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X’s and O’s Thread


HoofHearted

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1 hour ago, HappyDays said:

 

I've seen you mention this term before. What is a Pirate game? A specific type of stunt?

Yep. Essentially you want to slant one way with two defensive linemen to collapse the pocket to one side and force the QB to step up opposite the side you are slanting to, and then you wrap a guy around so that the QB steps up right into pressure.

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On 11/16/2023 at 3:10 PM, HoofHearted said:

This whole spacing thing didn’t show up until this year when we started running a mesh concept quite a bit. Mesh creates a rub across the field and uses a snag that sits over top of it. This gives you both a man beater concept and zone beater concept all within the same full field concept. 


IMG_3766.thumb.jpeg.4f8a863d78787f84edbfd08a4eefd5de.jpeg

 

 

Warner said our mesh concept was pure man-beater which he saw as a problem.  

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On 11/22/2023 at 6:57 AM, HoofHearted said:

That wasn’t meant to infer that it didn’t have purpose. We used CoS motions to great effect to get favorable matchups or pull backers out of the box. It also caused confusion multiple times as they didn’t know whether to bump their nickel into the box and bump the backers or whether to carry the nickel across and flip the backers (this is ultimately what they started doing). We used motions out of the backfield to identify coverages as well as to widen backers and open up pass lanes in the middle of the field.

 

My point was the concepts didn’t change from what Dorsey was running, we just dressed them up to make them more effective.

 

EDIT: And to be fair to Dorsey when he did use motions he did it intelligently and with purpose. He just didn’t do it often enough imo.

 

So there’s a TBN article by Mark Gaughn (who is usually pretty fact-based) saying that Dorsey ran motion or pre-snap shifts on 50% of the plays as OC in the first 10 games this season.

 

Brady increased it to 62% vs Jets

 

Under Daboll, he claims it was 39% in 2021 

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On 11/22/2023 at 11:15 AM, Allen2Moulds said:

Warner has always been very critical of Allen and his style of play. All the video shows to me, is look...these are still the same routes. However, Warner fails to address the little tweaks that Brady made, to create better passing windows. Everyone also appeared to be in better sync. Spacing and timing go hand and hand. With Dorsey that seemed to be a little off. Over simplification by Warner if you ask me.

 

From what I’ve watched of Warner’s videos on Allen, that hasn’t been true for some time.  Warner was a pure pocket and timing pattern.  He realized over time that Allen could actually consistently make canonically “bad” throws (across his body to the middle of the field) and his ability to create plays with off-schedule throws he (Warner) could not.  

 

His point last year (haven’t seen one this year) is that Allen was sometimes bailing on an adequate pocket and creating, when he had a choice within the design of the play available.

 

I think your observation about spacing and timing not being in sync is spot on though, and about Brady introducing some little tweaks that helped passing windows.

On 11/17/2023 at 7:49 AM, Simon said:

I've been thinking about this some and I think the way we run option routes is one of the three things that Joe Brady can immediately tweak to make the Bills a better offense.

I don't necessarily mean we should intentionally decrease their usage (which he isn't going to do anyways) but I do think they'd be better off by being more circumspect about exactly who is running those routes. We've seen Davis have multiple issues with his choices, I like Shakir but he isn't very effective with this yet either, Harty has a limited route tree, Sherfield has no chemistry with anyone yet, etc. Diggs is really the only one with the chops for it and Kincaid has enough upside that it's probably worth the growing pains to continue asking him to do it if just to get better with Allen. Outside of those two guys I'd like to see Joe Brady really limit option routes for other guys.

 

Interesting observation on Harty because in his presser about the signing, Beane was ‘selling’ Harty as being able to run all the routes.

 

And of course, Allen was extolling Sherfield as working hard and catching on to the offense quickly in the off-season - so it’s a bit disappointing that didn’t translate into the regular season.

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On 11/24/2023 at 3:44 PM, Beck Water said:

 

So there’s a TBN article by Mark Gaughn (who is usually pretty fact-based) saying that Dorsey ran motion or pre-snap shifts on 50% of the plays as OC in the first 10 games this season.

 

Brady increased it to 62% vs Jets

 

Under Daboll, he claims it was 39% in 2021 

 

This is good info.  Thanks.

 

I've also heard a couple of people criticize Dorsey for using motion pointlessly on some plays.  

