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Inigo Montoya

Defending Allen in "empty" this year will be brutal

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I think he runs for 800 yards this year and a lot of that will come when empty.  He is gonna have lanes for days if they try to blitz with these weapons. 

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8 hours ago, MJS said:

Sounds nice, but it isn't usually that simple. They'll be blitzing and it's up to Allen to find the open man before they get there. Plus, if they are playing press coverage as well it can take a bit for the receivers to get off the line.

 

Whatever offensive scheme you put out there, there's a correct defense to defend it. So you try to exploit specific matchups and get them into a defensive package that you can exploit as well. And you can't be predictable because then they'll always have the right defense out there.

 

Diggs will help a ton because there aren't many corners who can cover him one on one due to his quickness and precise route running. He explodes out of his breaks to gain separation and even if the defender stays with him, he is great at making the contested catch. Should open up the offense a lot IF Allen continues to progress and takes advantage of it.

Everything you say is true.  Allen with an empty backfield can be lethal for defenses, but that will depend on Allen continuing to improve his ability to read the blitz and react quickly and accurately.  What makes the empty backfield potentially more effective for Josh Allen than for many QBs is his mobility and running ability.  With an empty backfield, you're forcing the defense into a nickel or dime alignment.  The defense either has to commit to either trying to cover five potential receivers or blitzing.  If they commit to coverage, there will likely be running lanes for Allen.  If they blitz, somebody will be open.  It's a chess game.  The offense may find potential advantages, but too take full advantage, you need a smart QB with an expansive skill set

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Given that Smoke and Allen already have chemistry I gotta think that Brown will have an even better year than last! I’m cautiously optimistic but this offense should take a big step!! They should really stretch defenses making it riskier to all out blitz. Especially with Diggs!! One mistake and he takes it to the house!!!

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As others have said, Allen has to handle the blitz.  That's up to Daboll scheming properly and Allen executing.   

 

I agree that the possibilities are almost endless.  Once you have quality speed in two receivers which the Bills have in Diggs and Brown, everything opens up.  You can have Foster or McKenzoe on the field.  You can have Knox and Beasley roaming all over the empty spaces.  You can have Singletary threatening every part of the field. 

 

In a different thread I was talking about Wade, who has the potential to be like Sproles.  Line him up as the sole rb with four wide, then shift him to empty the backfield.  Like Siingletary but probably better speed.   Now you have to defend the bubble screens and the rubs. 

 

And as others have said, the field is now wide open if you have a QB who can run.  Oh, right.  Check that box too.  

 

Oline has to perform.  Skill positions collectively are a really tough group to defend. 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Inigo Montoya said:

Both Daboll and Allen seem to like the "Empty" formation with 5 receivers and no RB in the backfield.  I have tried to find some stats that break down how often the Bills used this formation compared to other sets on pass plays last season, but I haven't been able to find them on line.

 

The addition of Diggs this year completely changes this formation for opposing teams to defend.  Defenses would typically sub into their Nickle or Dime packages and move a safety over to John Brown's side to cheat on him and cover him high boxing him between the corner and the safety.  That takes two of the 5 or 6 DB/LB out of the play covering Brown leaving 3 or 4 DBs / LB to cover the other four receivers in the play.

 

Now defenses are going to have to cheat to Diggs side with that safety coverage over the top which will leave Brown with a single defender.  Can they double Brown too?  They are running out of DBs to cover all of the receivers on the line now.  Do you put Foster and McKenzie out there with Diggs and Brown and have them all sprint deep and clear out the entire middle of the field for Beasley on a quick slant to the middle?  That play sounds like an easy 7-10 yards 4 out of 5 times. Do you curl Beasley and Duke into the middle of the field and pull coverage down into the box and leave a corner one on one with Diggs, Brown, and Foster streaking straight down the field? One of those guys is going to have one on one coverage with no safety help over top and will be there for a big play.

