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Excellent Football Outsiders analysis of last Sunday's defensive d


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#1 Coach Tuesday

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 04:46 PM

http://www.footballo...crashing-nickel

Not for the weak of stomach.

#2 jboyst62

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:08 PM

That article pisses me off.  If I had the free time I would get the all22 footage so I can see this stuff and figure out what the eff is going on.  Leaving our small guys exposed on a 4 man line is incredibly bold and stupid.  We do not have the size of LB  or capability without Morrison to pull that off.  We all knew we'd run a lot of nickel and dime to counter their pass game but that we did not adapt and exposed ourselves to the run was boneheaded.  When we got exposed time and time again to the ground and pound running game they had us beat.  It is hard to defend against the run compared to the pass and we just failed.  So many people here are saying how Fitz did this or didn't do that, or MW had no sacks and didn't perform.  Yes, both of those players, and many others stunk.  It was the coaches who put them in the wrong position.

We just simply got out coached and destroyed by not changing our strategy.

#3 Rubes

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:10 PM

View Postjboyst62, on 04 October 2012 - 05:08 PM, said:

That article pisses me off.  If I had the free time I would get the all22 footage so I can see this stuff and figure out what the eff is going on.  Leaving our small guys exposed on a 4 man line is incredibly bold and stupid.  We do not have the size of LB  or capability without Morrison to pull that off.  We all knew we'd run a lot of nickel and dime to counter their pass game but that we did not adapt and exposed ourselves to the run was boneheaded.  When we got exposed time and time again to the ground and pound running game they had us beat.  It is hard to defend against the run compared to the pass and we just failed.  So many people here are saying how Fitz did this or didn't do that, or MW had no sacks and didn't perform.  Yes, both of those players, and many others stunk.  It was the coaches who put them in the wrong position.

We just simply got out coached and destroyed by not changing our strategy.

And that, in a nutshell, is what went down on Sunday.

#4 MDH

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:15 PM

View Postjboyst62, on 04 October 2012 - 05:08 PM, said:

That article pisses me off.  If I had the free time I would get the all22 footage so I can see this stuff and figure out what the eff is going on.  Leaving our small guys exposed on a 4 man line is incredibly bold and stupid.  We do not have the size of LB  or capability without Morrison to pull that off.  We all knew we'd run a lot of nickel and dime to counter their pass game but that we did not adapt and exposed ourselves to the run was boneheaded.  When we got exposed time and time again to the ground and pound running game they had us beat.  It is hard to defend against the run compared to the pass and we just failed.  So many people here are saying how Fitz did this or didn't do that, or MW had no sacks and didn't perform.  Yes, both of those players, and many others stunk.  It was the coaches who put them in the wrong position.

We just simply got out coached and destroyed by not changing our strategy.

The main issue here is Gronk.  The guy is a beast blocking and a fantastic target down the field - you have to pick your poison.  If the Bills stay in a nickle the Pats isolated the safety and made him be the guy who had to step up and make the play vs. the run.  If they went to a base D then it's up to a LB to stay with Gronk vs the pass.  That's a tough matchup for anybody and why a stud TE is a nightmare for defenses.

That being said what was so frustrating is the Bills made no adjustments and just kept getting hammered.  I would have preferred they tried anything different once it was apparent they couldn't stop the run (and it was apparent in the 1st half.)

Edited by MDH, 04 October 2012 - 05:15 PM.


#5 jboyst62

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:37 PM

View PostMDH, on 04 October 2012 - 05:15 PM, said:

The main issue here is Gronk.  The guy is a beast blocking and a fantastic target down the field - you have to pick your poison.  If the Bills stay in a nickle the Pats isolated the safety and made him be the guy who had to step up and make the play vs. the run.  If they went to a base D then it's up to a LB to stay with Gronk vs the pass.  That's a tough matchup for anybody and why a stud TE is a nightmare for defenses.

