Justin Burris was responsible for two of the three TD’s Michael Crabtree scored. Two were in man coverage and the other was a perfect call for a zone defense. Let’s break it down how Crabtree owned the Jets last Sunday.
The first is simple fade routes. Crabtree runs the outside route to the corner. The slot man runs the same. There are no other routes. This seems like a quick call based off what the Jets do on defense.
Skrine is one on one against Crabtree. There is no help over the top or to the inside. I looked at Skrine and not sure if he’s shading inside, but it looks like he might be. One false step to the inside, and he’s behind Crabtree and pretty much dead.
The ball is perfect for a fade route, and it’s an easy catch.
There isn’t much more to analyze really. It’s just Crabtree getting wide open.
The long touchdown was interesting. It was a zone defense, yet Crabtree ends up one on one against Burris. He will have no help despite two safeties over the top.
To break it down, the Raiders run a three deep pattern. It’s a simple seam concept designed to beat a cover two defense. Two WR run deep fly routes while the middle man runs a skinny post over the middle. The two underneath are there to beat a cover three defense.
The Jets have 5 under with two deep— a classic cover two defense. The deep routes are exposing the weaknesses of cover two, which is deep in the corners and also deep between the safeties. The safeties are really in a no win position, they have to watch 3 guys deep between two of them. At least one if not two defenders will be one on one.
Carr recognizes this and goes back shoulder to Crabtree. A couple of mis-tackles later and it’s a touchdown.
This is simply exposing a match up. Crabtree was too much for Burris to handle one on one. The Raiders ran routes designed to get a one on one match up as much as possible. In this case, it worked really well.
The last is just pure ownage. Crabtree stutters a few times, gets the already shaded Burris to hesitate and gets a clean look on the out route.
It’s a designed roll out to the right with a short out route, a deeper corner route and a backdoor drag route.
The Jets are again in man. What’s interesting at least to me is that Burris is giving up the outside. I’m not sure if that’s on purpose or just a preference. Either way it gets exposed again.
The separation is brutal. Crabtree simply owned Burris.
Not much else to say when you get beat this badly three times. Hopefully Burris learns from this and grows as a player. As for Skrine: shrug emoji.
Let’s talk strategy:
So how could a defense try to help Burris or a corner against a really top tier WR?
The simplest and also most disruptive is running a bracket coverage. That means taking a safety off his responsibility and putting them directly on Crabtree. The safety would cover deep while Burris would play underneath, trying to jump a short pass. (Think Revis 2011 vs Dallas.) The downside is that takes out one defender of any blitz, zone, or man coverage. That’s a huge disruption a game plan. That would be almost a total scheme change and unlikely to be a midgame tweak.
Another option includes a lot of cover three. The idea is that Burris could focus on handling deep routes and give up a huge cushion underneath where a linebacker/safety/live body could float into the flat. The downside to this is that it opens up the short routes and exposes you to 5 and 6 yard completions adnauseam. The second is again Burris would be one on one with Crabtree up the sideline deep similar to the second TD. It could be a midgame tweak but leaves a lot exposed.
The only other idea is to have another corner follow Crabtree around. I’m not sure putting Burris on Cooper would have been any better. Obviously when Skrine covered Crabtree, things got ugly as well.