 

I don't see how it's ever pointless.  Even if it's a running play and you don't particularly care if the D is in zone or man, you still might want to put a guy in motion to influence the defensive alignment.  Or simply to not telegraph that it's a running play.  

 

You never want to fall into a pattern where, for example, someone can say, "The Bills only use motion in x and y situations."  

 

Random use of motion makes the offense less readable.  

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4 hours ago, hondo in seattle said:

 

This is good info.  Thanks.

 

I've also heard a couple of people criticize Dorsey for using motion pointlessly on some plays.  

 

I don't see how it's ever pointless.  Even if it's a running play and you don't particularly care if the D is in zone or man, you still might want to put a guy in motion to influence the defensive alignment.  Or simply to not telegraph that it's a running play.  

 

You never want to fall into a pattern where, for example, someone can say, "The Bills only use motion in x and y situations."  

 

Random use of motion makes the offense less readable.  

 

I think there's a certain amount of what we might call "retrospective QB'ing" going on.  I don't intend to be directing this at you specifically, it just comes to mind with a couple of your comments.

 

If a play involves pre-snap shifts or motion, or motion at the snap, and it works, then everyone is all-in praising it.  If a play involves shifts or motion and it signally fails to influence the defense or the defense is all over the play anyway, then it's pointless or worse than useless.

 

I think there's some of that with Dorsey.  We hear that he rarely used  motion and therefore the offense was predictable.  Oh, well, actually he used motion about 50% of the time, which was more than 2021 Daboll 39% - well, OK, but the motion he used was pointless.

 

Sure, self-scouting is always important, but it applies to far more than motion.  There can be subtle shifts to how the receivers and OLmen position themselves that can telegraph a play as much as motion or the lack.  If I don't mistake, Bruce Smith was an avid film watcher and would comb through film looking for subtle tells to body and hand position that would signal the play.

Anyway, it may be that Brady will use motion more purposefully or the right motions and not the wrong motions or whatever.   The bottom line will still be, if it works, it's wonderful, if it doesn't, it sucks.  Some people seem to think that Brady entirely remodeled the offense or something.  I don't think he has.  I think the same personnel are pretty much running the same plays.  They may be better sequenced, or better disguised.  I thought Josh made better decisions, more quickly vs Jets.

Postgame, Salah had the interesting comments that the Bills played a patient style of game, that Josh didn't play as much hero ball and was much more decisive.  The only turnover was a Hail Mary at the very end of the 1st half.  I thought there were still some miscues that could have swung either way, but that swung our way last game.  But it was pretty clear in the Denver loss that there was sloppy execution that wasn't getting cleaned up,  week after week.  I don't think Dorsey was fired as a scapegoat, I think he was fired because the buck for offensive miscues stops on the OCs desk.  Maybe there was something in his communication style or the way he ran practices that wasn't getting through to the guys or was having a contrary effect.
 

The question will be, going forward under Brady, is the execution consistently better? 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Beck Water
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On 11/16/2023 at 4:05 PM, 34-78-83 said:

Do you think that Brady will reduce the number of option routes built into pass plays in the current Bills scheme in order to reduce the amount of thinking necessary (by both WR and QB) and to somewhat alleviate how much "perfect execution" will be required to have successful outcomes?


Reducing option routes, having more motion, keeping Davis doing what he does best in deep routes, 3x1 sets, Allen with some timely designed runs, and the person doing motion should be Harty or Isabella given their speed.  Go routes is where they can shine.  Using Cook more as a passing outside option overloading a side.  
 

I know what we need to do.  It’s just they need to execute and that’s the tough part the position coaches have to implement with their players.

 

Lastly, have fun.  At the end of the day it’s a game.  Enjoy it while they have the god given talent to do it.

 

Thats my contribution OP, and I prefer these types of threads, than the fire everyone and witch about players, coaches, and Mgmt.  It does nothing.  And for the record, I’ve been frustrated with a number of areas, but choose not to witch.

 

As far as today, the Eagles are exposed at LB, and Safeties so the middle of the field is where to design plays.  My hope is Kinkaid is used heavily over the middle around 8-11 yards out.

Edited by machine gun kelly
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On 11/24/2023 at 5:44 PM, Beck Water said:

 

So there’s a TBN article by Mark Gaughn (who is usually pretty fact-based) saying that Dorsey ran motion or pre-snap shifts on 50% of the plays as OC in the first 10 games this season.

