Cosell’s Watching: Tebow’s O vs. Belichick’s D

Denver Broncos, From the Desk of Greg Cosell, Greg Cosell, Inside the Game, New England Patriots

NFL Matchup’s Executive Producer shares notes from his study of Week 15 coaching tape: the Patriots Defense vs. the Broncos Offense.

  • First 3rd down (3rd + 4) the Patriots rushed 4 and played “cover 3” behind it, The rush collapsed the pocket in the middle and Tebow ran for 7 yds
  • Patriots played both 4-3 and 3-4 fronts on the Broncos 1st possession; McGahee 19 yds came v. 3-4, He got to the perimeter due to a great block by WR Decker
  • Tebow’s best attribute as a runner is his physical strength, It’s especially effective in the tight red zone

  • McGahee 29 yds to start 2nd possession came against 3-4 front, Again he got to the perimeter due to great block by Decker

    Tim Tebow fumbles the ball as he's hit by Mark Anderson (AP)

  • OLB Ninkovich struggled to set the edge effectively in the run game in the 3-4 front
  • Thomas 22 yds on 2nd TD drive was shotgun play action with a flattened skinny post by Thomas v. “cover 3”, Design of play v. anticipated defense made it a one read throw – Great job by OC McCoy
  • Ball 32 yd TD came out of “11” personnel, 6 on 6 in the box, RG Kuper and C Walton excellent 2nd level blocks on LB White and Mayo
  • Patriots predominant zone coverage through the 1st half, both “cover 2” and “cover 3”; Very few snaps of man
  • Tebow 3 skinny posts off shotgun play action v. “cover 3”: Thomas 22 yds, Decker 22 yds and Thomas 15 yds, all thrown to Tebow’s front side and all v. “cover 3”
  • Tebow at this point struggles to throw the ball to his right, Footwork and balance issues; He locks his front leg and lifts his back foot off the ground before he releases the ball, losing all velocity and he does not have a strong arm as it is
  • Patriots more 3-4 fronts as the 1st half progressed, Still mixed it up with 4-3 but more odd fronts with NT directly aligned over OC Walton
  • Broncos again featured 3×1 sets with Thomas predominantly the “x” iso as the single receiver, Tebow strong tendency to throw to Thomas out of that 3×1 set
  • Patriots played predominant single high safety defenses, S Ihedigbo was the 8th defender in the box
  • Thomas 16 yds on 1st possession of the 3rdquarter was excellent job by Tebow moving within the pocket, locating a secondary receiver and resetting to deliver the ball accurately

    Lance Ball is tackled by Patrick Chung and Myron Pryor (AP)

  • Patriots halftime adjustment was more man coverage in the 2nd half, It was predominantly “man free” behind a 4 man rush giving them an extre free defender in the middle
  • At this point Tebow struggles to throw v. man coverage, Receivers are not open quickly and the throws are tighter into smaller windows – Result is Tebow will not pull the trigger, instead looking to run
  • Tebow must learn as he plays how to go through progressions from the pocket, He struggles to do that right now
  • Ball 34 yds was example of Tebow movement breaking down the coverage discipline of the defense, It was “man free” and Mayo left Ball to attack Tebow on the perimeter
  • Tebow overall threw the ball better v. Patriots than he had in any previous game, He made some quality throws from the pocket – In this league you must make plays with your arm from the pocket to be consistently successful
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