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Teaching Points (How Diche Blows Up a Poorly Conceived Play)

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Mike McCoy and Sam Bradford have both said recently that they are trying out a number of different plays to see which ones fit their personnel. They said that they are going to sit down and chart the plays that they like best—-and scrap the plays that they don’t like.

Here is a play to scrap—-for good—-from the playbook, with all of the reasons why.

Shotgun formation (Josh Rosen #3), single RB (Chase Edmonds #29) left of QB—-sweep right to Edmonds, where McCoy wants RT Andre Smith (#71) to down block on DT Robert Nkemdiche (#90) so that C Mason Cole (#64) and RG Justin Pugh (#67) can pull and lead the sweep around the corner.

  • Pre-snap observation—-once again we are seeing sloppy stances and play giveaways from the offensive line (atypical of a Ray Brown coached line).
  • Look at RG Justin Pugh, pre-snap. He’s lining up and shading a half yard back from the center and tackle, which tips off that he’s going to pull on the play. Diche sees this and is already thinking attack mode.
  • With Diche’s quickness off the snap, there is no way that Andre Smith is going to be able to make that down (reach) block. It would help if Smith took a flatter angle, but asking Smith to reach block on Nkemdiche is completely unrealistic.
  • Not only does Diche blow past Smith off the snap, he takes out Mason Cole who, like Justin Pugh, is pulling on the play.
  • After being blasted backward by Diche, Cole quits on the play which nearly allows Diche to get all the way to RB Edmonds.
  • If you want to keep this play, you do not try to pull both Cole and Pugh and you makes sure that Cole helps Smith take care of Nkemdiche.
  • Notice that on the backside, LT D.J. Humphries (#74) and LG Evan Boehm (#70) are pulling with the flow as well. But from their angle, it would be better to get downfield to the second level—-as both of them just get stuck and stopped in traffic. Look at Boehm’s feet—-it makes one question whether you would ever try to pull him. Play power with him, not finesse.
  • Pugh has to give himself up because of the play side penetration by the ILB and DT Corey Peters (#98)—-when you pull you are taught to take out the first flash of color (opponent’s jersey color)—-but Pugh doesn’t pick up the penetration and heads to the second level. Maybe he was thinking that Cole (supposedly pulling right behind him) would take care of the penetration—-but that too is a mistake.
  • The ILB (long dreads—-can’t make out the number), sees the flow and the pulls and storms the nearest gap, which further slows the play down to where by the time Edmonds gets started on the sweep he is met by Corey Peters and the chase ILB Josh Bynes (#57) for what would be a 2-3 yard loss.
  • The TE (can’t see his number) misses badly on his down block of Peters—which begs another question—-do the Cardinals have a TE who can deliver a good down block on the best run stuffing DT on the roster?
  • I have seen teams try to run zone blocking sweeps from a shotgun formation, but it’s a busted play waiting to happen.
  • With the Cardinals’ current offensive line personnel, they are best suited for a power running game. A cutesy finesse play like this with all its moving parts and unrealistic assignments is made to order—-for the delete button.
  • What’s the best news about this play? This is exactly why the coaches are raving about DTs Robert Nkemdiche and Corey Peters. This play manifests Nkemdiche’s tremendous quickness and power—-to a tee—-or, better yet—-to a TNT.