Matt Bowen is writing some great inside-football stuff at National Football Post. Bowen played safety for seven years in the NFL, from 2000 to 2006, and provides readers with a unique insight into the game from a player's perspective. Bowen was a sixth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams and also played for the Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills. He has a journalism degree from the University of Iowa and has written for a number of publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Washington Times and Pro Football Weekly. Bowen received a master’s degree in writing and publishing from DePaul University and is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association.
I'm finding the chalkboard stuff more meaningful than ever as we get closer to real NFL football. Matt Bowen is great at breaking down the X's and O's for laymen like me... and lately, he's been tearing it up at National Football Post.
Here are three offensive pass plays at the top of Andy Reid's Sunday call sheet ...and also, the three pass plays that must be stopped by the Eagles defense in 3rd-down situations, according to Matt Bowen...
Bowen calls them the "three routes you must stop to win in the NFL"...
"It doesn’t matter if we are looking at the game plans of Mike McCarthy, Andy Reid, Mike Martz or Sean Payton— these routes must be defended if you want to limit explosive plays and get off of the field on third downs."
Matt drew this up in Jet personnel (4 WR, 1 RB) in an “Orange” alignment, but this concept can be run out of multiple personnel groupings. We see it vs. Tampa 2 defenses and man-coverage/ pressure fronts throughout the league. Take a look at the route up on the chalkboard...
This play puts the stress on the safeties, as this is the No.1 "Cover 2" beater in the NFL. And if you want to defend this route, says Bowen, your safeties need to play with enough depth to get off of the numbers and close on the ball. But don’t forget about your CB's, he says. In Cover 2, if your corners don’t sink (hard) and protect the safety on the 7 (corner) route, you are asking for trouble vs. NFL QBs. The concept is simple: put the bait (Flat route) in front on the CB and force him to squat—leaving a nice throwing lane open to the 7 cut. And that is a gift for a QB such as Indy’s Peyton Manning.
Plus, Bowen warns, vs. pressure or man coverage, you are testing the leverage of your CBs. Play with sloppy technique or lose leverage on the hard inside stem from No.1 (X,Z), there is no help with a route breaking towards the boundary.
Matt drew the Spot route in Regular personnel (2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB) in a “Pro” alignment with the Z receiver on short divide motion. Bowen calls it "a bunch concept" that will test the discipline of Cover 4 (quarters), Cover 1 and Cover 2. It looks simple, but if you can’t defend the Spot route on 3rd and short to 3rd and medium, you will not get off of the field. And that is a killer when you play good football on first and second down. Check it out on the chalkboard...
Looks simple, right? A 7 route from the TE (Y), the Z on the short inside Curl and the FB (F) running a simple Flat route. However, vs. any bunch concept, if you don’t keep leverage and understand route schemes, you will consistently get beat.
In Cover 4, Bowen says there needs to be a “Box” call made (same as he discussed last week in my Cover 7 breakdown). Play four on three and drive downhill to take away the Curl (or the “Spot”), because that is where the QB wants to go with the football. In Cover 1, the CB needs to play close to the hip of Z and the SS must maintain outside leverage on Y running the 7. And, in Cover 2, the SAM backer (playing in the “seam-hook”) has to break to the Z—who will post up in the hole of the zone. The idea for the offense is to clear out space for the Z to work, and using motion forces the defense to adjust on the fly. Plus, Bowen says, don't forget about the backside X receiver. A 3x1 formation is an alert to the defense for the backside slant.
The deep Dig route. or "Dagger", is drawn here by Bowen in “Posse” personnel (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) in a “Doubles” alignment. Bowen associates this route with Mike Martz’s offense in Chicago, but this is a concept now seen all over the league. Once the route takes shape, we are looking at glorified “Hi-Lo” concept, but Bowen says to focus here on the middle of the field—because that is where the ball is going.
Clear out the middle of the field with the W receiver running the inside vertical seam... Perfect to take the MIKE Backer out of the picture in Cover 2, run off the SS in Cover 4 and distract the FS playing the deep middle of the field in both Cover 1 and Cover 3. Working vs. zone coverage, the offense wants to find the hole between the top of the defense and the underneath droppers. And vs. Cover 1, you are testing the CB's' ability to play the vertical release and drive across the field all while maintaining outside leverage. Not easy.
