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." As he did so well last year, Greg will give 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. Here's the Week 4 schedule in order of games discussed for your edification, and since the podcast was recorded on Friday morning, we started by reviewing the Baltimore Ravens' Thursday night win over the Cleveland Browns.
The upcoming games, in order of discussion:
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
A few words of wisdom from Mr. Cosell:
On Baltimore's more expansive offense, and how it works: "There's a lot more three-wide. I don't think they necessarily do a lot more in terms of their combinations -- it's a lot of isolation routes. One-on-one. But with Torrey Smith, and with Jacoby Jones, who can run as well ... you put Anquan Boldin in the slot, and as we saw last night, he still knows how to run routes. With a quarterback like Joe Flacco, you don't need a lot of room. So, it's not a lot of route combinations, with kicks and rubs and all that kind of stuff, but they're forcing defenses to play more nickel with their three-wide, and they're getting matchups that they feel very comfortable with."
On Christian Ponder's performance against the San Francisco 49ers: "I thought he played really well. What's overlooked about Ponder -- everybody is focused on his movement, which is very good, but he's got a pretty strong arm. Ron Jaworski and I were watching his tape, and he turned to me and said, 'You know, this guy's got a pretty strong arm now. The ball comes out pretty good.' I think that a lot of people don't focus on that. The thing that stood out to be against San Francisco, and this is not an X-and-O point, but when you start to see this with quarterbacks, their skill sets come out even more. There was a certain poise and demeanor to his play that I thought was really a positive."
On Seattle's defense: "I love their defense. They have a very athletic front seven, and a very physical secondary with length and speed. I thought that against the Packers, they did a phenomenal job of understanding their opponent, and therefore, they used what's called the 'stab' technique."Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons reaching out with one arm and 'stabbing' the offensive linemen, Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse. This was effective because the Seahawks knew that the Packers' tackles did not get their hands up quickly in pass protection. They were able to be the aggressors, and it worked. I mean, when you see a 240-pound man like Irvin stab a 310-pound man like Bulaga, and move him, that's a leverage issue."
On the Jets' defensive game plan without Darrelle Revis: "It would not surprise me if the Jets make Antonio Cromartie that [lockdown] guy. Now, I'm not saying he can do it every single play, but ... Antonio Cromartie, if you just look at physical skill set, is a top-3 cornerback. He doesn't always play like that, and we know that. The Jets would tell you that. But I would not be surprised if they gave Cromartie a shot to play Revis Island, basically. Man to man, no help, and see how that goes."
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.