Cosell’s Watching the Wild Cards: Saints Defense 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 defense vs. Lions offense.

  • Saints began the game with 3-3-5 personnel, Wilson was the 3rd LB with Shanle and Vilma – Casillas was inactive
  • Saints played man-to-man right from the start, It was predominantly “man free”; S Harper was matched on TE Pettigrew or Scheffler
  • Stafford beat the “green dog” on the 2nd play: Johnson 22 yds from the slot versus corner Porter

  • DC Williams came out aggressive, He challenged the Lions pass game with press man and “green dog” pressure
  • Saints strong tendency to play “Tampa 2” in the red zone, MLB Vilma a lot of freedom to read routes inside
  • Heller 10 yd TD on 1st possession came versus “Tampa 2”, Vilma cheated to Johnson in the slot on same side of Heller – Heller initially blocked, which also impacted Vilma’s drop
  • Single high safety Jenkins primarily cheated to Johnson in “man free” coverage concept
  • Saints showed a lot of different fronts that included 3 man, 4 man and 5 man DL – Also mixed coverages as the game progressed with a healthy dose of “Tampa 2”
  • Robinson was the Saints 3rd corner, He played right corner with Porter inside over the slot
  • 3-3-5 was a foundation defense for the Saints versus the Lions, Wilson played 39 snaps
  • Saints also played snaps of “cover zero blitz”, DC Williams very multiple with his pressures and coverages
  • Saints also played snaps of base 3-4 versus “12” personnel, Dunbar was the 4th LB
  • Stafford a lot of quick throws versus man coverage, Negated Saints strong “green dog” tendency – Clearly game planned
  • Johnson 13 yd TD came versus “Tampa 2”, Saints rushed 3 and dropped 8; Empty with Johnson slot to 2 receiver side, Vilma opened to 3 receiver side
  • What was impressive about Stafford was he completed passes to Johnson against coverages designed to take Johnson away, Some big time throws
  • A lot of Saints zone coverage concepts featured 3 man rushes with 8 in coverage. Based on film study I would say the Saints rush 3 as much as or more than any team in the NFL
  • Saints at times played dime, S Abdul-Quddus was the 6th DB
  • Harper matched up on Pettigrew in the Saints man coverage concepts, In the 3rd quarter when the Saints showed a 4 wide look with Johnson in the slot S Jenkins matched up on Johnson in “man free”: Johnson 21 yds
  • It was only 1 game but rookie LB Wilson did not look like a very good edge blitzer, Stiff with little change of direction
  • Greer 1st interception in the 4th quarter was the result of pressure on Stafford by Smith beating LG Sims, Young ran by Greer but Stafford could not drive the throw
  • Johnson’s big game mostly the result of Stafford making some great throws into tight windows versus schemed coverages designed to take away Johnson
  • Overall Stafford read coverage well and threw the ball extremely well versus a multiple Saints defense

Later today: more of Greg’s Wild Card film study notes.

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