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Analysis of Emmanual Sanders Film (Athletic, Joe B)


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https://theathletic.com/2483908/2021/03/30/watching-all-of-emmanuel-sanders-2020-snaps-to-understand-his-fit-with-the-bills/?source=emp_shared_article  (Athletic, paywall, $1 trial available)

 

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Last year, in adding Stefon Diggs to the roster, the Bills made a clear statement about what they valued in their receivers and what they believed was best for Josh Allen. They sacrificed size for separation and focused on adding players who could provide a bigger throwing window for Allen with their footwork. Sanders fits this mold and displays all of the team’s highly valued traits, even if he’s past his prime.

 

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From a basic level, the first thing that stands out is the versatility Sanders provides. The Saints used him in all three receiver roles throughout the season, though he primarily lined up as the Z-receiver. Sanders is quite comfortable and has the skill set to play the X-receiver role and the slot.

 

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Regardless of the position, though, it’s his suddenness that pops out on film. It begins right at the line of scrimmage, with Sanders bursting out of his stance much more quickly than you’d expect from a receiver in his age range. It helps his release at the line of scrimmage, as he combines a good burst with quick feet to put a defender on their backfoot if they hesitate slightly.....He uses that initial burst to accelerate rapidly, which immediately puts a zone-sitting defender at a disadvantage

 

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But what makes him such a dangerous receiver is how he sets up his breaks. Sanders can pop in and out of his cuts seamlessly, creating a pick your poison effect with a zone or off-man defender. Defenders can play it aggressively by anticipating the break because he runs most of his routes underneath, while also running the risk that Sanders will give one deceptive step and zoom past for a potential deep throw. Or, defenders could play it conservatively, keep everything in front of them and allow Sanders to take the underneath. The trouble with that approach is that Sanders is so sudden and deceptive with his footwork that he can get into his break quickly for maximum separation.

 

All this sounds wonderful, but then Buscaglia flags a game where Sanders was neutralized in the same way our receivers were in the AFCCG:
 

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The most significant limitation from his film last season usually happened against physical cornerbacks lining up in press coverage. It happened occasionally early in the season, but it became a more prominent issue down the stretch of the year — especially against Kansas City in Week 15 and then against Chicago and Tampa Bay in the playoffs. When the cornerback puts a jam on Sanders, his smaller frame (5-foot-11, 180-pounds) fights through to continue the route, but without the breakaway speed, it can become a lost play for Sanders if he doesn’t get a free release.

 

Joe concludes:

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After watching all of Sanders’ snaps from 2019, he looked like a receiver who’s perfectly suited to what the Bills covet in the position. It also looked like there were many yards left on the field for Sanders due to below-average quarterbacking, whether it was with the arm strength and placement of Drew Brees or with the processing of Taysom Hill.

 

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  • Hapless Bills Fan changed the title to Analysis of Emmanual Sanders Film (Athletic, Joe B)
1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

All this sounds wonderful, but then Buscaglia flags a game where Sanders was neutralized in the same way our receivers were in the AFCCG:
 

Then I guess we need Davis and Hodgins to step up! They're big (Davis) and tall (Hodgins).

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I have long advocated signing Sanders as a perfect fit for us / Allen - even before the Broncos traded him to the 49ers due to cap woes. JoeB's assessment is spot on. 

 

With respect to his weakness vs. Physical receivers - yes the slight frame and a lack of aggressive arm moves to disengage hurt him. I have always felt that he can benefit by being lined up next to another great receiver - say, Diggs, - then the choice for his defender is do you double cover Diggs or jam Sanders and either one is poisonous.

 

I also feel that McClappy should complain to the refs more to get the Interference calls. Cant let KC type CBs maul the receivers.

Edited by IgotBILLStopay
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8 minutes ago, Jobot said:

The one weakness won't even matter if the Bills can solidify a run game and get some TE production. Great signing.

 

this is just it.  instead of getting a calvin johnson type murder machine wr who can be open while being grabbed, the biggest return to our O with all of the hard to cover WRs and JA17 lacing ropes is getting some kind of real production out fo the RB and TE positions, pass and run.  i suppose they are just convinced knox is about to turn a corner, or that new guy the signed is a sound player, but a couple outlets a game to gash the d would be the body shot compliment to the head kick ko's our O swings all day.

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

https://theathletic.com/2483908/2021/03/30/watching-all-of-emmanuel-sanders-2020-snaps-to-understand-his-fit-with-the-bills/?source=emp_shared_article  (Athletic, paywall, $1 trial available)

 

 

 

 

 

All this sounds wonderful, but then Buscaglia flags a game where Sanders was neutralized in the same way our receivers were in the AFCCG:
 

 

Joe concludes:

 

 

 

I'm a fan of Sanders but not a fan of the "same-ness" of their WR corps.

