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Interesting perspective re: Saints blocking scheme

Kyle : 10/20/2009 7:53 pm
From a commenter on

On the one hand, it suggests a lack of stunts and twists to trip up the interior linemen was an issue our coaching staff should have recognized and rectified. On the other hand, it suggests that the blitzes we sent (up the middle) and the play of interior defensive linemen failed us miserably.

The blueprint on beating the Saints offense is well known
by ChrisNO (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:38pm

and pretty easy to grasp. It's just harder to pull off.

It really began in 2006 when the Ravens dominated them physically, and it's been repeated mostly by Tampa-2 teams since then, like Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Tennessee.

The pass protection philosophy of the Saints stresses small line splits among the interior 3 and pushing the pass rush out wide to the edges. It's easy to play tackle for the New Orleans Saints as long as you don't give up on the play. Just don't get beat inside. Everything is geared to pushing defensive players wide, clearing the middle for Drew Brees to step up into (which he excels) and clearing his passing lanes for throws and simple vision (necessary because of his height). Combined with his excellent pocket awareness and short drop backs, the typical NFL defensive philosophy on pressuring the edges generally plays right into the Saints hands.

The way to beat it has been with usually with defensive tackles winning individual matchups inside, defensive line stunts, and well timed blitzs up the middle. Anything that collapses the pocket from the inside, forcing Brees deeper, not allowing him to maximize his arm by stepping up, and clouding his passing lanes.

The Saints and Sean Payton have various ways to try and neutralize that, but by and large its the most successful means of limiting what is one of the best NFL offenses over the past 3 years.

This, however, requires you win those individual matchups along the line of scrimmage. More overlooked then Bushrod is the play of what is turning out to be one of the elite guard combination in the NFL, Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans. The interior of the Saints offensive line is arguably even more critical to the success of the Saints then their tackles, which is why the LT position is looking decidedly "replaceable" for the Saints, going from Brown, to Bushrod, to Strief (vs the Jets), back to Bushrod.

The Giants lack an Albert Haynesworth on the interior Defensive Line, came into the game with a weakened DT rotation (with Alford out for the season and Canty out for the game), and seemed to me to limit the number of defensive line stunts I would have expected, leaving Osi and Justin Tuck on the edges precisely where the Saints wanted them.

Looking at the Saints remaining schedule, teams that can slow the offense down will be teams with excellent defensive lines that can generate an interior pass rush. There aren't many left, especially as all 6 of their NFC South games are against teams struggling with their interior defensive line (Atlanta's only pass rusher being the exact sort of edge rusher the Saints aim to neutralize, John Abraham).
Great thread.  
Mike fr Warwick : 10/20/2009 8:05 pm : link
I was thinking something along these lines. I didn't have it all figured out.
Giants did blitz up the middle  
Sneakers O'toole : 10/20/2009 8:08 pm : link
it didn't work.
It makes sense  
River Mike : 10/20/2009 8:11 pm : link
from a non-expert's perspective
You have to collapse the middle  
Mike fr Warwick : 10/20/2009 8:12 pm : link
not send Pierce. He isn't even a good blitzer. Its on the DTs or a cross blitz.
I'm sure there intention was to collapse the pocket  
Sneakers O'toole : 10/20/2009 8:14 pm : link
they just got beat physically. Sometimes it really is that simple. Our line got outmatched in this game.
And it's not the end of the world if it happens in one game  
Sneakers O'toole : 10/20/2009 8:15 pm : link
if we start to see a streak of this in the next few weeks, then we'll know we have a problem.
Mike fr Warwick : 10/20/2009 8:16 pm : link
They could have attacked the "A" gaps more. Don't know if it would have worked tho.
Kyle : 10/20/2009 8:18 pm : link
Same here.

The commenter put into words what I was thinking the whole game, I wasn't able to connect all the dots and put it into a coherent thought. I kept watching Osi and Tuck get shoved up field all game while watching a giant pile of bodies scrunched together in the middle and couldn't quite figure out what was going on. I couldn't figure out, for the life of me, why the defensive ends were on an island all game.

It sounds like, if there were a rematch in 3 weeks, you would stunt the defensive ends often, attempting to leave the tackles alone on their island. and sow some confusion on their interior blockers as to who their responsibility is. That would be one possible scheme adjustment, I guess.

That's all for naught without vastly improved play from the interior defensive linemen (whether its the actual DTs or Tuck lined up inside).

