Buccaneers: Film Study and Strategy for 2017 Week 9 in New Orleans
When looking at which team matches the Buccaneers the most offensively, and has played the Saints, I have to go with the Dolphins.
Now, of course, Jameis Winston is better than Jay Cutler. I’d take Doug Martin over Jay Ajayi anyday (who was still in Miami at the time of their match-up against the Saints).
While the Bucs have Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, the Dolphins have a duo of DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry providing a similar dynamic of speed and length.
Tight end Julius Thomas is better known for his receiving ability than his blocking, as is Tampa Bay’s Cameron Brate.
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Objectively, I take every single Bucs player over these Dolphins players. Strategically, the attack New Orleans brought against this Miami offense could be very similar to what they do this week against the Buccaneers.
So, what did they do exactly?
To put it simply, they were aggressive. Blitzes, tight coverage, and rarely did any player in coverage just flat out bail on their assignment.
I could capture any number of plays from their contest against the Dolphins for this, but the bottom line is; the Saints weren’t worried about the deep ball. Like, at all.
The longest pass of the day came on the first drive of the game when Thomas caught a 23-yard pass from Cutler. Later on the same drive, Thomas would watch as Saints cornerback Ken Crawley intercepted his quarterback in the end zone.
In fact, Crawley is who I want to focus on right now.
If you missed the play in London, let’s show you what I’m talking about. On this play, Crawley is lined up alone against Thomas. Normally, this should be an easy play – well as easy a play as it gets in the NFL. You’re either throwing so high and deep in the corner of the end zone that only your taller and longer tight end can get it, or you’re throwing a box-out. Me personally, I’m telling my tight end in this situation to box out all day.
Before Thomas really even gets off the line of scrimmage this play is in danger. The Saints’ defensive line makes immediate penetration and Cutler throws off balance and sooner than I expect he wanted too. Looking at the image, when the ball is in the air, Crawley can see it, but Thomas has no clue.
Seeing the ball in the air, Crawley legally hinders Thomas’ progress into the end zone while Thomas does little to move through the defender. When the receiver is just beginning to look for the ball, Crawley is already making a play on it. The result: a turnover in the end zone and a wasted opportunity for the Dolphins to put points on the board early in this game.
This second play I’m going to show you on Crawley wasn’t an interception, but it really could have been.
This time, he’s lined up against Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker.
At the top of Parker’s route, Crawley is playing physical. However, he’s playing well enough not to get flagged here. Ideally, Cutler already has this ball heading towards Parker at this point, but as you can see, the ball is still in the hand of the quarterback.
Because of the late delivery, Crawley gets a better break on the ball than Parker does. Now, Parker could have worked a couple of steps in and towards the ball. Had he done so he may have made the catch or at least made a stronger case for pass interference against Crawley.
As it stands though, Crawley made the play, and nearly came up with his second interception of the day. All because of his aggressive and physical play, late delivery from the quarterback, and unmatched physicality from the receiver.
With rookie Marshon Lattimore playing extremely well on the other side, it’s likely most will expect Winston to target Crawley as Delvin Breaux continues to be out of commission for New Orleans’ defense.
However, as you can see from these two plays, this isn’t going to be easy either and the play is just as aggressive across the formation.
The only way this is going to stop, is if the officials decide to become a part of this contest.