Tuesday, August 19, 2008

1st Quarter Remainder

I did a full every-snap analysis for the first quarter to gauge the starters. I fully expect the starters to be mostly taken out as the second quarter starts, so I may not be as detailed on the other quarters. (Time constraints also come into play as I don't have 4 1/2 hours to spend watching the remaining 45 minutes of the game.)

Back to the remainder of the First Quarter:

9:03 left, 1st Quarter, Lions 2nd Offensive Series

1. 1:10 Great protection of Jon Kitna. Quick throw to CJ - GEEZ - I know the Bengal's D isn't the tops in the league, but it looks like CJ is playing college corners out there, not NFL starters.

2. 2:1 Kitna Audibles at the line - must see something he likes. They are in a run formation - 2 wide, 2 back, Gaines and I think Fitz at TE. And it is an amazing pass as Kitna once again gets good protection and is able to step up into the pocket clean, plant, & throw a great deep ball to CJ - 35 or 40 yds in the air - who outruns both the CB and the S for an easy TD. Kitna laid it right in there. Looks like, on the replay, that the CB knew he was beat and got his hands on CJ who just slaps them away and blows right by him. Like TO or a young Moss without the attitude. Good audible by Kitna as the Bengals D was keyed in on the run.

The Lions First team has, overall, looked very strong against the Bengal's first team. They ran well, which opened up the outside passing game as advertised. With how good the Lions WR are all it takes is an ability to run well -- not great, just well -- and teams will be forced to figure out whether to die a slow death 4-12 yards at a time, or in larger chunks with the passing game -- because as soon as they key in to stop the run BAM! deep strike TD, or 40 yard gain.

Lions Defensive Series #2

The first series ended with an interception, so I can curious to see how this one goes.

KOR - Coverage: Nice tackle by Pearson as the coverage unit looks good again -- getting down there quick and tackling well.

1:10 Fake Draw, secondary doesn't bite at all and Palmer is forced by coverage and pressure to throw it away. Nice penetration by the line while the secondary gave them time with tight coverage. Still taking them too long to get in there -- however, Redding and White are going full steam tonight, and really starting to push some guys around. Nice intensity by the starting line.

Interesting note by the announcers that over 80% of the total plays last year were 7 step drops. I don't care who smart your O coordinator is supposed to be -- that's not pass happy, that's lunacy. Anyone have time/resources to fact check these hacks?

2:10 Maxiel does well on a route underneath. Those short underneath routes still killing the Lions, and the pressure took too long to get there.

1:10 Nice push again by the Bengals big mooing Oline still bowling over the smaller Dline -- but they make them work for it, and even though it is a nice long run, it is mostly sideways as the LB and DB get up in some great run support to head him off and take him down. Great intensity by the entire D to swarm in and turn a great push into just a 5 yard gain. There was real potential for a big play there, but the Lions D essentially stuffs it. Still, only 2:5 coming up and they need to get off the darn field!

2:5 Really nice catch on a low throw by Holt as Palmer has lots of pressure with Lenon in his face on a delayed blitz. It was a lucky "catch" -- and one, during the season, I would expect them to challenge. They didn't replay it, so I did a couple of times, and it looks like it hit the ground and bounces back up into his arms, which he then cradles underneath it. Lions let it go -- but even though he managed the catch, it wasn't easy and with forcing throws like that, it is only a matter of time before the Defense can force or take advantage of an error or miss.

Interesting - Canon comes on as the Lions have begun to rotate their starters out and the second string in at various places. Looks like the Bengals are sticking all in with the first team Offense. I can see as this is the second offensive series, but can't help but wonder: with how non-explosive the Bengals have looked tonight, will they leave in their first team offense against the Lions' #2's? While I think it would be silly of Bengals, it would make for great experience and evaluation of the second string D. Unfortunately, if they do well -- the nat'l media will be all about the Bengals "getting it going" and fail to mention it was against Lions backups. If the Lions keep playing like they have been, they will earn their respect on film.

