Observations: New England vs Denver (30-24)

Man what a game! Here are some of my observations afterwards:

  1. Osweiler is recognizing basic fronts versus the run
    • On the touchdown drive that Hillman scored on, Brock Osweiler made two important checks to get the first down, and then score.
    • On the play before the touchdown to Hillman, he recognized that outside zone called was being run to a vulnerable side where the Broncos did not have the numbers to account for the defenders. If they were to run it to that side, they would not have picked up good yardage because there would be one defender free to hit CJ Anderson for a loss. To remediate the situation, he checked the run to the opposite side so that the run would be run to what is known as the “low shade” by yelling “Frisco, Frisco”. This allowed the Broncos to account for all defenders (numbers) and then get the right leverage on them (leverage). CJ runs it and picks up the first down.
    • On the TD scoring play, Brock Osweiler saw the Jam front NE was aligned in. The “Jam” front is when three DL cover the three interior OL (LG, C, RG). They typically do this to protect versus the interior and keep their Mike clean of any blocks versus the run. Well, when the OC called the play, he called a “can” check which allows the QB to check to a certain play if he gets a certain look from the defense. In this case, if they saw the Jam front from NE, he canned it by yelling “Can, Can” to a pin and pull scheme, which is designed to get to the perimeter away from the Jam front. Hillman takes the toss and runs it in for a TD.
    • The pin and pull scheme in which the offense elects to pull two linemen to the run side and block down on the DL so that the Rb has some blockers to run wide with him. 
    • On the very last play of the game, NE gave the Broncos O the Jam front again. Brock checks it to, you guessed it, the pin and pull scheme, and CJ runs it in for a TD.
    • Now these are simple checks that QBs should be able to make at the collegiate level. But, Brock saw these fronts, did ad the OC instructed him to do, and checked to a better play. These plays were a huge factor in giving the Broncos the W.
  2. Osweiler inexperience plus the Patriots ability to disguise demeanor cost him some hits.
    • Brock got hit a lot in this game. So did Tom Brady. In Brock’s case though, he wasn’t recognizing the Pats D demeanor which cost him some opportunities to check to protections that would keep him safe.
    • So, in his defense, the Patriots did disguise demeanor very well during the game. There were minimal what we call “tall, lean fall” indicators, where the LB’s are almost falling forward in anticipation of blitzing. The depth of these blitzes came at the same depth as if they were about to drop into coverage. The alignment of these blitzes weren’t necessarily stacked over anyone nor were the safeties giving it away either. The Pats D did a good job creating confusion in an inexperienced QB and it showed.
  3. The Broncos D has some adjustment issues it needs to address
    • Ever since the Chicago game, the Denver defense has had trouble adjusting to a TE or RB split out wide in singleback sets. It didn’t really show vs Chicago because Martellus Bennett was covered pretty well by Brandon Marshall and Danny Trvathan. But, now that some skill position players like Gronk, the other NE TE, and their plethora of RB’s have accumulated production against them, other teams will look to do that against them as well.
    • Right now, Wade Phillips is kind of at a crossroads when it comes to a decision like this. Does he change coverage assignments which will change other rules on defense and risk future Missed Assignments (MAs)? Or, does he stay pat with what he has, coach the guys up playing them, and then hope these improvements will hold up? I personally think it’ll be the latter. If this is the case, the LB coach should start implementing one period of backpedaling drills or they should practice covering the Rail route, where the RB goes out in a flat pattern and then runs up the sideline vertically. This will at least make the concern a priority to the players.
  4. I don’t trust Demaryius when the conditions turn cold.
    • His demeanor flat out sucked today. It is clear that he does not want to play out in the cold. I would even go as far to say that I don’t trust him when the weather turns like this.
    • Would you like to know my theory on why he didn’t come back to the ball tonight? No? Well I’m going to tell you anyway!
      • It hurts his hands to catch a cold, wet ball in cold and wet weather
    • Catching a ball in cold and wet weather sucks mainly because it stings. Especially when its being thrown by a QB who chucks it hard. I should also mention the ball is also wet and cold which means your hands are also wet and cold. But I can’t say I have much sympathy for him when Owen Daniels and Emmanuel Sanders are finding ways to deal with it too. You don’t think their hands hurt too? He needed to get over it today, and besides one catch where he was going backwards, he never really did.
    • He also didn’t block worth a damn today which further reinforces my point.
    • He isn’t mentally tough enough to deal with it right now and if the weather gets cold like it did today, I would contemplate putting Andre Caldwell in instead of him. Either this or I would require him to have a hand warmer around his waist with hand warmers inside his hand warmer.
  5. Wade Phillips stunts are still creating pressure in the pass game
    • The “Games” stunt came in pretty handy for wade Phillips today, as he was able to generate pressure on Tom Brady using what our offense calls a DBL TE (Double stunt by the Ts and the Es).
    • If you haven’t heard of it before, its when the Tackles attack the OT’s and the E’s (Von Miller and Shane Ray/Demarcus Ware) come over the top of them and attack the A gaps. Their objective is to generate as much interior pressure as possible forcing the QB to move around in the pocket.
    • The Broncos also did a variation where they had the edge rushers lined inside of the DTs and they lopped around while the DT’s came inside to attack the A gaps. These forced Brady to move to places where he didn’t want to and it forced the Pats OL to plant their feet on a wet ground. This was rewarded with a lot of hits and some sacks on #12.
    •  The Broncos also did a good job bringing pressures attached to Cover 3/1 to prevent the big play from being broke. The one time the big play did happen though was when one of the LB’s was mismatched on a RB out wide.

Those are my observations, thanks for reading and have a good rest of your night. Feel free to list some of yours below!

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I am a former film coordinator for a FCS school. Currently serving in the Navy. I was glad to be around the game of football and had the chance to learn from a lot of great people. I wouldn't be where I am without the gracious support of my family, coaches, assistants, players, and friends. I also greatly appreciate you guys who take the time to read my stuff and show genuine appreciation. It means a ton! You guys are awesome! Twitter Handle: @FBDubs