Play Breakdown: Dolphins' Clemons Fails Fundamental Task

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As Goodson moves up-field in his run, the play is dictated by what Clemons has done.  The defender highlighted with yellow arrow has been forced to abandon his angle because Clemons stepped into the pursuit line forcing Goodson to continue straight.  The cornerback is arrowed in blue and tried to break his block by spinning away thus leaving his back to the ball carrier.  Clemons in red is already re-adjusting his angle to pursue instead of meet.  Given the straight run by Goodson and the 2 yards that separates him from Clemons, Clemons is out of position to make an impact on this play.  A rewind of this play shows that Clemons over committed to this run long before Goodson reached the 50.


This is a rewind of about 2 seconds from the previous image to illustrate more clearly the difference the correct angle can make.  The large black circle was the point of up-field turn for Goodson off the screen.  The standing defender was already out of pursuit when Goodson made it to the outside.  At this point, five yards from the 50 we already see a flat footed Clemons behind the block of Bey on the corner.  Goodson isn’t even looking at him but instead looking at the defender (highlighted with the blue arrow and yellow vision line).  Goodson knows that he can’t cut inside, not because of Clemons but because of the other defender who has the right angle and containment.


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Tags: Chris Clemons Miami Dolphins Mike Goodson

  • Mark Loiselle

    I could hear John Madden while reading this.

  • txmedic5

    Wow that was so not very nice….LOL.

  • Chris

    Dansby’s angle was equally bad.

  • Martin

    The corner you keep referring to is Reshad Jones (#20), our second safety.

    I agree that Clemons’ failed, but Reshad Jones is a safety too.

    As the safety on the left side, it was Jones’ job to either tackle the
    running back (ideally) or force him to cut back to the inside (where his
    teammates and fellow safety could bring him down). I actually think
    Clemons took the route he took under the assumption Reshad would hang to
    the outside, forcing the running back inside.

    Instead, Reshad was either blocked to the inside by the wide receiver
    or tried to shed the block by moving inside. In either case, he failed
    to force the running back to cut to the inside, and because Clemons in
    effect blocked by the WR blocking Jones, Clemons couldn’t make a play.

    On this play, Jones didn’t do a good job.
    Also, Dansby was equally guilty of taking a terrible angle – he horribly underestimated the running back’s speed.

    • txmedic5

      Sorry Martin, while I couldn’t tell from the video (grainy) who was the guy with Bey If you pull up the entire video of the score on you will see that Clemons committed to that spot immediately. He NEVER should have been taken underneath that block by Bey. Had he held back about 2 yards, he could have forced Goodson to slow up to make a decision or would have had enough time to react to Goodson staying straight or turning in.

  • Alan Bigham

    The outside defender, Jones has to maintain outside leverage and force that play inside. It’s not all on Clemons as he should never have had to run over OR under that block as the run should have been contained.

    How many times do you see a DB spun around by not meeting the ball carrier and running around or away from a block? That’s effectively what would’ve happened if Clemons came over the top to the sideline.

    • txmedic5

      Actually, that is philosophically wrong when you are on the sideline. You force the play outside on a down-field stretch. The sideline is your friend here. I understand that Jones didn’t get off his block but the safety player on this play is Clemons (safety meaning the last defender) and his route stops that TD. He didn’t do it.

      A lot went wrong on this play, but it could have been stopped around the 50 with a very basic angle. Which is the point that I was making with the article. The TD in and of itself is not Clemons’ fault, but his angle could have prevented it and didn’t.

  • IMAWriterRobJ

    This is perhaps OT, but if we allowed Jones to blitz the QB occasionally, some of these plays would never develop. Jones does this well. Our passive defense leaves the rest of the secondary constantly vulnerable