Jump to content
26CornerBlitz

Doug Farrar - The Match Game: How NFL Defenses Lost Their Way

Recommended Posts

The Match Game, Part 1: How NFL Defenses Lost Their Way

 

O4uCW7Q-?format=jpg&name=600x314

 

By: Doug Farrar

 

In this three-part series, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar takes a deep dive into how NFL defenses have lost the figurative arms race–and what defensive coaches can do to recover. In the first installment, Doug gets help from Matt Bowen and Louis Riddick, ESPN analysts and former NFL defensive backs, to discuss how offenses are playing in the new millennium… and defenses are definitely not.

 

It’s a problem of schematic imbalance. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If someone who follows the NFL needs it explained to them at length how they're gearing the game to benefit the offense.....

 xUDveRX.gif

  • Haha 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great read - better than most of what gets posted on here at least. But certainly an interesting take from the defensive perspective. Most are more ready to attribute the current offensive-defensive disparity to the increased regulations and rule changes surrounding the defense and benefiting offensive passing, and while it isn't false, it doesn't seem to be the real reason defenses are failing more in the NFL today. 

 

It's always been the case in the NFL that the disparity between the sides of the ball ebbs and flows as the league commits to various philosophies on a wider scale. In the past five years we've seen a shift to a new style of offense that the article points out, and the defensive minds haven't yet caught up. The person who comes out with the next hybrid zone/man scheme, or dynamic coverage will be coined the "modern defensive guru" just like people are calling McVay the "modern offensive guru."

 

What's funny is when defensive schemes/coverages finally catch up, whoever that defensive guru is that gets knighted will change the media landscape, and this board will be clamoring for a "modern defensive minded coach," just like we now yearn for a McVay. When in reality we just want what we don't have and correlate the words, "young" and "offensive-minded" as automatically attributable to offensive success.

 

What I really appreciated from the article was actually in reference to the offense and it's perspective on Andy Reid's personnel choices in establishing a spread offense, and drafting his QB to fit the scheme. What's interesting is that the scheme looks to have been developed while Alex Smith was still QB1, and Reid wanted to introduce more of that philosophy given his QB and roster. In finally putting together a playbook, he went out and got his QB that fit the scheme and was already comfortable in the situation they were trying to establish. While one can argue that plenty of coaching and assistance went into Mahomes first year to get him to where he is now, it appears that the scheme actually preceded the player here, and makes for an interesting comment regarding the touted philosophy of "fitting your scheme to the players," which I personally believe in as well. 

 

Weird to say, but looking forward to part 2 of this article. Might just be the lack of any substantial topics being discussed or variance in perspective, but appreciate the post here!

 

Update: Meant to add a line about McD in reference to defenses of the future. I don't think our current D reflects the changes seemingly required by what's stated in the article, but I do believe McD is instituting a defense with coverage disguises that even Bill Belicheck had to respect and credit. Should his tenure extend, I just hope he is open to changing his defense fundamentally through the years to accommodate and counter the growth of the NFL motion/spread offense schemes we're seeing from the Rams and Chiefs.

Edited by ctk232
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, ctk232 said:

Great read - better than most of what gets posted on here at least. But certainly an interesting take from the defensive perspective. Most are more ready to attribute the current offensive-defensive disparity to the increased regulations and rule changes surrounding the defense and benefiting offensive passing, and while it isn't false, it doesn't seem to be the real reason defenses are failing more in the NFL today. 

 

It's always been the case in the NFL that the disparity between the sides of the ball ebbs and flows as the league commits to various philosophies on a wider scale. In the past five years we've seen a shift to a new style of offense that the article points out, and the defensive minds haven't yet caught up. The person who comes out with the next hybrid zone/man scheme, or dynamic coverage will be coined the "modern defensive guru" just like people are calling McVay the "modern offensive guru."

 

What's funny is when defensive schemes/coverages finally catch up, whoever that defensive guru is that gets knighted will change the media landscape, and this board will be clamoring for a "modern defensive minded coach," just like we now yearn for a McVay. When in reality we just want what we don't have and correlate the words, "young" and "offensive-minded" as automatically attributable to offensive success.