Det 43 1:10 Nice Run by perry for about 6 yds. Good Job by Alexander & Bodden of getting into the hole in run support. Alexander needs to forget about big SportsCenter hits and wrap up his guy though. Disappointing, as I know he can do better than that. Here's where the Bengals should ride Perry until the Lions show they can stop him.

2:5 pickup of about 4 as they do just that.
3:1 big down for the Lions D -- they need to get off the field!! and the y blow it, but something doesn't look right at the snap. Ahh -penalty, only 6 guys on the line.
3:6 Lions get another chance to get off the field. 3 wide - perry out. Shotgun - 3 step drop and perfect slant throw in front of Bodden, who was just a step to far off and the Bengals are finally starting to find a groove on offense. Hope it doesn't last.

1:10 Bodden great coverage as Palmer tries to loft one into the endzone. Smith comes over and is there to help -- and almost comes up with an INT. Good throw, but better coverage by the secondary. They are definitely much improved over last season.

2:10 Draw play that Redding just Blows Up! in the backfield. He continues tonight to be the relentless beast of 2006. I'm thinking he's healthy again, how about you fellows?

3:11 Finally - the D has them in third and long. D White again as he gets an SBS (Should Be Sack) against Palmer as the QB just manages to toss it OB, with White literally all over him. This Lions D kept getting more aggressive as the drive continued, until they finally just out-hit the Bengals offense into submission. Funny -- they seem to be wearing down the Bengals Offense instead of the other way around -- the Dline is getting more push now, and almost seems to have worn out the giants on the Bengals Oline and the Detroit Dline Midgets are still hammering away. Must be that pad level, which has looked good from the Dline.

4:11 I don't understand why a FG here in the preseason is the right call. All coaches say that they don't gameplan for the opponent this second preseason game, and that the win doesn't matter. They say they are just trying things out, testing players, seeing what they have. Why Kick a FG then??? Kicker need game practice?? Graham is a seasoned vet. Lions proved last week how silly it is when Hanson got hurt. Why not run another play, and if it doesn't get the first, your D (first or second string) gets some great practice defending a short field. Oh well, NFL coaches often check their jewels in at the gate and pick them back up after the game.



White just knifes in and bats it down. No sack, but he does come up with a blocked kick. Rogers who?

Lions "O" - about 1/2 second team (Dan O at QB, CJ is out, Roy is in.

1:10 Try the bootleg with Dan O, proving that they aren't trying to win - but work on weak areas. Dan O has developed into an excellent pocket passer -- but in the new Lions O he is going to have to roll out some -- so they are getting him some good in game practice on it while they have the chance. Unfortunately, since it is not at all his strong suit (he threw this ball at Furrey's feet) I expect him to look pretty bad at it, and people will start calling for Stanton as #2 soon. In game, I'm pretty sure if he had to come in for Kitna they would stick to his strengths -- accurate darts out of the pocket. As I rewound to look over the play again, realized the Bengals still have in what appears to be their entire first string D. Maybe I was wrong and we'll Carson Palmer play an entire half. Considering his injury history, I think it would be crazy but stranger things have happened.

Maybe they forgot how to count, and think it's the 3rd game.

2:10 Run. Smith. Nothing going. 2 yds. Decent blocking by the Oline, but the Bengals Dline wanted it more.

3:8 Roy just short of the first. OK route by Roy, but I'm not sure if Roy knew where the marker was. Decent protection by the line, but Dan O feels hurried and pushes the throw in too soon, good catch, but no first.

4:? I can see why the Lions are punting -- considering how ST played last week, the coverage teams need all the in game practice they can get. Couple that with several inter-positional battles for those last 4 or 5 roster spots this year by truly talented individuals that will be decided by special teams play. Funny -- this one down is more important for evaluation for cut downs than the entire last offensive drive because of the number of players and positions it impacts in regards to making the cuts.