That being said what was so frustrating is the Bills made no adjustments and just kept getting hammered.  I would have preferred they tried anything different once it was apparent they couldn't stop the run (and it was apparent in the 1st half.)
Gronk is another Mike Alstott, except he can catch.  He will be in the league 6 more years, maybe a few more, but the majority of his career will be tallied in the next 3 or 4.  Just give it time, he will not last long the way he plays.

On the other hand, you force Brady to pass.  We are a team matched up to stop their pass.  We have the DL who can get in on the pass, and you plant the butt of a big MLB there in the middle like Morrison or Shephard and you use the DL to funnel the play to them.  You get that LB lanes to scrape to the run, you get the DB's to man press.  No one beats you deep and at best Brady completes 70% of his passes, and 80% of those being less then 6 yards, while 3-4% are Gronk up the seam that you just have to take.  If no one beats Gronk deep, Wilson stays true and on the back of our MLB, and Byrd on a swivel, you don't take the fatal hits, you just get a little bit of the poison.  To date I have not seen us play a true base defense and I am growing tired of these packages.  It is awful because I am a big proponent of specialty packages being used - but in this case, it was over used.

A few things we should have done.  Get the guy in the middle, Shep or Morrison, to clean up whatever the DL leaves behind and let no one cross the middle.  Get Barnett all over anyone releasing or coming out of the backfield.  If we have Scott in we use it to OUR advantage.  We use him on the weak side, shift to zone and blitz an LB - obviously on passing downs!

When Brady drops back to pass and you're not near him you put your arms up, you get big.  When you're near him you reach for him as best you can.  You disrupt his timing.  Every time Brady moves he needs at least 1.5 seconds to reset all of his reads.  He is not a run-and-throw QB, so make him effing run!  Don't let him plant his feet.  Go back and watch the film, any time you see him have to move he loses focus of the field, resets, runs all over his reads and usually dumps it off to the checkdown.  He basically turns in to Trent Edwards once he is out of the pocket, dangerous with a good arm but sporadic and unpredictable, as well.  Our DB's were playing coverage good enough, our safeties got beat a few times, the majority of this falls on the front 7.

When they ran the damn ball I want to know if anyone knows it is alright to tackle the RB at or near the line of scrimmage.  Thank God I did not see poor tackling form, I might be more upset.  What I did see was a breakdown of fundamentals and it shows right there in those pictures.  Beat your man low, use your body to break away, distance and separation are just as important as speed and strength.  I saw no one shedding their blocks to get to the RB's, I saw no one beating their man low and at the line.  And most importantly, as someone else has brought up as well, how do you run for that many yards and not get called on a holding?  I was an offensive lineman for a while.  I held on almost every play and I was damn good at it, I get it can be tricky for a DL to break this, but it goes back to speed, strength, distance, getting low, separation; the fundamentals of football!

#6 GG

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:53 PM

View PostMDH, on 04 October 2012 - 05:15 PM, said:



The main issue here is Gronk.  The guy is a beast blocking and a fantastic target down the field - you have to pick your poison.  If the Bills stay in a nickle the Pats isolated the safety and made him be the guy who had to step up and make the play vs. the run.  If they went to a base D then it's up to a LB to stay with Gronk vs the pass.  That's a tough matchup for anybody and why a stud TE is a nightmare for defenses.


Yet he only caught two passes against Ravens previous week, and I read that their DL is worse than ours.


#7 Dan

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:05 PM

View PostMDH, on 04 October 2012 - 05:15 PM, said:

The main issue here is Gronk.  The guy is a beast blocking and a fantastic target down the field - you have to pick your poison.  If the Bills stay in a nickle the Pats isolated the safety and made him be the guy who had to step up and make the play vs. the run.  If they went to a base D then it's up to a LB to stay with Gronk vs the pass.  That's a tough matchup for anybody and why a stud TE is a nightmare for defenses.

That being said what was so frustrating is the Bills made no adjustments and just kept getting hammered.  I would have preferred they tried anything different once it was apparent they couldn't stop the run (and it was apparent in the 1st half.)
And yet, Gronk still had 100 yds worth of receptions. So they shift into a defense to stop the pass to Gronk and failed while failing to stop the running game. The entire defensive game plan was entirely one big fail.  And they did nothing to change it once the Patriots stated rolling.

