The offseason has been slow for most fans so far. The Super Bowl ended only a week ago but fans are still itching to get their football fix. One thing I’ve learned since becoming a writer here at Pack To The Future is that football season is year round, especially this year.
You probably know by now, but I’ve made it my personal mission to chart each and every play call that Matt LaFleur has made during his time as the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. So far I’ve liked what I’ve seen in both the pass and run game. In this article I’ll be breaking down LaFleur’s pass calls from week 2 of the 2018 season. As I mentioned in previous articles, I chart each and every play along with the game situation and scenario. If you would like to see any of my notes from any games please don’t hesitate to ask. You can find me on Twitter @PTTF_ChalkTalk.
As we’ve seen in previous games, the Titans come out here in a tight 2X2 formation. The Texans, as you can see, are playing a single high coverage and rotate in to a cover 3 look. Whenever I look at a play I always start by looking to see if it is a 2 high or single high look to begin with. Right off the bat, you can eliminate several coverages. In this instance, you can see it is a single high look pre-snap and know that it will be either a cover 1 or cover 3 look. We know this is cover 3 because of the 3 deep look with 4 underneath defenders.
To the short side of the field we see two out routes. I like this combination to the short side because it will be a quick throw. A look like this puts the quarterback in a 2 read situation. Both the nickel and the corner from the Texans play these routes really well. Tight defense can make things hard for a quarterback, though I do feel more confident with Rodgers in this situation.
This has to be a well-timed, quick throw for the quarterback. If the play isn’t there then look to the wide side of the field. Overall, I like the call in this 2nd down situation. Not too risky and just enough to put them in a 3rd and short situation or they could possibly pick up the first down. I’ve noticed that LaFleur likes to establish a horizontal passing game, much like West Coast teams. Night and day from McCarthy.
Here is another example of a double out look, only this time to each side. Again, presnap we read a 2 high look. Due to the depth of the corners you can almost know this will be a quarters coverage look, or cover 4. In a cover 2 look the corners will usually press the number 1 receiver and try to funnel them in to the inside of the field towards the 2 high safeties.
The play is ran out of an ace set. What I define as an ace set is 12 personnel with 2 flankers. Notice the offensive tackle at the top of the play. With the tight end releasing this could be a tough task to block the EMOL. With the Packers, I feel very good about this, having Bakhtiari assigned to block the EMOL. He has to be quick in his kickslide and gain depth. It’s a quick throw so a cut block could be enough to slow the rusher down and allow the quarterback to gather and throw. Backed up in this situation it will definitely have to be quick.
Not much to discuss from a scheme standpoint here, but I noticed that LaFleur will go to the screen time after time. The thing that is important about quick screens is getting blockers out in front. The offensive line has to be quick to block, release, then get down field. It’s a quick thousand one, thousand two, release. Notice the tackle at the top of the screen. He block a split second and gets out to find a Texan to block. He throws a key block, springing the receiver to a touchdown. The playside guard also does a good job getting downfield and looking for a block. He loses his footing but he is in the right place. The quick screen is a good play to go to here in the red zone.
One thing that I have discussed in previous articles is that LaFleur likes to use multiple tight ends in a formation. Here, he baits the defense in to thinking run and hits the out route off of the play action. With Rodgers I think this will look sweet. His ability to quickly gather and throw is impressive. Rodgers puts some zip on his play action passes and with a player like Adams as the out route man I think the end result would be nice. Its a nice look to go to after running the ball on the drive.
A key thing in any play action play is to carry out good fakes in the backfield. This means both the quarterback and running back really have to sell the run. The running back does a decent job here in clinching down with both arms in faking the run. Players like Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have done a good job with this. The offensive line also must do a good job in taking a hard step to sell the run.
Here is the same play, only from the end zone camera angle. Notice that all the offensive lineman are in a run stance. They have plenty of weight on the down hand and come out of their stance low and quick. There are a lot of small things that go in to making a play action pass successful.
The Titans threw for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns in this game. The Titans stats weren’t as impressive in early weeks due to the absence of Mariota at quarterback. Nonetheless, I liked a lot of these play calls in the situations they were called. The thing that I like about LaFleur is that every call makes sense. He has a fluidity when it comes to play calling and gets in a good rhythm. A lot of us were frustrated last season when we saw 4 verts on a 1 and 10 play. It makes no sense. Every play call has to have a reason about it. LaFleur does a good job in knowing his “why” in play calling and using players to their full strength.
Next week I’ll be taking a look at the run game in week 3. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
Follow me on Twitter for Packers film break downs and analysis: @PTTF_ChalkTalk