Great coverage again. The ST unit is really on fire as Gardner hustles down there and makes the tackle.

Bengals Offense, Take 3. First Team Offense STILL on the field:

So Palmer is still in, as the Lions are for all intents and purposes into the second string Defense. This ought to give IAF, Cody, Moore, Fluellen, and Avril a chance to show what the "backups" can do against the Bengals starters. Same for Dizon and the LB competing for spots.

1:10 Run for three, nothing impressive. Good stop by Moore and IAF on that one.

2:7 IAF just cleaves his way through the line and Nails Palmer hard as he throws -- on a 3 step drop! Coverage was there in the secondary to be sure the bad/hurried pass wasn't caught. IAF just hooked one massive arm around Palmer and threw him down. Palmer is not a weak QB -- A. Rodgers or T. Jackson, or Joey Blue Skies would have gone on IR after that hit. Or at least been knocked silly.

3:7 LB Blitz on the delay, and A Lewis comes untouched up the middle right into Palmer - just lays one on him. a hit and a sack on the Bengals starting offense by the Lions 2nd team Defense!! nice stunt and way for Barry to say to the two's "go get 'em boys - no matter who's facing who hit them hard, then hit them again harder." Usually don't see a lot of stunts in preseason, but I think Barry wanted to see how his twos would handle executing it against the Bengals 1's -- given the opportunity. They didn't disappoint, and I'm impressed with this D so far. So the first quarter will end with a punt to the Lions.

nice catch by Ellis. He makes the first guy miss, but about 5 more are right there. and he is taken down almost immediately. the coverage units looked exponentially better, but the return units still need a LOT of work on their blocking.


I am going to just watch through the rest of the game tonight, and then give my general impressions or specific plays that stood out tomorrow night or Thursday.

Also, I'll finally be able to read some game summaries, and your thoughts to see if what I saw is what everyone else saw.

Thanks for reading along!!


JJLions20 said...

Teams go for the FG in the preseason because they take the opportunity to practice what will be thrown at them in the regular season. 4th and 11 is a FG down 99% of the time, and it's a good thing for the Bengals that they decided to go for the FG. Now they have tape on what went wrong.

As somebody who was not able to catch the game, your notes and Nub's, are appreciated. Now if there was a way to get video replays to download, and not get in trouble by the NFL.

JJLions20 said...

After reading all that has been posted about the that the Lions zone blocking taking some time to develop, I've got some questions. I thought we were originally told that the offense was not really changing, it was more of an emphasis that was changing. I thought we were told that every offense has some zone blocking incorporated into it. I thought we were told that in 2007 Martz would practice running the ball, then never go to it in the game. If what we were told is correct, then why does it take so long to incorporate a blocking scheme that was already in the playbook and practiced some?

Something does not add up. Maybe I mis-heard what was told. Maybe it's a different type of zone blocking (Denver style).

It would be interesting if somebody had tape of last years games (like the Denver game) and this years pre-season games, and analyzed what is so different in the O-Line. Some of the readers in this forum obviously played the O-Line in high school or even coached a little of it. So I'd be interested in a comparison of 2007 and 2008 and how much is really different. And by the way, has anything changed in the pass blocking. Are they chipping the DE, keeping the FB in more, or is it the threat of the bootleg, and different step drops that is keeping the DE's from cheating and crashing in.

It may be good to keep the tape of the third preseason game, and see who has improved come the 8th game of the season. Is there really better holes, or is Smith just better at finding the cracks and getting through them.

Isphet said...

The blocked field goal implies that they DO need more practice kicking them! heheh. :)

I only watched the game once and don't have the option to rewind and review. Was it my imagination, or was Houdini Cody in the game for more than a series or two? I wish I had the chance to watch him, specifically. He's going to get cut if he doesn't step his game up.

Anonymous said...


The difference between a zone blocking scheme and a man blocking scheme is basically in the question. Man is "Who you are blocking?" Zone is "Where are you blocking?" Most times it is the same person, but not all the time. Also, cut blocking is a new technicque that is incorporated.

