Each week our own Coach JL will break down a play, stripping it down and showing how the X’s and O’s truly matter to our sport. If you’d like a play to be given the Coach JL treatment, let us know in the comments. This week Coach breaks down the genius Peyton Manning and a wonderfully tricky play he made in Week 16 2010 against the Oakland Raiders.
Colts have the ball on the +31 yard line, right hash, 3rd and 2, 4th quarter, 1.39 seconds on the clock, they lead the Raiders by 5 points 31-26.
Colts put their Deuce Trey formation to the boundary, 2 WR, 2 TE, 1RB. Before the snap you see Manning change the play on the line of scrimmage. Manning is calling an audible because the Raiders defense gave him a clue about the defense they are about to play.
A long time ago I was taught by one of the great Los Angeles Raiders defensive coaches, Ray Willsey, that a defense needs to have two players outside of the end man of the line of scrimmage. If you don’t have that you could be in trouble. The Raiders got into this kind of trouble, but not only because of the lack of numbers.
The Raiders have their basic 4-3 personnel on the field. The Sam LB lines up in a “Jayhawk” position and the Will lines up in a “Jet” position. The “Jayhawk” position usually indicates man coverage on the tight end. The “Jet” position could mean that this LB is rushing the QB, this combined with the alignment from the other DB’s gives Manning the clue that the Raiders defense is in man coverage. Manning knows that nobody on the other side of the ball is counting on him running with the ball in this critical situation and changes the play.
Defensive end #77, Matt Shaughnessy, makes the cardinal sin as a defensive end. He over commits to the run, turns his hips perpendicular to the line of scrimmage and loses leverage on Manning. Even the “slow” Peyton Manning is able to get a few yards to make the first down. As it turns out he is making 27 yards on the play!http://youtu.be/Ehxbn3U2tl0
As you can see above, Manning understands that with the lead he doesn't have to score. A slide before he makes it into the endzone is good enough to run out the clock and preserve the win. Manning is always in complete control. It's no wonder that he is in high demand, with his skill level, experience, control and leadership he will have a huge impact on any team he plays for.
Man In Motion
In the NFL every team has plays for all downs and distances, for all situations. The offence tries to manipulate the defence with personnel groupings, formations and motions. Play action looks like a run so that the defense plays the run and that will open up the pass. A draw looks like a pass so the defence will drop to their pass responsibility and that will open up the run.
I say this because last week MC Syntax asked what the advantages are of bringing a man in motion. The short answer is to gain an advantage of some kind over the defense, this comes in different ways. Per rule, the offense has to have 7 men on the line of scrimmage at all times. The players who are “off” the LOS can go in motion but only one at a time. Sometimes you will see more than one player moving before the snap and that is a “shift”, this will take place before the offence is set.
Here are some examples of motions from two different personnel sets:
In the passing game the advantage can come from working out the coverage that the defence is playing (man or zone - if man a defender might follow a receiver as he moves). In the running game a motion can reveal the structure of the defense in regards to what the roles are for the various defensive players. Having a receiver already gaining some speed before the ball is snapped is also a clear advantage to some plays. A receiver might motion to a “Stack” position. A full back might shuffle in the back field to get a jump on his point of attack in the running game or gain some speed to get out of the backfield in the passing game.
WHAT PLAY NEXT? IT’S UP TO YOU!
Have a play from last season you’d like diagnosed by our resident Coach? Let us know in the comments including a clip from youtube for reference. If Coach likes it you’ll see it in the very next edition, published (generally, ha! - Editor Dom) every Sunday afternoon.
Also, if you have a specific question about the coaching side of the NFL and Gridiron in general you’d like to ask be our guest. We’ll endeavor to answer any and all questions.
This week’s suggestion was from Stephen. Thanks mate!
Don’t forget to include a clip with your own requests!