Eye In The Sky Report – Our Weakest Link In The Secondary


Eye in the Sky Report – Our Weakest Link in the Secondary

Its three games into the season and we have a leak in our secondary that continues to get exposed.  The truth of the matter is that we have seen opposing Quarterbacks put up pro bowl line stats against us, which is a little ridiculous if you ask me.  For all the attention Mark Sanchez has been giving, he should not have schooled our secondary like he did last weekend. Carson Palmer continued to connect with his Wide Receivers and Tight Ends on his way to a 300 yard game.  Matt Schaub….well that was justified in my opinion, we played a cover 0 in our secondary.  But let’s take a closer look at the Oakland and Jets game and find out where our weakest link is.

Here is the final stat line for Carson Palmer:

DATE

OPP

RESULT

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

AVG

LNG

TD

INT

QBR

RAT

ATT

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

Sun 9/16 MIA L 13-35 24 48 373 50.0 7.77 64 1 1 42.0 74.4 2 7 3.5 7 0

Now here is the final stat line for Mark Sanchez:

DATE

OPP

RESULT

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

AVG

LNG

TD

INT

QBR

RAT

ATT

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

Sun 9/23 MIA W 23-20 (OT) 21 45 306 46.7 6.80 66 1 2 34.3 58.2 1 4 4.0 4 0

All stats extracted from http://espn.go.com/nfl/player

I would like you to pay attention to these two stats:

Total Yards:

Palmer 373
Sanchez 306

Longest:

Palmer 64
Sanchez 66

From an analytical point of view, those are the two biggest numbers that stick out on the page.  What we need to understand is what happened in those two scenarios.  The obvious reaction is that we missed tackles, took wrong angles and flat out missed an assignment.  Reviewing the game tape we can easily see that our Safeties allowed those plays. 

There is no need for me to breakdown the 64 yard completion that Palmer made against us, since that was already completed.  Please check out this story for me details:

http://phinphanatic.com/2012/09/17/play-breakdown-dolphins-clemons-fails-fundamental-task/

We can see Clemons taking the wrong angle causing a simple screen play to develop to a touchdown.

As per the 66 Yard completion from Sanchez, I would like to break this one down.

What we have here is a very simple 4-3 base, cover 0, Robber.  That is the call that came in from Coyle.  Since there are 4 WR, our Strong Safety Jones will be moving down from his box 1 coverage, and playing a cover 0, leaving Clemons as the Robber.
Figure 1.1

 

Jones is in red, Clemons in orange

Clemons will shift to ‘center field’ and Jones will take responsibility of covering Kerley.  As the play develops we see Kerely running a straight fly post pattern.  Meaning he will run up 10 yards and cut to the outside.  Play is designed to get the first down and then the WR would run out of bounds. However, that is not how this cookie crumbles:

Figure 1.2

 

 

What we see next is that Jones has lost his footing, and Kerely has nothing but green in front of him.  Where is our Robber? Great question
Figure 1.3

 

 

Clemons is in perfect position to attack.    As a former Free Safety, in practice we have lesson called the ‘hamburger’ drill.  This is where you have two pads lined up in parallel with a 5 yard gap and an opposing offensive player will be coming at you inside the pads and you have to make the play.

As we can see from the above snap shot, this is a perfect example of how proper practice techniques will translate to game experience.  However, this was not the case for Clemons….and as we can see in the next screen shot:
Figure 1.4

 

What we see here is Kerley does a juke move throwing Clemons off and cuts to the inside and takes it up field for 66 yard gain.

How could this been prevented, well we have to make tackles.  I can’t stress this enough, therefore I am going to say it again. We have to make tackles.

Reviewing Figure 1.3 we can see Clemons in prime position to make a play…What did he do wrong? I can teach you that.

1. Stopped Progression

Clemons should have reacted on instinct and that would be never to stop your progression until you are through the ball.  Clemons then decided he would allow  Kerely to make a double move rather than drive himself to the ball.  If Clemons attacked the ball rather than allow the WR to re-act (with the juke move) this would have been stopped for an intermediate gain

2. Shoulder tackle

What is the most annoying part of Clemons game?  He tries to tackle from the shoulder pads.  Don’t get me started on this, because I can’t tell you how many times I yell at the TV.  Nonetheless, this is evident in Figure 1.4 look at the Clemons hands…they are high from his waist. If he was going to conduct a proper form tackle they would be by his knees and ready to take the player out.

This play should not have gone for 66 yard rather 15 to 20.  

How do we ensure that this doesn’t happen again? This time it is not on the coaches, they positioned the player to be in the proper position; our player just did not react to the situation like they are trained to do.  Thereby leading to only one proper exercise to rectify this issue, more experience.   Nolan saw this last year, and now Coyle is witnessing this first hand.  As a Free Safety you need to react to the game in a different level than all other players. You cannot allow the game to come to you; otherwise it will pass you by, which is evident on the two plays of over 60 yards.

Clemons is at fault for both plays and at this point is our weakest link in our secondary.  We don’t have depth at the Free Safety position therefore we once again are going to be watching Clemons make plays and re-act accordingly.  I hope that each game he plays he understand his flaws and within his next experience allows himself to understand what he did wrong and correct it. Clemons has all the tools to be a quality starter, however he lacks the knowledge.  Here is hoping he has paid attention to this lesson.

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Tags: Carson Palmer Chris Clemons Featured Popular Kevin Coyle New York Jets Oakland Raiders Reshad Jones

  • germandolfan

    Thanks for breaking this down.

    • dj

      No worries my friend!