‘Playbook’ Monday notebook: Week 3

After going through Sunday’s game tape from Week 3, here are a few things we noticed …

Eye in the Sky matchups: Week 3 results

Trent Cole vs. William Beatty: The Giants definitely put an emphasis on taking Cole out of the game. On the 23 passing plays Cole was across from Beatty, the Giants had a tight end lined up to his side or a back chip-block on 15 of those plays. On those plays, Giants QB Eli Manning had an easier time getting the ball out. On occasions where they didn’t send help, the results weren’t as good (a Cole sack plus a pressure on Cullen Jenkins’ sack).

Kyle Williams vs. Dan Connolly: Of Williams’ 51 defensive snaps versus the Patriots, he lined up 28 times inside of the A-gap, which put him in direct eyesight of Connolly. While Williams played with great intensity, as you would expect, Connolly actually performed well against Williams in pass protection. Williams actually got most of his pressure on Patriots QB Tom Brady rushing across from LG Logan Mankins, getting a piece of Brady on the Patriots’ last touchdown. Then again, it was a touchdown.

Darren Sproles vs. Texans’ defense: While the Texans didn’t blitz as much as you would expect, Sproles still had a great day. He had six receptions for 50 yards and a 30-yard touchdown on a sweep. Again, he has been an impact player for the Saints, a rich-man’s version of Reggie Bush.

Tidbits: A few things that stood out

Panthers 16, Jaguars 10: Every yard counts, but the Jaguars’ rushing statistics are deceiving in regard to the performance of the Panthers’ defensive line. Besides the Jaguars’ three biggest gains (39, 21 and 12 yards), the combination of Sione Fua and Ron Fields were very disruptive and helped hold Jacksonville to 54 yards on the other 26 carries. The Panthers also utilized their defensive ends in interesting ways, standing up Charles Johnson and moving George Selvie to linebacker depth on third-and-long for delayed blitzes.

Browns 17, Dolphins 16: This game was a slow-mover. Browns DT Ahtyba Rubin had nine tackles and a sack. Rubin and the Browns’ defensive front held the Dolphins to 3.6 yards per carry. The gains were also short when the Browns were on offense. Through the air, nine out of QB Colt McCoy‘s 19 completions were on short crossing patterns. Nothing too fancy here.

Saints 40, Texans 33: The Saints’ cornerbacks aren’t capable of playing man-to-man pass defense. All of the Texans’ receivers — Andre Johnson, James Casey — made New Orleans’ defenders look silly.

You aren’t going to see their jerseys on the rack

Tampa’s defensive line: Get familiar with these guys. They are all high draft picks, but DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Gerald McCoy and DT Brian Price might not be getting the attention they deserve. All three have made someone go “wow” each week (enough so that someone will be showing you some film on them during Friday’s NFC Playbook show). Price has brought the head slap back in vogue, McCoy has been getting off the snap quicker than offensive linemen who know the count and Clayborn probably uses his left arm (he has Erb’s Palsy in the right) better than any pass rusher in the game. They get after people.

Navorro Bowman: The 49ers’ defense seems full of young stars — from LB Patrick Willis to War Room favorite NT Ray McDonald — but Bowman is the latest to make some waves. The second-year linebacker out of Penn State led the 49ers in tackles (11) and had a quarterback hit against the Bengals.  Playing behind his strong defensive line, he can fly to the ball.

Alex Carrington: Bills DL Kyle Williams might have not had his name called much against the Patriots, but Carrington — a second-year player from Arkansas State — had some very impressive plays against one of the best guards this decade in Brian Waters. Carrington consistently pushed Waters back in the run game to help stop the Patriots for minimal or negative gains. Carrington plays all over the line, from defensive tackle to defensive end, and even stands up as a 3-4 rush end.

“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.

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