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Invitation to Ralph

We have dissected and analyzed Fewell’s defensive schemes going back to Pete’s initial observations when Fewell was hired on back in 2010.   Ralph Vacchiano, in essence, invited us to add our take on the recent coverage flaws this past Sunday. 

You have to give Fewell credit where it’s due.  He did pick some good spots to mix in some effective disguises in showing blitz and dropping back into coverage to confuse Rodgers.  He also sprinkled in some good blitzes along with stunts; specifically up the middle to disrupt Rodgers’ timing.  But again, we question his coverage schemes.  Yesterday Ralph Vacchiano of the NY Daily News gave his take on the BAD from this past game:

CBs Corey Webster/Aaron Ross. Take your pick here. Their coverage was soft and questionable all game long And I probably should throw the entire secondary under this bus. I understand why the Giants had to play so much zone defense. Apparently Perry Fewell even said it directly to the Fox crew in their production meeting – they don’t have the personnel to keep up with the likes of the Packers and the Saints. But the “read and react” zone this team plays is really poor and full of holes. It’s also prone to confusion. For a great example, look at the Donald Driver touchdown at the end of the first half – the one where he was uncovered. Before the play, S Antrel Rolle is motioning towards Driver, who is uncovered in the slot. Webster is covering the receiver on the outside and Ross is on Driver, but really he’s shaded towards the middle. When the play begins, Ross just stands there and doesn’t flinch as Driver runs by him to his left, and the tight end runs by him to his right. He finally flinches when Jordy Nelson cuts in from the outside, but he was covered by Webster. Driver was alone in the back right corner back corner of the end zone. I don’t know what happened. Coughlin seemed to indicate that Webster was to blame when he said “we didn’t fall off outside” (Webster was the outside corner). Either way, Ross looked like he was playing zone, Webster was in man, Rolle and S Deon Grant covered the tight end together, before Rolle reacted to the wide open driver way too late. There were four guys back there and they were probably playing three different coverages. … It was a mess, but it was symbolic of a bad game.

Okay, where do we start with this?  Vacchiano should probably “throw the entire secondary under the bus” but not their defensive coordinator?!?  Huh?

The Tampa 2 principle coverage scheme is “read and react”.  We have been harping on the coverage issues for over a year.  We started wondering why guys like Rolle were still having issues with the coverage assignments at the end of last year, much less this year?  Ralph, please feel free to click on the links to confirm. 

I don’t need to include the link of what was posted yesterday about what Vacchiano discussed above with Webster missing the coverage assignment on Driver.  Give credit to Ralph for picking up on the safety issues playing a tight end together.  But why did we see passive zone coverage twice in the red zone versus any press and man coverage?  Giving the best QB in the NFL more time and more windows defies logic. Finally, does this not confirm the question posed in yesterday’s post about continual coverage confusion that results in a TD?  

The Tampa 2 historically relied on some very good LBs to implement.  Look at Brooks of TB and Urlacher of da’ Bears (Briggs doesn’t hurt).  Is Fewell trying to compensate for his lack of skill at the LB position by dropping Tuck and JPP back in coverage and rushing only 3? Or is he vainly trying to fill the holes in his swiss cheese zone coverage schemes?

Like in any sport, and even in the competitive business world, you leverage the talent you have.  You put them in position to be most successful while limiting their exposure to failure.  Somewhere along the line you have to believe Fewell has concluded his system takes precedence over the skill he has on the field.