anchor. Showcases the ability to work his hands through contact and gain some leverage on opposing linemen. However, consistently bends at the waist, drops his head down and loses all his technique in order to try to hold up at the point.

Impression: Lacks ideal power/girth inside and isn’t the kind of athlete that can make up for it. Won’t be able to hold up inside physically at the next level.


DT Sione Fua: No. 92 (6-2, 305)
A thick, stout defensive lineman who isn’t real explosive off the snap. But does a nice job keeping his base down into blocks, extending his arms and creating a strong punch on contact. Has the ability to jolt/knock opposing linemen at the point and work his way into the backfield. Does a nice job keeping his base down through contact and consistently can get a good push as a bull rusher. However, isn’t the kind of sudden athlete to quickly shed blocks and get after the quarterback. More of a push/pull guy who lacks ideal lateral quickness and doesn’t have the kind of first step to consistently threaten gaps inside.

Uses his length and punch well to create separation for himself when run at and can disengage from blocks inside. However, isn’t real rangy and struggles to quickly shed and make a play off his frame. Displays above-average anchor strength for his size, but can easily be handled vs. any kind of additional attention. Also, struggles to consistently find the football and even though he can stack one-on-one inside, he routinely takes himself out of plays trying to read his run keys and rarely makes his way initially toward the football off the snap.

Impression: Lined up at both the nose and three-technique last season and has some natural power to his g
ame. But lacks ideal instincts, isn’t real sudden when asked to shed and looks nothing more than a rotational/fringe roster guy in the NFL.

CB Richard Sherman: No. 9 (6-2, 210)
A tall, lean corner who isn’t real instinctive and struggles to quickly recognize routes in front of him and close on the football. Is slow to decipher information and click and close on the play. Lacks balance and coordination in his back-pedal, consistently gets overextended and fails to quickly put himself in position to make any plays on the throw. Isn’t a guy who can cleanly redirect and fails to generate any kind of a closing burst out of his breaks. Struggles to maintain his balance and lacks the kind of speed to make up for any kind of false step. Consistently is forced to turn his back toward the football and bail out of his drop in man coverage.

Now, uses his length well to wrap up on an island at times, but isn’t a real physical guy; he’s more of a drag down tackler.

Impression: Possesses a good-sized frame, but simply lacks the balance, footwork and coordination to hold up in coverage at the next level.

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Yow’s exit turns up heat on Friedgen

With Debbie Yow leaving Maryland to take over as the new athletic director at N.C. State, Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien knows that he must win in 2010 in order to have a future in Raleigh.

The 61-year-old former Boston College general has endured three sub-.500 seasons with the Wolfpack, compiling a 16-21 overall mark after a five-win season in ’09. Behind a dynamic quarterback in Russell Wilson and a defense that should be solid with the return of linebacker Nate Irving, going bowling should be expected for N.C. State.

For Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen, Yow’s departure from the school puts him in a similar sticky situation in College Park, especially after a disastrous 2009 campaign that saw the Terrapins lose a school-record 10 games and finish the season on a seven-game skid.

The Fridge took Maryland by storm in his first three years after a successful stint as offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech but has since fallen on hard times. While the Terps have gone to bowl games six times in his nine years on campus — including four victories — Friedgen has suffered through four losing seasons in his last six campaigns, including the disastrous two-win season in ’09.

Since his third of three consecutive double-digit-win seasons in 2003, the Fridge is a troubling 35-38 in College Park.

Proponents of the Friedgen regime can point out that in the ten years before his arrival at Maryland, the school went 37-73 under three different head coaches. One can even look at his 66-46 career record in College Park and make a pretty good argument for Yow’s vote of confidence in him following last season.

But her departure to Raleigh changes everything.

Even with their cozy relationship — something that Terps head basketball coach Gary Williams never enjoyed with Yow despite winning a national championship — Friedgen was going to have to put together a solid season to even have a chance to come back in 2011. At some point, winning trumps everything.

Now, with Yow gone, president C.D. “Dan” Mote preparing to retire on Aug. 31 and a new administration on the horizon, the pressure is on Friedgen to deliver a successful campaign — much like one of the years he enjoyed early in his tenure.

And that’s going to be a difficult task to pull off with the ACC expecting a turnaround season following a year in which many members suffered embarrassing losses — including the Terps falling to Middle Tennessee State after a near-loss to James Madison.

