Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Nov 2011

ESPN AGS: Rams over Saints

What is the blueprint for shutting down New Orleans' passing game? It starts with getting pass pressure without blitzing.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 01 Nov 2011

9 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2011, 4:38pm by Vince Verhei


by Sophandros :: Tue, 11/01/2011 - 1:58pm

I'm glad I don't have Insider so I don't have to relive that...

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Felton (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2011 - 2:29pm

Sophandros, you speak the truth. Here's my version:

1. Get pressure with four people
2. Get so much pressure with 4 people that the Saints cannot use the empty 2x3 (5 wr) set - they can only use 2x2 or 1x3
3. play 4 short - 3 deep zone - you will always have 7 v 4, so 3 can be doubled between zones
4. jump short routes with 2 as much as you can
5. Brees can't throw deep - not enough time

The 3-games with NYG, Min and Det look tough now with 19.5, 17 and 13.5 DE sacks respectively. Not exactly looking forward to Adrian Clayborn / Michael Bennett or Abraham / Edwards.

by Joseph :: Tue, 11/01/2011 - 2:52pm

Vince, I think I have read all of your AGS articles so far this year. This was definitely the best, as it outlined what the Saints do best and don't do well (if at all). I wish that ESPN would let you concentrate on the actual game, and not just generalities, because, let's face it, Jackson recovering a fumble right before the half and the blocked punt played a key role in this game. The pick-just just put the last nail in the coffin.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/01/2011 - 5:40pm

Thanks for the kind words, they're appreciated.

by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 11/01/2011 - 3:44pm

I'm just glad the Eagles have taken a vacation from this column.

by anymouse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2011 - 11:33pm

Getting pass pressure without blitzing, eh? That's brilliant! Now all the teams will be doing it.


by speedegg :: Wed, 11/02/2011 - 5:43pm

Well, the Saint's tackles aren't the greatest and they have a rookie center. So, a bunch of Tackle-End stunts or zone-exchange between the DE and LBs would throw off pass protection enough so Brees has to get the ball out quick and CBs can sink on the short throws.

by blakelock :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:05am

i have a question.
when is "getting pressure on the QB without blitzing" not a good strategy? i'm actually (somewhat) serious. is there a running or screen scheme that can combat a dominant front 4?

by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 4:38pm

Well, there are some teams that clearly play better against the blitz than they in non-blitz situations, and vice versa. The key to the Rams' win over the Saints was the pass rush generated by Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Thus, the first answer to the question of "How do you beat the Saints?" is "By acquiring a good set of bookend pass rushers," and that's a question that has to be answered in the offseason.