Greg Cosell

  • Greg Cosell's Week 4 review: Cowboys' mistakes cost them in OT loss

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    The Dallas Cowboys needed to figure out ways to win without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, but they're 0-2 since Romo got hurt.

    Against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night, some key mistakes cost them as they lost in overtime.

    Let's start on that last play. C.J. Spiller got free for an 80-yard touchdown at the beginning of overtime, and it was because a rookie got lost in his assignment.

    The Saints lined up in an empty set with Spiller in the tight slot to the boundary, just inside of Brandin Cooks. The Cowboys were in a base 4-3, and were hurrying to get aligned and call the defense. The call was man free, with rookie outside linebacker Damien Wilson on Spiller. But Wilson didn't recognize Spiller was his assignment quickly enough and was beaten right at the snap by Spiller's wheel route.

    Wilson played a lot of snaps at outside linebacker for a defense that was without suspended linebacker Rolando McClain and also linebacker Sean Lee, who suffered a concussion in the first quarter.

    A lot of focus is on the Cowboys offense because of key injuries, and there were some things to clean up there. Let's start with the passing game.

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  • Greg Cosell's Look Ahead: The Denver Broncos' dominant defense

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 5 days ago

    It’s tough to figure out how to beat the Denver Broncos defense.

    Start with the fact that they have three excellent corners who can all play man-to-man coverage. When you begin with that, it gives you so many options as a defensive coordinator. Then add in the fact that Denver has two high-level pass rushers on each side, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

    Once you think about that foundation, you can easily understand how difficult it is to play against them.

    In Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens we saw how devastating the combination of coverage and pressure can be. The Broncos ran a combination stunt/blitz at Joe Flacco. Aqib Talib is maybe the best cornerback in the league at playing to pressure and reading and anticipating the quarterback. He ran this route for Steve Smith.

    So what do you do to slow down Denver's pass rush? You keep extra guys in to block. That affects everything else you’re trying to do though, and for the Detroit Lions last week it caused one of their biggest mistakes of the game – although you’d need to pay close attention to see how the Broncos’ defense was able to make the play.

    Moving Watt

    Bradford issues

    Panthers’ creativity

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  • Greg Cosell's Film Review: The impressive development of Derek Carr

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 6 days ago

    It's too early to say definitively what Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will become, but from a skills standpoint and how well he's developing, he has a chance to be a high-level NFL quarterback.

    Carr has played very well the past two weeks, and his improvement in his second season is even more impressive because he's working with a new offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave.

    It has been a good fit though. Musgrave is putting Carr in positions to succeed with some calls that accentuate Carr's strengths and that opens things up for him.

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    Here's a good example of the Raiders’ play calls opening up lanes for Carr. This came on a 3-yard touchdown by Andre Holmes last week. The shotgun sweep action impacted Cleveland Browns linebacker Karlos Dansby. Dansby moved inside to follow the run action, that removed him from the passing lane, and Holmes came open after he beat the nickel cornerback. This is a great play design.

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  • Greg Cosell's Week 3 review: Breaking down Colin Kaepernick's picks

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 9 days ago

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still learning and developing as a quarterback, but we’ve known there are things he had to improve upon.

    He has not always shown great clarity in the pocket. There are times he struggles to quickly isolate where to go with the ball. Other times he has broken down in the pocket, even when there’s no pressure.

    Against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Kaepernick’s bad habits were on display again.

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    Kaepernick threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and on those picks we saw him struggle with his clarity in the pocket, miss throws he should have made before forcing a mistake and breaking down in the pocket even with no pressure on him.

    Let’s break down each of his four interceptions, so we can see what went wrong on all of them:

    1. First quarter, third-and-11, 49ers 12-yard line


    2. First quarter, second-and-9, 49ers 31-yard line

    Here's a better look at his footwork and balance on that pass:


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  • Greg Cosell's Look Ahead: Looking at the Colts' offense through two weeks

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 12 days ago

    If you watched the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, perhaps you saw Andrew Luck's fourth-quarter interception and wondered why he would throw a pass into double coverage. When you watch the film you can see there's more to it beneath the surface.

    Let's look at his options on that play:

    Who exactly is he supposed to throw to? There are three receivers out in the pattern. Donte Moncrief and Andre Johnson are double-teamed (No. 1 and 2). T.Y. Hilton is single-covered (No. 3) but it's by Darrelle Revis, a tremendous man-to-man cornerback who had great coverage this play. Luck had no good options and threw it to the one he thought was best. And the reason Luck had such limited options was because the Colts had trouble blocking the New York Jets.