Bowen says look for this route on 3rd and 7-plus situations... because if the QB has protection (and can wait for this concept to develop), this is an easy throw into the middle of the field... Move the sticks and start working your way down the field. From a defensive perspective, your underneath defenders must get enough depth to take away the dig.
Pretty revealing info and instruction from Matt Bowen... It was new realization to me that the CB has to drop at a 45 degree angle to protect the safety against the corner (7) route.... i.e., force the QB to take the check down and then hustle up to make the tackle. CB's being able to bring the FB down in the open field is then very important for playing Cover 2... and hence the strong emphasis on tackling ability for these players.
Then Matt added this to my observation above: "The CB will sink to protect the safety on the 7 route from the TE (Y) and then break to the flat on the throw to the FB. And the best CB's will show that they are going to jump the flat only to sink into the throwing lane and make a play on the 7 route."
"Play deep to short is the best way to teach it.... "
Matt Bowen is bringing a great inside perspective to the sport even as it lies temporarily dormant at the pro level. He's convinced me to keep learning while "not getting lost in the yearning" for football.
Have a concept or scheme you want to see broken down? Send Matt Bowen an email at:
Broz, Trent, Harry, ATV and Houston on a roll tonight! watta Late Show! That's show biz....that's entertainment. Nice work, gentlemen...
Downside to iPad? No YouTube links. I assume monkeys having sex, midget amputees on trampoline, a guy eating his toe, and 4th and 26?
geez, you can't make dis up !
I like clips of unappropriate laughter. Especially during news broadcasts. Especially, when one of em is a real hot chick.
If you go to my profile and hit ctrl and the plus sign above the number pad it should zoom in to where its legible
Wow, I won't delete it, cuz I'm a man, but that was easily my worst attempt at a post ever. Suddenly became allergic to the space bar. Meant to say, gotta have more cowbell.
@jtrent Personally, I like to delete a post every now and then,...just to confuse people....A couple weeks ago, someone was reading one of my posts, and it disappeared on them, while they were in mid-sentence. I don't know why that ammuses me,....maybe because I'm an azzhole ?
Actually somehow I knew what you were saying. LOL. @jtrent
how da hell can Council see dis crap ? I mean, I can enlarge it, but then it gets all fuzzy (dat's what she said).
OK, so I'm all caught up, both here and at the other place....not much to add, so now I am leaving....Hud, can't quite figure out what the dud ein your avi is up to...seems to have nice wrist action though...
ATV,....yur absence would prevent you from fully appreciating the witty yet sardonic, ironic, yet nitty, series of posts that the 'Hammer' drove thru the heart of PE.com with his latest work. En toto,..his body of work exposed the hypocritic nature of 3D and that site. Essentially,.as a part timer,..you read out of context,..a complex indictment and contrarily, you saw an olive branch extended to another character, who did not deserve our good will,..yet he offered it. Can't read in isolation ,..you miss a day,.you miss alot,.you miss two months,..you miss an eternity,.and you miss nutin'. It suits us.
for some reason I can't see Hud's avi,...I assume it's still the wrestlers humping each other ? Alls I can say is, is that it's a good thing the government just let us have a series of numbers and letters on our license plates, instead of letting us have personalized pictures on them.....if our avi's in dis Bored, are but a small representation of what that scenario would look like. And we're in the upper percentile of maturity and intelligence too....
This whole page, is full of Brozer and Council posts and replys,...thus, the entire page, is a veritable cornacopia, of wangages and bulging apple bags.
@jtrent I can't read it.....
@Brozer8 > gotta love the iPad. I can't "like", but I can zoom.
What the ?!?! I'ze been on my phone mostly lately, which makes avi's like minature,.....and I thought Council-o-Trent's avi was some ocean/lagoon/beach pic. Now that I'm on my desker, I realize that it's a package. That's one island, I DON'T want to visit anytime soon,....not dat dere's anything WRONG wiff dat.....
Both men have a special place in my heart. Speaking of special places, Bea Arthur's vag is some sweet action.
I'm not gonna drive a Hyundai, put a turkey testicle in my mouth, or get on the we need a big WR train. Just like that, I'm caught up.