 

What I really appreciated from the article was actually in reference to the offense and it's perspective on Andy Reid's personnel choices in establishing a spread offense, and drafting his QB to fit the scheme. What's interesting is that the scheme looks to have been developed while Alex Smith was still QB1, and Reid wanted to introduce more of that philosophy given his QB and roster. In finally putting together a playbook, he went out and got his QB that fit the scheme and was already comfortable in the situation they were trying to establish. While one can argue that plenty of coaching and assistance went into Mahomes first year to get him to where he is now, it appears that the scheme actually preceded the player here, and makes for an interesting comment regarding the touted philosophy of "fitting your scheme to the players," which I personally believe in as well. 

 

Weird to say, but looking forward to part 2 of this article. Might just be the lack of any substantial topics being discussed or variance in perspective, but appreciate the post here!

 

Update: Meant to add a line about McD in reference to defenses of the future. I don't think our current D reflects the changes seemingly required by what's stated in the article, but I do believe McD is instituting a defense with coverage disguises that even Bill Belicheck had to respect and credit. Should his tenure extend, I just hope he is open to changing his defense fundamentally through the years to accommodate and counter the growth of the NFL motion/spread offense schemes we're seeing from the Rams and Chiefs.

 

Farrar is an excellent writer and it's good to see him take up such an in-depth look at offensive trends and strategy in the NFL. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, 26CornerBlitz said:

 

Farrar is an excellent writer and it's good to see him take up such an in-depth look at offensive trends and strategy in the NFL. 

I wish there were more of this type of analysis out there - similar to what Romo does as a color commentator, it's the quality of the analysis that surprises people. I know Cover 1 actually provides some great x's and o's reads, and I have read a few of Farrar's pieces that make pertinent comments on trends in the NFL, or in reference to a specific trend, from perspectives that aren't typically considered or known by armchair coaches and fans.

 

I get the media has to appeal to the widest audience, but I think too much of the "analysis" seen on ESPN and it's subsidiaries gets watered-down and recycled, speaks too generally, and often says nothing of substance at all. To be honest, I think even the most uneducated football fan would appreciate the type of perspective that Romo gives in live games, or Farrar to written analysis as it actually explains what we see on Sunday, and why things happen the way they do that would otherwise drive us mad trying to figure out - it also provides the appropriate context to errors, misreads, and mistakes that we would typically sit at home and say "this or that should have happened."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, I am the egg man said:

If someone who follows the NFL needs it explained to them at length how they're gearing the game to benefit the offense.....

 xUDveRX.gif

 

I don’t know, something tells me this writer and his experts can explain it better than, say, some message board muppet who is afraid of numbers and analysis and uses the “eyeball test” to figure out what’s good and not so good.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The Match Game, Part 2: How Nick Saban re-imagined defensive coverage

 

 
In this three-part series, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar takes a deep dive into how NFL defenses have lost the figurative arms race–and what defensive coaches can do to recover. Part 1 revealed the liabilities in current NFL defensive philosophies. In Part 2, we take a closer look at the coverage that could bring balance back to NFL defenses–with the help of two former NFL defensive backs, and a high-school secondary coach who has his own set of answers.
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, I am the egg man said:

If someone who follows the NFL needs it explained to them at length how they're gearing the game to benefit the offense.....

 xUDveRX.gif

 

 

Safe to say you didn't read it.

 

So for you, yeah---it must be those "new rules"...

 

Go enlighten yourself, eggman.  It won't hurt a bit, promise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, 26CornerBlitz said:

 

The Match Game, Part 2: How Nick Saban re-imagined defensive coverage

 

 
In this three-part series, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar takes a deep dive into how NFL defenses have lost the figurative arms race–and what defensive coaches can do to recover. Part 1 revealed the liabilities in current NFL defensive philosophies. In Part 2, we take a closer look at the coverage that could bring balance back to NFL defenses–with the help of two former NFL defensive backs, and a high-school secondary coach who has his own set of answers.

Awwwwwww yea part 2 - clearly starved for actual football discussion.

 

If nothing else, gives me something more to watch for on Sundays to see if/how the Bills are incorporating match coverage into their schemes, how effective it is, and is McD "young" enough to incorporate and teach these schemes, or has he been coaching defenses in the NFL too long to have developed this philosophical approach? The other aspect of this is how much does this play into the consideration of our blowout losses? While I get many more variables can contribute there, could games that get away from us actually remain manageable (even with this offense), with a defensive scheme that prevents offenses from driving the field through passing and options like match?

