Blaine Gabbert Preseason Game 2 In-Depth Breakdown

Written by Eric Stoner on August 28, 2011

Seventh Drive





– 12 Personnel (2×2)


– Falcons showing two deep safeties pre-snap. CBs aligned 5 yards off WR. Either basic Cover 2 or Cover 2 w/man coverage underneath.


– Outside WRs run fades, both TEs run quick outs.


– Against Cover 2, read is deep to short. If it’s zone underneath, QB will want to hit the outside WR as he enters the “honey hole” between the CB and S (the CB will ride and reroute the outside WR on the deep route until his shallow zone is threatened – in this play by the tight end running an out). If it’s man coverage underneath (or a very soft Cover 2), the outshould be open.


– CBs bail and run with outside WRs. Man coverage underneath. Hits the tight end on the out.




– 3rd and 1


– 21 Personnel, Twins left, Slot WR motions across formation creating a “pro” set and becoming the Z receiver


– Falcons have one deep safety pre-snap. RCB up, LCB off. Likely Cover 3.


– PA Power pass. Z receiver runs a “spot” route, TE runs a corner, FB fakes kickout block and releases to flat. Against Cover 3, it’s a simple flood principle – isolating the hook/curl defender into choosing between three options – the Z running the short spot, the FB running the flat, and the TE running the corner.


– Immediate pressure off both edges. Forced to throw off his back foot, but completes pass for 1st down to FB running flat route.




– 12 Personnel, (2×2), TE+Wing with inverted twins left


– Falcons with two deep safeties pre-snap. WLB playing with inside leverage on slot WR, RCB playing with outside leverage on outside WR (in order to funnel them together post-snap and ruin their spacing). Basic Cover 2 look.


– PA boot left. Can’t see routes or coverage. Gabbert can’t find an open receiver, scrambles and throws ball away left handed.




– 3rd and 7


– 11 Personnel, (3×1), TE split out as X receiver (Lewis Joker package)


– Falcons with two deep safeties pre-snap. CBs are all lined up in man-press. OLB walks out with TE and aligns in man-press. Either Cover 1 (if safeties roll post snap) or Cover 2 Man Under.


– Falcons get pressure w/three man rush + one blitzer. Gabbert good job of feeling pressure and scrambles vertically with purpose. Picks up the 1st down with his legs and gets out of bounds.




– 21 Personnel, I formation


– Falcons in Cover 3 pre-snap. SS in box to TE’s side. CBs playing off and titlted to QB.


– Cover 3 zone blitz. SS comes off the edge, RDE (weak side) drops off into hook/curl zone.


– PA pass. X runs a post, FB releases to weak side flat. Perfect play call against this defense. Backup RDE can’t/won’t gain enough depth in drop to get in passing lane for X post. RDE reacts up to FB crossing his face into the flat. Easy completion.




– 21 Personnel, I formation


– Falcons with two deep safeties pre-snap. CBs aligned 5 yards off receiver with outside leverage. Either Cover 2 or Cover 2 man under.


– 5 step drop. TE, Z, and X all run deep routes (can’t see what they are). Gabbert looks towards TE and Z, but they get funneled together by defense, ruining their spacing. Immediately checks down to RB running swing. LB in man coverage sniffs it out and is all over it.




-21 Personnel, (2×2), RB lined up as Z WR


– Falcons in Cover 2 pre-snap. Two deep safeties. WLB splitting difference between tackle and slot WR.


– TE runs a flat, RB(Z) runs a slant, Slot WR runs slant and go, outside WR runs a slant


– Slot and outside WR are inverted to give the outside WR a clean release on quick slant (3 step drop – primary read).


– Defense reacts well and nobody chases out of their zone. Tries to hit outside receiver on slant, but he is rerouted by the RCB, disrupting the pattern. RCB almost makes interception.


– If you WR gets rerouted on the slant, you have to go elsewhere. Must move and reset in pocket. Slant and go will come open inbetween the two safeties against Cover 2, especially with the linebackers squatting against the short pass.




– 3rd and 9


– 10 Personnel, (3×1), Shotgun


– Falcons in same pre-snap look and play as play 21. Cover 3 look, but running a zone blitz with S blitzing and opposite DE dropping into coverage.


– LG gets destroyed. DT gains immediate pressure and sacks Gabbert. Play never gets a chance to develop. Must feel that inside pressure and use his speed to get outside of the pocket.




Here’s an example of what I’m talking about in regards to Gabbert overstriding upon release. When a QB overstrides, it turns his shoulders upward and alters the release point, often leading to overthrown and generally innaccurate balls. The deeper the pass attempt, the more his accuracy will be affected.


Eric Stoner

Eric has been writing for Draft Breakdown for two years now, contributing by writing scouting reports, cutting video, and blogging about college football and the NFL. He was raised by a football coach and, as such, was forced to cut tape and chart personnel at an age that violates California labor law. A legal assistant by day, Eric also writes for Rotoworld NFL Draft and the SB Nation Jaguars Blog, Big Cat Country.

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