Greg Cosell stopped by The Herd for his weekly appearance to talk X’s and O’s with Colin, and take the audience inside the film room to breakdown performances from the past NFL week. There isn’t anyone in the business that’s better at explaining “why” players and teams are succeeding or struggling. All steak and no sizzle.
Colin asked Cosell what the film tells him about the Week 10 performances from around the NFL.
Roll the film.
Marcus Mariota outplayed Aaron Rodgers in the Titans 47-25 blowout win over the Packers last week. What does the film say about Mariota’s progression from rookie to second year pro?
The Titans offense is predicated on base personnel, and they use 2 and 3 tight end formations more than any team in the NFL, with Delanie Walker playing as their hybrid wide receiver/tight end. This week they had a great feel for Dom Capers’ Packer defense that played a lot of man coverage. The Titans were ready to attack in both the run game and in the pass game by creating concepts to defeat the coverage. Mariota has thrown the ball well in the last 2 weeks. He still doesn’t have the responsibility of making a large number of pre-snap reads.
The Mariota transformation hasn’t been talked about enough.. For the college spread QB naysayers: 7step undercenter slot fade.. Eyes hold FS pic.twitter.com/IlPiEJf0eq
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 14, 2016
Colin thinks that Washington has been overlooked and is maybe the most underrated team in the NFL. Washington, led by Kirk Cousins, moves the ball exceptionally well, even though they struggle in the red zone at times. What does the tape say about Kirk Cousins development?
Jay Gruden is impressive with his pass game concepts, and they have a lot of weapons, which have increased as the season has progressed. Vernon Davis and some other pieces have emerged. Kirk Cousins is a classic orchestrator. He makes certain throws very well, but he has limitations because of his average arm talent. He’s effective at making the throws he needs to make in the context of their offense.
— SportzNow1 NFL (@SportzNow1NFL) October 30, 2016
Colin thought the Seattle/New England Sunday night game was one of the best regular season games he’s seen in a long time. Russell Wilson played an incredible game. A large part of the Seahawk offensive attack is predicated on getting him outside the pocket. Are his scrambling and rollouts by design, or improvisation? What does the film say?
It’s not by design, but they don’t discourage it. They’re happy for him to scramble if it’s there, but they don’t want him to just drop back and run around. They’ve evolved over the last several years as Marshawn Lynch’s role decreased, and now with his departure. They’ve transformed into a predominantly shotgun based, spread passing team, with 3 and 4 wide receiver personnel. When Lynch was there, they were more of an under center, play action team.
One of Colin’s other takeaways from the game was that New England’s defensive personnel is average after the departure of Chandler Jones, and most recently linebacker Jamie Collins, who was dealt to the Browns in a midseason trade. What does the tape say about the Patriots defense this year?
The Patriot defense isn’t as good as they were last year. Chandler Jones was and is a very good player. There’s no way to tell what the situation was that facilitated the Jamie Collins trade, but if you strictly look at the physical talent, you could argue that he’s one of the Top 5 linebackers in the league. That kind of raw ability is tough to replace. The players they’ve replaced them with just aren’t the same level of athlete.
1. Lockett release off line gets CB hips going wrong way
2. Russell Wilson is very good
3. Lockett eating celebration pic.twitter.com/C2bcJ7bXl4
— Ben B (@guga31bb) November 17, 2016
Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson was recently in The Herd, and said that although Ezekiel Elliott has been incredible, a large portion of the credit for the Dallas running game is due to their dominant offensive line. What does the tape say about how much of the Cowboys’ success in the run game is Elliott, and how much is the dominant offensive line?
A successful run game is always a combination of both. Just focusing on Elliott, he has excellent vision, and runs with patience. There’s no wasted motion with him and he’s deceptively strong with impressive lower body strength. Talent wise, he’s not on the same level as Adrian Peterson in his prime.
Ezekiel Elliott’s 32-Yard Touchdown Wins Game Of The Year For Cowboys pic.twitter.com/dvrxInmHUg
— SportsCast (@SportsCast_THN) November 14, 2016
Elliott has the luxury of running behind the Cowboys’ line, is there a running back that has been impressive despite running behind a below average offensive line?
Jay Ajayi with the Miami Dolphins was an impressive prospect coming out of college, but had a bad knee and some other issues which dropped him in the draft. He’s a big back who runs hard. He’s not as talented as Elliott, but he’s been exceptional this year in Miami.
Jay Ajayi is for reals pic.twitter.com/5mfZ5ol8ch
— Eric (@EricElizondo8) November 7, 2016
Colin thought Carolina was a team that was primed for a second half surge, but they were disappointing in a home loss to Kansas City. Cam Newton has been inconsistent. The success Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota are having has made Colin question Cam. What does the film say about his struggles?
It’s a year by year league. The last two weeks, they’ve played two defenses in the Rams and the Chiefs who were aggressive and challenged them with their defensive front looks, man blitz schemes, and man to man coverage. Carolina struggled against both. Cam needs a productive run game to be successful, and he isn’t as effective unless the run game is the starting point of the offense. This year they’ve struggled in the running game and so has Newton.
Chiefs’ Eric Berry Breaks Several Tackles For Spectacular Pick-Six Interception Off Cam Newton pic.twitter.com/9AHlwzurMS
— SportsCast (@SportsCast_THN) November 13, 2016