J. Al was drafted in the first round in 2006 during the Saban Era. I was shocked but excited by the pick since I thought we finally drafted a Safety in the first round (my position). Playing Safety in a Saban Defence is no ordinary assignment. Saban’s D is extremely complex; assignment and reads are made completely differently than any other playbook I have seen. Instead of allowing the player to make the play, you have to allow the coverage to dictate the play. For a player, this goes against what your first coach has ever told you, “Go make a play.”
Time passes by, we see J Al stone feet while playing safety, which allows the next regime, the Cameron Era to think maybe this kid is a corner. So J Al goes back a position he played sparingly in college and high school….the results on the field, adequate. Nothing more than a Special Teams player.
Which brings us to the Trifecta era.
Everyone knew that J. Al was on an extremely tight rope, a lot of us fans, speculated that he would be the first player to be cut since he didn’t fit the ‘build’ of a Parcells player.
Once again our Trifecta decided to try J. Al at Safety, which was a failed experiment, thus allowing J. Al to go back to the corner back position. Fast forward to today and now J. Al has been isolated to one position for more than two years now, allowing him to focus on the intricacies of the corner back position.
Many of you are wondering what has caused this rebirth of J Al’s game. I am not sure if this is correct but I think this is twofold.
- Wu Tang Reference
i. Cash Rules Everything Around Me
- Jason Allen is ending his rookie contract and might be looking for his next pay due. Let’s face it; the rookie pay scale model is ridiculous. Rookies that have never played one down in the NFL are making more than seasoned vets that have been playing in the league for years
- Look at all players nearing the end of their contracts, they play at a level they have never played before. Antonio Bryant, Albert Haynesworth, are a few examples of free agents bugs
- Gibril Wilson, Ernest Wilford are examples on our own team
- Nolan Defence
- With all the hype surrounding our product on the field, Dansby on D, Marshall on O, the best signing in my eyes was Mike Nolan as our DC.
- His defence schemes are amazing, I would love to lace up and play for this coach any day of the week.
Let’s break down coverage responsibilities of CB2 corner.
First of all you have to know what Nolan loves. He loves an alpha CB…..He had Champ Bailey in Denver and now has Davis on our team. Having an alpha CB is like having Marshall on O, it eliminates one side of the field. Nolan D resembles, Buddy Ryan’s D in New York – since both of them worked together in Baltimore, you have to believe their defensive tendencies are the same.
Allowing Davis to take out the Z (prime) receiver on the opposite field allows you to mix coverage on the secondary CB.
Nolan loves playing Cover 3. Cover 3 is illusion coverage. It shows that two types of coverage are being implemented, Man on Z and zone off the Y.
Steelers call double TE Z wide fly
Nolan calls 3-4 Cover 3 Robber.
Davis is covering Hines Ward
J. Al has Mike Wallace
Notice the Z wide call…this means that a pre set motion is going to be called, which will allow Ward to move before the ball is hiked. This pre set motion is to allow Big Ben to get a sense of coverage in the secondary
Big Ben calls out the play
Ward goes in motion – Davis is following him
When this happens, J. Al should move up to a press coverage (-meaning he is going to jam Wallace the at line of scrimmage) this gives off the illusion that we are in Man to Man coverage
Big Ben notices that Davis is following Ward and J Al is implementing the press coverage. Big Ben thinks man to man assignments
Ball is hiked
Big Ben looks at Ward – no way, alpha on alpha not a great throw
Looks at Wallace…..
When the ball is hiked, Wallace is jammed since cover 3 is a soft zone, Wallace has a quick out pattern, since he is jammed, can’t make the timed route….
J Al can either bite the route for INT or break it out.
Either way, it’s an incompletion.
The biggest difference between Nolan’s D and Saban’s D is that Nolan allows his player to make the play by relaxing their assignment values – go and make the play – rather than allow the play to be made by the coverage.
The light maybe finally turning on for this former first round pick due to Nolan’s D or it might be due to the fact that J Al is looking for his next pay day. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to the question, but right now I don’t care as long as J. Al continues to do what he is doing. Allen will get the opportunity earn his dollars due to his understanding.