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Inside the Play

I love watching game film and breaking it down. NIKO does an awesome job of putting together a video for me every week in slo-mo. This week he has even started to reverse the image, which makes it easier to see what just happened. I hope you enjoy this piece as I break down what happened on this 'easy' touchdown.

*** The video has been moved inside of the thread because of it size and intrusiveness to the website design. ***


First, let's talk about the packages. The Giants are in a Two TE set with Kevin Boss lined up tight and Darcy Johnson lined up outside of him. Brandon Jacobs starts as the lone back with Steve Smith and Mario Manningham lined up on the outside. The Bucs are in a 4-3-4 with their corners tight on the WR (as your would expect inside the 10). They show that their S are playing 'help' over 'over' coverage (Cover 6 is generally a Man-Under which means the CB's are in man coverage and their S are in a Two Deep Coverage). Generally if a teams lines up two TE against them, this is what they will be in, while their LB's are matching up against the TE's and RB.

The Giants motion out of the Two TE set and bring Darcy Johnson in the backfield. There is no hard and fast rule as teams do this fairly often (without watching game-film it's hard for me to say this about the NYG), but if I was a LB or S I would immediately read this as a run. Can they pass? Yes, and many teams do. However I would rather at that point cheat run and allow my CB's to be left on an island then cheat pass and allow, well, this to happen.

This is a pretty standard Draw play. Their goal is to freeze the LB's and S's while getting the DE's to rush straight up field as if they were going for a sack. Now, watch the defensive end first. What do they do? Run straight up field. Jimmy Wilkerson actually does a descent job of squaring his shoulders to the play once he recognizes it. Gaines Adams does not. Adams is again rushing straight up field, using his speed to get off the shoulder of a very good LT David Deihl. However, this is by design and a huge fault of Jim Bates defense. If you look at the DT alignment both Chris Hovan and who I assume is Ryan Sims are both lined up in a 3 technique meaning the outside shoulder of the Guard. If Adams trys to make an inside move he is exposing a potential hole on the outside. By not moving the DT's around in their technique doesn't give Adams many options, he is playing his responsibility. I will also say that the speed rush nearly worked here for Adams. Diehl was out of position waiting for the TE to release and actually grabbed the back of Adams jersey, which could have been flagged as a hold.

Because of that predictibility the Giants correctly dialed up an inside draw. The Ends do not need to be blocked by more than 1 guy allowing 4 extra blockers to get on the DT's and LB's. You will notice that Sims gets doubled team and taken immediatly out of the play (Sims has a terrible tendency to play high because of his size, 6'4"). If Hovan is responsible for a gap, I can't tell. He goes nowhere and then lunges himself as the play is going by, which in the NFL is not typically a successful strategy. He allowed himself to get blocked to easily here, which could have been the result of a long drive.

Sabby does an excellent job of recognizing the play (the only player on the team to do so.) I am not sure if this was a delayed blitz by Sabby (which would be dumb in the red-zone) or if the was coming up to cover Boss. However he immediately recognizes draw and fills the only hole he can get through and nearly makes the tackle (split second too late). Will Allen on the other hand is the reason this play resulted in a TD instead of 5 yards. Will Allen is completely frozen by the Draw. Instead of watching the play and his reads, he watches the quarterback completely taking himself out of position. While it wasn't his hole to fill he is run support and didn't do that.

The NFL is very complex so it's hard to tell if Geno Hayes takes on that blocker intentionally. He sees it coming. The double team is right in his face and he sits and waits. This tells me either he was frozen by the draw fake or he was taking on the blocker trying to allow Ruud to make the play. Most of Bates defense is designed on a greater scale to work everything back to Ruud, so this wouldn't surprise me, though it's a detail that I guess I hadn't thought of before when considered Jim Bates defense. Ruud does the correct thing by engaging the guard. It sounds dumb that he initiated himself getting blocked, but you are taught to get your hands on the guy before he gets his hands on you. It makes it easier to shed the block as the run is coming. He does just that however makes a feeble attempt at an arm tackle on Brandon Jacobs. I have yet to see one of those be successful against him or Marion Barber as they are two of the more physical, mean and nasty Running Backs in the league. Also, I am a Qunicy Black fan, but I am not sure how he allowed himself to be blocked out of the play for so long by Kevin Boss. I have no idea why he went to his right at first, either. Simply a bad mistake by Black.


So, there you have it. Poor alignment, terrible job of getting off blocks and awful play recognition resulted in a 6 yard run to cap off a 12 play 80 yard drive.