Cosell’s Watching the Wild Cards: Saints Offense vs. Detroit

Detroit Lions, From the Desk of Greg Cosell, Greg Cosell, Inside the Game, New Orleans Saints

NFL Matchup’s Executive Producer shares notes from his study of Wild Card Weekend coaching tape: Saints offense vs. Lions Defense.

  • Delmas back at safety for the Lions after missing 5 games, Delmas and Spievay started at safety – Harris was inactive
  • “Nudge” concept a significant part of Saints protection schemes, Utilized primarily with Graham and Sproles
  • Berry was the Lions 3rd corner, He played outside with Wright inside over the slot

  • Lions showed Avril in 2 point stance in the middle of the defense as part of nickel sub-package, Lions also used Young in that position out of the base 4-3

    Darren Sproles runs up field as Justin Durant and Nick Fairley defend (AP)

  • Lions predominant 2 deep shell through the Saints first couple of possessions, Game planned
  • Fairley significant part of Lions DL rotation, Played more snaps in this game than any game this season
  • Saints showed “wam” concept in the run game, Effective versus penetrating DT Suh
  • Sproles a very significant part of Saints game plan, Utilized in a number of different positions – Played about 35-40 snaps
  • 3×1 sets utilized effectively by the Saints, Colston and Graham both aligned at #3 in the inside slot
  • “Nudge” concept often utilized out of empty to help OT Bushrod and Strief with pass protection
  • Lions stayed predominantly with 2 deep coverage throughout the 1st half, Very few snaps of man coverage – When they did play man they matched Delmas on Graham
  • Lions at times generated good pass rush pressure on Brees, Brees a few ill-advised throws that could easily have been intercepted – 49ers defense will be preaching that all week in preparation
  • Henderson 41 yd TD was great design out of “21” personnel, Henderson tight motion inside TE Graham, Vertical seam route versus S Spievay – Coverage was “Tampa 2”, Hard run action slowed MLB Tulloch’s middle hole responsibility

    Devery Henderson catches a 41 yd TD pass in front of Stephen Tulloch (AP)

  • Lions defensive foundation was predominant 4 man DL rush with a 2 deep shell behind it, A lot of snaps of “Tampa 2”
  • Berry replaced Houston as corner in the base defense in the 2nd half, Houston became the 3rd corner
  • Colston 40 yds on second 3rd quarter TD driv: he beat Smith on a go route from plus split, Lions singlehigh for the 1st time in the game – Empty with Graham and Sproles nudge, Don’t see Colston run go routes from plus splits too often in the Saints pass game
  • Sproles 12 yd catch on critical 3rd + 2 in the 4th quarter came versus “2 man”, LB Tulloch matched on Sproles
  • Lions played snaps of single high and man coverage in the 4th quarter, Needed to get more aggressive
  • Meachem 56 yd TD came versus “Tampa 2”, Brees manipulated S Delmas to react to Arrington seam route – Empty with Graham and Sproles nudge
  • Smith and Berry were beaten in man coverage by Colston and Meachem in the 2nd half, Reflective of fact that Lions need better corner play to compete
  • Saints never take their foot off the pedal, They attack for 4 quarters no matter the score

Later today: Greg’s notes on

the New Orleans defense’s Wild Card performance.

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