 

Brady increased it to 62% vs Jets

 

Under Daboll, he claims it was 39% in 2021 

I'm sure this can be confirmed by anyone with a PFF subscription. I think they track pre-snap motions. Wonder how much of that motion came on run plays vs. pass plays. We did run a bunch of short motion stuff to bring Gabe or Shakir in on a short motion into a sniffer position to run out of.

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24 minutes ago, HoofHearted said:

I'm sure this can be confirmed by anyone with a PFF subscription. I think they track pre-snap motions. Wonder how much of that motion came on run plays vs. pass plays. We did run a bunch of short motion stuff to bring Gabe or Shakir in on a short motion into a sniffer position to run out of.

 

Yea, I remember noticing this with Dorsey a lot too. Almost to the point where it was such a tendency, receiver motions into the backfield or slot as a blocker, you kinda wanted to see them develop some pass plays off of it. Because teams gameplanning for the Bills had to have that as one of their run keys.

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6 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

Yea, I remember noticing this with Dorsey a lot too. Almost to the point where it was such a tendency, receiver motions into the backfield or slot as a blocker, you kinda wanted to see them develop some pass plays off of it. Because teams gameplanning for the Bills had to have that as one of their run keys.

They did pass out of it occasionally. 

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1 hour ago, HoofHearted said:

I'm sure this can be confirmed by anyone with a PFF subscription. I think they track pre-snap motions. Wonder how much of that motion came on run plays vs. pass plays. We did run a bunch of short motion stuff to bring Gabe or Shakir in on a short motion into a sniffer position to run out of.

 

Or the competing service - Sports Information Solutions I think?  I subscribe to neither, unfortunately.

 

Anyway, it's a very valid point that the number alone doesn't give us info on whether the motion occurred on a run play, a pass play, or some flavor of option play - and to the point of the OP I was responding to, motion may indeed never be pointless but motion can be a "tell" if self-scouting isn't on top of that.

 

I seem to remember that pre-season, the media covering the Bills was all over some creativity Dorsey showed with 2 TE sets, where Kincaid might be split then motion in tight like a run play but they'd still pass, or vice versa. 

Of course, 2 TE sets have been a bit less of an option the last 4 games and arguably a couple before that with Knox hampered by injury then on IR

 

1 hour ago, GunnerBill said:

 

Yea, I remember noticing this with Dorsey a lot too. Almost to the point where it was such a tendency, receiver motions into the backfield or slot as a blocker, you kinda wanted to see them develop some pass plays off of it. Because teams gameplanning for the Bills had to have that as one of their run keys.

 

I don't recall receivers motioning into the backfield as blockers, can you say more about this?  Who, what, when?  We've tried bringing Gabe Davis in tight as a blocker on run plays, then having him leak out but I think we kind of "went to the well too often" on that.  I'm not saying it hasn't happened with a WR to block, just that I hadn't noted it.  Gabe, maybe, but has Shakir really come on enough as a blocker to be good there?  Maybe give Gilliam or Morris a try if that's what's wanted, they can both run routes and catch enough to present options

 

I've got a total non-sequitor of a technical question though.  When I've seen Dawson Knox in what I think is meant by that "sniffer" position (about a yard behind the line, between G and T), his stance is almost flat backed but with his arms pulled back to his belt, so his elbows are sticking out.  I assume that's what Boras is coaching him to do, but I haven't noted that from other TE.  Is there some advantage to this as a blocker?

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40 minutes ago, Beck Water said:

I don't recall receivers motioning into the backfield as blockers, can you say more about this?  Who, what, when?  We've tried bringing Gabe Davis in tight as a blocker on run plays, then having him leak out but I think we kind of "went to the well too often" on that.  I'm not saying it hasn't happened with a WR to block, just that I hadn't noted it.  Gabe, maybe, but has Shakir really come on enough as a blocker to be good there? 

 

Yea mainly Gabe. But Shakir to a lesser extent and even some Sherfield. They would get to the line. Josh looked at the defense, then stepped back and they motion one of the receivers in tight or into the backfield and they almost always followed that with a run. It was something I noticed a lot with Dorsey. @HoofHearted says they did occasionally pass out of it and I am sure he is right I haven't broken it down or anything but in my perception watching games when they did that it ordinarily meant run. My assumption was always that it meant they weren't changing the play but they need to tweak the formation to make the play they had called work, so they'd motion a receiver tighter before they snapped it.

