Big Blue View
[T]he Redskins sent a clear sign to any doubters that Haskins plays a major role in that identity when they signed former Carolina Panthers QB Kyle Allen. That signing signaled to Haskins that the QB job is his to lose. No more of the nonsense Tua Tagovialoa rumors. This team will be built around Haskins, who showed increasing flashes of promises as the 2019 season went on. The combination of Haskins and wide receiver Terry McLaurin proved to be a pleasant surprise that Washington hopes to cultivate this year.
Other notable free agent signings include DB Kendall Fuller, fresh off his Super Bowl victory with the Kansas City Chiefs, and safety Sean Davis. Fuller brings “positional flexibility” to Washington - something that Rivera preaches and will serve as a much-needed corner in the slot. Meanwhile, Davis played on some of the stingiest Steelers’ defenses in recent years and promises to add depth to the safety position as he competes for a starting spot.
Of course, the biggest addition to the Redskins defense is Chase Young. The star out of Ohio State will make an immediate impact to the Redskins’ defense alongside Montez Sweat. The former nation’s leader in sacks will pose a daunting threat to opposing offenses.
Blogging the Boys
The Cowboys defense has the potential to be really good.
[W]hen we heard a few days ago that LVE has fully recovered from his neck injury, fans have good reason to be excited. Vander Esch led the team with 140 tackles in 2018 as he was all over the field. Getting a player like that back would mean great things for this Cowboys defense.
The secondary is also another group that presents a great unknown. The team is now without their best shutdown corner in Byron Jones; however, they did score a nice break when Trevon Diggs was still available in the second round of April’s draft. There will be some growing pains with the rookie, but his ball-hawking presence will offer a refreshing change to the position group. The team has several other viable options such as Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis., so they should still be in good shape at the cornerback position.
They may even get a little better at safety as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is an underrated pick-up who earned Pro Bowl honors playing for Mike McCarthy in Green Bay. The duo of Clinton-Dix and Xavier Woods gives the team the best coverage safety tandem they’ve had in quite some time. Similar to corner, they have solid pieces like Darian Thompson and Donovan Wilson on the bench to give them good depth should the injury bug strike.
Finally, when you combine all that new talent with a revamped coaching staff, it’s hard not to be excited about what this defense can do.
Bleeding Green Nation
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the cornerback room probably isn’t going to be that good
The Eagles’ traded third- and fifth-round selections for Darius Slay, the disgruntled Detroit vet, and promptly extended him. Slay, even if he has started on the downturn of his career — which I don’t believe he has — is the best cornerback to play under Pederson in Philly. This is great news.
But everything else is bad. To help open cap space for Slay’s extension, the Eagles cut the only bright spot on the backend before Slay in Malcolm Jenkins, who had taken 2,075 of the possible 2,075 snaps on defense over the last two years, and played at Pro Bowl levels in both seasons. They grabbed Nickell Robey-Coleman as a late veteran add to potentially fill the slot job that Maddox is vacating, and signed Will Parks to a one-year prove-it deal after missing out on the larger safety market. Their only secondary draft pick was a fourth-round safety in Clemson utility piece K’Von Wallace.
In summary, the Eagles started to have problems at cornerback back in 2018. Their problem was two-fold: their starters weren’t very good, and their backups weren’t much better when they were healthy, which was infrequently at best.
[I]n the secondary, the issue is negligence. The Eagles keep making the same, bad bets. They are presumably hoping one of Jones, Maddox, Douglas, or Trevor Williams wins the starting job opposite Slay. Not a single one of these players is both a plus-starter and regularly healthy, which puts the Eagles on the exact same road they have traveled before. To replace Jenkins, the Eagles have once again put chips on Jalen Mills’ number despite the fact that he’s never been a quality starter, with two players who have never been starters in the NFL (Parks and Wallace) as backup options.
In 2020, what stands out as the biggest area of concern on the roster? To me, it is once again the secondary — which means the story of this season could very likely be the story of many seasons past for Philadelphia: a good offense regularly forced into shootouts by a defense that can’t hold their own against the pass-happy offenses that define the top teams in the league.
Big Blue View
How do you go about identifying what coverage the defense is playing?
Step 1 - Count the safeties
The process of identifying coverages is really a process of elimination. The first thing a quarterback wants to do is eliminate as many possibilities as possible, and the quickest way to do that is to count the deep safeties.
Step 2 - Determine man or zone coverage
If we want to know what audibles to make, what our reads will be, or which players will likely be open, we need to find out if we’re looking at a primarily man coverage or zone coverage.
(2a) Check the cornerbacks
The first thing we’ll do after counting the safeties (or deep players), is to look at how the cornerbacks are aligned.
(2b) Watch the response to motion
By sending a player in motion, the offense is forcing the defense to declare whether the player covering him is in man or zone coverage. If a receiver motions from left right and the defender over him follows suit, that defender is (almost certainly) in man coverage.
Step 3 - Check the front 7
For the last part of the process we want to take a quick look at the front seven defensive players. Are they showing pressure? How are they carrying themselves?
Just like the rest of the defense, they often try to disguise their intentions, but sometimes you pick up clues based on alignment or how the defenders are distributing their weight.
Blogging the Boys
But hey, at least he’s not Jason Garrett.
[W]hy are people so quick to be enamored by Mike McCarthy? Well, the short answer is - he’s not Jason Garrett. Truth be told, you could probably slap a headset on a CPR dummy and many fans would still be excited about the change. Without any arms, there would be no clapping. While the “anything is better than Garrett” rings loud throughout Cowboys Nation, it’s hard to overlook how not good things were for McCarthy in recent years.
One of the things that makes this hire unsettling is that as an observer of the Green Bay Packers over the last few years, there were many things about how they played that turned fans off about the head coach, with many of those fans being cheeseheads. Forget the two losing seasons for a second, we’ll get to that in a minute. Instead, just tell me what impressed you about the way they played football.
Suffice to say, McCarthy lost 70% of his final 23 games he coached for the Packers. But despite these two seasons worth of failures, people seem to completely brush that aside when it comes to McCarthy.
“While Green Bay’s offense and scheme were cutting edge during the early portions of McCarthy’s tenure, his offense slowly devolved into one of the most conservative and unimaginative units in the league, as it was inundated with slant-flat route combinations ad nauseam. Even by his own admission, the Packers got away from frequently utilizing pre-snap motion, shifts and multiple personnel groups.”