 

I also wonder if we have the personnel to fit for the man/zone match coverage - I think Hyde and Poyer are great safeties, but I wonder how they can take to implementing a coverage scheme like this and optimize the communication. Especially since Tre is really the only stable DB option, I wonder how much of our younger guys (Taron, Lewis, whoever we bring on in the offseason maybe) can acclimatize to this scheme, or if they're used to it and have played through it in college. 

 

Lastly, it's interesting how Farrar and Riddick also equate youth to innovation in the NFL and I do see the point. A lot of coaches in the NFL have been there for so long it becomes a groupthink issue, where as they "work their way up the ranks" they otherwise learn the way things "should be done" or "the way things are." But I don't know that this has to be addressed at the HC level, where we can have an HC who at least sees the need for this and hires younger coordinators or assistants like with Andy Reid to develop these schemes.

 

I remember growing up seeing the RPO in college and noticing the game being different, and asking my dad (who is no football expert by any means) why the game looks so different. He told me there were a good amount of offensive schemes that simply do not work in the NFL since the depth of talent on rosters is so much greater than in college; backers have the speed to hit the sideline on RPOs, shed blocks, and cover much more effectively than the offensive scheme would produce. Granted, the spread offenses we're seeing now allow for much more than the RPO, but it's still being used effectively in the NFL today with the right personnel. Either way, I have to question how much of those traditional philosophies hold true, and how much is just recycled knowledge from the past when what is needed are people who haven't been in the NFL long enough to develop this groupthink approach of coverages having to be one way and not another.

 

Totally missed there being a part 3 - noice

Edited by ctk232
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/7/2018 at 10:19 AM, 26CornerBlitz said:

The Match Game, Part 1: How NFL Defenses Lost Their Way

 

O4uCW7Q-?format=jpg&name=600x314

 

By: Doug Farrar

 

In this three-part series, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar takes a deep dive into how NFL defenses have lost the figurative arms race–and what defensive coaches can do to recover. In the first installment, Doug gets help from Matt Bowen and Louis Riddick, ESPN analysts and former NFL defensive backs, to discuss how offenses are playing in the new millennium… and defenses are definitely not.

 

It’s a problem of schematic imbalance. 

 

the real  change came when they took hitting out of the game.

 

 

17 hours ago, 26CornerBlitz said:

 

The Match Game, Part 2: How Nick Saban re-imagined defensive coverage

 

 
In this three-part series, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar takes a deep dive into how NFL defenses have lost the figurative arms race–and what defensive coaches can do to recover. Part 1 revealed the liabilities in current NFL defensive philosophies. In Part 2, we take a closer look at the coverage that could bring balance back to NFL defenses–with the help of two former NFL defensive backs, and a high-school secondary coach who has his own set of answers.

 

good thing we play zone.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I read this it is interesting to note that when Anderson signed with the Bills he said the defenses are doing things that never happened when he started and said it was a lot easier back then. I still say not being able to crack offensive players has made it a lot easier for teams to run wide open in the middle.

 

it's funny how Rex's  defenses were super complex and would be just be the thing to stop modern offenses, but as we saw it , our defenders were confused and couldn't stop anyone . Pettine did well with that defense, makes you wonder what would have happened if he stayed here. Curious as to what Greenbay thinks about him?

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Buffalo Barbarian said:

the real change came when they took hitting out of the game.

 

good thing we play zone.

 

:huh: You might want to read part one again and the Bills play a variety of coverages including man. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is really interesting. We probably are due a reaction in defensive scheming. The successful defences of the 80s were big pressure defences sending multiple blitzes. In the 90s to respond to the West Coast Offense defenses the successful defenses were more of the cover 2 shell "Tampa 2" variety. Offenses adjusted again and started to stretch the field more and the 00s was a bit of a back to the 80s with the Ravens and the Giants among others finding success with high blitz % pressure schemes. Then offenses have gone more and more towards college spread style looks and the successful defenses in the 10s have generally been the cover 1 and cover 3 types that can commit a safety to the box and cover with the 3 defensive backs and the nickel back playing a mix of zone and man. The RPO in particular does seem to have put those defenses in a bind now by really exposing the soft spots in the intermediate area of them.