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30 minutes ago, Coach Tuesday said:


I mean there is literally a term for this, where do you think Monday Morning Quarterbacking came from?  🤣🤣

 

I think I'm talking about a somewhat different phenomenon.  "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" to me is where after a specific game, the fans second guess the play calls, "that was a stupid call in this situation" and even the game plan "why did we get away from the run, it was working".  For a specific game.

 

I'm talking about a phenomenon I see where fans retrospectively critique the OC's overall approach, paying no mind to whether what they claim is actually borne out by facts.  That's where we get stuff like people claiming that Dorsey will be found to have been the Bills worst OC ever and Brady is just so dramatically different, when they're running the same scheme and even the same plays with the same players in the same roles.   Or that Dorsey rarely used motion and Brady used it a dramatically different amount, when it's 50% vs 62% which is higher, but it's not "rare" vs "lots", it's "lots" vs "more" or maybe "different".

 

That doesn't mean that Brady might not be a more effective OC, because in football the "devil is in the details" of preparation and execution and even things like sequence of how plays are called and details of how they're disguised, or what the motion is.  We all hope so!

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14 minutes ago, Beck Water said:

 

I think I'm talking about a somewhat different phenomenon.  "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" to me is where after a specific game, the fans second guess the play calls, "that was a stupid call in this situation" and even the game plan "why did we get away from the run, it was working".  For a specific game.

 

I'm talking about a phenomenon I see where fans retrospectively critique the OC's overall approach, paying no mind to whether what they claim is actually borne out by facts.  That's where we get stuff like people claiming that Dorsey will be found to have been the Bills worst OC ever and Brady is just so dramatically different, when they're running the same scheme and even the same plays with the same players in the same roles.   Or that Dorsey rarely used motion and Brady used it a dramatically different amount, when it's 50% vs 62% which is higher, but it's not "rare" vs "lots", it's "lots" vs "more" or maybe "different".

 

That doesn't mean that Brady might not be a more effective OC, because in football the "devil is in the details" of preparation and execution and even things like sequence of how plays are called and details of how they're disguised, or what the motion is.  We all hope so!

Other than watching football for decades, I am hardly an expert. So, this is impressionistic, rather than numbers analysis like you hard core folks do. It seemed like Dorsey's use of the run game was random or sometimes apparently stubborn to the point of absurdity (Goal line shotgun runs or not using Josh Allen on fourth-and-one when the qb sneak appeared a no-brainer.) If Brady can truly integrate the run game into some tactically meaningful sequences, that would be a significant improvement. For whatever reason, the way Dorsey called a game was predictable. Apart from that, I still think our relative weakness at WR2 is a constant drag on the offense. Hopefully, Brady will find the right folks to emphasize, week-to-week.

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8 hours ago, Dr. Who said:

Other than watching football for decades, I am hardly an expert. So, this is impressionistic, rather than numbers analysis like you hard core folks do. It seemed like Dorsey's use of the run game was random or sometimes apparently stubborn to the point of absurdity (Goal line shotgun runs or not using Josh Allen on fourth-and-one when the qb sneak appeared a no-brainer.) If Brady can truly integrate the run game into some tactically meaningful sequences, that would be a significant improvement. For whatever reason, the way Dorsey called a game was predictable. Apart from that, I still think our relative weakness at WR2 is a constant drag on the offense. Hopefully, Brady will find the right folks to emphasize, week-to-week.

 

This is looking like a simultaneous “did not age well” and “clarvoyance at work”

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@HoofHeartedCan you give some education on decision criteria for option routes in our scheme?  What are the reads, when do the receiver/QB make the read, and how clearly or how much room for ambiguity are the decisions.

 

On longer option routes the QB has to throw before the receiver even makes his decision.  Can they both be right based on when they have to make the decision?

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20 hours ago, Rew said:

@HoofHeartedCan you give some education on decision criteria for option routes in our scheme?  What are the reads, when do the receiver/QB make the read, and how clearly or how much room for ambiguity are the decisions.

 

On longer option routes the QB has to throw before the receiver even makes his decision.  Can they both be right based on when they have to make the decision?

It really just depends on the concept. I haven’t had a chance to look at it at all, but if I can find time this week to take a look I’ll do a breakdown of it on here.

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