- Greg Cosell at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
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You're a general manager or a head coach in the NFL. The subject is Johnny Manziel. You're not interested in the white noise that saturates Manziel across the airwaves and social media. Or at any rate you shouldn't be. Your job may be on the line. You should be focused on the tape that defines Manziel as a player. That's your starting point. What do you see? How do you evaluate it? Do you believe he can transition well to the NFL?
You begin with his size: 5-foot-11¾, 207 pounds. How many NFL quarterbacks who fit that profile are successful? You have to visualize Manziel in the league, not on Saturday afternoons. Size matters for a quarterback in the NFL. You can't dismiss that, so you better think hard about it and have a plan for what you want to do with Manziel within the context of your team.
You immediately think Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. Brees is the foundation of his offense. He's brilliant both before and after the snap. He's a quick-twitch athlete with outstanding pocket command and movement. He throws with extraordinary anticipation and precise ball location. He's a master pocket passer.
Greg Cosell’s Playoff Film Review: Colts brilliantly set up Andrew Luck’s game-winning TD to T.Y. HiltonGreg Cosell at Shutdown Corner3 mths ago
NFL coaches don’t just roll the ball out there and say, "make plays." Their offense might use the early portion of the game to set up the defense, running a play repeatedly, getting ready for a counter-punch and a chance at a huge score when they need it.
That's what happened on Andrew Luck's game-winning touchdown to T.Y. Hilton that capped the Indianapolis Colts' great comeback win against the Kansas City Chiefs. They set that up for the first three-and-a-half quarters.
The Colts started in a three-by-one set, with three receivers to the left. That's a staple of what they do, as a team that increasingly relied on "11" personnel (one back, one tight end, three receivers) as the season went on. The play is a three-level stretch concept. LaVon Brazill ran a short route, Coby Fleener ran a corner route, and Hilton ran a post route. This is in a lot of playbooks. The New Orleans Saints are masters of this.
But what the Colts did here is they played off of a route Hilton ran numerous times in this game. So the Colts picked this time to play off that.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner4 mths ago
When I started really getting into college evaluation for the NFL draft about eight or nine years ago, one of the things I had trouble with was projecting bigger receivers in the NFL.
Size receivers rarely look fast on film when they run. I was wrong on some guys because I would note that they weren’t fast. They’d do well in the pros and I’d wonder what I was missing. Then I started to look at the big guys differently. Their stride length is so long, that makes their speed. It seems like they eat up 15 yards in three steps.
Alshon Jeffery, a second-round pick by the Bears in 2012, has some of those traits. He’s not as purely explosive as a guy like Randy Moss was, for example, but he eats up ground so fast.
There was a play against Minnesota that really stands out to me. It was a 19-yard catch and it shows Jeffery's explosion.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner4 mths ago
My comments this week that Tampa Bay's Mike Glennon is a more advanced NFL quarterback than Washington's Robert Griffin raised some eyebrows, but there's a lot more to it than the one quote.
Remember, before last year's draft, I said I liked Griffin a little more than Andrew Luck as a prospect. Griffin has a strong and mostly accurate arm. There’s nothing wrong with the way he throws the football. The issue he has faced is mastering the subtle nuance of the position. That is not surprising considering he played in a spread offense in college and when he got to the NFL the Redskins built an offense with the pistol formation and read option elements because of his speed and movement. Then he missed out on an entire offseason because of a knee injury, so he gets a bit of a mulligan for this season. He lost a ton of learning time.
The basic formula for Chip Kelly's offense is leveraging numbers plus alignment. The Eagles used that formula to take advantage of the Raiders on two big plays, a running play and a passing play from the exact same formation.
On Philadelphia's first drive against the Raiders last Sunday, Oakland defended the Eagles' formation of three receivers to one side with two cornerbacks playing off and linebacker Sio Moore tight to the formation.
For Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, his option is clear as a bell. With three receivers to his left and two defenders giving a cushion, it's a bubble screen to receiver Riley Cooper. That's easy.
After preparing for the Eagles offense, the Raiders needed to know better. The bubble screen is one of the staples of the Eagles' offense with Kelly. This play went for a 42-yard gain. The numbers advantage and alignment of the Raiders made it easy.
The interesting thing about the design of Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor's record-setting 93-yard touchdown is it combined two concepts in one play.
On the first play against Pittsburgh last week, tailback Darren McFadden was offset with Pryor in the backfield. The right guard pulled left on the play. Everything looked like a power run by McFadden to the left, including the downblocks.
Three key defensive players for Pittsburgh reacted to the power action: linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons and safety Ryan Clark. Clark, who lined up 18 yards off the ball, probably shouldn't be involved like he was as a deep safety, but you understand that he saw power and he is going to get involved.
While that happened to the left, on the right side the Raiders had three blockers lined up outside the tackle. Fullback Marcel Reece was in the slot, and the Raiders had two other receivers to the right to block for the read-option action if Pryor kept it.
You’re combining concepts, with power to the left and read option to the right.
The Seahawks' first touchdown on Thursday was an example of Russell Wilson not being just a "run around" quarterback. He moves around to do something decisive.
On the touchdown to Sidney Rice, Seattle receiver Golden Tate was lined up to the left as the "X iso" against Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. After the snap Wilson glances at that side, but he comes off it so quickly, I don’t think he had any intention to throw to Tate. He just wanted to move single high safety, Rashad Johnson, over to that side with his eyes. And Seattle has thrown it to the "X iso" on that route before, so they’re playing off something they have done in the past.
Wilson was setting up Rice, who was running a hook-and-go route on his right side. Rice's route looked improvised, but it's not. It looked like it was improvisation because Wilson moved out of the pocket.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner11 mths ago
Here’s picks 1-16 in my mock draft, you can see picks 17-32 here. The parameters I presented for those selections still apply. One other point: I don’t place grades on players based on the round in which I believe they should be selected. I project players to the NFL and then look at team needs. If a player I feel transitions well to the NFL fits a given team, then, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good pick. If you're looking for quarterbacks, you won't find any first-rounders in this mock draft.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner1 yr ago
In my last column, I focused on the wide receiver position in the 2013 draft. The recurring theme was size, a continuing trend both in college football and the NFL. I mentioned Justin Hunter, Keenan Allen, Deandre Hopkins, Chris Harper, Da’Rick Rogers, among others. The shortest was Hopkins, at just under 6-foot-2; Hunter was the sleekest at 6-foot-4, 196 pounds. With the possible exception of Hunter, who ran an official 4.44 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, and is the most explosive vertical receiver on the board, it’s a group whose collective traits reflect their physical dimensions, their hands and their competitiveness as opposed to their speed.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner1 yr ago
At this time of year, leading up to the NFL Draft, everyone wants lists. Who are the top five quarterbacks? The top five running backs? The top five wide receivers? I get asked those questions all the time. They’re difficult to answer, for the simple reason there are far too many variables to categorize individual and distinctive players with the same set of standards and criteria. Part of the equation, as well, is that different teams, based on schemes and utilization, have divergent visions of how best to deploy those players. For instance, how can you possibly compare Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon? If your offense features intermediate and downfield passing as a foundational element, you would not evaluate Barkley very highly. Maybe you have him as a fourth-round pick, if that. Glennon, on the other hand, fits your approach. You might well grade him as a late first, or early second round option.