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Inside the Play: DeAngelo Goes for 69 Against the Saints

Hello again Panther fans, this week we are going to take a closer look at DeAngelo Williams’ 69 yard TD run against the Saints in week 5. There of course was another very exiting play in this game involving Steve Smith, but we just gave Smitty a breakdown last week so for now I’m shifting the focus to the run game (don’t worry, that one will come soon.)

More after the jump...

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via cdn3.sbnation.com

Last week I briefly discussed the numbering system used to identify offensive personnel packages (if you missed it, here’s the link.) The play we looked at previously was an example of 11 personnel, taking a look at the image below you can see that this week’s play is an example of 21 (that’s 2RB 1TE 2WR)

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Here's a link to the full play on NFL.com

More specifically, this is an example of what’s called an offset weak I formation.

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"I formation" indicates the two backs behind Newton, "offset weak" dictates that the FB line up about a yard off from the QB on the weak side of the formation (the side without the TE.) Because you have an equal number of blockers on each side of the center, it is difficult for the defense to predict which way the RB might come on a run play. You’ll see that become quite important in a minute.

For now we’l look at the pre-snap. No motion at all, so this week it’s just a still.

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Here the Saints are in a 4-3 look with the strong safety up on the strong side line of scrimmage. I had to use this wide shot because, as you can see, the free safety is playing centerfield 20 yards from the ball. This was after Smith burned them for that amazing TD so they were trying to keep someone over his coverage at all times. This is another important aspect to remember once Williams gets the ball, now let’s move to the snap.

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There are couple of important things in this short clip. First, you can see that the fake toss to the offense’s right shifts the linebackers to that side and the strong safety (41) is coming unblocked on a blitz on the other side. Also, the safety playing deep center shifts over to Smith’s side of the field to help the CB in coverage. He ends up being the Saints last line of defense against the TD so we’re going to keep track of him. In the meantime, lets check out the first part of the run.

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Here comes 41 on the blitz off the strong side. As most of you know, this play is based on an option principle. The safety crashes down on Newton so he pitches it to Williams. Naanee does a great job selling the route off the snap and that clears the way for Williams. This, combined with the fact that the LBs bit on the misdirection and the other safety is over Smith, means there is no one defending the left side of the field. Despite this, at the end of this clip the Saints still have a chance to minimize the damage and keep it to a 20-25 yard gain. Lets see where they went wrong.

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The first key here is obviously the block from Naanee, and of course the broken tackle by Williams is great. I’ll just let those two speak for themselves for a moment.

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Ok, now it's all about the free safety, he’s the last line of defense. Let’s see what he’s been up to.

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Here you can see he is all the way over the numbers on the opposite side as Williams starts up the field, even though Smith is standing still and not even running a route. This dedication to 89 came largely after his big TD earlier in the game, a perfect example of the deep pass helping set up the run game. This is about the moment he realizes what is happening across the field, and he gets over in time to slow Williams down a bit, but we all know what’s coming up next.

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A little stutter-step and a stiff arm and he’s gone for the score. So that’s how it happened, thanks for reading!

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