FanPost

Milliner Likes the Play In Front of Him - 3rd INT a Zone




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Thought would just throw this up because I was taking a look at Milliner's play in the Miami game. Look at this nice 3-4 set with the two safeties at LBer (Allen blitzing, Landry in coverage), Trufant, Reed and Milliner more or less dividing up the field on the back side. Douzable provides the pressure that makes the throw errant. Aside from the use of a zone, nothing super interesting here, other than it is Milliner's 3rd INT of the year. Earlier in the game he probably made his more dynamic play of the year, athletically leaping in front of Wallace for his 2nd INT, in man coverage.

There can be no doubt that Milliner's play dramatically improved in the last 3 games. It was big. Personally I think it had something to do with Reed's influence on the Defense, with a mixing of coverages and techniques. What I do see is that 2 of the 3 INTs came in a zone, and the 3rd came with a very deep, zone-like cushion. Milliner likes to see the ball coming out of the QBs hand, and he doesn't want his hips turned. It allows him to read and react and explode. That is what I see. The question is: How much more can he grow in the area of weakness, in the back-pedal and turn, which is fundamental to what Rex wants to do with him? In the play before the 2nd INT it could legitimately be argued that he had an uncalled PI on Wallace in the end zone, the 2nd time he was caught deep with his back to the ball and not turning. The hip swivel is a big deal. It's what separates the big boys from the everyday guys, and it may take a long time to learn. In fact, as we found out from Wilson, even though you are athletic you might not ever learn it.

I think that in these last three games Milliner found is confidence, and finally we saw the athleticism he was drafted for. It was almost as if it was completely underwraps as he struggled to learn something new, to do things differently. It felt in these last three games - and maybe it was that the Jets were finally out of the playoffs and the whole team relaxed - not that he suddenly learned what he was trying to learn the whole time, but rather that he let his game come to him...and he found ways to keep the play in front of him more (either through technique or play call) where he feels best.

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