 

That said Riddick's responses in the first article do suggest to me he is out of touch. His proposed solutions are penalties with the way the modern NFL is called.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting read..but I don't think the premise of the article is completely correct..it's not that coordinators are using coverages from 10-15 years ago it's many other factors besides archaic play calling . It's all the rules the NFL has instituted that help increase offence and coaches are limited in what they can install defensively depending on their personnel. On offence a team has ample time to make adjustments because they decide when they snap the ball the defence can only react when you have teams coming out in spread formations   

 

..using rpo's and motioning players all over there are very little a team can do to adjust unless they're a veteran seasoned team that has a ton of continuity. .rex had a ton of checks built into his defence for various plays and all it did was contribute to more errors..but it worked when he has continuity with players versed in his system for years in Baltimore and ny..ultimately in today's NFL it's all about pressure doesn't matter how exotic your coverages are if you aren't pressuring the qb..we've seen that first hand this year with the defence giving up 40 pts on days we fail to produce pressure and completely shutting down the Vikes and Houston.

 

Two effective offenses.  The worst the Pats have looked in the Brady era in the post season Has been against high pressure defences that collapse the pocket ..giants and Broncos . Wade Phillips was running similar stuff 10 years ago in San Diego.

Edited by bills11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, bills11 said:

Two effective offenses.  The worst the Pats have looked in the Brady era in the post season Has been against high pressure defences that collapse the pocket ..giants and Broncos . Wade Phillips was running similar stuff 10 years ago in San Diego.

 

The kryptonite to modern offenses is interior pressure. Even the best edge rushers can't wreck a game against a team like Houston with a mobile QB and a ton of RPO. You can hit Watson plenty but the ball is usually gone. He has been hit a ton behind a shocking line and is still putting up numbers and wins. The fastest way to the QB is a straight line - right up the middle. That is why the defensive MVP of the NFL is Aaron Donald and that is why Ed Oliver is worth a top 2 pick in the 2019 Draft.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, GunnerBill said:

 

The kryptonite to modern offenses is interior pressure. Even the best edge rushers can't wreck a game against a team like Houston with a mobile QB and a ton of RPO. You can hit Watson plenty but the ball is usually gone. He has been hit a ton behind a shocking line and is still putting up numbers and wins. The fastest way to the QB is a straight line - right up the middle. That is why the defensive MVP of the NFL is Aaron Donald and that is why Ed Oliver is worth a top 2 pick in the 2019 Draft.

Precisely. If you can collapse the pocket and get pressure up the middle it masks whatever deficiencies you have in your coverage..the Broncos were at their most dominant when they had malik Jackson collapsing the interior and Miller coming from the outside. Pressure is the difference between Pettine/shwartz as bills d coordinator vs rex..Gilmore didn't get any worse he was just exposed by having to cover forever .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/7/2018 at 12:15 PM, ctk232 said:

Great read - better than most of what gets posted on here at least. But certainly an interesting take from the defensive perspective. Most are more ready to attribute the current offensive-defensive disparity to the increased regulations and rule changes surrounding the defense and benefiting offensive passing, and while it isn't false, it doesn't seem to be the real reason defenses are failing more in the NFL today. 

 

It's always been the case in the NFL that the disparity between the sides of the ball ebbs and flows as the league commits to various philosophies on a wider scale. In the past five years we've seen a shift to a new style of offense that the article points out, and the defensive minds haven't yet caught up. The person who comes out with the next hybrid zone/man scheme, or dynamic coverage will be coined the "modern defensive guru" just like people are calling McVay the "modern offensive guru."

 

What's funny is when defensive schemes/coverages finally catch up, whoever that defensive guru is that gets knighted will change the media landscape, and this board will be clamoring for a "modern defensive minded coach," just like we now yearn for a McVay. When in reality we just want what we don't have and correlate the words, "young" and "offensive-minded" as automatically attributable to offensive success.

  

What I really appreciated from the article was actually in reference to the offense and it's perspective on Andy Reid's personnel choices in establishing a spread offense, and drafting his QB to fit the scheme. What's interesting is that the scheme looks to have been developed while Alex Smith was still QB1, and Reid wanted to introduce more of that philosophy given his QB and roster. In finally putting together a playbook, he went out and got his QB that fit the scheme and was already comfortable in the situation they were trying to establish. While one can argue that plenty of coaching and assistance went into Mahomes first year to get him to where he is now, it appears that the scheme actually preceded the player here, and makes for an interesting comment regarding the touted philosophy of "fitting your scheme to the players," which I personally believe in as well. 