Like last year, Maryland should be solid on defense. But the offensive side of the ball could be a different story — not because of a lack of skill players, however. Running back Da’Rel Scott and wide receivers Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon give new quarterback Jamarr Robinson some nice weapons to work with in his first season as the starter. Robinson is coming off a pretty good showing in spring practice, where he threw the ball well and took command of the huddle. But will he be able to stand upright behind an offensive line that, despite being a year older and more experienced, remains a concern at least until the real games begin?

We will see exactly how focused and confident the Terps are right away as they open their season against Navy. Even if Friedgen does take Maryland to a bowl game at 6-6 or 7-5, though, will it be enough for the new AD?

Perhaps just as big of a problem as the lack of wins in the last few seasons for Friedgen has been the dwindling attendance at the expanded Byrd Stadium. After expectations were heightened during his early successful campaigns, pocketbooks opened in the administration as the consensus was that the fan base was going to expand.

Problem is, nobody wants to watch a losing team in person — especially when the team is losing to less-than-daunting ACC competition. If the Terps start strong, will a fan base be revived and take interest in the product on the field?

It’s possible that Yow kept the 63-year-old Friedgen on board because she would have had to pay a buyout of about $4.5 million on the remaining two years on his contract, plus a potential $1 million if designated successor James Franklin was dismissed, as well. All that money spent on two coaches before hiring a new one? Quite expensive.

If the new administration decides to go in a different direction after this season, would he or she be willing to eat a year of Friedgen’s salary? Most certainly the James Franklin era will never take place, either, as the “head-coach-in-waiting” is in the same situation as the Fridge — a dreaded holdover from a previous regime.

Friedgen went 31-8 with an ACC championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl after three seasons in College Park, so his coaching acumen shouldn’t be questioned. But why have the Terps been so mediocre for the six years that have followed?

It’ll be interesting to see if Friedgen’s early success at his alma mater — the catalyst for the early excitement on campus — ends up ultimately being his demise.

Follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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20-minute dashboard video embarrassing for Tom Lewand

An embarrassing situation for Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand got worse when a 20-minute dashboard video of his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving was released to media outlets in Michigan.

The video shows officers being stunned by the smell of alcohol coming from his vehicle. Then, Lewand performed poorly at field-sobriety tests. The video tells the story better than the release by the Roscommon County Sheriffs Department that Lewand eventually registered a 0.21 and a 0.20 blood-alcohol level after he had been transported to jail.

The video – and the audio – from the arrest are damaging for the man who is front and center for an NFL organization. According to the Detroit Free Press – which has the entire arrest video here – the organization has declined to comment further on the arrest since Lewand, team owner William Clay Ford Sr. and coach Jim Schwartz released statements.

As previously reported, Lewand denies having had a drink for a year-and-a-half. He performs poorly on the field tests the officers asked him to take and then he debated at length whether or not to submit to a breathalyzer.

“I’m happy to take whatever you want me to do, but review for me why I did not pass what you suggested I do,” Lewand said.

Finally, the officers ran out of patience with Lewand.

“If you don’t blow you’re going to get arrested right now,” one officer is heard saying. “If you haven’t been drinking like told me you haven’t been that is going to register all zeroes. Do you want to take the test — yes or no? I want that answer right now — yes or no. Don’t say another word other than yes or no.”

Lewand couldn’t provide an answer and he was handcuffed on the spot. He remains on the job for the Lions but there’s a credibility issue here at some level for the team. Individuals in positions like Lewand are held to a higher standard than players or even coaches who hit the drive-thru in the buff.

The Free Press reports Lewand has been in treatment for alcohol abuse for several months. Hopefully, he will continue down a path toward recovery. Meanwhile, the Lions need to determine what is the best course of action for the franchise.

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Chad Jones will be flown to New York hospital today

The New York Giants have arranged to have Chad Jones transported from the LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center today as the rookie safety begins his recovery from a serious one-vehicle car accident last week.

The team announced that Jones will be flown by MedJet Assistt of Birmingham, Ala., from Louisiana to New York. There are questions whether or not the third-round draft pick from LSU will be able to continue his football career after he fractured multiple bones in his left leg and required a full day of surgery to save his left foot and ankle.

Jones will require plastic surgery and potentially need additional orthopedic procedures in his recovery.

“Chad has received outstanding medical care from the doctors and nurses in New Orleans since his accident. They've shown great compassion,” Giants vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes said in the release. “After consulting with our doctors, Chad's doctors at LSU and his family felt like this move to New York was the next logical step in his care and recovery.”

