Hey everyone, and welcome to Anatomy of Titans. We will be doing weekly film breakdowns of the Tennessee Titans, and analyze different aspects of the team. Please check back with us each week, and don’t forget to follow our Twitter and Facebook pages. I would love to hear some feedback and would love to engage people in talking about these film breakdowns.
The review for this week is the Tennessee Titans beating the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6 of the 2017 football season. The Titans ended a streak of 11 straight losses to the Colts, who were playing without franchise QB Andrew Luck. These are the good plays of the passing game involving Marcus Mariota. “Lelei” means “Good” in Samoan, at least according to Google translate, hence the title. Yes, I know, it’s not the greatest title but generic ones didn’t stand out enough. These passing game films tend to be the longest articles each week, so they will be broken down into different parts so the gifs don’t cause loading issues for people on mobile devices.
The first play here is a simple play, but it does show the complexity of this call, and highlights the timing of this read. The linebacker on this play is on the line of scrimmage, indicating that he could blitz or fall back into coverage. The initial read on this play is Delanie Walker, but the running back out of the backfield is the hot read. If the linebacker blitzes, then the QB is presented with two options. Option A deals with Walker facing another linebacker across the middle, playing back. Option B deals with a wide-open running back in the flat. In either of those cases, Mariota would read the linebacker in the middle to determine where to throw this ball. However, in this case the linebacker to the left of the formation decides to drop back into coverage, but Walker does a good job of getting open regardless, and therefore Mariota sticks with his first read and hits him for the pass. Notice the timing of the breaks for the outside receiver to the left of the formation, and the slot receiver to the right of the formation. If for any reason, Walker isn’t open, the timing is set up for those receivers to make their moves in the time it would take for Mariota to progress from his initial read (Walker) to his secondary read, which could go left or right of the formation. During draft time, you will hear scouting reports mentioning timing of the pro game, and how it’s different from the college game, and this is a good example of it. The QB needs to make the read from 1 to 2 in a quick fashion to complete passes. It isn’t necessary on this play because the first option was open. It’s a good pass and catch, and while the play is simple, it’s set up to be much more complex if the defense reacts in a different manner.
This play technically counts as a pass play, although it’s essentially a handoff to Delanie Walker. The number of yards gained on this play is because Mariota is an excellent runner, and this is a dimension that is added via mobile QBs. First of all, notice the outside cornerback to the right of the formation, because he has inside leverage. He is half a step to the inside of the receiver, indicating that he is hedging his bet against an inside route, and wants to direct the receiver towards the sideline. The Colts start this defensive alignment in two safety look, but one of the safeties is moving towards the line of scrimmage with Delanie Walker lined up to that side. With inside leverage from the outside cornerback, and the position of the safety, it’s somewhat safe to conclude that the outside cornerback doesn’t have safety help on this play. Once the play unfolds, keep your eyes on the safety and how he does not mirror Walker on this play, but rather stays outside even though there aren’t any receivers for him to cover. This is a direct result of Mariota’s running ability because he has to contain his side of the field for a Mariota run, up until he makes sure that the QB has given up the ball. If this play is executed by a non-mobile QB, the safety would be much more brazen to abandon containment and mirror Walker in his route, which would have led to a better tackling position.
On this play, notice the position of both corners to the outside, as they are giving inside leverage, by taking positions to the outside of the receiver. This is a good indication that they have help in the middle with safeties in the back, and linebackers to the front. Mariota does a good job of recognizing this defense, and calling an audible towards play action pass. Notice how the linebackers all bite on the play action pass, which allows for Eric Decker to get in behind and be open for this pass. This is another nod to play design because you can watch the route of Matthews on this play. His sole purpose is to engage the safety long enough for Decker to be open underneath. The trajectory of his route aims more towards the safety, Malik Hooker, than his defender at first, which forces the rookie safety from aiding the coverage on Decker. In theory, Matthews isn’t open on this play, but his route played a vital role in making this a successful call.
This is a simple pass with two options, DeMarco Murray or Delanie Walker on a third down play. Murray is matched up with a linebacker and he does a good job of gaining separation, and Mariota hits him for the big conversion. There isn’t anything quite fancy about this play, Murray just does a good job of beating his man to the point, and Mariota makes a good throw.
For this play, the majority of the focus needs to be on Rishard Matthews. Notice the position of the cornerback giving inside leverage on this play, which once again indicates that he has help the inside with safeties over the top and linebackers underneath. Matthews runs a straight route splitting the cornerback and the safety, and then notice when he makes his break. The cornerback and safety both turn their hips simultaneously on this play, which allows him the extra time needed to gain separation. It is vital that he splits the defenders for this to be effective, otherwise one of the defenders will be in position to drive on the route. Hypothetically, if Matthews ran towards the corner back on this route and then did the comeback route, the safety doesn’t have to protect a crossing route and can drive towards him quicker. Since Matthews splits the defenders, the cornerback needs to be concerned about an out route, while the safety has to be concerned about a crossing route as they are turning their hips, which causes them to react slower. It’s a good throw by Mariota as he faces pressure, but more importantly a great route by Matthews.
Please check in with Part 2 of our article to read the rest of the breakdowns. Once again, I’m breaking up the articles to cease loading issues with Gifs.
Primarily, I work as a real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty in Franklin, Tennessee. I’ve lived in Nashville for almost a decade now, and my love for the city only grows deeper, like a 440 pothole. I follow the Titans closely, so I enjoy writing about the team and breaking down film. However, my main job consists of being a real estate agent, therefore if you need any kind of help with the sale/purchase of a home, I’d be happy to help you through the process. If you just want to talk about real estate, feel free to email me as well. I write a real estate blog as well, which I’ll leave a link to at the bottom of this section (as well as a few other places on the website) so please check it out.
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