 

Weird to say, but looking forward to part 2 of this article. Might just be the lack of any substantial topics being discussed or variance in perspective, but appreciate the post here!

 

Update: Meant to add a line about McD in reference to defenses of the future. I don't think our current D reflects the changes seemingly required by what's stated in the article, but I do believe McD is instituting a defense with coverage disguises that even Bill Belicheck had to respect and credit. Should his tenure extend, I just hope he is open to changing his defense fundamentally through the years to accommodate and counter the growth of the NFL motion/spread offense schemes we're seeing from the Rams and Chiefs.

 

But isn't it amazing how so many analysts still claim QB's like Mahomes aren't pro-ready because colleges are doing them a disservice by running so many spread offenses? 

They seem to miss how the NFL is leaning more & more into running college-style offenses. Yes, the spread offenses in the NFL aren't quite as pronounced as some of the more flagrant examples in college, but Mahomes comes from my Alma mater which is typically one of those "air-raid spread" offenses that get brought up as incompatible with the NFL.

The guy threw for friggin 734 yards in a single game in 2016! SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR! And it wasn't even against some D-2 or D-3 school, it was against the ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Oh, and he managed to set the FBS record with 819 yards of total offense in that game too. People see numbers like that & end up just disregarding the person & calling them scheme-players. But when smart coaches evolve with the game & work a player's strength into their schemes, you put players in a position to succeed. 

Even though Andy Reid was working on his system before this year, you can bet your ass he was closely examining the college game and the dominant spread offenses, and evaluating who the best player for the job would be. There's a reason they were willing to give up an extra 1st round pick to take the guy...they knew damn well the strengths he possesed & identified Mahomes SPECIFICALLY for the job. Now they're reaping the rewards.

Edited by BigDingus
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, BigDingus said:

 

But isn't it amazing how so many analysts still claim QB's like Mahomes aren't pro-ready because colleges are doing them a disservice by running so many spread offenses? 

They seem to miss how the NFL is leaning more & more into running college-style offenses. Yes, the spread offenses in the NFL aren't quite as pronounced as some of the more flagrant examples in college, but Mahomes comes from my Alma mater which is typically one of those "air-raid spread" offenses that get brought up as incompatible with the NFL.

The guy threw for friggin 734 yards in a single game in 2016! SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR! And it wasn't even against some D-2 or D-3 school, it was against the ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Oh, and he managed to set the FBS record with 819 yards of total offense in that game too. People see numbers like that & end up just disregarding the person & calling them scheme-players. But when smart coaches evolve with the game & work a player's strength into their schemes, you put players in a position to succeed. 

Even though Andy Reid was working on his system before this year, you can bet your ass he was closely examining the college game and the dominant spread offenses, and evaluating who the best player for the job would be. There's a reason they were willing to give up an extra 1st round pick to take the guy...they knew damn well the strengths he possesed & identified Mahomes SPECIFICALLY for the job. Now they're reaping the rewards.

There's alot of NFL scouts ..GM's front office execs..who are completely stuck in their ways and haven't adapted and the media parrot alot of it. It's like my favorite draft line I hear every year about how a qb might fail because they've never been under center ignoring how many teams literally spend nearly 80% of their snaps in shotgun. There this stigma with air raid spread qbs from the 90s when they failed because they tried to pigeon hole them into standard west coasts timing offences . Now you have coaches adapting and incorporating the concepts these qbs were comfortable with in college like bill O'Brien and Andy Reid .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The Match Game, Part 3: The Mahomes Conundrum

 

gettyimages-1055538866.jpg?w=1024&h=614&

 

In this three-part series, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar takes a deep dive into how NFL defenses have lost the figurative arms race – and what defensive coaches can do to recover. Part 1 revealed the liabilities inherent in current NFL defensive philosophies. Part 2 took a closer look at the coverage that could bring balance back to NFL defenses. In the conclusion, we discuss the death of defensive innovation, and how match coverage might just reverse that defeatist mentality.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, bills11 said:

There's alot of NFL scouts ..GM's front office execs..who are completely stuck in their ways and haven't adapted and the media parrot alot of it. It's like my favorite draft line I hear every year about how a qb might fail because they've never been under center ignoring how many teams literally spend nearly 80% of their snaps in shotgun. There this stigma with air raid spread qbs from the 90s when they failed because they tried to pigeon hole them into standard west coasts timing offences . Now you have coaches adapting and incorporating the concepts these qbs were comfortable with in college like bill O'Brien and Andy Reid .

