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LeLei Mariota – Positive Passing Film – Week 9 (Ravens)

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Welcome to another film breakdown for the Tennessee Titans, this time against the Baltimore Ravens in week 9 of the 2017 NFL season.  The Titans won the game against Dan Pees and the Ravens, albeit closely contested.   I know these are fairly late, but they were written during the season, but I had trouble with the website going live.  I’m putting these here so there is a database of film reviews if you choose to see how some of these games broke down.  As usual, please like, share, and subscribe to be up to date on new articles.  

LeLei Mariota:



This is the first play of the game for the offense, and it’s definitely a positive play.  First thing to notice on this play is the positioning of the defensive players.  The cornerbacks are lined up directly over the receivers, and the safeties are moving towards lining up directly as well, while they are in zone coverage.  The cornerbacks are protecting against a run, and hand off the receivers to the defenders in the back.  The Titans attack the safeties here by having a two-tiered option for Mariota.  The read on this play is simple for the QB, if the safety to the left of the formation is in position to defend Matthews on this play, then go to the secondary option cutting across the field.   In this case, the safety is facing the wrong way on this play, which allows Matthews to cut to the outside and find some open space.  Mariota makes a good pass and the Titans open the game up with a very good play.  It’s a simple play to start the game, and well executed.  



If you want to teach kids to throw the back-shoulder pass, and set it up, show them this clip.  The Titans set it up perfectly against press man coverage.  The offense needs to hold the safety in the middle, by running a slot receiver at him, and you can see Mariota looking at him initially.  The first read on this play is the slot receiver if the middle linebacker does not drop back.  The receiver has inside position as he breaks inside, so without the coverage from the linebacker dropping back, he is bound to be open.  Once Mariota sees the linebacker drop back, he knows there is one on one coverage on the outside with Corey Davis.  The defender doesn’t have any safety nets over the top, so Mariota makes the perfect back-shoulder pass.  He places the ball perfectly, and Davis makes a great catch as he keeps his feet in as well.  It’s a great throw and catch, and shows off some of the potential from the first-round pick.  



A touchdown pass from Mariota to Matthews, and it’s set up well.  The play action is clearly designed to pull in the deep safety and move him from the middle.  Once the safety moves from the middle, the pass is an easy one to Matthews.  Notice the defender on Matthews, giving up inside leverage, which indicates that the receiver will get a free release to the inside.  On this play, it’s the aggressive safety that costs the Ravens.  They were mostly aggressive on this play because it is a first down pass, and they are expecting run.   If the safety does stay back, Mariota does have a lane to run for a few yards, although I’m not sure if he would have taken it.  



This isn’t a major play, nor is it going to be a lengthy breakdown.  This one is here to show the good route running from Eric Decker, and how he helps out the QB.  Notice how he runs right at the defender, which doesn’t give away his outward cutting route at all.   The lack of an angle for the defender to read, forces them to stay neutral, which helps gain an extra microsecond for the receiver.  Also notice how Decker comes back to the ball for Mariota as well, which eliminates some of the risk for the QB.  Decker hasn’t been a No. 1 or maybe even a No. 2 receiver this year, but he’s one of the better route runners in the league, and he shows it off here, even if it’s for a small pass. 



This is a good angle to show the passing lane for Mariota on this play.  Notice the positioning of the football on this throw because it’s closer to the middle linebacker, because he has his hips turned the wrong way.  The throw could have been higher, allowing Walker to run after the catch, but it’s a completion nonetheless.  This is one of those “Throwing the receiver open” passes that many draft prospects will be evaluated on in the coming months.  When Mariota throws the ball, Walker isn’t open, but he anticipates the route and places the ball where Walker could catch the ball and be away from the defender. 



Once again, the Titans take advantage of play action, and get some major yards.  This is a very mature pass because it deals with a receiver that is mostly covered.  You will see this pass every Sunday, and every now and then, the linebacker will turn around and pick off the pass.  It’s a risky pass, and relies on the belief that the linebacker doesn’t have time to turn around and make a play on the ball.  The throw goes right by the linebacker, and right into the hands of Walker.  This is a great pass, that is set up by the play action, because the linebacker bites towards the line of scrimmage.  The movement causes him to be behind Walker from the start, which allows for some space to operate. 


While it wasn’t a great game on the offensive side for the Tennessee Titans or Marcus Mariota, they definitely did enough against a good defense to pull out the victory.  One positive side to note is that, Dan Pees had the defense well prepared and you can see that Mariota needed to make some great throws to move down the field.   

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  1. What impact do you see Pees having on the Tennessee Titans defense?

Links to other articles pertaining to Week 9 match up:

KW: Kneel for the Win Play – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Mata’utia Mariota – Negative Passing Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Positive Running Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Negative Running Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Positive Defensive Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Negative Defensive Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

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