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Slowing it Down - An ad lib by the Bucs earns big yardage

It's that time friends, for another edition of Slowing it Down. This week we are back to analyzing an offensive play.


This week we look at a play in which the Bucs are lined up in Shotgun. They have 3 WR, with the strength to the wide side of the field (K2 and two WR). It looks like Stovall, though I can't see the white numbers is line up at the bottom of the screen. DWard in the backfield.

The Packers are in a 3-3-5 look. It's an obvious passing down (3rd and 10) so that makes sense. Nick Barnett shows blitz. They are in man coverage with S help over top. However, I think Clay Matthews is supposed to be manned up on Ward. However, he penetrates the line (which throws me off about his coverage. If he were in man he would sit down) and blitzes all out. Jeff Faine gets a chip on Matthews and the sprints downfield...which is a penalty in most cases. By the time the ball was thrown he was 15 yards downfield. Regardless, he doesn't get flagged.

Josh Freeman is under heavy pressure, but it's from straight up the middle. The defensive line gets absolutely no penetration. He uses a pump fake to try and freeze the blitz. It successful on Matthews. Watch how Matthews yanks up (briefly). This give Freeman the option to go to his dominant side, the right. The Bucs have to WR run Post routes while two others sit down short. This give Derrick Ward a wide open, middle of the field. Freeman delievers a very nice pass to Ward.

Ward looks the ball in and turns up field. I would have been satisfied with him being tackled. GNB had him dead to rights. Maybe the player with the best opportunity to make the tackle is Nick Collins. Clayton makes a spectacular play and cuts back and gets a phenomenal chip on Collins. This spurs Ward to an extra 15 yards. My only problem on this play is that Ward continued straight up field. If he cuts it back outside, it gives him an extra couple of steps to regain his balance and possibly go for a touchdown.

This is a very well designed pass play that was spure by Freemans ability to make a few steps outside and go downfield. I couldn't find much wrong with Freemans mechanics other than his inordanitely long stride in his drop back.