Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago
The question about Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is how he’ll transition to the NFL.
Mariota, like all quarterbacks from spread college offenses, is a bit more of a complicated projection. The game he played at Oregon will not be the same game he plays in the NFL. There will be a three-step, five-step, seven-step drop foundation he’ll need to learn. Even if the Philadelphia Eagles and former Oregon coach Chip Kelly end up drafting Mariota, it will be a different game for him than he's used to.
Mariota was very comfortable in Oregon offense. He understood and executed the concepts at high efficiency with great confidence. But does he have to run that offense in the NFL to be successful?
One thing that stood out is an excellent ball position on his drop. He has a quick compact delivery that at times was reminiscent of Dan Marino’s delivery.
He has light feet on his drop and set. He‘s a real quick-twitch athlete, and as such he can extend plays and create.
Mariota is a little bit of a short-armer on intermediate throws. There was not a lot of arm extension. Some deeper intermediate throws lost energy on the back end.
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Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 14 days ago
I think, like many others, that Jameis Winston is the best quarterback prospect in this class. But I want to take a moment to emphasize a key word there: prospect.
Everybody in the NFL draft is a prospect. No matter how many times people say a player “can’t miss,” they’re all prospects. Every player coming into the NFL has positives and negatives. The negatives can be worked on because the players are young. If the flaws aren't fixed, they’ll become blemishes that will prevent them from playing at a high level in the NFL.
That’s how I like to present draft prospects. There are pluses and minuses to them all. There aren’t many Andrew Lucks, who come along with very few flaws.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Winston.
I broke down six of his games for this piece: against Notre Dame, Louisville, Virginia, Miami (Fla.), Boston College and Oregon. Here is what he does well and what he’ll need to work on:
Against Virginia last season, Winston threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene that showed a lot of positive traits and attributes needed to play quarterback from the pocket in the NFL.
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Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 23 days ago
In a two-play sequence during a playoff game at the Dallas Cowboys last season, Ndamukong Suh offered a glimpse of what he can do for a defense.
Suh, the Detroit Lions defensive tackle who will be highly coveted in free agency, plays the run and the pass with what I call methodical and relentless explosion. He’s not a quick-twitch player like a Gerald McCoy. He is very powerful. And he can control the inside of an opposing offense.
Here’s what Suh did on back-to-back plays, and keep in mind he was going against center Travis Frederick and guard Zack Martin, who were Pro Bowlers last season.
First and 10
Suh’s tackle numbers aren’t huge but if you watch the film you know what a big difference he makes. He was the reason DeMarco Murray was stopped for no loss on this run.
And here it is from the end-zone angle:
Second and 10
Now we can see Suh’s relentless and methodical power in the passing game. He shoves Martin back into the pocket, and quarterback Tony Romo is forced to move. Suh stayed with the play through hustle and got the sack. This isn’t a function of speed or quick-twitch ability. It’s just really impressive power.
WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
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Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 24 days ago
The Philadelphia Eagles are a fascinating team this offseason, and their big trade this week makes them even more interesting.
Let’s assume Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants to draft University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. That’s a reasonable assumption, considering all that has been said about it. What that ultimately means is that if the Eagles have any chance of moving up to draft Mariota, they have to give up draft picks, and likely draft picks from this season. A team positioned high enough in the draft for the Eagles to take Mariota will want to get better right away.
So if we assume that’s what the Eagles want to do (that's not to say it's a guarantee to happen, of course), the Eagles can’t get better through the draft because they’ll have to give away so many picks. So what do the Eagles have to do? They have to cut cap. And they just got rid of about $10 million of cap charges by trading running back LeSean McCoy.
So the Eagles’ trade might have been done with an organizational philosophy or a bigger plan in mind. But let’s take a closer look at McCoy, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills.
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The conventional wisdom is that the NFL is now a passing league.
Any conversation about the NFL usually comes back to that notion. I don't disagree with that but no matter how much it’s said that it's a passing league, the Dallas Cowboys ran through DeMarco Murray last season.
The Cowboys were very good, too. They went from a string of .500 seasons to a 12-4 record, an NFC East championship and nearly a playoff win at Green Bay once the team started going through Murray. Murray allowed the Cowboys to control the tempo and to make sure the defense wasn’t on the field too much. He was their most important player, the foundation of their entire team.
Murray is scheduled to become a free agent on March 10, so do you re-sign him if you're Dallas? That’s a difficult question.
If you knew the unknowable, namely how Murray would hold up in seasons to come after a huge workload last season, then I think re-signing him is an easy choice. He was Dallas' most important player last season, and I don't buy the notion that running backs don't have value. But it's not that simple.
