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Offensive Problems & Solutions- Discussion Thread

 
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ThatTitansFan


Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 175
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:03 pm    Post subject: Offensive Problems & Solutions- Discussion Thread Reply with quote

I think I've discussed all I can in the defensive review- we have a scheme problem (fixable) and a massive problem the defense can't fix (time of possession). Our defense isn't going to look good until they're not on the field 40 minutes a game.

So let's get a discussion on the offense going
A RATIONAL, REASONABLE one.

Without a better offense, or at least one that can sustain drives, we're going to be screwed.

So here's our problems, in order of importance as ranked by none other than me.

#1. Our offensive line is falling apart.
#2. CJ is flat out running badly- he's dancing too much, reading the wrong lanes, and hitting the wrong holes.
#3. Our playcalling is meh at best, downright bad at worst.
#4. We're dropping too many balls.
#5. We aren't taking enough shots downfield (a scheme problem, but also a symptom of the others)

#1- Our interior looks no better than last year, and probably worse (although we have faced 2 very strong DLines so far). Interior is a total [inappropriate/removed]. Velasco appears to be no better at run blocking than Amano, and worse at protections, shifts, and passblocking. I honestly wish we had Amano back now. He was at least very good at the mental side of being a center, and could passblock smaller DTs quite well (although he still got demolished by bigger DTs).
Harris is just ugh. He showed promise his first year as a backup, and was decent in his second year, but last year he seemed to regress and this year seems even worse.
Hutch is the bright spot, and that isn't saying much. He's strong enough to handle his own in the run game, but he's too slow to pull effectively, and doesn't pancake or make any big plays (well, big plays for an Olineman). I think he's still an above average guard, but in our scheme, he prevents us from running wide left or having him pull. So here, he is average.

Our tackles are still top-flight. Roos had a little trouble first game against Chandler Jones, but he looked totally fine last week. That sack-strip was half on him, half on Locker for not getting rid of the ball. Our pass protection is looking worse because as good as Locker is at feeling pressure (he is quite good for a 2nd year QB), he is always playing from behind, trying to make the big play, and holding on too long as a result.

We need to shake up the interior. Does anyone remember the year our formerly great line came together? We started the year with Jacob Bell at RT, someone I can't remember at LG, and just sucked early on. 3rd game of the season we moved Bell to LG, and put in Stew at RT, and things just changed dramatically.

We signed Deuce Lutui. We know he's not great, but he has always been a very good run blocker inside, and he's strong. And with his weight down, maybe the quick UTs that gave him fits in Arizona will be more manageable.

So let's throw him in- does is screw with our scheme a little bit, having two guards that aren't very fast and can't pull? Of course. But at least we'd have a second guard who can get some push up the middle, and handle big mofos like Wilfork.

At center, we're kind of stuck. I can't see Matthews being much better than Velasco at run blocking. But maybe that's ok- he's been around offensive lineman (hall of fame ones) all his life, and I'm guessing the cerebral part (calling out protections, making line shifts, helping Locker read the defense) should be a lot better.

The last option would be to pull Velasco, move Bell to center, and put Lutui in at guard. I honestly like this one the best- I remember when Mawae retired thinking that Amano should stay at guard (he faced nose tackles less there, and he was very quick and good at pulling, which helped our exterior run game a lot). I thought Bell would take over center, since he had played it before, was slower than Amano, but a little stronger. I have no clue how Bell will handle the cerebral elements, but his physical makeup is better suited to Center- he's below average strength for a guard, not quite quick enough to be a pulling guard. But his speed is less a factor at center, and he's about average to above average for strength there.

One way or another, we need to make a change. [inappropriate/removed], put Mike Otto or one of the other backups in and see how they do. But if we don't change what we're doing, we're going to be average at best (and even that's a big stretch).

#2- CJ is playing badly. Yes, he has bad line play. But he's also pussyfooting around in the backfield, not taking his cuts and holes, and always trying for the deep run. He doesn't seem to understand that this is a different offense. When he had 2K, Collins was a west-coast style QB. We relied on high percentage, short and medium passes (with an occasional long one to keep the Defenses honest) to move slowly up the field. CJ was our big play guy, not any WRs. He could afford to try over and over for that big run, because we could rack up the high percentage, short yardage passes. (and our Oline was much better).