 

There are only so many CBs to go around.  Who ends up with the LB or Safety on him... Foster, McKenzie, Beasley?  I'll take that match up every time.

 

What happens when Daboll has all the receivers run deep and then pulls the guard, Allen tucks the ball and runs behind those big O-lineman into the cleared out side of the field.  Let Allen get a couple nice chunks of yardage on that play and now the D-Coordinator is going to have to worry about dropping all his LBs into coverage to help his DBs on these empty sets.  If Allen sees the LBs cheating into coverage he audibles to the run play.  If the LBs are tight to the line, he sticks with the pass play.  What a nightmare for the defense.  

 

You just have to pick your poison if you are the defensive coordinator and decide who you are going to cheat on and just pray you don't get burned.

 

The amount of variations and twists and different combinations that Daboll will be able to scheme up with this "empty" formation will be crazy this year and I expect that we are going to see tons of this 5 WR set this season.  The line should give Allen the time and now he has the weapons out there with Diggs in the mix to make it very dangerous for defenses to cheat.  I'd love to see Beane pick up a vet WR4 like Rashard Higgins and let him push Duke, Foster, McKenzie and the rookie WR in camp to get on the field.

 

I don't think Allen is going to have too much trouble throwing for 300 yards in a game this season.   This is going to be fun to watch.

 

One or both of Foster or McKenzie won’t make the team, IMO, but good post.

Edited by ScottLaw
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1 hour ago, Shaw66 said:

As others have said, Allen has to handle the blitz.  That's up to Daboll scheming properly and Allen executing.   

 

I agree that the possibilities are almost endless.  Once you have quality speed in two receivers which the Bills have in Diggs and Brown, everything opens up.  You can have Foster or McKenzoe on the field.  You can have Knox and Beasley roaming all over the empty spaces.  You can have Singletary threatening every part of the field. 

 

In a different thread I was talking about Wade, who has the potential to be like Sproles.  Line him up as the sole rb with four wide, then shift him to empty the backfield.  Like Siingletary but probably better speed.   Now you have to defend the bubble screens and the rubs. 

 

And as others have said, the field is now wide open if you have a QB who can run.  Oh, right.  Check that box too.  

 

Oline has to perform.  Skill positions collectively are a really tough group to defend. 

This has nothing to do with this topic, but I’m confused by Wade. If he is only going to be a PS guy what’s the point? No one seems to think he has a shot at making the roster and he’s pushing thirty.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, chris heff said:

This has nothing to do with this topic, but I’m confused by Wade. If he is only going to be a PS guy what’s the point? No one seems to think he has a shot at making the roster and he’s pushing thirty.

A feel good story and it brings more international attention to the game. 

Edited by CommonCents

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, MJS said:

Sounds nice, but it isn't usually that simple. They'll be blitzing and it's up to Allen to find the open man before they get there. Plus, if they are playing press coverage as well it can take a bit for the receivers to get off the line.

 

Whatever offensive scheme you put out there, there's a correct defense to defend it. So you try to exploit specific matchups and get them into a defensive package that you can exploit as well. And you can't be predictable because then they'll always have the right defense out there.

 

Diggs will help a ton because there aren't many corners who can cover him one on one due to his quickness and precise route running. He explodes out of his breaks to gain separation and even if the defender stays with him, he is great at making the contested catch. Should open up the offense a lot IF Allen continues to progress and takes advantage of it.

 

Diggs is a much better hot route target against the blitz than Beasley precisely because of his explosiveness. Bease can take too long to get open. 

Edited by Motorin'

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But will their O-line be able to handle it and Josh figure out quickly enough where to go with the ball?  Seems like that was an area he struggled in alot last year against the all out blitz.  If I were the defensive coordinator, think that's how'd I'd defend it as can't match up with the WR so don't give him any time to think.

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To me the sweet spot is 11 personnel.  With Diggs they will be dangerous and can dictate to the D.

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38 minutes ago, Just Joshin' said:

To me the sweet spot is 11 personnel.  With Diggs they will be dangerous and can dictate to the D.