None of this is to absolve the players of their responsibility, as its quite clear that if there's no push up the middle against a blocking scheme worried most about that, you're screwed.
Mike fr Warwick : 10/20/2009 8:40 pm : link
sow some confusion on the inside is good analysis IMO.
Nothing earth-shattering, is it?  
Thomas : 10/20/2009 8:54 pm : link
You have to get pressure up the middle or your edge rush is useless. That's football.
I think its about  
Mike fr Warwick : 10/20/2009 8:59 pm : link
creating confusion when there are more rushers than blockers or giving that appearance. You get 2 OL on 1 guy and someone is free.

To be fair Good OL don't fall for it but someone is left free.
Kyle : 10/20/2009 9:46 pm : link
The point here is that the Saints up their blocking scheme specifically to negate the interior rush and, for all intents and purposes, ignore the outside rush. They devote more resources to interior protection by not devoting those resources to helping their tackles on the outside.

Assuming this understanding of the Saints OL is correct, you're left with the Saints content to turn games into a 9 on 9 of sorts (simplified to hell here), whereby the two edge rushers are taken out of the picture by scheme and they leave the rest of the blocking up to execution. Scheme out the edge rush and rely on your inside guys to man up and win the battles. We lost on both counts.

An interior push, in this instance, jumps from merely assisting the edge rush to being the key to the outside rush.

While not earth-shattering, its certainly eye-opening.
Thanks Kyle  
Dave in DC : 10/20/2009 9:47 pm : link
great thread.
So maybe we could have  
Randy in CT : 10/20/2009 10:19 pm : link
played Tuck at DT more with Kiwi and Osi on the Ends? Maybe.
Hmm, interesting stuff  
Johnny5 : 10/20/2009 10:20 pm : link
Seems logical enough to me.

I think the Giants were playing vanilla so as not to tip their hand when we play them again, and SMASH them. In the playoffs.
Thanks for the link  
BurlyMan : 10/20/2009 10:21 pm : link
a whisper of sanity.
jbeintherockies : 10/20/2009 10:28 pm : link
you now, sometimes i wonder if that really happens ...
Heh.... jbintherockies  
Johnny5 : 10/20/2009 10:30 pm : link
of course I was kidding, but you know, nothing would surprise me at this point.
parcells and belichick  
jbeintherockies : 10/20/2009 10:31 pm : link
i really think both of those guys have done that, play a team very vanilla in the regular season that they know they will play again in the playoffs. Probably doesn't happen with division rivals; but outside the division ...
This post is dead on  
Emil : 10/20/2009 10:39 pm : link
I was thinking very much along these lines this afternoon as I struggled to put my finger on exactly how the Giants pass rush was neutralized. I knew it had to do with the lack of pressure up the middle, and although we do not have an Albert Haynesworth type, I couldn't figure out how the center of our Defense could not move the interior of the Saints O-line one bit. This post hits the nail on the head. So maybe I was wrong in a previous post, maybe Canty does make a very big difference.
Just don'  
Thomas : 10/21/2009 12:49 am : link
got stone-walled? Nicks and Evans are great OGs and Goodwin is a bruising C.
Nevermind that post obviously.  
Thomas : 10/21/2009 12:50 am : link
That was my immediate reaction as I watched the game.  
idinkido : 10/21/2009 7:07 am : link
I was disappointed that we had no pressure up the middle but our whole defensive line failed miserably. The bottomline is that we can't just pin this poor play on our DTs because our whole defensive unit was "subpar"--and that last discription is being kind. Good teams come back from an ass whipping and I hope to see this, however, we will continue to be vulnerable against deep passes if C.C. Brown continues to start for us.
JFIB : 10/21/2009 8:14 am : link
There were quite a few plays that saw Tuck rushing from the inside and Kiwi from the outside and still there was zero pressure on Brees. I still think the D just lacked intensity in this game and that 90 oercent of thier short comings can be corrected or hidden in the future.
Tuck and Osi  
MindlessBanter : 10/21/2009 9:00 am : link
aren't 100%.
Robbins was facing double-teams most of the time and one of his strengths (timing the snap) was neutralized by Brees' mixup of the count.
our DTs were invisible  
JonC : 10/21/2009 9:11 am : link
never even heard Rocky Bernard's name.
PeterS : 10/21/2009 10:14 am : link
they want to block to the outside allowing Brees (all 5-11 of him) to step up into the pocket. Makes sense and it looks like it works very well.
This is the game  
BigBlueCane : 10/21/2009 2:29 pm : link
we needed Canty for. Unfortunately he wasn't on the field this time.

Hopefully he'll get a second shot at the Aints down the road.
If you watch the video on this page  
buford : 10/21/2009 2:35 pm : link
it explains what they did
Link - ( New Window )
Johnny5 - it's been said by Coughlin or whoever  
CL : 10/21/2009 3:29 pm : link
that in the week 17 matchup with the patriots, the Giants specifically held back some on defense because they thought there was a chance of seeing them again.
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