Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Nov 2013

Assignment: Manning

Remember the Blueprint for stopping the 2007 Giants? It has been six years, so I figured I could dust off the blueprint concept without repeating myself. Here is a detailed breakdown of Chiefs defensive tactics that can stop the Broncos.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 13 Nov 2013

13 comments, Last at 15 Nov 2013, 4:51pm by commissionerleaf


by Micranot (not verified) :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 11:10am

Nice read! One small typo, second bullet under how Denver will attack the defense:

"Manning will still challenge the Broncos cornerbacks"

should be "Chiefs cornerbacks"

by 3Monkies (not verified) :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 11:26am

Essentially this is the same plan that Bellichick successfully used against the Colts during the Pats heyday.

Ironically, Denver's mediocre defense seems to match up well against KCs mediocre offense, as Denver is very good against the run.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 1:10pm

I don't remember anyone looking for a "blueprint for stopping the 2007 Giants." They weren't that good of an offense, with a 1.1% total DVOA.

I do, however, remember a really strange writer here who wrote about having a blueprint for the 2007 Patriots ;): http://www.footballoutsiders.com/walkthrough/2008/too-deep-zone-blueprin...

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 1:31pm

It's amazing how pinpoint Tanier's blueprint to stopping the 2007 Patriots resembles what the Giants actually did.

Bring pressure up the middle?: Check, Justin Tuck abusing Logan Mankins the entire game.

Use Nickel and Dime?: Check, although they never strayed from a 4-man front.

Use Blitz Packages that are aggressive but not exotic?: Not sure what defines exotic, but when the Giants did blitz, it was aggressive (Blitzing Brady when he was backed up, using their patented mike/slot corner blitz.

Use a mix of Cover-3-4 & Man to take away deep passes?: Check, from what I remember the Giants played a whole bunch of Cover-3/4.

Avoid 3rd and Short by creating big plays on 1st/2nd down?: Check, as three of the five sacks came on 1st or 2nd down. And the Patriots got nothing on 1st down runs for much of the game.

Roll coverage to Moss' side of the field?: Check, as everytime Moss went deep there were at least two Giants bracketing him.

Also, I hate to do this to Will Allen, but I love his 1st comment: "Nice effort, but I believe the Pats are far more likely to lose a game 37-34 than 20-17." Spoken like a true Tom Brady, laughing off the idea of the Pats scoring 'only 17 points'.

by greybeard :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 4:25pm

I believe Jags did the same things as suggested by the blueprint and Brady was what 27 of 29 for close to 300 yards.
I guess Giants executed blueprint better.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 4:44pm

I don't think the Jags blitzed more than a couple times. They only rushed four, and their four were nowhere close to as effective as the Giants four.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 11/13/2013 - 7:55pm

I don't understand why Cover 3 is considered a defense to "take away deep passes". Cover three is just Man Free on the outside against deep passes. Cover 2/4 are two safety defenses; Cover 3 is a one safety defense that is more vulnerable to deep passing. I could see "cloud/sky" being considered safer, depending on modifications to the cornerback's job on the side coverage rolled to (Moss), but straight cover 3 is just a single high concept with zones instead of man...

Two Man is probably the safest way to deal with deep passing, but then you have to cover Welker one on one underneath.

by Guest789 :: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 8:24pm

This. Cover 3 is designed to stop the run and short passes over the middle more than anything else. It's designed to be played with an 8 man box, with the deep safety and two corners responsible for the deep field.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by tuluse :: Fri, 11/15/2013 - 2:26am

Cover 3 has one less short zone than cover 2. It's designed to stop deep passing and the run, and allow teams to throw short.

Yes, the corners are 1 on 1 on the side against deep routes, but they're coached to stay deep no matter what, and not jump short routes. A hitch, out, or a comeback is open all day long against cover 3.

by td (not verified) :: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 12:29am

it's a bit of a bummer, but the blueprint for beating the Broncos is 'hit Manning in the knee, after the whistle if neccessary', as has been evident in the Broncos' post-Jacksonville 'slump'

by bingo762 :: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 10:56am

None of the diagrams he spoke of showed up for me. But in the gifs of the Giants and Browns it looked like both would have been easy first downs had the receiver not dropped the ball.

by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 11/15/2013 - 4:47pm

Here's the thing:

The Chiefs are basically the 2005 Jacksonville Jaguars. That year, the Leftwich Jags were 12-4, losing twice to Peyton Manning and going 12-2 against the rest of football, including wins against Pittsburgh (in OT) and Baltimore (30 to three).

They had a powerful and varied pass rush (47 sacks, with no player having double digits but four players with six sacks), John Henderson and Marcus Stroud in the middle, and more than an interception a game.

The combination of Garrard, Leftwich and Quinn Gray probably averages out to Alex Smith.

Unfortunately, like the Jags, the Chiefs will have to go through Brady and Manning to reach the Super Bowl. Like for the Jags, it ain't gonna happen.

by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 11/15/2013 - 4:51pm

In both 2005 and 2007, the Jags lost twice to the Colts and exited the playoffs at the hands of the Patriots. They were a combined 24-5 against non-Patriots, non-Colts teams those two seasons. Two of those losses were games started by Quinn Gray.