Commentary

Film Notes: Winning teams still adjust

New wrinkles -- like Atlanta's blitz -- popping up among the playoff-bound

Originally Published: December 31, 2010
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
After breaking down film, Scouts Inc. gives its take on what to watch in the NFL this weekend:

What's wrong with the Jets' defense?
This unit has been talked about and admired for a long time, but in recent weeks we have seen significant issues that could hurt the Jets in the playoffs. Their defensive premise is to blitz from every angle behind a potent pass rush and play tight man coverages behind it. However, they do not have a difference-making edge pass-rusher, and opponents have now seen those blitzes for two years. Opponents can adjust to them with their blocking schemes (more max protection). When the blitz doesn't get there, defensive backs are forced to hold their coverages longer. If they have time to read their progressions past Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, good quarterbacks can find really good matchups with their third and fourth reads. These problems cannot be fixed now and must be addressed in the offseason.

Chicago must adjust on defense and be creative on offense
Usually we brag about the Bears' defense and worry about their offense, but those concerns are switched this week. On offense, Mike Martz is showing us wrinkles that we have never seen, such as multiple TE sets. The sets not only help with run blocking, but Martz can also flex them wide to get a matchup on a corner while the receiver moves to the slot to get a safety matchup -- both good for the Bears. They also are throwing a lot of underneath routes to backs, showing patience we are not used to seeing. Defensively, offenses are throwing -- with success -- a lot of underneath slant routes versus the Bears' Cover 2 that has their linebackers really working to get depth on their drops. They may be forced to hold their linebackers a little bit and not always get deep to take away some of those slants.
Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.