Former running back Charles Way, the team’s director of player development, is going to accompany Jones’ parents – Al and Patti – to New York as well.

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Old sexual assault charge comes back vs. Tommie Boyd

Prosecutors in Macomb, Mich., are arguing that former Detroit Lions player Tommie Boyd should have a charge of forcing a coercing a 16-year-old girl restored against him.

The Macomb Daily reports that assistant Macomb prosecutor Kathy Beard has filed arguments to appeal a decision from March in which a third-degree criminal sexual assault charge against Boyd was dismissed. Boyd worked previously as a track coach and substitute teacher at Fraser High School and the judge ruled the act was consensual and the girl was over the age of consent – 16.

In her argument, Beard saus that Boyd used his “position of authority over (the girl) and physically kept her from leaving.” Boyd coached the girl individually in track. The girl, now 19, testified that Boyd visited her in a dark classroom and shut the door. She testified that he unbuttoned her pants despite her resistance.

Per the report, the girl said, ‘He just laughed and continued like moving my hands out of the way, pushed them my – like if I pushed his hands, he would just push me right back.’”

Boyd allegedly assaulted the girl from behind and when she stood up to try to leave he pushed her back down. A requirement of third-degree criminal sexual conduct is force or coercion.

Boyd has been accused of separate cases of sexual assault with and underage girl at a motel and her home. In those cases, he has nbeen charged with two counts of first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct as well as two counts of accosting a child for immoral purposes.

The Macomb Daily reports third-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges can lead to up to 15 years in prison.

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Stephen A. may be right on LeBron

I don’t know if anyone else had the same experience, but Stephen A. Smith dominated my sports world Monday afternoon and into the evening. Seemingly every headline on the ‘net and every sarcastic Tweet — especially from a pretty popular Celtics fan/self-professed NBA guru — was dedicated to ripping the former ESPN talking head into shreds.

What controversial thing did he say this time? Well, nothing too out of the ordinary actually.

But the Fox Sports Radio host caused a stir when he declared that Cleveland Cavaliers free agent LeBron James would not be going to Chicago to play with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah on the Bulls after all. Rather, Smith proclaimed that King James is on his way to Miami — along with Chris Bosh — to play with Dwayne Wade on the Heat.

Obviously, with July 1 approaching and every general manager with money to spend salivating at the thought of James in his team’s uniform, NBA free agency is expected to dominate the headlines this week — especially with the cute U.S.A. soccer story now dead for the next four years.

The uproar Monday occurred mainly because of Smith’s comments over a week ago on ESPN Radio that had everyone spreading the news that LeBron was going to sign with the New York Knicks.

“From what my sources tell me, he still hasn’t made a final decision, but he’s higher on New York now than he was a month ago,” Smith said on June 18. “And the reality is that he is leaning more towards New York than he is towards returning to Cleveland.”

Smith also mentioned that his sources said that James’ advisers have been asking “very in-depth questions” about the Knicks organization and that the Cleveland free agent may not sign with the Bulls because he doesn't want to compete with Michael Jordan’s legacy.

Now, nowhere in the report and at no time while he was on the air did Smith say James was absolutely, 100 percent signing with the Knicks. But the media and NBA fans across the world said so anyway.

So when Smith declared Monday on his radio show that James was going to South Beach, the world immediately portrayed Smith as a moron, a hack reporter and simply hungry for listeners.

I get why some people don’t like Stephen A. He tells it like it is, he could be a little off-putting and he could get a little loud on the air. And, when it’s convenient, he plays the race card.

But in terms of his NBA sources, name me one writer who has been right on a story 100 percent of the time.

I’ll wait while you come up with one.

Stephen A. Smith is certainly no Peter Vecsey.

All Smith did was provide his audience with the pulse of this situation as he currently sees it. One thing to keep in mind as we play GM and prescribe where players should go: LeBron himself may not know where he’s signing yet.

Sound crazy? About as crazy as a guy named World Wide Wes supposedly running this entire circus, right? And I stress supposedly because LeBron will only answer to LeBron at the end of the day.

Again, keep in mind that Smith never said that James would be a Knick next season. He simply said that he was strongly considering New York, as he likely is strongly considering Chicago and Miami.

It’s called an evolving story.

Smith stood behind his claim Monday afternoon on 790 The Ticket, and even let his guard down by throwing in an “I hope to God I'm absolutely right.”

