Published: September 12th, 2011 | Tags: Playbook, Cam Newton, Da'Quan Bowers, Gosder Cherilus, Henry Melton, Joe Haden, Kyle Williams, Luke McCown, Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson, Ray McDonald, Robert Gallery
When the “Playbook” research staff digs into a new batch of coaching tape, we dig deep.
While cooking up “All-22” content for the Week 2 “Playbook” shows at the end of the week, we spend much of our Mondays and Tuesdays watching every game. And we mean every game.
Yes, we feast our eyes on Pittsburgh-Baltimore and Haloti Ngata‘s ability to bench press 300-pound linemen. But we spend just as much time sinking our teeth into more obscure games and matchups, many of which a discerning fan wouldn’t consider a delicacy.
We are here studying coaching tape so we can be knowledgeable on every team from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. We are here for you, the hardcore fan. And for you, here are a few buried treasures we scooped out of this week’s batch of games.
- Henry Melton might have had a career game in his first career start, utilizing a variety of twists and stunts with his defensive linemates to pop through Atlanta’s offensive line. Out of the Bears’ 11 quarterback hits on Matt Ryan, Melton had seven. Atlanta’s defense, as a unit, had six.
- The Lions offensive line struggled versus the Buccaneers’ front four, especially DE Da’Quan Bowers, who got the best of RT Gosder Cherilus. Jahvid Best averaged 3.4 yards per carry on Sunday, and his longest gain — a nine-yarder — came on a run intended to go right in which he had to cut back left because Cherilus was being pushed into the backfield.
- Cam Newton broke a rookie record with 422 yards in his debut. But it could have been 500 yards if his receivers had helped him out a little more. We counted six drops — two on the final drive — on well-thrown passes by Newton.
- On the other side of the ball, Cardinals rookie CB Patrick Peterson had a big-play punt return — but he had some lapses in coverage, too. Peterson gave up a touchdown to Steve Smith on an out-and-up route. After that, he seemed worried about being beat deep and was hesitant to break on passes.
- Ray McDonald showed he might be the best defensive player on the 49ers not named Patrick Willis. McDonald lined up on both sides of the center — against Seattle rookie guards John Moffitt and James Carpenter — abusing both at the point of attack with his size and speed.
- Robert Gallery‘s right knee injury created a domino-effect along the Seahawks’ offensive line. Carpenter moved from right tackle to Gallery’s left guard spot, forcing reserve Breno Giacomini into the starting lineup. Carpenter proved too slow to pull as a guard and Giacomini exacerbated Seattle’s issues in both the run game and pass protection.
- This by no means endorses Jacksonville cutting David Garrard on the dawn of the regular season, but Luke McCown threw the ball very well for the Jaguars. On three- and five-step drops, his back foot hit the ground and the ball was out with velocity. McCown hit a variety of routes and showed a strong arm on his way to a 91.5 passer rating.
- Joe Haden showed a nice progression from Year 1 to Year 2. He didn’t allow any completions and defended four passes (two in the end zone) against the Bengals’ top outside receivers, Jerome Simpson and A.J. Green.
- The Chiefs’ offense only had two drives of more than five plays, and that is a credit to the Buffalo defense and its ability to control the running game. The physicality up front — from Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus — stalemated the Chiefs’ offensive line, allowing the Bills to set the edge and limit Jamaal Charles‘ ability to get to top speed.
“Playbook”, the ultimate football Xs and Os show, airs Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network. Check the NFL Network broadcast schedule for further details. Follow “Playbook” on Twitter @NFLN_Playbook.