Soundcloud Podcast:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Anyone Else Thinking Red Sox in 4?

David "Big Papi" Ortiz is en fuego.

The Boston Red Sox have now won 9 consecutive World Series games. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Patriots All-22: How Brady to Thompkins Stunned the Saints

With 1:33 left in the 4th Quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots trailed the New Orleans Saints 27-23. Trailing by 4 and with no timeouts, it was touchdown or bust. 

Brady went for 5 for 7 with 4 first downs on the final drive. After picking up a first down with Austin Collie, he spiked the ball at the 17 yard line. Seven seconds remained on the clock. 

They would have two shots at the endzone; Brady only needed one.

Patriots line up in 3WR-1TE-1RB formation.
The Patriots came out in a typical 3WR-1TE shotgun formation: Thompkins, Collie, Hoomanawanui and Dobson lined up as receivers, while Bolden lined up in the backfield.

The 3WR & 1TE ran "Four Verticals" (with no timeouts, there wasn't much choice). Bolden chipped and then released for an out.

Tom Brady scans the defensive coverage.
Brady quickly assessed that the defense was running a "Two Deep Man Under" meaning Cover 2 over the top with each receiver facing man coverage underneath. 

Cover 2 can be exploited by attacking where the safeties can't get to quickly. In this case, the back corner of the endzone. However, the WR still needs to beat his man in a short field.

Brady launches touch pass to back corner of endzone before Thompkins gets open.
Brady's pre-snap read was correct. The safety froze on Collie's pattern from the slot and had no chance at helping assist the deep corner.

Rookie Kenbrell Thompkins is raw but can beat just about anyone in man coverage. Defensive Back Jabari Greer let Thompkins get a step behind him, and Brady's ball was placed perfectly for Thompkins to jump up and grab.

Kenbrell Thompkins jumps over cornerback for game-winning TD catch.
This play, like the rest of the drive before it, was surgical and precise. Of course, it didn't hurt that the Saints were playing a much softer defense then they had the rest of the game.

Can the Patriots build off of this and create more drives just like it?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

5 Reasons Patriots MUST Acquire Tony Gonzalez or Hakeem Nicks

Tony Gonzalez bids farewell to the Georgia Dome crowd.
The Giants (0-5) and Falcons (1-4) are falling fast and will soon be out of contention. Both teams have skilled receivers who could help New England's offense get back on track. Here is why the Patriots need to pull the trigger on a trade (if either becomes available):

5. Uncertainty With Injuries

Danny Amendola returned last week, and Rob Gronkowski is slated to be back this Sunday. Can the Patriots survive if either of these top 2 targets goes down? 

Both Nicks and Gonzalez are durable and tough; they will do whatever it takes to get to the finish line. I would take my chances down the stretch with either of these guys over rookies and injury-prone veterans.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Patriots All-22: How Did Brady Miss Edelman/Thompkins Deep?

During last Sunday's Buccaneers vs Patriots tilt, there was one truly baffling play. We saw replays, but the announcers didn't really explain what happened.

In the second quarter, Tom Brady seemed to miss two wide open receivers (Julian Edelman & Kenbrell Thompkins) running deep. Using NFL Game Rewind (which I can't endorse enough), I decided to look at the All-22 game film and figure out what happened:

Pre-play formation: 1RB-2TE-2WR
The Patriots lined up with:
  • Stevan Ridley as lone RB
  • Michael Hoomanawanui (L side) and Zach Sudfeld (R side) at TE
  • Thompkins and Edelman at WR
The play was designed for Brady to sell the stretch play fake to Ridley (like something straight out of the Peyton Manning-Colts playbook) then spin around to look down field for open receiver.

Thompkins and Edelman would go deep, while Sudfeld and Hoomanawanui would run crossing patterns underneath.

Tom Brady sells play-fake, looks down field
Brady sells the play fake and his first look is to Edelman in the deep middle of field. Edelman, running a deep skinny post, is just getting picked up by the deep safety at just this moment.

Meanwhile Thompkins, running a straight jet, has already gotten past his man.

Hoomanawanui runs a crossing drag to right sideline as a safety valve for Brady.

Brady goes to second look
Because Edelman was covered and Brady senses pressure from the blind side, he looks to a secondary target Sudfeld. He sees that Sudfeld, running a crossing pattern, gets a step on his man toward the sideline.

What Brady doesn't have time to see - nor act upon - is both Thompkins and Edelman getting wide open deep. (The safety covering Edelman falls down trying to turn.)

Brady overthrows Sudfeld, and the play ends up an incompletion.

Thompkins and Edelman wide open
CONCLUSION: There were two wide open guys down the field, but, with the way the play developed, there was little chance to get them the ball. 

EDIT: Brady confirmed after the game that the play was intended to get Sudfeld open. The two deep receivers were supposed to stretch the field and leave underneath open. 

What Brady didn't anticipate was that one or both deep guys would get so open. 

No worries though, the Patriots scored not long after this.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Save 10% on NFL Game Rewind

Use my link below and you save 10% on the yearly subscription: 

NFL GAME REWIND subscription link

I can't recommend the Game Rewind enough. The iPad app is incredible and the All-22 Coaches Film is a MUST for any true football fan.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Patriots' Kenbrell Thompkins: 5 Fixable Rookie Mistakes

Kenbrell Thompkins
It's Week 2 in the NFL, which means it's time for everyone to overreact to one game.

Rookie Kenbrell Thompkins had an inauspicious start for the Patriots in Week 1. He was targeted 13 times for 4 receptions and 42 yards. He missed two great opportunities at touchdowns. 

Thompkins also failed to make two difficult sideline catches and slipped on a wide open crossing route in the middle of the field.

The good news? Most of his issues are correctable; they're mistakes Thompkins can fix watching game film and practicing. Here are his 5 biggest learning opportunities from the Buffalo game:
  1. Toe Tap on Sideline Catches
  2. Turn Body on Back-Shoulder Throw
  3. Use Proper Spacing in Back of End Zone
  4. Make Route Adjustments Quicker 
  5. Block Correctly on Screen/Sweep
Don't jump off the bandwagon yet. Once the kid gets it all together, he will be a dangerous weapon in the Patriots' offense.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

5 Crucial Tactics For Grounding the NY Jets

The Buttfumble, Thanksgiving 2012

The New England Patriots and New York Jets face off on Thursday Night Football this week.

New England has won each of the last 5 regular season match-ups by an average of 21 points. However, the New York Jets shocked the Patriots in the 2011 AFC Divisional round. This playoff win came just a month after losing (45-3) to New England.

On Thursday Night, they play in front of a national audience on NFL Network

Here are my 5 crucial tactics for the Patriots to use against this inferior Jets team: