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Bleacher Report – Vikings

All-22: Did Eagles create blueprint for slowing Bradford?

By Matthew Coller

We know the Philadelphia Eagles abused Sam Bradford and the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday on the back of their pass rush. But a closer look at the All-22 coaches film reveals that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz threw many different looks at Bradford that caused him to hesitate or struggle to find his first option. While the Vikings’ next group of opponents may not be able to match the Eagles in terms of talent on the defensive line, they can plan on seeing many of the same schemes against them in the coming weeks.

Over his career, Schwartz is not known sending all sorts of blitzes. He has often relied upon sending four or five at the quarterback and using deception on the line of scrimmage to create a rush while still allowing himself to have seven or six in coverage. The Vikings are similar in this way. They will bring everyone up to the line, then drop back one of the linebackers and rush the other or drop back both linebackers and rush the safety.

“You want to blitz on your terms,” Schwartz told NJ.com. “You want to be able to blitz when you want to when the situation is right, not, well, we can’t generate a pass rush unless we do. So allowing those guys to keep it simple, to be able to pressure with four and not make yourself skinnier so to speak in coverage can also take some of the big plays away from offenses. And I think big plays.”

To open the game, Schwartz dials up a zone blitz that causes Bradford to react quickly and dump the ball off to Matt Asiata despite having time in the pocket. The line of scrimmage was loaded up, including the nickel corner moving into a blitzing position, then he drops back as does defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to take up space over the middle.

Here’s what Bradford was looking at pre-snap.

Here is what it looked like right after Bradford took the ball. The Vikings quarterback doesn’t look anywhere but to Asiata, though it seems he may have had Kyle Rudolph over the middle or Adam Thielen one-on-one. He seemed to have decided at the snap he was going to the quick pass to take advantage of a rush coming off the right side. Instead Asiata was taken down for just three yards.

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The Vikings have had success with a number of run-pass option plays this year. Those plays are exactly what they sound like. Bradford has a choice to either handoff or throw depending on the look. One successful such play came against Houston. The fullback was in the game and the Texans loaded up for a run to his side. Instead Bradford quickly fired a bullet out to Cordarrelle Patterson.

The Eagles were prepared for this element of the Vikings’ offense. On this play, which appears to be an RPO, the defensive end moves into position to hit TJ Clemmings and the linebacker blitzes free off the left side with the guard pulling. Bradford has his man at the top of the screen but is pressured too quickly and heaves the ball toward Stefon Diggs.

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You can see the linebacker rushing free. One thing that was noticable here that might indicate the Eagles were clued into the RPO look is that the defensive end shifted in just before the snap so instead of being lined up outside of Clemmings, he was right over him. He took up Clemmings while the linebacker came free.

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This wasn’t the only time that the Eagles snuffed out an RPO.

On this play, the safety sneaks up to take away a screen pass to Patterson and the corner who appeared to be covering Patterson one-on-one came on a blitz. He runs right by Asiata.

Bradford didn’t fail on every attempt at a screen. He hit Patterson for a seven-yard gain in the second quarter on a drive that got the Vikings to the Eagles’ 31 before a strip sack brought the drive to an end.

Knowing that the Vikings were having serious protection issues and playing a group that hadn’t been together that much with Jake Long mixing in and Clemmings switching sides at times during the game, the Eagles made things even more challenging by using safety blitzes all day.

Here, there is apparent confusion with Asiata, who fails to block the rushing safety.

This is a different play, I swear….but the same result. No confusion this time, just a whiff by Asiata.

Sunday’s loss to the Eagles appeared to be in the category of Everything That Could Go Wrong Did Go Wrong. The Vikings brought back seven-step drops for some reason, which led to Bradford holding the ball too long. At the same time, Minnesota blew two opportunities in the red zone, coming away with no points. Combine that with the Eagles’ ability to mix things up at the line of scrimmage and throw unique looks against run-pass option plays made for a long day for Bradford.

It is likely that opponents will try to repeat many of these things against Minnesota in the future. Either they will have to learn to pick up the safety blitzes or be ready with a quick option. Could you saw the jig is up and the blueprint is out? Not exactly…but they have to make the right changes.

The post All-22: Did Eagles create blueprint for slowing Bradford? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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