Correct.

 

The missing piece is NOT a WR for this personnel set it is a true dual threat RB ala Thurman.

 

I believe that will be the focus in the draft.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, chris heff said:

This has nothing to do with this topic, but I’m confused by Wade. If he is only going to be a PS guy what’s the point? No one seems to think he has a shot at making the roster and he’s pushing thirty.


It’s not common in the NFL because the sport is so American driven at a young age. But it makes a bunch of sense. Take a guy who measures off the charts physiologically and teach him the game. There aren’t a ton of examples of guys who have NEVER played the game, so athletes are sort of siloed. It’s a relatively small investment that could have a good payoff if you give him 2 years. I doubt it hurts weekly prep even the slightest. I would rather spend 140k per year on a guy with crazy high measurable (even by NFL standards) who has never played the game, then a guy who is meh physiologically (NFL standard) and hasn’t been able to sniff elite in his 15 years dedicated to the sport. 
 

Other countries do this all the time for Olympic athletes. They’ll test men/women, see if there is a sport that suits their physiology best. Some can win an Olympic medal in a single quadrennial.

 

https://www.uksport.gov.uk/our-work/talent-id/athlete-success-stories

Edited by Mango
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8 hours ago, MrEpsYtown said:

The problem with Daboll’s empty formation is that two of the five guys In the formation are DiMarco and Lee Smith. They don’t use a true 5 WR formation, they use it as a way to create a mismatch. They go empty with 21 personnel. 

Spot on, I suppose they could adjust it to motor and Knox and the 3 receivers. Shift out of run and spread everyone out sounds great in theory. 

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53 minutes ago, Mango said:


It’s not common in the NFL because the sport is so American driven at a young age. But it makes a bunch of sense. Take a guy who measures off the charts physiologically and teach him the game. There aren’t a ton of examples of guys who have NEVER played the game, so athletes are sort of siloed. It’s a relatively small investment that could have a good payoff if you give him 2 years. I doubt it hurts weekly prep even the slightest. I would rather spend 140k per year on a guy with crazy high measurable (even by NFL standards) who has never played the game, then a guy who is meh physiologically (NFL standard) and hasn’t been able to sniff elite in his 15 years dedicated to the sport. 
 

Other countries do this all the time for Olympic athletes. They’ll test men/women, see if there is a sport that suits their physiology best. Some can win an Olympic medal in a single quadrennial.

 

https://www.uksport.gov.uk/our-work/talent-id/athlete-success-stories

I'll add to that a couple things.

 

First, the running back position is the easiest position to transition into from college, and even the college running backs don't have a lot training.   It's largely an instinctive position.   So if there's a position where superior talent can rise easily, it's running back.

 

Second, he's now had a full-year to learn.   That year probably was sufficient to teach him everything running backs have learned through college.  He's learned how to line up, how the play starts, that performance is based on learning the script for the play and doing it.    He's learned all that.   And it was easy to learn, because although rugby has different rules, he's lived in the same kind of environment.   Where do you line up, where does the play start, all that.   So it's not like learning to talk, it's more like learning a second language.   This  season was going to be like a college guy's rookie season.  He's now sort of caught up to the rookies, so he has, I think the same kind of likelihood of success that a rookie does.   In other words, possible success. 

 

Third, the little we saw of him last season suggested that he has refined ball carrying skills - his speed, power, change of direction, quickness all look like they are NFL caliber.  Again, this isn't surprising, because he's been playing rugby at a high level for a long time.   His position in rugby required him to be a broken field runner.  Why wouldn't he look good doing it in football?

 

As I said, I think this season he will be the functional equivalent of a rookie from college.   That's why I don't dismiss him.  

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I don't think Daboll go all Freddy Kitchens and make all 5 second plays. 7-9 step drops... Diggs can run routes so go ahead blitz, I know 2 of three WRs that will, and maybe a TE, or even a shifty RB will be open. 

