Greg Cosell

  • Greg Cosell's Podcast: Aaron Rodgers tries to take back NFC North

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    This offseason, Greg Cosell and Frank Schwab will explore key questions for each of the 32 NFL teams in "The Shutdown" podcast, going team-by-team for each division over eight episodes. Links to previous division preview podcasts are at the end of this post.

    Last season there was an unexpected champion in the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings' win at Lambeau Field in Week 17 over the Green Bay Packers secured the division crown.

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    The conversation for most of the second half of last season was about the struggles of the Packers offense, and the play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. There are plenty of layers to those issues, as well as the Vikings' ability to repeat as division champs, and we dealt with many of them along with other questions on NFC North teams in this podcast:


    - How much will the additions at linebacker help the defense?





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  • Greg Cosell's Podcast: Examining Bill Belichick, and the AFC East

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 8 days ago

    This offseason, Greg Cosell and Frank Schwab will explore key questions for each of the 32 NFL teams in "The Shutdown" podcast, going team-by-team for each division over eight episodes.

    In our first podcast for this series, we looked at the NFC East. Now we turn our attention to the AFC East, which has four very interesting teams coming into this season. 

    You can find the podcast at the end of this post, and here are a few of the key questions we tackled for each team:


    - Why did Rex Ryan's pressure schemes not work as well in 2016, his first season with the Bills?

    - Can Buffalo's run-first offense produce big results?


    - After four seasons, what positives and negatives do we see from Ryan Tannehill?

    - How did Ndamukong Suh play last season, when you break down the game tape?


    - Bill Belichick is often referred to as a great coach, but what specifically makes his teams so tough to prepare for?

    - The Patriots' offense is a bit unconventional, but how is it so effective? And how will Martellus Bennett fit in?


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  • Greg Cosell's Offseason Review Podcasts: The NFC East

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 15 days ago

    This offseason, Greg Cosell and Frank Schwab will explore key questions for each of the 32 NFL teams in "The Shutdown" podcast, going team-by-team for each division over eight episodes.

    In each of these divisional episodes we'll explore each team in depth, as we talk schemes and player strengths and weaknesses based on my film study. We'll start with the NFC East, and here's a sample of some of the questions we explored in this episode:


    - What can we expect from Tony Romo this season, and can he still be the type of quarterback who carries an offense?

    - What makes the Cowboys' offensive line so great?


    - Why do teams have such a tough time taking Odell Beckham out of the game, especially last season when the Giants didn't have many other receiving weapons aside from Beckham?

    - How did Jason Pierre-Paul look on film last season, and will he be effective going forward?


    - Did we see any strides from Sam Bradford on last season's game film, and how will he fit in Doug Pederson's offense?

    - How will new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's schemes help the Eagles' defense?


  • Greg Cosell's Draft Review: Teams' picks tell us a lot (Podcast)

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 20 days ago

    We focus a lot on the individual picks in an NFL draft, but I think a lot can be gleaned about what a team wants its identity to be based on its draft class.

    Most teams go through the draft with certain strategies or goals in mind, whether it's to attack a certain position, draft specific types of players (big cornerbacks, for example) or build a certain identity. Most picks fit as part of a bigger plan.

    In the first post-draft episode of our podcast, "The Shutdown," we talked about individual players and what to make of their landing spots. In this episode, we shifted focus a bit and discussed many teams and what we can learn from taking a look at their draft class as a whole:

    Here are a few of the teams we talked about, and there were many more in the podcast:

    Seattle Seahawks: I think they made the point that even with Marshawn Lynch retired, they're still going to maintain the same personality, and that's based in running the ball.

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  • Greg Cosell's Review: How Wentz, Goff and Lynch fit (Podcast)

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 24 days ago

    Before the draft, we talked a lot about scheme fits for many of the prospects, and now we get to see how the draftees fit with their new teams.

    In the latest episode of our podcast, “The Shutdown,” we discussed many of the players and how they fit in with their new teams. We talked about why Joey Bosa fits well in the San Diego Chargers’ 3-4 defense, how the Jacksonville Jaguars defense will change with all their offseason acquisitions including Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, and the new-look Houston Texans’ offense. Here’s the podcast:

    The most interesting discussions are how the highly drafted quarterbacks fit with their new teams. We talked about many quarterbacks in the podcast, and here’s some of the discussion on the three quarterbacks who were taken in the first round:

    Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

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    Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

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  • Greg Cosell's Draft Preview: Why 'Blind Side' OTs are riskier now

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 29 days ago

    An offensive tackle used to be considered a safe pick in the top half of the first round. That hasn't been the case lately.

    Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel are a few tackles taken very high in recent NFL drafts who haven't lived up to their draft status yet. Any one of them could still have a great career, because they're all young and still learning. But it's also true that tackles don't seem like safe picks anymore, like they were considered to be just a few years ago.

    It's another way the difference between the college game and the pro game is affecting NFL draft evaluation.

    A large majority of major college football uses the spread offense in one form or another. From an offensive standpoint, it's one back, empty sets and the offensive linemen use wide splits — there's a lot of space between linemen before the snap. Spread offenses spread the defenses out too of course. There aren't many people in the box in college. Sometimes it's just five defenders in the box. That's something that you will not find in the NFL game.


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  • Greg Cosell's Draft Preview: 10 late-round sleepers (Podcast)

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 1 mth ago

    The showcase of the NFL draft is the first round on Thursday, but Friday and Saturday is when teams do most of their work.

    The second and third days of the draft help set a foundation for NFL rosters, and there’s plenty of talent to go around. Here are a group of players who aren’t expected to go in the first round — although they could; it only takes one team in the first round to take them  — who I think will be standouts among the day two and three draftees (and we discussed many other potential late-round sleepers in the podcast embedded below):

    QB Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State

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    QB Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech

    RB Kelvin Taylor, Florida

    RB Paul Perkins, UCLA

    WR Demarcus Robinson, Florida

    DL Bronson Kaufusi, BYU

    LB Kamalei Correa, Boise State

    LB Cory Littleton, Washington

    CB Xavien Howard, Baylor

    S Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee

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  • Greg Cosell's Draft Preview: Jalen Ramsey and scheme fit (Podcast)

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 1 mth ago

    One factor in NFL draft analysis that's underrated is scheme fit. It's important to study the strengths and weaknesses of a player, but it's also important to figure out what role they might play in the NFL.

    Here's an example from last year. I saw many mock drafts predict the Philadelphia Eagles would draft Alabama safety Landon Collins. That's because the Eagles needed a safety. Here's the problem: Their defensive coordinator last year, Billy Davis, wanted his safeties to be interchangeable in his scheme, able to play free or strong safety depending on the play. Collins isn't that type of player; he's much more comfortable in the box. If you considered scheme fit, you knew it was improbable that Collins would land with the Eagles. The New York Giants ended up selecting him after the Eagles passed.

    Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey is a different type of discussion, as far as scheme fits. Because he's so versatile, he can play in just about any defense. But the team selecting him will have to figure out his idea fit in their scheme and overall philosophy.

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  • Greg Cosell's Draft Preview: A sleeper at running back (Podcast)

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 1 mth ago

    I think more people would be talking about my No. 2 running back in this draft if he had actually played in 2015.

    Jonathan Williams of Arkansas was out all last season with a foot injury. And that medical history is a concern, and I don't know what the team doctors are saying about him now; all I know is what I see from him on tape during the 2014 season. And it's impressive.

    I see a back who is q uicker laterally than Ezekiel Elliott, and may be more naturally powerful. He is a classic I-formation back with the overall skill set to thrive in an NFL run game. He has foundation back traits. Williams is an excellent prospect with all the skills demanded to function well in an NFL environment.

    Williams has good size, at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, and is very effective running inside. He s howed the ability to get through small cracks at the point of attack with decisiveness and short area burst, and that is critical for an NFL back. There won't be large holes for NFL backs most times, they have to create them.


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  • Greg Cosell's Draft Preview: Carson Wentz fitz Rams best (Podcast)

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 1 mth ago

    The Los Angeles Rams have an offensive identity, and Carson Wentz fits that identity better than Jared Goff.

    As discussed in our episode of our new “The Shutdown” podcast, which you can listen to below (we also discussed many of the draft’s top quarterbacks in our first draft preview podcast), the Rams have a run-oriented offense. They have a foundation back in Todd Gurley, and he will be the focal point of what they do.

    Run-first offenses with an I-back like Gurley usually have a quarterback line up under center in normal down-and-distance situations . He has to develop a drop-back pass game from under center and also a play-action game from under center. The play-action pass requires a quarterback to turn his back to the defense, snap his head around and locate the defense – which will be in a different place from where it was before he turned his back. That’s a skill learned over time. That’s not something learned in three practices. It’s also something Wentz has done. It’s something Goff has likely never done during his career because he’s an “Air Raid” quarterback who played from the shotgun.

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