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Greg Cosell’s Film Study – Patriots offense and Tom Brady still trying to get in a groove

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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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.

In Cosell's first post each week, he will feature a few of the games from the previous week and break down the coaching decisions and players who stood out from his notes.

Patriots 23, Buccaneers 3

• This was not one of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s better games. He did not see things as clearly as he normally does. He also missed some opportunities that were there.

• Brady had a bad throw to a wide-open Aaron Dobson in end zone. There was late pressure but Brady normally makes this throw. Brady also did not pull the trigger on a wide-open shot play off hard outside zone-run play action out of “12” personnel (one back, two tight ends) – both Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman were wide open on double posts.

• The Patriots pass game is still not sharp, in all areas. There's no rhythm, just individual plays. The Patriots had no intermediate or downfield passing game. The Bucs defense looked much quicker and faster than the Patriots offense.

• The Patriots offensive line struggled in pass protection against the Bucs defensive line and pressure schemes. The Bucs had Brady playing fast both physically and mentally through the first half. Brady was on the ground a lot in this game, as he was in Week 1.

• Stevan Ridley is clearly not the Patriots No. 1 back at this point. Patriots played three backs – Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden; there was no feature back.

Chiefs 26, Eagles 16

• You could see two elements of Chiefs' approach against Chip Kelly's offense immediately: They slow-played read option, and they played man-to-man coverage. They used mostly a single-high safety; the Chiefs did not play a snap out of a two-deep shell until it was fourth and 20 with 2:41 left in the game.

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• The Chiefs tactically wanted the Eagles to play in the middle of the field, not on the perimeter. Kansas City lightened the box in order to better defend the perimeter. The Chiefs took away the bubble screen, which is significant part of Kelly’s offense. In some ways the Chiefs made the Eagles run the ball inside with LeSean McCoy.

• Kelly's offense is built on options after the snap, and the Chiefs took away those options. They essentially forced Eagles to hand to McCoy on inside runs. McCoy had an unbelievable game. With few exceptions he had little running room and he created yards.

• The Chiefs tight man coverage demanded precise ball location and quarterback Michael Vick was not that sharp. Philadelphia did not execute well enough against man coverage (that includes pass protection and the inability of receivers to get open) to generate any offensive consistency.

• Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is one of most tentative and uncertain quarterbacks in NFL. He rarely pulls the trigger on intermediate throws that are there. Smith left a number of plays on the field by not throwing the ball. It looked like he was afraid to let it loose.

• The Chiefs are very limited with weapons in the passing game. At this point Donnie Avery is their best receiver. Dwayne Bowe looked very slow as a route runner, with no quickness at all.

Colts 27, 49ers 7

• Right now 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is an uncomfortable player, and that is made worse by inability of 49ers receivers to win against man coverage. The 49ers receivers again struggled to create any separation vs man coverage. For the second consecutive week Anquan Boldin looked slow and plodding running routes. Kaepernick’s inexperience with progression reading again showed up.

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• Kaepernick is not seeing things clearly. He left throws on the field by not pulling the trigger – he missed a wide open Kyle Williams on third and 9 in the second quarter because he left the pocket too quickly. Kaepernick played a little fast, and at times is over-reactive to perceived pressure. There were many snaps in which Kaepernick was not even planting his back foot.

• The Colts defense played almost all single-high safety coverages, a lot of man with lurk/spy elements. But the 49ers had no intermediate or vertical pass game for the second straight week. It is harder to run read option versus single-high safety/eight in the box, but that’s what 49ers will see a lot of because of their wide receivers.

• The Colts were a very efficient and methodical offense with a sustaining run game and quarterback Andrew Luck making some critical throws. The Colts did an excellent job mixing tight formations and spread formations, and had success out of empty sets in the passing game. The Colts made excellent use of their quick passing game to minimize the 49ers pass rush. Then running back Ahmad Bradshaw was the finisher for the Colts; they ran to win.

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