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    Chancellor returns

    Those are three big plays, and Chancellor might have beaten all of them.

    Mariota plays well ... even better?

    Manning struggling vs. blitz

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  • Greg Cosell's Film Review: Ben Roethlisberger playing at a masterful level

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 13 days ago

    Phil Simms told me once that as a quarterback, you hope to reach a point in which your mental ability is at peak level and your physical abilities are still sharp. It doesn't happen for everyone. Often by the time a quarterback has mastered the mental part of the game, his physical skills have diminished.

    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finds himself in the ideal zone that Simms was talking about.

    Roethlisberger is incredibly comfortable with the mental side of the game, in his 12th season. Physically, at age 33, he’s still in his prime. He is playing at the highest level of his career, and he’s playing at as high of a level as anyone in the NFL right now. That includes Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Roethlisberger is right there with them.

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    Last week against San Francisco, Roethlisberger showed his mastery of all aspects of the game. Let’s take a look at a few plays that illustrate that.

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  • Greg Cosell's Week 2 Review: What's wrong with the Eagles' offense?

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 16 days ago

    Nobody expected the Philadelphia Eagles' offense to struggle like this.

    The Eagles had 21 first-half yards against the Dallas Cowboys. They were shut out until the fourth quarter. Philadelphia finished with 7 net yards rushing.

    The pass offense, with new addition Sam Bradford, struggled just like the running game, led by new addition DeMarco Murray. We can take a look at the film and diagnose what went wrong in Week 2. It's just two games, and there's time for Chip Kelly to fix at least some of these issues. But there are issues to fix.


    There were too many snaps in which Bradford did not process the coverage quickly enough, and the Cowboys mixed things up to take away some of the Eagles' staple routes. 

    The issues weren't all on Bradford. Overall, the Eagles receivers were not able to get open against the Cowboys' man coverage. But B radford was not very decisive, and not consistently accurate. You did not get a sense of him reading coverage and making good throws ... a lot of the same things Bradford showed when he was with the St. Louis Rams.


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  • Greg Cosell's Look Ahead: Looking at why Seattle's defense struggled

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 19 days ago

    It's easy to assume the Seattle Seahawks defense giving up a lot of passing yards to the St. Louis Rams was a function of holdout safety Kam Chancellor's absence, but it was more than that.

    The Seahawks' pass defense was not as tight as it has been. There were a lot of completions in open areas by Rams quarterback Nick Foles. There was not as much recognition and awareness within the Seahawks' Cover 3 zone, their foundation on defense, which caused them to change their approach late in the game.

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    Here's an example of how the Seahawks didn't have their normal awareness and recognition. On the first play of the third quarter, the Rams had a play-action fake with a ghost reverse action by Tavon Austin. When Austin came across the formation like he was getting a reverse, all of the underneath defenders were impacted. When they went with Austin, it opened up the middle of the field for a 29-yard catch by Stedman Bailey.

    James Winston's biggest issue

    Joeckel struggles again

  • Greg Cosell's Film Review: Johnny Manziel gets another shot

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 20 days ago

    Johnny Manziel unexpectedly played most of Week 1 after Josh McCown was injured, so we got our first real chance to see if the second-year Cleveland Browns quarterback has made any progress.

    He did some things well. He made some mistakes. And it's clear he still has limitations that will make it a tough challenge to become a top quarterback. We'll get a better look at him this week, because the Browns announced Friday that he'll start against the Tennessee Titans.

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    Let's start with the positives from Manziel's Week 1 performance. Not long after Manziel got in the game, he threw a 54-yard touchdown pass. He faced a front-side blitz from the Jets and Travis Benjamin, to Manziel's left, was matched up against Jets corner Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie guessed, Benjamin got over the top of him and Manziel delivered an excellent pass.

    He must continue to do this as he plays more.

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  • Greg Cosell's Week 1 analysis: Inside Marcus Mariota's great debut

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 23 days ago

    Marcus Mariota’s great debut was a convergence of coaching that put him in positions to succeed, and Mariota’s skillfully executing the plays.

    Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff did an outstanding job with their rookie quarterback. There were a lot of quick drops and defined throws. They had excellent concepts, especially in the red zone, to get receivers open. But a great plan doesn’t work if the quarterback can’t execute, and Mariota was decisive and accurate, making tight throws into small windows. He was impressive. Mariota was particularly outstanding from the shotgun, which was a staple for him at Oregon. He went 10-of-10 for 176 yards and two touchdowns from the shotgun.

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    Let’s look at a few plays that really stood out to me on the game tape from Mariota’s debut.

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