Here he impacts linebacker Alec Ogletree, makes a great cut and gains 14 yards.
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The expectations for rookie quarterbacks have increased, and that's not necessarily fair.
People might expect every rookie quarterback to be an Andrew Luck right away, but that’s hard. It’s a process.
We saw five rookie quarterbacks become the primary starters for their teams during the season. Each of them showed some good things and some bad things, and that’s all normal in the development of a quarterback in the NFL. Let’s take a look at where they stand and what they still need to work on after their rookie seasons (we’ll break down four of them here, for more on Johnny Manziel you can read my in-depth look at him during last season here and here):
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
This offseason, Bortles has to go back to basics. He lost his technique.
Bortles will have to work on his fundamentals this offseason, but there were good signs in year one.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Most of the discussion surrounding the Seattle Seahawks’ final offensive play is about the call itself, whether it was a mistake to pass on second-and-goal against the New England Patriots.
I’d like to show you why the play that was called didn’t work.
Here’s what it looked like before the snap, and what the Seahawks were trying to get. They wanted Ricardo Lockette to run a slant, with Jermaine Kearse’s route providing a natural pick to make sure cornerback Malcolm Butler couldn’t undercut the route.
It’s easy to know what the Seahawks wanted on the play because they ran basically the same concept for a touchdown in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos. The personnel and formation are different but the concept is the same. Marshawn Lynch ran basically the same route Lockette did in the Super Bowl. Tight end Zach Miller’s route picked off Lynch’s defender and Lynch was wide open.
Wilson expected to hit Lockette for a walk-in touchdown, just like the Lynch play. I think Lockette felt the same way. I think this play was put in the game plan against a specific defensive look.
Butler simply made a great play, with a big assist from Brandon Browner.
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The New England Patriots generally are prepared for anything, and we can boil down their Super Bowl approach to the Seattle Seahawks in two ways: Their attack if Seattle goes to man-to-man coverage, and their attack for the Seahawks’ “Cover 3” zone.
When we look at how the Patriots might try to beat Seattle's fantastic “Cover 3," we’ll see ways the Patriots can get tight end Rob Gronkowski open. It’s obvious Gronkowski is a huge part of this game.
Seattle’s foundation is the “Cover 3,” in which three defensive backs are responsible for a deep third of the field. But they’ve used a lot of man this season as well. They used man a lot against Green Bay in the NFC championship game, but that might have been because they were behind and needed to get a little more aggressive. Either way, New England will have a plan.
Against man-to-man coverage
The Patriots won’t just run isolation routes believing Edelman or any receiver will beat Richard Sherman. The Patriots don’t play offense that way.
Against “Cover 3” zone
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The No. 1 thing you have to defend against the Seattle Seahawks is the read option. There’s a very strong tendency within that play that we have seen in our film study, and I guarantee you New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick knows it as well.
On 42 percent of Seattle's plays they use a 3-by-1 set (three eligible receivers to one side, and one to the other) counting tight ends. If Marshawn Lynch is offset to the side of the tight end, the single-receiver side, he will cut back and not follow the zone blocking 80 percent of the time. He will cut it inside before he crosses the center. That's a strong tendency to do it on four of five carries, and we'll look at how New England will have to defend it – something you can watch for in the Super Bowl.
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NFL analyst and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell watches as much NFL game film as anyone. Throughout the season, Cosell will join Shutdown Corner to share his observations on the teams, schemes and personnel from around the league .
Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 2 mths ago
We all know that the Seattle Seahawks staged an incredible comeback to win the NFC championship, but let’s take a look at how they did it.
First of all, the biggest play in the game was by the Green Bay Packers defense. With just over five minutes left, Morgan Burnett got an interception and had four blockers. The only non-offensive lineman in front of him was Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. He could well have scored. Why did Julius Peppers tell him to go down?
Take a look at how much room Burnett had to run:
Here's the end-zone angle:
That was the biggest play in the game. It helped set in motion Seattle’s comeback, and let’s break down the four big plays the Seahawks made.
Marshawn Lynch gained 26 yards on a touchdown drive on the same wheel route the Seahawks had called in the third quarter, right before their fake field goal touchdown. That ball in the third quarter was broken up by linebacker Sam Barrington. This time Barrington went with underneath split receiver Luke Willson (on the first one he went over the top of the receiver and was in position to defend Lynch) and was immediately in trail position. That’s easy pitch and catch for Wilson and Lynch.
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