Well I do, too, Stephen A. But even if you’re not, you won’t be the only one to stand by your sources and ultimately be off on a story.

You can also be right — right now — only to have James change his mind. He can do that, you know.

Personally, I think he’d be insane not to sign with the Bulls and play with two emerging stars in Rose and Noah and for a coach in Tom Thibodeau who knows how to take him out of a playoff series.

But I’ll patiently wait until LBJ officially signs with a team. Until then, I will take Stephen A. at his word — unless he proclaims, once again, that the Knicks should never have fired Isiah Thomas. Then we have a problem.

Follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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Warren Sapp tees off on Albert Haynesworth

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post has an ambitious goal of making 1,000 Albert Haynesworth posts on his blog before the season starts for the Redskins on Sept. 12.

He’s got a long ways to go – by our count he needs another 998 – but he came up with a good one on Monday afternoon when he uncovered comments Warren Sapp made about Haynesworth while visiting on NFL Sirius Radio with Vic Carucci and Howard Balzer.

In case you were wondering, yes, Sapp lashed out at Haynesworth joining a growing group of his critics.

“Let's stop the BS, like we like to say,” Sapp said. “I mean, c'mon, son. You sat at the table. The people told you they had a very lovely check for you. Albert Haynesworth, you took the check, now show up to the job, son. It's that simple. You take that kind of check. I mean, I'll flip dogs for you. I mean, c'mon, what you want me to do, you want me to return punts? I mean, what? C'mon. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.”

Sapp also disputed that Haynesworth was a “dominant” performer.

“No. No. No,” Sapp said. “He's not consistent enough. The numbers aren't there. I mean, I saw the four plays in a row playing the Atlanta Falcons when he was on the goal line, he looks like a manchild. Some of those games he was running, him and (Kyle) Vanden Bosch, they really had that defense rolling. He was playing the game the way it was supposed to be played. But you can't tell me that a man that has, what, (28) sacks in his life is one of the most dominant players to ever play this game.

“I mean, I don't remember that game where he took it over, you know what I'm saying? I remember me and Brett Favre up in Green Bay going at it in the playoff game. I don't have that signature game for Haynesworth. I don't have that signature season. Don't give me one. That's a rule of ours, isn't it? I mean, one's a fluke. Two, you become consistent. Now three, you've arrived. I don't think the man's had a 10-sack season. I mean, Tony Dungy told me when I was playing the game, he said you want to be arrived in this game, you've got to get to 10 sacks. That's what I tell all young defensive tackles, you want a name in this game, rush like an end, and then you get in the conversation.”

Another one has spoken out against Haynesworth. Like we’ve said, it’s going to be difficult for him to return to the Redskins and we tend to believe he will find it tough fitting in anywhere at this point.

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Alcohol not a factor in Chad Jones' crash

Alcohol did not factor in the one-vehicle crash that has left the career of New York Giants rookie safety Chad Jones in question.

In fact, prior to previous reports, police did not conduct toxicology tests on Jones. Shereese Harper, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Police Department, said that officers on the scene “had no reason to believe alcohol was involved,” according to Randy Rosetta of the Baton Rouge Advocate.

“We have two tests we use when the driver is alive: The Intoxilyzer 5000 and a blood test,” Harper told Rosetta. “Obviously, we couldn’t administer the breathalyzer, because the driver needed to go to the hospital. And when the officers got to the hospital to request a blood test, he was already in surgery and by then it was too late.”

Jones, also drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Major League Baseball draft, has a long road of recovery ahead of him. A day-long surgery was needed to save his left foot and ankle. He suffered multiple fractures to his left leg. But according to his father Al Jones, everyone is full of hope.

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Inside the playbook: Rivers beats the Giants

Today: Defeating 2-Man in the red zone

Click here for the previous edition of Inside the Playbook: Porter’s Super Bowl INT

Previously here at the NFP, we talked about the concepts and the techniques of the 2-Man coverage — a 2 Deep, man-under defense using trail technique (align inside, force outside release, play to the back hip of the receiver). We used the chalkboard and the TV tape of the Packers-Steelers matchup from last season when Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers hit WR Greg Jennings for an 83-yard TD pass.

On that particular play, the Packers took advantage of one of the weak spots of the scheme — the middle of the field. Today, we will head back to the chalkboard and to the TV tape of the Chargers-Giants matchup from 2009 to illustrate another weakness of the defense and why it can be victimized in the red zone.

