Here is a breakdown of 4 vital positional mismatches in Week 16:
Titans DL Jurrell Casey vs. Redskins’ inside offensive line
The Washington Redskins‘ offensive line has been decimated by accidents this season, and the inside’s been hit significantly laborious, with guards Arie Kouandjio, Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, and Jonathan Cooper all out with season-ending accidents.
In consequence, Washington’s assembled a rag-tag unit with Luke Bowanko and Tony Bergstrom beginning on the guard positions. Heart Chase Roullier is the lone member of the inside offensive line to begin each sport this season.
This week, they will get the unenviable process of blocking Tennessee Titans lineman Jurrell Casey, who’s been underrated for fairly a while and has dominated this season with 58 tackles (11 for loss), 11 quarterback hits, seven sacks, and two move deflections.
Among the finest methods to assault an offensive line that is not used to taking part in collectively is with stunts, because the absence of continuity makes it tough to rapidly decide blocking assignments.
So, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Titans dial up quite a lot of stunts and sophisticated blitzes to take benefit. Here is an instance of Casey’s effectiveness on stunts:
On this play, Casey (No. 99) is aligned within the B-gap because the defensive deal with between the offensive guard and offensive deal with. As soon as the ball is snapped, he veers outdoors because the “penetrator” in a tackle-end stunt with Harold Landry (No. 58) because the “looper.”
Which means Casey’s tasked with drawing the eye of the precise guard and deal with simply lengthy sufficient for Landry to loop inside unblocked. Nonetheless, the precise guard and deal with fail to speak – the guard takes on Landry however the deal with does not choose up Casey in time – which permits Casey to get free and sack the quarterback.
When he isn’t speeding the passer, Casey ought to have a disruptive day towards the run. Bowanko and Bergstrom lack the uncooked energy to hold with Casey on the level of assault, they usually’re nowhere close to technical sufficient to counter the array of strikes he’ll throw their means. This play is a good instance of Casey’s capability towards the run:
Casey’s as soon as once more aligned within the B-gap because the defensive deal with. As soon as the ball is snapped, he angles his physique barely so he can develop his rush outdoors when the precise deal with engages him.
As he begins to develop outdoors, Casey executes a wonderfully timed chop along with his outdoors hand, inflicting the guard to lose his steadiness and stumble ahead. This makes it straightforward for Casey to clear the block and make the deal with on the line of scrimmage.
Saturday’s matchup with Washington screams “big-time efficiency” for Casey, and Tennessee might coast to a victory if he comes by way of as anticipated.
Bears DL Akiem Hicks vs. 49ers RG Mike Particular person
The Chicago Bears‘ protection is the perfect within the league and stacked with expertise at each stage. And whereas Khalil Mack (rightfully) receives plenty of consideration, Akiem Hicks could be simply as vital.
Hicks has been an impressive defensive deal with this season, racking up 51 tackles (11 for a loss), 11 quarterback hits, six sacks, three compelled fumbles, and a move deflection. He was voted to the Professional Bowl and will probably be a travesty if he doesn’t get All-Professional consideration.
This week, Hicks ought to dominate his matchup with San Francisco 49ers proper guard Mike Particular person, who hasn’t been dangerous this season however doesn’t match up effectively right here. Particular person largely struggles with defensive tackles who play with an excessive amount of energy on the level of assault – and that actually describes Hicks.
At 6-foot-5 and 332 kilos, Hicks exerts a singular quantity of pressure along with his strikes. He additionally enhances that energy with misleading quickness and a wide selection of hand strategies. Here is an excellent instance:
After the ball is snapped, Hicks hops outdoors, influencing Blythe to get extra width in his move set, which additionally widens the hole between the middle and Blythe, opening up the within transfer. So, Hicks tries to win inside, executing a strong membership transfer along with his inside hand. Nonetheless, Blythe manages to counter the transfer and keep in entrance of Hicks, forcing him into Plan B.
Hicks rapidly re-counters by stabbing along with his outdoors hand, which pins Blythe inside and creates a smooth edge to work round on the way in which to sacking Jared Goff.
There might solely be a handful of human beings with the method, steadiness, energy, and quickness to make that sequence work, however Hicks is one in all them. And that is a foul signal for Particular person, who ought to have an extended day on the workplace.
Broncos LB Bradley Chubb vs. Raiders LT Kolton Miller
Oakland Raiders rookie left deal with Kolton Miller could be the worst beginning offensive deal with in soccer, as he is declined after a good begin to the marketing campaign. He particularly struggles with highly effective pass-rushers, as he lacks the core energy and hand strategies to anchor towards them.
This week, Miller may have his fingers full with Chubb, whose 12 sacks are simply 2.5 behind Jevon Kearse‘s rookie report. And Chubb performs with the highly effective model that Miller has hassle with, which is seen on performs like this:
Right here, Chubb’s aligned with an out of doors shade over Rams left deal with Andrew Whitworth, the most effective within the NFL. Chubb assaults Whitworth down the center with a bull rush and does a great job of profitable the hand-placement and leverage battles, permitting him to stroll Whitworth again to the quarterback.
As soon as Whitworth tries to anchor towards the bull rush, Chubb makes use of the deal with’s slight ahead momentum towards him, as he strikes Whitworth apart and brings down Goff.
Count on Chubb to make the most of Miller – who’s nowhere close to Whitworth’s stage – all through Monday’s sport.
Seahawks DT Jarran Reed vs. Chiefs’ offensive guards
And whereas the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs possess the most effective offenses in soccer, their inside offensive line doesn’t meet that commonplace. Heart Mitch Morse is adept in move safety, however the identical cannot be stated for guards Cameron Erving, who missed final week with a knee damage, and Andrew Wylie. If Erving’s held out as soon as once more, Jeff Allen will take his place.
In the meantime, Reed is strong towards the run, however his capability to hurry the passer (8.5 sacks this season) has blossomed this season. Here is an instance:
On this play, Reed’s aligned with an out of doors shade over the left guard. After the ball is snapped, he fakes an assault to the surface earlier than darting inside with a two-hand swipe and arm-over end that clears contact.
From there, Reed bullies his means by way of gentle contact to convey down Nick Mullens for the sack.
Previous to this yr, Reed would not have made that sack (he had simply three within the final two seasons), however do not be shocked if he retains producing towards Kansas Metropolis’s largest weak point – guard play.
John Proudly owning is a soccer author at theScore. He has written for Bleacher Report and Soccer Insiders. He was additionally the lead NFL content material editor at FanRag Sports activities. John offers evaluation on the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning Information and edits for The Quant Edge. Discover him on Twitter @JohnOwning.