Ptoblem is they played right into the Patriots hands as though they've never seen them play before.  They played soft, they played passive, and they played afraid.  They played the ole.. ya can't blitz Brady game cause he's too good. So lets flood the field with these cover guys and not give him any targets. Well guess what.. defenses having been getting burned by that approach for years and for the life of me I can't figure out why coaches don't see it.

It was a piss poor game plan, that the Patriots ate up and spit out. And when it was obvious to the entire free world, rather than switch to a more agressive plan.. they folded their tents and quit playing.  Jboyst hit it right on the head.

#8 jboyst62

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:16 PM

View PostDan, on 04 October 2012 - 06:05 PM, said:

And yet, Gronk still had 100 yds worth of receptions. So they shift into a defense to stop the pass to Gronk and failed while failing to stop the running game. The entire defensive game plan was entirely one big fail.  And they did nothing to change it once the Patriots stated rolling.

Ptoblem is they played right into the Patriots hands as though they've never seen them play before.  They played soft, they played passive, and they played afraid.  They played the ole.. ya can't blitz Brady game cause he's too good. So lets flood the field with these cover guys and not give him any targets. Well guess what.. defenses having been getting burned by that approach for years and for the life of me I can't figure out why coaches don't see it.

It was a piss poor game plan, that the Patriots ate up and spit out. And when it was obvious to the entire free world, rather than switch to a more agressive plan.. they folded their tents and quit playing.  Jboyst hit it right on the head.
Look at our game against them last year.  I promise you and would bet you money that the Giants got ahold of that tape and watched how we beat the Patriots.  We played physical up front, we got our line to go after Brady - as best as we could - and we interfered with his timing, his rhythm and his vision.  We had a few batted balls at the line and those are just as good as sacks.  The Giants got them and did not have that great of DB's, at least not substantially better then ours.  Their LB corp was not much different, either.  They won the game on the line.  That's how you beat the Patriots, that how it has been proven time and time again.  You do not beat Tom Brady, he is just 1 eff'n player!  You beat the guys that protect him, you cover the guys he wants to throw to, you stop the ones he wants to give it to...he's just a quarterback even if he is the best one in the history of the game.  He is not the one that beats you.  The ones that beat you are the ones who catch it, the ones who run it, the ones who make way for those movements.

QB is so over rated it's not even funny.  I remind myself every second I read here that in 2 years the NFL will be a run first league.  The ones that adapt first will win the most.  All these teams loading up on these small quick pass coverage defensive units are going to get pounded.  The Browns will win the AFC North on the legs of Richardson, the Seahawks will continue to do well with Lynch, teams with the good ground and pound backs are going to find success.

#9 SageAgainstTheMachine

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:26 PM

Yeah, that's incompetence.  Granted, most teams couldn't exploit that incompetence for 52 points, but I'm not feeling great about many of our tough matchups.

#10 over 20 years of fanhood

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:55 PM

It's inexcusable to be so afraid of an opposing qb you give them the run.

I bet even bellicheat couldn't believe the bills didn't get linebackers back in. Rediculous the obstinance and pick your poison BS...  There needs to be a better answer than that.

#11 K-9

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:11 PM

Confirmed what I saw on Sunday.

1.) The vast majority of their yards came between the tackles.

2.) Our safeties suck in dime run support.

Interesting that after the author spends a few words on letting us know that MW wasn't a force in the passing game (DUH) he neglects to mention what a GREAT job he did setting his corner and keeping containment. But, just like Joe Buscaglia he chooses not to point that out.

GO BILLS!!!

View Postjboyst62, on 04 October 2012 - 06:16 PM, said:

Look at our game against them last year.  I promise you and would bet you money that the Giants got ahold of that tape and watched how we beat the Patriots.  We played physical up front, we got our line to go after Brady - as best as we could - and we interfered with his timing, his rhythm and his vision.  We had a few batted balls at the line and those are just as good as sacks.  The Giants got them and did not have that great of DB's, at least not substantially better then ours.  Their LB corp was not much different, either.  They won the game on the line.  That's how you beat the Patriots, that how it has been proven time and time again.  You do not beat Tom Brady, he is just 1 eff'n player!  You beat the guys that protect him, you cover the guys he wants to throw to, you stop the ones he wants to give it to...he's just a quarterback even if he is the best one in the history of the game.  He is not the one that beats you.  The ones that beat you are the ones who catch it, the ones who run it, the ones who make way for those movements.

