How Joe Lombardi hit his stride against Bears

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Sampled from NFL Game Rewind

Let’s play a game

It’s a simple game, but it’s one that NFL defensive coordinators have been playing every time the Detroit Lions offense takes the field.  It’s called “Where’s Tate?”

There was motion before this play, so it would have been easier in real time, but that’s Tate lined up to the left and behind of the tight end.  I have to admit, having seen this kind of alignment the past few weeks, I HATED seeing it happen again.  Why would you take one of your best weapons, who also happens to be one of your smallest receivers, and use him as an inline tight end on a run play (Did I mention that the team often runs out of this formation?)?

Let’s play a slightly different game.  Who’s COVERING Tate?

Sampled from NFL Game Rewind

The answer to that second question was, on this play, absolutely nobody.  Of the 11 defenders on the field, one covered Calvin Johnson, ten played the run to Joique Bell, and zero paid any notice as Golden Tate slipped behind the offensive line and bled out into the flat.  This was another blitz, but all of the linebackers and safeties completely buy a run here.

This is another example of using the team’s own offensive tendencies against their opponent.  This is a play that won’t work every time, but using it on 1st and 10 when the team has shown a clear tendency to run on that down and distance makes it money when it works.

Next: The drought is over