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15 hours ago, Inigo Montoya said:

Both Daboll and Allen seem to like the "Empty" formation with 5 receivers and no RB in the backfield.  I have tried to find some stats that break down how often the Bills used this formation compared to other sets on pass plays last season, but I haven't been able to find them on line.

 

The addition of Diggs this year completely changes this formation for opposing teams to defend.  Defenses would typically sub into their Nickle or Dime packages and move a safety over to John Brown's side to cheat on him and cover him high boxing him between the corner and the safety.  That takes two of the 5 or 6 DB/LB out of the play covering Brown leaving 3 or 4 DBs / LB to cover the other four receivers in the play.

 

Now defenses are going to have to cheat to Diggs side with that safety coverage over the top which will leave Brown with a single defender.  Can they double Brown too?  They are running out of DBs to cover all of the receivers on the line now.  Do you put Foster and McKenzie out there with Diggs and Brown and have them all sprint deep and clear out the entire middle of the field for Beasley on a quick slant to the middle?  That play sounds like an easy 7-10 yards 4 out of 5 times. Do you curl Beasley and Duke into the middle of the field and pull coverage down into the box and leave a corner one on one with Diggs, Brown, and Foster streaking straight down the field? One of those guys is going to have one on one coverage with no safety help over top and will be there for a big play.

 

There are only so many CBs to go around.  Who ends up with the LB or Safety on him... Foster, McKenzie, Beasley?  I'll take that match up every time.

 

What happens when Daboll has all the receivers run deep and then pulls the guard, Allen tucks the ball and runs behind those big O-lineman into the cleared out side of the field.  Let Allen get a couple nice chunks of yardage on that play and now the D-Coordinator is going to have to worry about dropping all his LBs into coverage to help his DBs on these empty sets.  If Allen sees the LBs cheating into coverage he audibles to the run play.  If the LBs are tight to the line, he sticks with the pass play.  What a nightmare for the defense.  

 

You just have to pick your poison if you are the defensive coordinator and decide who you are going to cheat on and just pray you don't get burned.

 

The amount of variations and twists and different combinations that Daboll will be able to scheme up with this "empty" formation will be crazy this year and I expect that we are going to see tons of this 5 WR set this season.  The line should give Allen the time and now he has the weapons out there with Diggs in the mix to make it very dangerous for defenses to cheat.  I'd love to see Beane pick up a vet WR4 like Rashard Higgins and let him push Duke, Foster, McKenzie and the rookie WR in camp to get on the field.

 

I don't think Allen is going to have too much trouble throwing for 300 yards in a game this season.   This is going to be fun to watch.

 

 

So correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the time we saw empty backfields, there was still 11 personnel on the field.  We'd just split a RB and TE out wide as well.  Put them in interesting orders, though, like putting the TE on one side (or a TE and RB on one side) and everyone else on the other, forcing a CB over to cover the TE, would be interesting.  Especially since they'd be more likely to be in their base defense or nickel defense then in a dime formation.  Still, you could end up with the same situation you talk about here.

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10 hours ago, Aireskoi said:

 

They ran some type of 21 grouping 11% last year. 

 

They did not use a 5 wide set at all, or a 4 wide with a TE.

 

This offense was mostly 11 (1 back, 1 TE, 3 WR)personnel last year at 60%.  This was the 3rd highest percent in the NFL according to Sharp Football Stats.

 

https://www.sharpfootballstats.com/personnel-grouping-frequency.html

 

 

He had 18 sacks on 300 drop backs with that personnel.

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6 hours ago, chris heff said:

This has nothing to do with this topic, but I’m confused by Wade. If he is only going to be a PS guy what’s the point? No one seems to think he has a shot at making the roster and he’s pushing thirty.

 

What's the disadvantage?  Worst case is it gives the Bills an extra guy on the Scout team each week for 2 years.

Best case it gives them an extra shot at a guy who can play.

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