He's definitely pissed about the line play- but a pure grinder could average 3.5 with what we've got- not good by any means, but at least enough that we're not constantly in 2nd or 3rd and long. He needs to shut up, hit the first hole he sees as hard as he can, and accept he's not going to see much 40+ yards runs. If he just took that role, we would already be a lot better off (offense on the field longer, defense has to play honest against the pass, opening up more room for him).

Solutions- Decrease his playing time. Reynaud is a fantastic pass catcher, and he runs much harder (read- forward) than CJ. He is a Lesean McCoy type- maybe he won't get much 40+ yarders, but he's more than capable of running in between the tackles, and being shifty on the outside and breaking 10-20 yard runs.

Or, we can go with Ringer, who is a pure straight ahead runner. He's a north south guy will little hesitation. He hits the hole hard, and even if he doesn't see the best hole, at least he'll get 3 yards a carry and lessen the strain on Locker. If a linebacker happens to be out of position, Ringer is fully capable of just blowing through and getting tackled by the safety 10 yards downfield.

It all just boils down to this- CJ is overthinking and trying way too hard to get the big play. WE DONT NEED THAT. Our pass offense is a vertical, spread, big play offense now. What we need from the running game is just enough that shorter crossing routes and their like can get us a first down. CJ just hasn't adapted his running style to the type of game we play now. And he definitely hasn't adapted to the worsening Oline. A lot of what's wrong in the run game is on them, yes. But a lot is on CJ too.

A good Oline+ CJ= big plays and at least decent yardage.

Our Oline+ a runner who isn't looking for the big play= 3-3.5 yards a carry and at least a decent run game.

Our OLine + CJ always looking for the big play= 2 yards a carry.

If we aren't going to change the line, then pull CJ. He just refuses to run in a way that complements our offense and the oline we have. We have to change one or the other to have some success running the ball.

#3. I fully believe Palmer is a good teacher- Locker is not our problem, at all. He has made bad plays, but not that many. He isn't constantly throwing into double coverage, he doesn't have happy feet, and his two interceptions weren't really that bad (one of them was essentially a punt on third and long, and the other was him throwing off his back foot because of Velasco (if he had been blocked correctly, that pass should have been complete or on the ground).

But Palmer is calling an awful game plan. Too many runs are just straight telegraphed- if we're in shotgun half the time, and suddenly we're in a two TE set, what is the defense going to think? They think run, and we get crushed. And Palmer doesn't even use that- he doesn't throw enough out of our run sets to sell the possibility of a pass.

And he doesn't run enough out of our pass sets to keep the D honest. CJ's two best runs this season have come on shotgun handoffs.

His creativity is lacking too, and so is adjustments. We started off hot against SD, and then totally failed to adjust to their adjustments. By the 4th quarter of every game, we're totally predictable. Maybe that's him not pulling out things from deep in our playbook because Locker only became the starter in the 3rd preseason game, but still.

The runs we're calling suck. We're still doing the "multiple holes, zone type run offense". That works great when you have a decisive runningback who will hit them. But CJ is not that. Design the runs to create one hole, and a cutback. That's it. One hole, and a cutback. CJ has two options- take the damn whole, or cut it back. CJ cannot handle having three or 4 options to choose from.

I had a problem in the preseason and early this season with our pass plays too- we're going 3 or 4 WR, but we don't use space efficiently. Too often WRs are like 5 yards away from each other at the end of their route. The point of a spread offense is to SPREAD the defense. When you have two guys downfield, and two guys 5 yards apart on one side of the field, you haven't spread [inappropriate/removed].

Here's a simple template for how our offense should look- Nate running comebacks/mid crossing routes and trying to find space in the zones (make em option routes to keep the defense guessing). Wright running deep routes, quick inside hits & slants, and WR screens (use his speed and YAC potential). Britt running deep seams and corner routes, or quick slants/fades to take advantage of his size (he's an athletic, but unpolished demon. Use his physicality and size/speed matchups). Williams running short routes in between the hashes (he's quick, accelerates fast, but has bad hands whenever he goes beyond ten yards). Put Cook on seams, corners, 5-10 yard out and crossing routes, and floats in the middle ala Rosario's 1st and 3rd TD (he's too fast for linebackers to keep up with when he crosses the middle of the field, and he's too big for Safeties deep).

