Geno Atkins: The NFL's best pure defensive tackle. (Getty Images)
Once again, it's time to gear up for this week's slate of NFL games with analysis from the best in the business -- Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN's "NFL Matchup." Greg gives you a sense of the week's upcoming games you won't get anywhere else, based on his conversations with players and coaches past and present, and his OCD-level evaluation of coach's tape. Since the podcast was recorded on Friday morning, we started by reviewing the Denver Broncos' Thursday night win over the Oakland Raiders.
From there, we went into the Sunday and Monday games, though with more and more teams completely out of the picture at this point, we spent more time on teams and concepts than specific matchups.
A few words of wisdom from Mr. Cosell:
On Peyton Manning's supernatural ability to throw with anticipation: "Do you remember the first touchdown pass he threw to Demaryius Thomas against Tampa Bay? People who can look at coaching tape should go look at that touchdown. Look at when Manning started to pull the trigger. The premise of throwing with anticipation means this: The quarterback starts his delivery before the receiver has even come out of his break, or very often, before he's even begun his break. These are usually on intermediate routes. If you wait in the NFL for a receiver to actually break before you deliver the ball, you will be late with your throw. When you're throwing any kind of breaking routes at the intermediate level, you must start your delivery before the receiver breaks. Otherwise, the cornerback or driving safety will knock the ball down, intercept it, or hit the receiver."
On Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins: "I don't think he's quite J.J. Watt, but he's the best pure defensive tackle in the NFL, and I've been saying that for weeks. In the Texans' 3-4, Watt is their strong-side defensive end. When they go to their dime sub-package, he moves inside and becomes a 3-tech defensive tackle. Geno Atkins is purely a defensive tackle. The first thing about Atkins that immediately jumps out is explosion off the snap. He's really quick off the ball, and he's got very light and quick feet for a big man. He's very good at speed-to-power [leverage], as Von Miller is. There was one play two weeks ago against Oakland, where Atkins literally drove the right guard into Carson Palmer. That is speed to power -- it's explosion off the ball. It happens so quickly that you get inside the guard and underneath him, and just drives him right back. The other thing that's so good about him is the way he plays the run. Because he's so athletic, his ability to play down the line of scrimmage is really impressive. He's not just a 'box' defensive tackle. He makes plays against outside zone runs. He runs 15 yards to make plays in the outside run game."
On Pittsburgh's current defense: "That's a Super Bowl defense."If their offense can get back on track with Ben Roethlisberger back, it would not surprise me to see them win out. That defense is playing so, so well. I don't think it's any different schematically -- not a whole lot different from the last year or two. They play more man concepts than people might think. Ike Taylor obviously got hurt and he'll be out, but he was playing a ton of man coverage over the last couple of years, much more so than he did earlier in his career. So, they've been playing man concepts well. They've done a lot more with their four linebackers, because they keep four linebackers on the field in their sub packages. They now move them around an awful lot. You'll see James Harrison standing up in the middle, and you'll see Lawrence Timmons on the outside. Larry Foote has become somewhat of a movable chess piece. There's been a lot more position versatility and movement."
As with everything involving Greg Cosell, this podcast is a must-listen for those fans of advanced tape analysis. Subscribe to the Shutdown Corner iTunes link (in iTunes, go to "Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast," and paste this link in: http://ysportspods.podbean.com/category/shutdown/feed/). You can also use the link below to either left-click and listen, or right-click to save to your computer.
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