QB is so over rated it's not even funny.  I remind myself every second I read here that in 2 years the NFL will be a run first league.  The ones that adapt first will win the most.  All these teams loading up on these small quick pass coverage defensive units are going to get pounded.  The Browns will win the AFC North on the legs of Richardson, the Seahawks will continue to do well with Lynch, teams with the good ground and pound backs are going to find success.

With the exception of the QB being over rated and the Browns winning their division, I can't agree more with your premise. Play NE honest and AT LEAST let Brady know you're there and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let NE beat you with the run game. Getting beat up in the run game is demoralizing and tiring. And the insult to injury was that Wanny's scheme didn't stop the passing game AT ALL like it was designed to.

GO BILLS!!!

#12 jboyst62

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:27 PM

View PostK-9, on 04 October 2012 - 07:11 PM, said:

Confirmed what I saw on Sunday.

1.) The vast majority of their yards came between the tackles.

2.) Our safeties suck in dime run support.

Interesting that after the author spends a few words on letting us know that MW wasn't a force in the passing game (DUH) he neglects to mention what a GREAT job he did setting his corner and keeping containment. But, just like Joe Buscaglia he chooses not to point that out.

GO BILLS!!!



With the exception of the QB being over rated and the Browns winning their division, I can't agree more with your premise. Play NE honest and AT LEAST let Brady know you're there and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let NE beat you with the run game. Getting beat up in the run game is demoralizing and tiring. And the insult to injury was that Wanny's scheme didn't stop the passing game AT ALL like it was designed to.

GO BILLS!!!
yl
they wont win it this year.  The browns will win the AFCN in the next 3 yrs.

The QB is overrated. He is not the one who makes the plays and at best is only 50% of the completion.  You don't need an all-pro QB to win with your team.  Your team can make an all-pro QB, though.

#13 Wayne Fontes

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:29 PM

Even Walt Corey had the balls to ditch the nickel and dime coverages for bigger players in January 93.

#14 KOKBILLS

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:00 PM

View PostK-9, on 04 October 2012 - 07:11 PM, said:

Getting beat up in the run game is demoralizing and tiring.

Exactly...

At Halftime of the NE Game, while the Bills had the lead, I stated that IF the Pats continue to Run the Ball like they had in the 1st Quarter it was going to get ugly...It did because the Bills D had nothing left in the 4th Quarter...They were beaten down and embarrassed...I'll take my chances stopping the Run Game 100% of the time...Sure the great QB's will beat you every now and again...But I still think it's the best way to win on D consistently... B-)

#15 K-9

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:06 PM

View PostKOKBILLS, on 04 October 2012 - 09:00 PM, said:

Exactly...

At Halftime of the NE Game, while the Bills had the lead, I stated that IF the Pats continue to Run the Ball like they had in the 1st Quarter it was going to get ugly...It did because the Bills D had nothing left in the 4th Quarter...They were beaten down and embarrassed...I'll take my chances stopping the Run Game 100% of the time...Sure the great QB's will beat you every now and again...But I still think it's the best way to win on D consistently... B-)

I said the EXACT same thing to my brother.

GO BILLS!!!

#16 BillsVet

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:28 PM

View Postover 20 years of fanhood, on 04 October 2012 - 06:55 PM, said:

It's inexcusable to be so afraid of an opposing qb you give them the run.

I bet even bellicheat couldn't believe the bills didn't get linebackers back in. Rediculous the obstinance and pick your poison BS...  There needs to be a better answer than that.

You wonder if there was a backup plan for if they struggled to stop the run with nickel formations.  Wannstedt has a lot of questions about his defensive philosophy after these first four games, not least of which is his ability to adapt in-game.  And this coming week won't be any easier, facing off against a good 49ers OL and running game.