Let’s set it up. The Chargers, down 20-14 late in the fourth quarter, are driving on the Giants. Knowing that New York is a heavy 2-Man defense (even in the red zone), San Diego uses a basic passing concept to attack the corner of the end zone — away from the half-field safety to the closed, or strong, side of the formation.

San Diego is in its “Ace” or “212” personnel (2 WR, 1 RB, 2 TE), and align all four wide receivers away from the core of the formation. New York counters with its base nickel package (4 DL, 2 LB, 5 DBs).

Let’s check it out on the chalkboard and then get into why the route worked…


As we can see, the Chargers run a basic 7-Flat combo to the open or weak side of the formation. The “X” receiver runs the 7-route (or flag route), while the “U” TE (second TE in the game) runs the flat route. RB LaDainian Tomlinson, No. 21, stays in for protection and then check-releases on a swing route.

To the closed side, the “Y” TE, No. 85 Antonio Gates, runs the inside vertical seam, or the skinny post (to expose the middle of the field vs. 2-Man). The “Z” receiver, No. 83 Vincent Jackson, runs the 7-route against CB Corey Webster, No. 23.

Playing 2-Man in the red zone is a risk, and although I have been on defenses that believed in the coverage inside of the 20-yard line, if I am coaching I take it out of the playbook once the opposing offense reaches the plus-30 yard line. Why? Simple, because the pressure put on the two safeties is enormous. Think about it this way when looking at the chalkboard: both safeties have to be able to get over the top of the 7-route and rally to any ball thrown down the middle of the field (which is highlighted in gold). As we said above, the underneath-man defenders are in a trail technique. That forces them to sit hard inside with their leverage, allow the outside release and then play from behind.

Yes, it has benefits for inside breaking routes, but when we look at this situation, the Chargers — and Jackson — toast the Giants because of the 7-route: a concept that breaks away from the leverage of the underneath player and runs away from the safety (highlighted in yellow). An easy throw for Philip Rivers.

Let’s check out the play on the TV tape and get into some coaching points…

Coaching points

<strong>WR splits

Check out Jackson’s alignment. With the ball on the far hash, he is aligned inside of the numbers. And, when you look at the “X” receiver on the backside, his alignment — on the bottom of the numbers — is the same considering he is working into the boundary. This should tell the safeties to expect a 7-route. Why? Because WRs need room to run that route. That is the exact reason defenders use the numbers as landmarks. Not only for their own coverage drops but to recognize routes from their pre-snap reads. Offenses need plenty of room to run the 7-route.

Jackson vs. Webster

If you go back to the TV tape, there is plenty to talk about from a technique standpoint. Let’s start with Jackson. He releases vertically off the line of scrimmage and then adjusts his route to get Webster on his back. WRs will stem their routes like this vs. CBs aligned in a press position to create separation. By doing this, Jackson can now get up field and use Webster’s trail technique against him by breaking away from his leverage — and the distance he has created between the ball and the defender. With Webster, we see poor technique vs. the release. He gets high on his feet, “hops” inside instead of getting a hand on Jackson, and he now has to play catch-up throughout the entire route. That is why he can’t find the ball in the end zone — he is “out of phase” with the WR.

Giants pre-snap look

Rivers knew this was 2-Man before the snap. Look at the Giants. There is no disguise whatsoever. The safeties are both already at their landmarks (top of the numbers), the LBs are shifted over the top of their coverage and the underneath DBs are aligned in a press-man look. No creativity at all, and because of that, Rivers knows that he will have Jackson running to the corner of the end zone, away from the safety, with Webster trailing the play. It looks like 7-on-7 out there instead of a defense protecting a lead late in the fourth quarter.

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Return man Chris Davis fails physical, waived by Giants

The search for a replacement for return specialist Domenik Hixon continues for the New York Giants.

The Giants looked like they had one nice option when they claimed Chris Davis, a veteran returner and wide receiver off waivers from the Cincinnati Bengals. But his stay was short lived as the Giants waived him today after he failed his physical.

Davis dealt with a serious hamstring issue that he suffered in preseason last year with the Tennessee Titans. The Giants will have to continue looking for a replacement for Hixon, who was lost for the season when he suffered a torn ACL in a practice at the New Meadowlands Stadium earlier this month. Cornerback Aaron Ross is a potential in-house candidate.

If Davis cannot pass a physical, he may have a beef with the Bengals, who released him last week.

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