Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Drew Brees: Serving up Cracklin

The New Orleans Saints, since Sean Payton’s arrival in 2006, have been looking to aggressively attack defenses at will. Like a good batch of boudin, Payton uses as many ingredients as he can get his hands on. Last night, they were afforded the stage and competition to show off his patented recipe.

Today, we’ll take a look at two plays, in particular, that illustrate the mastery of Brees attacking the oft-mentioned fire-zone blitz, as well as 1-high man-free coverage (both concepts detailed considerably before on here).

The first example includes a 5-man pressure, bringing the nickel from the edge (on top of #2 into the field). Presnap, the Patriots show a 2-high coverage shell, with the press alignment on #2 and corners squatting in the flat. Brees points out the MLB (the +1 to the 3 down linemen and the linebacker crept up in the weak B gap), who would be assumed to be the potential blitzer (since both #2 weak and #3 strong have defenders on them in 'man' coverage). This would put the offensive linemen accounting for the nose, both ends, and the tight weak inside linebacker, leaving the right guard free to account for the MLB and/or assist with the nose. Only thing is, the MLB begins walking out to gain leverage on #3 (strong), who's aligned as a wing (in empty).

This is an alert that not everything is as it seems.

At the snap, the weak inside linebacker showing blitz bails to the middle hole and (should be) looking to #3 or any crossers to rob. The field side End and Nose pirate stunt inside to gain leverage for the blitzing nickel on the edge and the boundary outside linebacker is also blitzing.

Where things go wrong (for the Patriots) is that the SCF player to the field is peeking inside (like he should be taking the hole). He fails to control the vertical stem of Henderson (#19) as he goes up the field. Making matters worse, the FS attempts to (over) compensate for the dropping strong safety (to the boundary) who's going to cover-down the #2 threat (who expands to the flat). With no immediate vertical threat by #2 weak, there is no weak receiver to respect, and with 3 receivers to the field side, the FS really should have been looking to match the immediate threats on Henderson's side.

breesus @ Yahoo! Video
The second example simply illustrates victimization of Cover 1 out of a 2-back set. Much like the Orange/Tan looks we detailed earlier, New England is going to present 2-high (MOFO) then screw the strong safety down late to get 8 in the box to stop what would be a predictable run down (2 tight ends, 2 running backs).

With flow action, the linebackers keying #2 and #3 weak, the Saints are able to sucker them in to create the high-low conflict on the remaining free safety with a Post-Dig combo. The free safety bites on the Dig as it opens behind the linebackers, leaving the middle-of-the-field-breaking Robert Meachum, who already has out-leveraged his corner inside. Because the corner was expecting (rightfully so) inside help from the free safety, he assumed he could play Meachum in a low-shoulder trail position.

free @ Yahoo! Video

POO! AIIIEE!!!! Dats some goo' Cracklins, Cher!

Of course, some folks jess don't have the stomach for Cajun cuisine.....


Hats off to Randy Moss for perfecting the Johnny Walker Lindh beard-look. Not many can pull that off as well as he has.


bulldogoption said...


That is good stuff...

I'm not sure where to put an idea/request so here it is.

I'm amazed at your ability to put pictures and clips from recent games into your writing. You mention doing this in your coaching as well.

I can rip clips from game film and put them in moviemaker or watch them on a computer for film...but I'm just a novice.

You frequently have pictures and video from very recent games. I find myself watching a game and saying I wish I could show my players that play/clip.

If you could make a post about how you do what you do so well, I think it would be very valuable.

Its just an idea (i.e. feel free to $hitcan it) regardless I appreciate the effort for the blog.

Unknown said...

The wide receiver on the play is Meachem not Colston. Otherwise, it's a fabulous write-up.

brophy said...

duly noted - thanks for the correction

michael gilchrist said...

Good info! Im really surprised that after such a great start, the Saints have turned in 2 terrible performances, and a very lucky win against the Redskins a few weeks prior.