Eagles fans far and wide have already thrown in the white flag for this weekend match-up against Denver. There’s no denying Manning is playing unbelievably well and is a hard man to stop. He can be stopped though. Learning from the mistakes of previous opponents I thought would be a good start, so I’ve broken down the three TD passes Manning managed against the Raiders Monday night. Riddled with mistakes as you’ll soon see. Perhaps the Eagles can learn something from them though.
Leading up to the first touchdown Peyton went no huddle on the drive. Something the Eagles will need to be ready for. The Raiders had to deal with Peyton using only the personnel on the field and they struggled.
Let’s take a look at the first TD from the offensive side of the field;
Fairly simple design. Peyton will motion Decker two yards to his left. Then after snapping the ball he’ll fake the hand-off too Moreno. Moreno gets in a good block and Decker finds the perfect lane open up in front of him leaving him uncovered.
With three plausible Raiders defensive players covering the side of the field that Decker was on you’d expect them to at least pressure Decker. Let’s look at why that never happened by noting down the routes of the defensive players.
Firstly Jenkins on the far edge makes a point of telling his LB’s that Decker had shifted. Jenkins didn’t bite on the PA, but his coverage had him pulling back on himself and going out to the corner. There’s one Defensive player out of Deckers way. Had Decker not moved in those two yards Jenkins would have been inside him and I doubt Manning would have made the pass.
Tracy Porter comes in on the blitz. He was too obvious, when he saw Decker moving he had a quick glance before locking on Moreno. Low and behold he blitzed but couldn’t get past the Broncos HB. Finally Burnett had the biggest faux pas in my opinion, After Manning snapped he moves forward half a yard, hesitates (hence the additional horizontal line on his route) before biting on the PA, going to the line and making no impact on the play.
What this meant was Decker had yards of room to run through and catch the first TD. What could the Raiders have done? I don’t think Jenkins did much wrong, he was obviously going back into coverage, perhaps he could have stepped with Decker staying inside him and not outside. Porter was meant to blitz, though he could have hid it better.
Manning was looking for who was blitzing when moving Decker and no doubt clocked onto Porter pretty quickly. With Porter leaving a hole as he blitzed and Jenkins on the outside of Decker, Manning could see the void before snapping the ball. Burnett was perhaps too far from Decker to make a play, his hesitation didn’t help though.
So Lesson 1:
– Disguise the blitz
– Don’t leave gaps in coverage behind blitzing players.
– Try to stay inside players as invariably Manning throws to routes going towards the center.
– Do not hesitate.
– Don’t bite on PA’s.
Right next TD.
This one can be done in one image. Again Manning is operating the no-huddle. Welker will bolt forwards, 7 or eight yards in he stutter steps right, before being left wide open for an easy TD grab.
This ones on Woodson. Porter follows Welker so far but Welker drops out of his zone and Porter is expecting Woodson to pick him up. Woodson falls for Welker’s stutter step, starts to run right, before he has a chance to re-adjust from his mistake Welker has already got the ball. Woodson and Porter were obviously in Zonal coverage but Woodson should have known that Welker was going into his zone and re-acted appropriately.
– Don’t fall for the stutter step.
– Know when a Receiver is entering your zone and react.
Here’s the route, Thomas is simply going to run an out route before heading straight for the pylons. Moreno is going to run a drag route over the top of him. Fairly simple route and not one you’d expect to go for 6.
This is the D’s reaction. Nick Roach follows Moreno in the drag, covering him quite well in fairness. Woodson blitzes, though doesn’t get past the LT. Finally Burnett seems to be in zone coverage, but seeing Thomas in the open prompts him to react and run in his direction.
Sadly for Burnett things get ugly.
Straight away there’s an angle issue for Burnett. You know Thomas is going to skirt the sidelines, yet Burnett decides to run inside of him looking for the tackle. Terrible move, if he had simply cut off Thomas’ route and forced him inside Roach would have stopped him getting any further even if Burnett missed the tackle.
Instead this happens,
Running towards Thomas, Burnett quickly realises’ his angle is incorrect. He tries to re-adjust. It fails and ends with Thomas running on by without so much as a touch from Burnett.
Far to easy. Thomas had a lane that was about four yards wide. Burnett had a six yard head start on Thomas. Yet he still manages to blow his angle.
– Get your angle right so you can make a tackle.
– If you know you’ve got an LB inside of you force the Receiver… inside.
– Don’t make things easy for the Receiver.
Ultimately it was all a little too easy for Manning. Everyone makes mistakes but the Raiders basically handed the Broncos receivers the TD’s. If you manage to pressure a WR, cover him until the ball hits his hands and if he somehow falls to the floor clutching the pig-skin, then fair enough you did your best. Sadly Welker, Thomas and Decker I doubt felt any pressure as they waltzed into the end zone.
The Eagles D aren’t very good. There’s no way around it. They will struggle against Manning but that’s not to say that they can’t force a turnover or too, perhaps even a rare Denver punt. The above mistakes range from player stupidity to coverage issues. For the Eagles to win not only do our schemes need to be pretty air tight be it zone or man, but the players on D as a whole need to communicate and react as one and complete there assignments, mistake free.
Bear in mind that these three TD’s are a very small sample of what Manning can do. This season alone he’s thrown 12 TD’s in three games. He’s nearly reached 450 during his career. We need to let Manning come out the other side of Week 4 still under the 450 mark, that’s a momentous task for the Eagles D.
We can beat the Broncos. The D can put in a good showing. Just don’t make silly mistakes and hand Denver easy TD’s like the Raiders did.
Here-in endeth the lesson.