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GGN Chalkboard: Game against Atlanta

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Let's take a look at the tape and see what the film tells us about the game.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Let's start off with Quiton Coples. This is about as bad of a drive as you will get from an OLB. I highlighted this problem in a previous post, that Coples may be a fish out of water playing outside. Here's the big play from the Falcons first drive, which is entirely on some poor footwork and recognition.

Coples lines up on the outside on here. He jams the tight end and drops in zone. The fullback runs a very simple out route.

Quiton fail

The fullback gets through the line and cuts hard right. Quinton's footwork is a disaster. He's backpedaling instead of turning his body allowing the FB to go underneath him. It's not captured well in the screenshot, but I tried to show you where his body was turned.

This is the result. He lunges awkwardly at the ball that's well past him as the FB makes and easy catch and turns it up field for a big gain. Again it's directly because our starting OLB never got settled and couldn't adjust quickly.

coples boo

A few plays later, Coples was badly manhandled at the line, which led to a huge gap and easy score for the Falcons. You hear the term setting the edge all the time for OLB. It refers to two things: forcing the RB to the inside towards your linebackers and D line, but also being in position when it does happen so there isn't a huge gap. Coples does a semi decent job of the first--he turns it inside. The problem is he gets blown out of the play leaving a huge lane.

Here you see him trying to get to the outside but does it by running to the outside. Already his back is turned and he's being shoved out of position. A better play is to take the blocker either straight on, or at least have a bit of position so you're not so easily moved.

Coples out of position
The lane that forms is huge. Coples is completely caught in the block and a few shoves will knock him out of the way. It's not a block in the back if the defender turns away from you, or in this case if you him him at an angle. He tries to get himself back in the play, but by then the runner is just about by him.

he gets beat

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Let's take a look at what went right on the offensive side of the ball specifically Ivory's TD. There are two key things here. It's a great job by the O line pushing the defense out of the way. Decker does a wonderful job coming around to seal off the left side, while D'Brickashaw seals off the right. A huge hole develops over the right guard area.

Ivory TD

Decker seals off his man, which logjams the corner, while D'Brickashaw does a great job sealing off the right. The rest of the line all win battles which leads to Bohanan getting a free look at the LB. It's really up to the FB to make a good block to spring this play for a huge gain rather than a nice 4-5 yard pick up.

Hole develops

Also this goes to Ivory's credit, he spots a huge lane and shuffles right. I like his vision in the open field on this play, where he cut outside and had a relatively easy time getting past the defense into the end zone.

Ivory TD
Good stuff all around.

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Let's talk about how a linebacker should play against a tight end. Here is Lattimore's pick. He's mano-y-mano against the TE.

Jets pick

He is right in the TE face the whole way, and the TE tries to throw him off just inside the 5 yard chuck rule. To his credit, Lattimore is right on him through the point the TE makes a move to the out route.

Lattimore stuffing

Once the TE breaks, the LB is hot on his trail. There's very little if any separation at any time. He's done a great job of covering the TE and would be proud on film day watching himself on this play even without the INT.

INT route break

Lattimore undercuts the route as you can see above. If the competition was a bit better, you could argue a floater pass could easily go over Lattimore's head. Ditto for a pass high and to the outside. He's made a gamble, but all in all, this is what you look for when covering a pass from top to bottom.

Lattimore

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Let's wrap things up with a touchdown. Petty showed off a few things here, he checked out of 2 receivers (progress) and threw of a score in the process. Petty never really looks left. His WR on the top runs a deep corner/out route. Underneath the RB runs a route near the sideline. His primary read is the man up top.

Petty TD

Petty checked off the WR after a good while then took a look at the running back which draws up the deep man. Two things here: he could have either A) given up on the out route or B) used the bottom route as the decoy to set up the deep route. The reason I give B some thought is that he checks off the short route pretty quickly.  By dragging up the CB, that essentially puts the man covering the WR in one on one. Posey also has a step on his man at this point.

Petty td check

The two guys underneath are stuck there playing zone, and by this point the WR had gained two steps on his man. Once he broke for the outside all Petty had to do was make a decent pass.

Petty pass

And yes it was that. Could he have thrown it more to the outside, perhaps! Posey is known for his size, so why not use it to your advantage in this situation, which is what Petty did with this throw.

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Again it's preseason so these things are tough to judge when the level of competition is up and down. However, you can watch things like technique to show you the little things that makes a player great or makes him Vernon Gholston.