In the zone scheme I was involved with in high school, you would take the guy that was straight up or on your inside gap. If no one was there, you could chip a guy to your side, or hunt a linebacker. For instance "634 trap". 6 is the formation, 3 is the back (halfback), and 4 is the hole (guard/tackle gap).

Trap means the weak side (left guard is pulling into the 4 hole.

LT will block right to cover the hole left by the pulling guard.
C will reach right to cover the hole left by the pulling guard.
RG will block someone who is head up on him, or on his left gap.
RT will block someone on his inside (left gap) but will leave the guy that is head up or on his right gap (this is the guy getting blasted by the pulling guard).
TE will hook an OLB if he is there, if not will go inside and block a MLB.

In this one play, the pulling guard is blocking whoever is in the "zone" or "4" hole. If no one is there, the pulling guard should keep going and get a linebacker.

When we would dive or power we would not be pulling anyone. It was "take teh guy across from you and drive him". If no one across from you, hunt a linebacker.

So, in essence, you have both man and zone, depending on if you are trapping or diving with the ball. Most NFL teams do both, that is why. Trap blocking takes a little time to develop, dive blocking is straight ahead popping into the hole. A quick handoff, and go.

Hopefully this is clear as mud and understandable to all.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, in the illustration above, the center would block to his LEFT, to help fill the hole left by the pulling guard.

jreffy said...

I might be just a dumb fan, but I really never saw much difference between man blocking and zone blocking. When I was taught as a Center to block, all you really had to know was which hole the play was designed to go through. Then your blocking assignment was as follows

1) Playside (1st level)
2) Backside (1st level)
3) 2nd Level

When I get the chance to start coaching HS/Gradeschool football, this is the exact same scheme/strategy I'll teach my offensive line.

Now the question is...is that man or zone blocking?

ClusterFox said...

Jreffy-To answer your question, Neither, its un-answerable as you state it. I assume your list is a kind of progression for the line.
Its not possible to effectively implement a system like that.
quick example- 1) in a zone scheme- when you take a playside step if you are alone at that point you can not then block backside. only option is to move up field to second level.

Some one can correct me if I'm wrong(I'm sure you will:))but my opinion of the difference between man and zone is simple. In zone once the play is called, you know your first 2 steps and you hit what is there or move on to the remainder of your assignment. In Man the play is called and the assignments are dictated by the defensive allignment. Once that is established you go get your guy, or chip and second level,etc whatever your assignment dictates.

I think the biggest adjustment our line is getting comfortable with is moving forward.(what a novel idea) instead of back pedaling on every play, they are getting used to the proper steps to be in position to punish someone, not just get hands on defenders and shield them. In all seriousness the zone scheme is great but you need reps with your linemates so you know when a guy is in the gap, how much help are you getting frontside, or how much you are giving backside, or are you getting to the next level immediately. Its alot of trust in your linemates, because you can't have everyone double checking backside before they get down field.

jreffy said...

I should have clarified. That "checklist" I put up was your reads pre-snap. Obviously it's hard to make a block when your first steps are playside.

It was a simple way for us to identify who we were going to pick up before the ball was snapped.

Baloo92 said...


It is similar to the Tampa 2. While most teams run some cover 2 in thier defense package, it would still take a considerable to switch to a true Tampa two.

That is an over simplification, but it applies.

Anonymous said...


More of a zone blocking scheme. You are not assigned to a man in that system. In man blocking, you will block player "X". In a zone you are blocking an area. Think of zone as progression blocking. If you get to spot "A" (the hole) and no one is there, I then continue forward and take an inside linebacker "B". If there is no linebacker, I then look outside for an outside linebacker "C". If no outside linebacker, I continue and get tatooed in the chin by "D", a safety I never saw.

In man (what the Lions used with Barry), you take your guy, and tehn stick with him, as you never know how the back is going to read the block and where he is going to bounce.