 

The whole under centre vs shotgun, pro style vs spread stuff is such overdone poppycock. Is there an adjustment for a guy who has never taken snaps under centre? Yes. Watch the Hard Knocks from Goff's rookie year to see what that process looks like. Is it likely to add more than a few weeks onto the development of a guy who you think can be your franchise guy for a decade? No.

 

My mantra has long been scout concepts not plays. I have reference the Mariucci and Reid interview from NFLN a few weeks ago already on this board but it was really enlightening. Mariucci said to him "Andy we grew up in the same West Coast offense at Green Bay.... where are all those plays we ran together? I don't even recognise what you're running now!" Reid's reply was "they are all still there, it's all the old plays, we just get to them a little differently" and that is the point. The Kansas City Chiefs are not revolutionising football running plays nobody has ever seen before. What they are doing is saying "look, the offensive talent coming out of college is not playing in the Bill Walsh WCO it is playing in these spread systems. How do we run the concepts behind those traditional WCO plays out of spread type formations to help these kids to pick it up and adjust?" It was the same point I made when scouting Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff. People asked whether their games would "translate". My answer was always the same.... they don't need to "translate." Deshaun Watson beat Alabama in the National Championship game on two pass concepts (the fade to Williams and then the rub play on the goalline to the tight end) that the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots use week in and week out. Jared Goff hit a seam route in his bowl game for a score that Drew Brees has made a living out of. The plays didn't look exactly the same... the formations were different, the timing was different, the concepts however were the same. They are the same plays..... the college teams get to them a little differently. That is what you have to scout. If a guy is just throwing bubble screens in college or just throwing on roll outs and half field reads then you can worry about his offense and whether he "translates." If guys are running NFL concepts then take your eyes off the motion, the run-action, the funky or spread formation..... focus on the way the routes interact with where the Quarterback's head appears to be looking. Does that look like a concept you recognise from the NFL? If the answer is yes and the guy is executing them well in college then he has a chance. Doesn't mean he will make it, there are plenty of other variables. But he has a chance.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, BigDingus said:

 

But isn't it amazing how so many analysts still claim QB's like Mahomes aren't pro-ready because colleges are doing them a disservice by running so many spread offenses? 

They seem to miss how the NFL is leaning more & more into running college-style offenses. Yes, the spread offenses in the NFL aren't quite as pronounced as some of the more flagrant examples in college, but Mahomes comes from my Alma mater which is typically one of those "air-raid spread" offenses that get brought up as incompatible with the NFL.

The guy threw for friggin 734 yards in a single game in 2016! SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR! And it wasn't even against some D-2 or D-3 school, it was against the ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Oh, and he managed to set the FBS record with 819 yards of total offense in that game too. People see numbers like that & end up just disregarding the person & calling them scheme-players. But when smart coaches evolve with the game & work a player's strength into their schemes, you put players in a position to succeed. 

Even though Andy Reid was working on his system before this year, you can bet your ass he was closely examining the college game and the dominant spread offenses, and evaluating who the best player for the job would be. There's a reason they were willing to give up an extra 1st round pick to take the guy...they knew damn well the strengths he possesed & identified Mahomes SPECIFICALLY for the job. Now they're reaping the rewards.

That's a really good point - though I've never particularly thought of mainstream and ESPN analysts as experts capable of accurately assessing college talent, it's true that they succumb to old adages about what translates into the NFL, and what doesn't. And for the most part, they would be right about Mahomes maybe 5, 6, 7 years ago. Not because Mahomes didn't have what it takes, but because the offensive schemes being run in the league at that time "demanded" a different type of QB. But what they don't account for is things change, and you can't hang on to every traditional approach every year if you hope to compete and win in the NFL. In the last five years, coaches like Reid have adopted a spread based offense and have tweaked it to fit NFL personnel and present coverage issues in opposing defenses. I have to admit, I was also down on Mahomes (but I'm definitely no expert) for the same reasons. But looking back how can an "air-raid" offense not translate to today's "air-raid" NFL?? That cognitive dissonance is unreal, despite that I was guilty of the same thought.

