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I want to go back to Bengals-Texans from Wild Card weekend and take a look at Andre Johnson running the “Out and Up” vs. Adam “Pacman” Jones. A good opportunity to talk defensive secondary play from an off-man position and focus on technique (footwork, angle, eyes).
Bengals vs. Texans
Personnel: Regular (2WR-1TE-2RB)
Formation: Pro “Z Nasty” (Strong I)
Route: Pin/Out and Up
Defensive scheme: Cover 1 (man-free)
Route breakdown: Let’s start to the closed (strong) side of the formation. With the ball between the 40s (prime field position to take a shot), the Texans use Lead Draw action in the backfield and run the “Pin” concept (curl-post). To the open (weak) side, the double-move from Johnson vs. Pacman playing off-man.
Depth of the double-move: As I have said before, every route (outside of the 3-step game) breaks at a depth of 12-15 yards. That’s a major key from the perspective of a DB in coverage. Here Johnson chops his feet at a depth of 8-10 yards. That has to tell you to play for a double-move. Don’t bite when the WR stutters at that depth—because he is setting you up to get vertical up the field.
CB technique: The Bengals CB is too high in his pedal and allows Johnson to eat up his cushion (distance between DB and WR). Because of that, Jones has to open his hips (instead of staying square), over-extends on his plant foot and takes a poor angle on the "out" cut. You want to see DBs that have body control on the break to recover vs. the double-move.
Eyes: I heard this my entire career in the film room, because poor eye placement will get you beat—at any level of football. Go back to the replay and focus on Jones when he breaks. His eyes are back on the QB. In off-man, you want to coach your CBs to read through the 3-step, get their eyes back to the WR and drive to the hip. However, when you stick your eyes in the backfield, you will give up the play consitently. A basic rule to follow: only get your eyes back to the QB when you are “in-phase" with the WR.
Remember, there is no reason to look at the QB in man-coverage--because he isn't throwing the ball to you.
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- Andre Johnson