But we just seem to run the patterns and playcalls with no regard to the different strengths of our players. ALL OF THEM ARE UNIQUE. This is not a mix and match receiving corp. Britt does not know the playbook really well, and he's coming off of surgery, so his routes aren't crisp. Put him deep, and put him on slants to take advantage of his physicality. He can shield the ball, and jump for it better than 90% of the WRs around. Wright is a very polished route runner, and very shifty when he gets the ball. Put him on precision routes or hit him quick and let him move. Nate is a wily vet- have him play the dead spots in zones in the mid field, and give him the option routes to fake out corners. Williams is a worse Wright, but he has great acceleration. Hitting him on 5 yard deep crossing routes, high angle slants, and the like maximizes his ability.

#4. Too many drops. Nate and Williams have always been a little dropsy. But part of this comes from playing them in a way that doesn't suit their style. Nate isn't built to contest balls. He needs to find that seperation, either by faking the corner out or playing against zone, to shine. Williams is kind of a wimp- he can't take those hits. So put him short, let him try to build a little distance, or use him on slants where he's going to get dragged down immediately. He also has big concentration issues on longer routes, or on ones where he's trying to read zones and find spots. SO DONT PUT HIM IN THOSE POSITIONS.

Locker also throws too hard, but hell, what are you going to do? He's a gun slinger, playing from behind, and he's trying hard. So he often throws too hard. If he's more comfortable, and we aren't down by 17 at the half, he might be a bit better.

#5. Where are the shots downfield? I didn't see any attempts to throw deep to Britt last game, and Cookie is never running seam routes. Washington is not being allowed to run those 15 yard comebacks, or mid-crossing routes in the hashes against the zone.

Here's Lockers best throws- deep seam and outside hash throws, then quick slants, then mid crossing routes, then everything else. Right now we're doing a lot of everything else, and very little of the first 3. He gauges distance a lot better deep- his powerful arm let's him hit fast slants well and in tiny spaces. He's good at gauging distance and position when the routes are horizontal, or vertical, but diagonal movement seems to screw with him a bit (his accuracy is worst then).

So, again, RUN THOSE ROUTES. Vertical and horizontal, vertical and horizontal. NOT NOT NOT diagonal. But I don't see this!

So here's my overall prescription- have dedicated route trees for each receiver, and stick with that. Will it make us more predictable? Yeah, but also a lot more efficient. Lessen the amount of diagonal mid range, and 5 yard outside the hashes stuff- that's Locker's worst accuracy level.

Put in Lutui- either by moving Harris to Center, which he's physically better suited for, or just out. Maybe give Velasco a few weeks, maybe try Matthews. But don't keep telling the world to wait and see. We know Harris is a below average guard. Try him at center, or get him out. We think Velasco is a below average center, based on his play this season. Try someone else, or at least change the pieces around him.

Pull CJ, or revamp the running game. NO MORE ZONE READS, NO MORE MULTIPLE READS. CJ's mindset just cannot handle that. Either make plays designed with one hole/area and a cutback, or put in Ringer/Reynaud. But CJ and our OLine just do not work together now.

But most of all, just [inappropriate/removed] do something. This offense has so much talent at WR and TE. But our run game is absolute [inappropriate/removed], and it's forcing us to play in a way that sucks. It's putting too much pressure on a QB going into his 3rd game as a starter, and it's forcing us to use our receivers in a bad way.

So- discuss, debate. Let's hear other ideas. Tell me if you see any weaknesses I missed. Let's do this.
And no, fire Palmer does not work- we're stuck with him for at least this season.
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MdTitansFan56


Joined: 31 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is Bell we can put in at Center? Are you talking about signing Jacob Bell or do we have a guy named Bell? I believe he retired also
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s_camp


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I generally agree with you, but I'm not sure there are many personnel options on the offensive line. We've already tried putting a backup in to mix things up, and Velasco looks horrible. Lutui might be an option but there was a reason he was floating around out there. Benching CJ is more easily done and causes less disruption.