 

Reid was absolutely observing college offenses and was liking what he saw, and brought in college coaches to help develop the system with Alex Smith per the article. When he realized that, while Smith was a good QB to implement a scheme switch to a spread-based focus, he wasn't the long term answer. He went looking for a QB that could handle this offense AND develop for the future of the scheme - he found his guy in Mahomes, but after reading this, it makes all the more sense how Mahomes has had such success this year, beyond Reid, beyond the talented roster around him, it's ALL he knows. It would be the same thing as us running an entire playbook schemed for play action, short routes, and bootlegs for Allen. Kid lives off the play action because it's what he did for four very competitive years. For Mahomes to come right out of an offense in college that basically gave him a degree in the spread offense, he now had the prerequisite courses to get his graduate degree in the NFL version of that offense. I don't say this to minimize his success, quite the opposite, but this is a great example of how you can still find players to fit your scheme and do it in the right way while still fitting the scheme to maximize the talent of the players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 26CornerBlitz said:

 

The Match Game, Part 3: The Mahomes Conundrum

 

gettyimages-1055538866.jpg?w=1024&h=614&

 

In this three-part series, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar takes a deep dive into how NFL defenses have lost the figurative arms race – and what defensive coaches can do to recover. Part 1 revealed the liabilities inherent in current NFL defensive philosophies. Part 2 took a closer look at the coverage that could bring balance back to NFL defenses. In the conclusion, we discuss the death of defensive innovation, and how match coverage might just reverse that defeatist mentality.

Really a great three part article - and contributes heavily to many of the thread conversations on here regarding both our defense and offense within the modern NFL. I keep waiting for Sunday to see how much our defensive schemes incorporate this into their coverage. I should've read this before responding to the Mahomes comment earlier, but it does certainly highlight how the scheme he was drafted for allows him to maximize both his ability and what's familiar for him.

 

While it's hard to judge our offense in any regard at the moment, especially with our vastly limited playbook due to the QB situation. I want to equally see us implement some of these tight formation concepts that really confuse defenses and create situations like the Kupp TD. I do see us running a good amount of hank and some mesh concept routes as they seem to fit to our QBs strengths - but I remember watching the Kupp TD against the Saints (referenced in part 3) in real time and just attributing it to blown coverage and the Rams being good, but the play was schemed to be exactly what we saw without realizing; tight 11 personnel with a mesh concept crossing route called and executed at the perfect time. Sure, that explanation is most every play in the NFL and that one happened to work at that time, but seeing it explained out is rather enlightening to how the modern NFL offenses we are pining away for are actually just pretty base concepts from college and even high school, tweaked to attack an otherwise antiquated defensive philosophy of the league. Further hamstringed by the rule changes, Bowen and Riddick are right - it's only going to get worse until DCs and HCs step up and start to develop new schemes in response. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ctk232 said:

Really a great three part article - and contributes heavily to many of the thread conversations on here regarding both our defense and offense within the modern NFL. I keep waiting for Sunday to see how much our defensive schemes incorporate this into their coverage. I should've read this before responding to the Mahomes comment earlier, but it does certainly highlight how the scheme he was drafted for allows him to maximize both his ability and what's familiar for him.

 

While it's hard to judge our offense in any regard at the moment, especially with our vastly limited playbook due to the QB situation. I want to equally see us implement some of these tight formation concepts that really confuse defenses and create situations like the Kupp TD. I do see us running a good amount of hank and some mesh concept routes as they seem to fit to our QBs strengths - but I remember watching the Kupp TD against the Saints (referenced in part 3) in real time and just attributing it to blown coverage and the Rams being good, but the play was schemed to be exactly what we saw without realizing; tight 11 personnel with a mesh concept crossing route called and executed at the perfect time. Sure, that explanation is most every play in the NFL and that one happened to work at that time, but seeing it explained out is rather enlightening to how the modern NFL offenses we are pining away for are actually just pretty base concepts from college and even high school, tweaked to attack an otherwise antiquated defensive philosophy of the league. Further hamstringed by the rule changes, Bowen and Riddick are right - it's only going to get worse until DCs and HCs step up and start to develop new schemes in response. 

 

We always see innovation and borrowing in the NFL that become cyclical trends.  Defenses will eventually adjust because they will have to and then we'll see something else emerge that emanates from HS and College. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, GunnerBill said:

 

The whole under centre vs shotgun, pro style vs spread stuff is such overdone poppycock. Is there an adjustment for a guy who has never taken snaps under centre? Yes. Watch the Hard Knocks from Goff's rookie year to see what that process looks like. Is it likely to add more than a few weeks onto the development of a guy who you think can be your franchise guy for a decade? No.