#17 BuffOrange

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:44 PM

View Postjboyst62, on 04 October 2012 - 05:37 PM, said:

Gronk is another Mike Alstott, except he can catch.  He will be in the league 6 more years, maybe a few more, but the majority of his career will be tallied in the next 3 or 4.  Just give it time, he will not last long the way he plays.

On the other hand, you force Brady to pass.  We are a team matched up to stop their pass.  We have the DL who can get in on the pass, and you plant the butt of a big MLB there in the middle like Morrison or Shephard and you use the DL to funnel the play to them.  You get that LB lanes to scrape to the run, you get the DB's to man press.  No one beats you deep and at best Brady completes 70% of his passes, and 80% of those being less then 6 yards, while 3-4% are Gronk up the seam that you just have to take.  If no one beats Gronk deep, Wilson stays true and on the back of our MLB, and Byrd on a swivel, you don't take the fatal hits, you just get a little bit of the poison.  To date I have not seen us play a true base defense and I am growing tired of these packages.  It is awful because I am a big proponent of specialty packages being used - but in this case, it was over used.

A few things we should have done.  Get the guy in the middle, Shep or Morrison, to clean up whatever the DL leaves behind and let no one cross the middle.  Get Barnett all over anyone releasing or coming out of the backfield.  If we have Scott in we use it to OUR advantage.  We use him on the weak side, shift to zone and blitz an LB - obviously on passing downs!

When Brady drops back to pass and you're not near him you put your arms up, you get big.  When you're near him you reach for him as best you can.  You disrupt his timing.  Every time Brady moves he needs at least 1.5 seconds to reset all of his reads.  He is not a run-and-throw QB, so make him effing run!  Don't let him plant his feet.  Go back and watch the film, any time you see him have to move he loses focus of the field, resets, runs all over his reads and usually dumps it off to the checkdown.  He basically turns in to Trent Edwards once he is out of the pocket, dangerous with a good arm but sporadic and unpredictable, as well.  Our DB's were playing coverage good enough, our safeties got beat a few times, the majority of this falls on the front 7.

When they ran the damn ball I want to know if anyone knows it is alright to tackle the RB at or near the line of scrimmage.  Thank God I did not see poor tackling form, I might be more upset.  What I did see was a breakdown of fundamentals and it shows right there in those pictures.  Beat your man low, use your body to break away, distance and separation are just as important as speed and strength.  I saw no one shedding their blocks to get to the RB's, I saw no one beating their man low and at the line.  And most importantly, as someone else has brought up as well, how do you run for that many yards and not get called on a holding?  I was an offensive lineman for a while.  I held on almost every play and I was damn good at it, I get it can be tricky for a DL to break this, but it goes back to speed, strength, distance, getting low, separation; the fundamentals of football!

Ya know, I never thought about it until now, but you're right - Brady never slings it 30yds downfield like Rodgers/Roethlisburger can/do when he has to move.
Couldn't agree more on Gronk too - he has all the makings of a short career.
Dareus "getting blocked for an eternity" as they put it by some guy is really disappointing - not what you want from the #3 pick.

Edited by BuffOrange, 04 October 2012 - 09:45 PM.


#18 Dragonborn10

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:03 PM

The last paragraph says it all with respect to this week.  Alex Smith is not Tom Brady.  They can dare Smith to beat us and gang up on Gore and double Davis.  They can win Sunday.

#19 Sisyphean Bills

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:03 PM

View Postjboyst62, on 04 October 2012 - 06:16 PM, said:

Look at our game against them last year.  I promise you and would bet you money that the Giants got ahold of that tape and watched how we beat the Patriots.  We played physical up front, we got our line to go after Brady - as best as we could - and we interfered with his timing, his rhythm and his vision.  We had a few batted balls at the line and those are just as good as sacks.
<snip>

So what you are saying is that we had better coaching last year.  With lesser regarded talent. B-)

#20 BuffaloFan68

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:42 PM

Wanny doesn't have a clue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!