Rob Ryan lives life to the fullest and judging by the picture above, all I can say is “the egg salutes you” Rob Ryan fits New Orleans like Allen Toussaint fits the Jazz festival. Sean Payton may have been a little rusty with his play calling last year but he was spot on for canning “fits like an O.J. glove” Steve Spagnolo In his first move returning from the iron fist of the shameless Lord Goodell. I have been watching the NFL for decades and I have never seen a turn around that I have witnessed at the hands of Ryan.
So how did Rob Ryan pull a rabbit out of his a**? Probably because he’s a damn good coach but if you listen to the players, it’s all about playing to one’s strengths. It’s a pretty simple concept, know your players, put them in position to make plays and let them have fun doing it.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? it’s not.
Usually this time of the year I’m at Saints camp with Christy (my editor and the one slaps sense in me) in the devil heat taking notes but since we have to wait a couple of weeks I figured why not take a deeper look at how Ryan dials up his subterfuge on unsuspecting offenses.
Let’s see how do I start this? how about the last play of the first game last year? Yep you guessed it, the Falcons.
In this play below, Tony Gonzales goes in motion from right to left with Roman Harper shadowing him, the screen shot shows the personnel on the last ditch 4th down play by Atlanta. To be honest I don’t even know what to call this formation, a 1-3-7? a 2-2-7? who cares it worked.
Here’s another look at what Matt Ryan was facing.
In this screen shot you can see the route tree that Atlanta was using, the key to the success of this play was the Jams that the Saints DB’s got on the Falcons receivers, especially Roman Harper on Tony Gonzales. But Gonzales is so good he fought through the jam and was open for a split second, this is where the pressure applied by LB Curtis Lofton became crucial, it gave Kenny Vacarro just enough time to react and break on the ball.
Here’s a shot of Curtis Lofton applying the pressure getting a hand full of jersey just as Matt Ryan Releases the ball, notice his plant foot, he throwing off balance so the ball floats on him a bit.
Here is the end result and it was glorious. Rob Ryan put a lot of trust in Kenny Vacarro starting his first NFL game to help with the coverage on Tony Gonzales even though everybody in that stadium knew that Matt Ryan was going to throw it to him like he has so many times over the years in that goal line situation.
Up next is Rob Ryan’s defense going up against San Francisco in a pivotal NFC match up. In the 49rs 3rd play in their first possession they are facing a 3rd and 9, what Ryan does here is basically tell San Francisco “we don’t think your quarterback can beat us”
The Saints are bringing seven pass rushers (and not trying to hide it) leaving one on one coverage on the outside with Jabari Greer and Keenan Lewis plus Corey White covering the slot, notice nobody has a hand on the ground. Below is the personnel package package that Ryan has deployed.
Here’s a look at the defensive front Colin Kaepernick see’s, he’s checking off a play for TE Vernon Davis in the flat. I had to laugh when I took this still shot, does it look like they are concerned? of course not, they are relaxed and having fun, the Ryan way.
The key to this play besides the obvious pressure, is the read and react by corner back Jabari Greer and Safety Chris Carr, they read it exactly how the 49rs drew it up. Below is a couple of screen shots of the 49rs personnel and the Saints defense reaction to it.
This is discipline plain an simple, trusting the played called and reacting on the drop of a dime without thinking too much as seen below. To me it was Ryan pushing the the limits early on and sending a clear message across the field (We are coming all game long) I for one love it.
Next up is the Saints going against the Bears overloading one side of the line with a safety(s) blitz, below is the Saints personnel package.
Here is the Bears wide receiver package and the routes they were supposed to run, they didn’t have time. Notice Bush comes over to help with Earl Bennett while Jabari Greer releases him to help with Brandon Marshall, Curtis Lofton also slides over to help with Marshall and Ramon Humber drops back to help with Bears Receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Here is Jay Cutler‘s pre-snap read, he has to know what’s coming….he just can’t stop it, he should have called a time out.
When the play gets rolling you can see Kenny Vacarro and Junior Galette taking up O- linemen LT Jermon Bushrod and LG Matt Slausen respectively freeing up Malcolm Jenkins untouched with a clear shot at Cutler. Notice Ramon Humber dropping back and David Hawthorne keying on Bears running back Matt Forte.
Here is the end result (with clip) of Jenkins making Cutler on the verge of having slumped shoulders and pouting like a thirteen year old girl when her phone privileges have been taken away….don’t laugh, you know it’s true.
Now you tell me Jay baby didn’t sulk after that play, yes he did. Anyways that’s a wrap for this week, it’s only three plays that I broke down but you can see the madness that goes on and the guts to trust his players and pull the trigger in crucial situations. It’s getting closes my friends, I can feel it, can you? and with that as always a big massive….WHO DAT!
You can find me on twitter @eggheadwhodat if you want to talk Saints or anything like food….does anybody know where I can get a good Cuban sandwich in Nola? the egg is hungry and needs your help