 

My mantra has long been scout concepts not plays. I have reference the Mariucci and Reid interview from NFLN a few weeks ago already on this board but it was really enlightening. Mariucci said to him "Andy we grew up in the same West Coast offense at Green Bay.... where are all those plays we ran together? I don't even recognise what you're running now!" Reid's reply was "they are all still there, it's all the old plays, we just get to them a little differently" and that is the point. The Kansas City Chiefs are not revolutionising football running plays nobody has ever seen before. What they are doing is saying "look, the offensive talent coming out of college is not playing in the Bill Walsh WCO it is playing in these spread systems. How do we run the concepts behind those traditional WCO plays out of spread type formations to help these kids to pick it up and adjust?" It was the same point I made when scouting Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff. People asked whether their games would "translate". My answer was always the same.... they don't need to "translate." Deshaun Watson beat Alabama in the National Championship game on two pass concepts (the fade to Williams and then the rub play on the goalline to the tight end) that the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots use week in and week out. Jared Goff hit a seam route in his bowl game for a score that Drew Brees has made a living out of. The plays didn't look exactly the same... the formations were different, the timing was different, the concepts however were the same. They are the same plays..... the college teams get to them a little differently. That is what you have to scout. If a guy is just throwing bubble screens in college or just throwing on roll outs and half field reads then you can worry about his offense and whether he "translates." If guys are running NFL concepts then take your eyes off the motion, the run-action, the funky or spread formation..... focus on the way the routes interact with where the Quarterback's head appears to be looking. Does that look like a concept you recognise from the NFL? If the answer is yes and the guy is executing them well in college then he has a chance. Doesn't mean he will make it, there are plenty of other variables. But he has a chance.

Had to look up this interview after reading this. It makes more sense than not, and makes me wonder why analysts have always touted old adages with "translation." I fall victim to the same thing by watching and repeating them, too. But it makes sense the way Reid puts it out there. It's interesting how something simple can have such a drastic affect on a league that's just gotten too comfortable in traditional packages and schemes on a widespread level. 

 

What's even funnier is after having grown up in Philly, the fans basically wanted Reid to go after McNabb's run was done. They called his football schemes "antiquated" "stuck in his ways" and "old-school" and philly needed more of the new look. So they go to Chip Kelly and much more was in play there, but they seemed to have tried to do the same thing in the wrong way when all they had to do was look at what their draft talent was doing in college.

3 minutes ago, 26CornerBlitz said:

 

We always see innovation and borrowing in the NFL that become cyclical trends.  Defenses will eventually adjust because they will have to and then we'll see something else emerge that emanates from HS and College. 

I always find it funny how the NFL is the pinnacle of football in almost every regard, and it's treated as the ideal form of the game. Yet anytime something new is developed concept-wise, and changes the landscape of the ideal league to "modern," it comes from the HS/College ranks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, ctk232 said:

Had to look up this interview after reading this. It makes more sense than not, and makes me wonder why analysts have always touted old adages with "translation." I fall victim to the same thing by watching and repeating them, too. But it makes sense the way Reid puts it out there. It's interesting how something simple can have such a drastic affect on a league that's just gotten too comfortable in traditional packages and schemes on a widespread level. 

 

What's even funnier is after having grown up in Philly, the fans basically wanted Reid to go after McNabb's run was done. They called his football schemes "antiquated" "stuck in his ways" and "old-school" and philly needed more of the new look.

 

I do think it was time for Reid in Philly though. It had run its course. These things do happen even to really good head coaches. I think John Harbaugh (who I think is an excellent Head Coach and is yet another from the Andy Reid tree) is maybe experiencing it now in Baltimore. 

 

But I never thought Andy Reid was done because it ran its course in Philly. Kansas City were always going to be glad they made the decision to hire him. 

 

But Chip Kelly was never my cup of tea. I can tell just from his interviews that he is the kind of bloke I wouldn't want to spend more than 10 minutes in a room with. I never bought him as the future of football. Run the same 12 plays to different sides over and over again without huddling and call that a revolution? Come off it the Bills were doing that 20 years earlier and making Superbowls. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×