Film Room Notes on Week 3 Major Matchups

Las Vegas Raiders Maxx Crosby

Note: Stats below do NOT include garbage time

Steelers @ Raiders 

Steelers O vs. Raiders D

Pass rush battle

* It was startling how unready No. 7 overall pick Tyree Wilson looked in Week 1. With Chandler Jones out, can the Raiders defense survive if Maxx Crosby is the only consistent pass rusher? How dependent are they on Wilson?

* The man Wilson would have be facing is 14th overall pick Broderick Jones, except he did NOT beat out third-year veteran Dan Moore for the starting LT job. Concern?


Steelers believe in plus-sized slot receiver

* Allen Robinson in Chicago and LA played in the slot 25-35% of the time. In Pittsburgh so far, he has played the slot 77% of the time. Before trading him last year, the Steelers had often put Chase Claypool in the slot.


Raiders O vs. Steeler D

Minkah Fitzpatrick

* This season he has had: more snaps in the slot/box (Steelers playing more big nickel), more snaps matching to TE (as opposed to being the free defender/rover in man coverage) and possibly more snaps rushing the passer (4 blitzes so far; he had less than 20 last year).

Heavier personnel (both sides)

* The Steelers play with just 3 DBs on 10% of snaps, most in the NFL. Obviously, they do this mostly against “21” and heavier personnel packages.

* The Raiders last season ranked 5th in 2-back personnel usage (15 snaps per game) and appear to be operating off that same blueprint this season.

* The Raiders have a strong tendency to run to the strongside out of 2-back sets.

Los Angeles Rams Matthew Stafford

Rams @ Bengals 

Rams O vs. Bengals D

Empty Sets

* In games Matthew Stafford has played the Rams have gone empty 9.7 times per game, which is more than every team except the Ravens (who can run the ball out of empty with Lamar).

– Rams this season just 9 snaps of empty. Are they getting away from it?

* What will be Cincy’s response?

* Bengals last season led the NFL in number of snaps with 8 defenders in coverage. That is a common tactic to combat empty sets, though that’s actually not something Cincy does very often against empty.

– HOWEVER….against empty, the Bengals only dropped 8 on 14% of snaps (6th most in the league).


Bengals O vs. Rams D

1 on 1 matchups outside vs. WRs Chase and Higgins?

* Rams last season played Cover 2 on just 3.6% of snaps – 4th lowest in the league. They’re unlikely to change Monday night because….

* Joe Burrow has been the NFL’s best QB against Cover 2 over the last two years.

* And so the Rams with an unheralded CB group will take their chances with 1-on-1 coverage outside against a QB who throws as many Go balls outside as any QB.

Interior Trenches

* Cincinnati’s O-line had a LOT of trouble with Cleveland’s interior pass rushers, namely Za’Darius Smith (who did the same 2-pt stance rushes from 3-tech location that he did in GB/MIN). Now Bengals face Aaron Donald.

– Will this mean a lot of quick game for Cincy? They tied for 4th in quick game snaps in Week 2 (14 snaps) and nearly doubled their quick game snap total of Week 1.

* With Rams knowing the protection will slide to Donald almost every snap, they can be more pinpointed with their stunts/games designs.

– But they only ran 2 stunts on 3rd down against San Francisco. With Joe Burrow so efficient from the pocket, will they be discouraged to feature slower-developing pass rush designs again this week?

Russell Wilson

Broncos @ Dolphins 

Broncos O vs. Dolphins D

Pass game

* Russell Wilson played a lot more on-schedule in his debut under Sean Payton than he did under previous coaching staffs. But the passing game was also very condensed schematically and Denver’s 5.6 average depth of target ranked 26th in Week 1. (How much does Payton trust Wilson?)

– Broncos led the league with 11.7 average depth of target in Week 2, though Payton was critical of some of the offensive procedural work after the game.

Run game

* Miami allowed just 2.9 yards per carry Sunday night vs. NE after giving up a league-worst 6.2 yards per carry in Week 1 at LAC.

– The difference: Miami was in single-high on 18 of 23 run defense snaps vs. NE. (Against LAC they were single-high just 16 of 34 snaps.)

Dolphins O vs. Broncos D


* Dolphins are famous for using fast motion. Vance Joseph has a history of chasing motion (instead of bumping), even when he’s in zone coverage. His defenses have at times struggled against run plays that feature fast presnap motion. Will Joseph chase Miami’s motions?

– So far this season, Denver has bumped or spun the safeties against 8 of 9 jet motion snaps.

 “21 personnel”

* Dolphins play “21” personnel more than any AFC team (58% through 2 games). They’re extremely multiple out of it (FB Alec Ingold aligns in the backfield less than 50% of the snaps).

* Denver went base against the “21” personnel-loving Raiders in Week 1….no way they do that against Miami, right? If they play nickel, they’re down to their No. 2 slot guy Essang Bassey (who came in after Caden Sterns’s season-ending knee injury).

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Bears @ Chiefs 

Bears O vs. Chiefs D

Steve Spagnuolo vs. young QB

* No defense blitzes corners more than KC (about 5 times per game), and more than half of these come out of split-safety looks (which also leads the league).

* Chicago and Justin Fields last season had a 67.1 passer rating against split safety blitzes, 3rd worst behind only PIT and CAR (who both played with backups for notable stretches).

D.J. Moore and Darnell Mooney

* Bears have two speed weapons here. Chiefs in 2022 against 20+ yard passes allowed 14.1 yards per play, which ranked 26th. Outside go balls are simple reads….would Chicago lean on those?

Chiefs O vs. Bears D

Bears front 7 combatting KC pass game

* Bears have one of the NFL’s least-talented pass rushing defensive lines and it’s hurting them

* Bears last season ranked near the bottom in yards per play allowed on passes between the numbers. They went out and paid top dollar for MLB Tremaine Edmunds (and also notable money for T.J. Edwards). Chiefs are more of an interior, underneath/short-intermediate passing team than people realize.

Bears secondary

* Jaylon Johnson had a fantastic season in 2022. Now he is playing field CB and 2nd-round rookie Tyrique Stevenson is playing the boundary (where most teams these days play their No. 1 corner). Do Bears view Stevenson as their best CB?

* Brisker is the tight end matchup in Chicago’s D (be it man coverage or as the box safety). Eddie Jackson is often the centerfielder (if healthy…Jackson left TB game in first quarter with a foot injury….he was replaced by 2022 seventh-rounder Elijah Hicks).

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