Matt Bowen of the National Football Post recently analyzed Aaron Rodgers versus the Tampa 2.
Guess what game he chose to breakdown? You guessed it, the 45 point shellacking of the Giants. Here on UltimateNYG we have dissected the weaknesses of both Fewell’s scheme and how their personnel skill set does not fit into his scheme.
The scouting report on Corey Webster coming out of LSU was that “his strength allows him to redirect the opponent through press coverage.” In addition, he “uses his long arms to get a good push in attempts to reroute and press receivers at the line of scrimmage” while being “disruptive with his hands” in coverage. On Giants.com the scouting report on Terrell Thomas states he “shows good body control and hand usage to jam and reroute the receiver and works hard to keep the wide-out in front of his (knows he lacks the burst to recover when the receiver gets behind him).” Finally, the report on Antrel Rolle is that he “excels in press coverage, showing the strength to jam and reroute receivers at the line of scrimmage.” Yet the negatives in his scouting report prior to the 2005 draft had the following:
Can be fooled by play action and is not as quick to react to the ball when playing outside the box, taking too many chances and will get caught peeking into the backfield...Better when playing in the short area, as he does not have the sustained speed playing off the receivers in man coverage...When the quicker receivers defeat his press, he is a little too stiff in his hips to immediately recover and give chase...Needs to use his hands better to prevent the receiver from using double moves to gain separation.
Andy in his post 45 and uncompetitive did some homework after the Green Bay game and noticed that “the Giants corners were in Off Coverage 23.5 times, in Press Coverage 11.5 times and were jamming them aggressively ~3 to 4 times. A “simply passive defense” with 1 JAM within 3 press vs every 6 off coverage.”
In Bowen’s article he reflects about how he “used to love playing 2-Man because it gave you an opportunity as a safety to break downhill with some protection from the underneath defenders. But the middle of the field can be a nightmare.” Bowen chose Jordy Nelson’s 80 yard TD with Rolle covering him in the slot with Grant and Phillips playing deep. Both Phillips and Grant “were widening” toward the sidelines “due to the outside release of X and Z (receivers).” This route is called the “Middle Read” scheme. Rolle was pulled in for a fraction on the play action to Jackson allowing Nelson a free release on an inside vertical seam and this is almost unstoppable with a good throw.” To Bowen “this is a big time throw” by Rodgers as “the ball has to be delivered on time, thrown over the top of the underneath CB in the trail position and between the hash marks. Often times these passes look routine for Rodgers, but in this situation the ball has to be thrown to the up field shoulder of the WR to prevent either the FS or the SS from coming back to the middle of the field to make a play.” Rodgers has consistently shown this ability along with other QBs on their schedule. Think Brady, Brees, Bradford and yes Rodgers again.
This leads us back to the scouting reports on Rolle, Webster and Thomas out of college. Rolle’s scouting report clearly spelled out that he “can be fooled by play action and is not as quick to react to the ball when playing outside the box.” Rolle also has had a history of showing that “he does not have the sustained speed playing off the receivers in man coverage...when the quicker receivers defeat his press, he is a little too stiff in his hips to immediately recover and give chase.” The best coaches mask their players deficiencies while leveraging their strengths.
The drafting of Amakumara is clearly a means to improve upon their personnel in running the Tampa 2 scheme. Prince has the speed and quickness to cover the slot but is limited in press with short arms and smaller hands than his fellow defensive backs. In this sense, the draft pick helps, but what does the liberal use of off-coverage say about Fewell's (and Coughlin's) chances for building a defense that will win a title? If you want to be the best you have to beat the best, and Fewell has yet to prove that his defense can handle the QBs that will be in the Giants path to the Super Bowl.