It's time to gear up for the second round of the playoffs 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. This week, of course, we preview this weekend's four divisional games.
A few words of wisdom from Mr. Cosell:
On how Peyton Manning decided a different offense against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15: "This is something that's never talked about with Manning enough -- Manning controls the running game at the line of scrimmage, and nobody has ever done that as well in NFL history. Discounting two kneel-downs by Brock Osweiler, the Broncos ran the ball 43 times -- more rushes in a game started by Peyton Manning than at any time in his career. There's a reason for that. He saw how the Ravens played -- they predominantly played nickel when the Broncos had two tight ends on the field. Manning saw that the Ravens often played out of a two-deep safety shell. So, when you combine five defensive backs with the fact that the two safeties are playing deep, he called running plays. And they were very successful running the ball. If you've ever talked to Peyton Manning, he's most proud of the running plays he calls that do well when the defense is set up for him to call running plays."
On how San Francisco's run game has changed with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback: "They run some option -- not as much as the Redskins or the Seahawks, but normally, Kaepernick's runs come when he leaves the pocket. I like Kaepernick, and he has a cannon for an arm, but he's not a polished pocket quarterback at this point ... they've transitioned a little bit."
On Atlanta's issues against mobile quarterbacks: "The Falcons played the Panthers twice this season, and obviously, the Panthers ran a lot of read-option. The results were not pretty . In those two games, the Falcons gave up 216 yards on 28 read-option plays. In those games, Cam Newton had 202 yards rushing, and 502 yards passing. [Falcons defensive coordinator] Mike Nolan is going to do something different. They had all kinds of problems with the backfield action. Very often, the Panthers would not block the defensive end, which was often Kroy Biermann, and he would crash hard inside, and they had it beautifully set up to block either the safety or the linebacker to that side, and it was really effective."
On Matt Schaub, and the problems with Houston's offense of late: "Over the last five games, he's thrown just one touchdown pass. When their offense is effective, all of their explosive pass plays come from the integration of run/pass action. That's how they get the ball down the field. They've been attempting to do that, but the plays have not been successful for any number of reasons. Neither the offensive line nor Schaub are as good in the straight drop-back passing game. The line is not as good in pass protection, and Schaub is not a deep-drop passer who can sit in the pocket and drive the ball downfield, sitting on his back foot. They have not been able, over this last month or so, to make those explosive plays. And that started in Week 14 against the Patriots."
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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