 

We all know that Allen isn't yet adept at deep accuracy/touch/timing but they had a greater need for a legit deep threat with either an extra gear to get an overthrown ball or a huge catch radius.......or preferably both.     That would complement the existing talent so much better, IMO.    More room for RAC and less contested throws underneath.   Probably create more running room for the backs.

 

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Good post and summary of the article.

I think Sanders has still got it, and I actually think he's a slight upgrade over Brown for 2021. Sanders doesn't have the speed he used to have (neither does Brown), but I love the versatility and the continuing ability to get separation. Do I still want the classic speed burner on the roster? Yes. But do I like the overall skill set of 34 year old Emmanuel Sanders more than that of, say, 24 year old Marquise Goodwin? Definitely.

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I have a different thought - I think Sanders could be the insurance in case Beasley is slow to return from his broken leg. And right now i think it is Diggs,  Davis and Beasley...with Sanders as 4th with McKenzie a in there too. Not sure I see Sanders as the #2 - I think that is Davis now....

 

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1 hour ago, IgotBILLStopay said:

I have long advocated signing Sanders as a perfect fit for us / Allen - even before the Broncos traded him to the 49ers due to cap woes. JoeB's assessment is spot on. 

 

With respect to his weakness vs. Physical receivers - yes the slight frame and a lack of aggressive arm moves to disengage hurt him. I have always felt that he can benefit by being lined up next to another great receiver - say, Diggs, - then the choice for his defender is do you double cover Diggs or jam Sanders and either one is poisonous.

 

I also feel that McClappy should complain to the refs more to get the Interference calls. Cant let KC type CBs maul the receivers.

 

If press man is a concern, stack and bunch your receivers.  Maybe move them closer to the QB, or get playmakers in motion.  Don't just assume what you've been doing will work.   

 

I was less concerned with the holding "press" coverage, and more concerned with the offensive lines inability to protect.  Jones wrecked buffalo that game.  

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20 hours ago, Desert Bills Fan said:

I have a different thought - I think Sanders could be the insurance in case Beasley is slow to return from his broken leg. And right now i think it is Diggs,  Davis and Beasley...with Sanders as 4th with McKenzie a in there too. Not sure I see Sanders as the #2 - I think that is Davis now....

 

This is exactly how I see his role too.  Too many people see Brown out and Sanders in and think he’s the replacement.  He’s not.  His skill set is just too different from Brown’s, who’s job it was to be a speed receiver and who lined up at X.  But it’s just like Beasley’s, who is shifty and lines up in the slot.  Sanders will take Beasley’s spot if he can’t go or when he needs a breather and he’ll be the second Z on 4 and 5 WR sets.  It was a good signing because we definitely needed that, but it doesn’t solve our other WR need. 


Edit:  I meant “in the slot” not “at Z”.  Confused the terminology. 

Edited by BarleyNY
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I watched a bunch of Sanders highlights from this past season, a few take aways would be; Brees’s arm was just shot, put a fork in it level of done,  because of that his receiving stats likely suffered quite a bit, now that Sanders is playing with a QB that has an accurate canon for an arm he should more effective. With ES teamed up with Diggs, Beasley, Davis, McKenzie, Hodgins etc, we  maintain a lethal receiving Corp. Now we just need to fix the run game... 😁👍

Edited by Don Otreply
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1 hour ago, BADOLBILZ said:

I'm a fan of Sanders but not a fan of the "same-ness" of their WR corps.

 

We all know that Allen isn't yet adept at deep accuracy/touch/timing but they had a greater need for a legit deep threat with either an extra gear to get an overthrown ball or a huge catch radius.......or preferably both.     That would complement the existing talent so much better, IMO.    More room for RAC and less contested throws underneath.   Probably create more running room for the backs.

 

 

He was 8th in the NFL last year.

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1 hour ago, BADOLBILZ said:

I'm a fan of Sanders but not a fan of the "same-ness" of their WR corps.

 

We all know that Allen isn't yet adept at deep accuracy/touch/timing but they had a greater need for a legit deep threat with either an extra gear to get an overthrown ball or a huge catch radius.......or preferably both.     That would complement the existing talent so much better, IMO.    More room for RAC and less contested throws underneath.   Probably create more running room for the backs.

 

I guess we'll have to wait to see what the picture is after the rest of FA and the draft.  What do you know about Breida's ability to release off the line and run routes?  Or track balls?

 

 

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4 hours ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

The most significant limitation from his film last season usually happened against physical cornerbacks lining up in press coverage. It happened occasionally early in the season, but it became a more prominent issue down the stretch of the year — especially against Kansas City in Week 15 and then against Chicago and Tampa Bay in the playoffs. When the cornerback puts a jam on Sanders, his smaller frame (5-foot-11, 180-pounds) fights through to continue the route, but without the breakaway speed, it can become a lost play for Sanders if he doesn’t get a free release.

I still maintain our receivers couldn't get the separation we are all used to against KC because of the injuries: Diggs - oblique, Beasley - leg, Davis - leg, Brown - leg

Edited by Never NEVER Give-up
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