I too have been perplexed for quite a while about our WRs being so close together on the field.

Munch said today that Britt's limitations have been lifted. IMO Britt wasn't really ready to do much last Sunday but the coaches really wanted him on the field so SD had to at least think about him. I think we'll see more and more shots downfield to Britt moving forward.
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ThatTitansFan


Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 175
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="MdTitansFan56"]Who is Bell we can put in at Center? Are you talking about signing Jacob Bell or do we have a guy named Bell? I believe he retired also[/quote]

I mean Harris. I keep getting them confused in my head
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ThatTitansFan


Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 175
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="s_camp"] I generally agree with you, but I'm not sure there are many personnel options on the offensive line. We've already tried putting a backup in to mix things up, and Velasco looks horrible. Lutui might be an option but there was a reason he was floating around out there. Benching CJ is more easily done and causes less disruption.

I too have been perplexed for quite a while about our WRs being so close together on the field.

Munch said today that Britt's limitations have been lifted. IMO Britt wasn't really ready to do much last Sunday but the coaches really wanted him on the field so SD had to at least think about him. I think we'll see more and more shots downfield to Britt moving forward. [/quote]

Lutui was a decent guard for Arizona, and he was playing well in Seattle but they decided to go young & talented with Sweezy.

My point is that when we moved Bell to guard and put Stew in at RT, we didn't know much about either. Bell was a second year player who got injured the prior year. Stewart was inactive his entire first year, and didn't even start until that change.

Try something new, because right now they suck. Maybe Lutui has improved a lot now that he's down from 370 to 330. Maybe Otto can play guard, maybe Stingly can. Maybe Kevin Matthews will turn out to be good. But until we put them on the field, we just don't know. We didn't know about Stewart (clearly, since he wasn't even active his first year, and wasn't named a starter till week 3 that year) and he turned out to be great.

Doing the same thing is not working. If we put someone different in and they suck, at least we know they suck for sure. And honestly, they can't be much worse than what we're getting out of Harris and Velasco right now.

And if they all suck, we know we need to go for broke drafting Olineman next year. 1st rounder, 2nd rounder, 3rd rounder. Right now the Oline is killing this offense, which is killing the defense.
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s_camp


Joined: 10 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThatTitansFan wrote:
s_camp wrote:
I generally agree with you, but I'm not sure there are many personnel options on the offensive line. We've already tried putting a backup in to mix things up, and Velasco looks horrible. Lutui might be an option but there was a reason he was floating around out there. Benching CJ is more easily done and causes less disruption.

I too have been perplexed for quite a while about our WRs being so close together on the field.

Munch said today that Britt's limitations have been lifted. IMO Britt wasn't really ready to do much last Sunday but the coaches really wanted him on the field so SD had to at least think about him. I think we'll see more and more shots downfield to Britt moving forward.


Lutui was a decent guard for Arizona, and he was playing well in Seattle but they decided to go young & talented with Sweezy.

My point is that when we moved Bell to guard and put Stew in at RT, we didn't know much about either. Bell was a second year player who got injured the prior year. Stewart was inactive his entire first year, and didn't even start until that change.

Try something new, because right now they suck. Maybe Lutui has improved a lot now that he's down from 370 to 330. Maybe Otto can play guard, maybe Stingly can. Maybe Kevin Matthews will turn out to be good. But until we put them on the field, we just don't know. We didn't know about Stewart (clearly, since he wasn't even active his first year, and wasn't named a starter till week 3 that year) and he turned out to be great.

Doing the same thing is not working. If we put someone different in and they suck, at least we know they suck for sure. And honestly, they can't be much worse than what we're getting out of Harris and Velasco right now.

And if they all suck, we know we need to go for broke drafting Olineman next year. 1st rounder, 2nd rounder, 3rd rounder. Right now the Oline is killing this offense, which is killing the defense.


Sure, they could be great or they could suck. But it's a lot of variables when you've got 5 positions times however many players. Just bench CJ, find a RB who's willing to move forward, and call it a day. There will be enough running game to keep the chains moving, you can probably find a guy who pass blocks a bit better as well, and you minimize change and confusion during the season.
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TrojanMan217


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Offensive Problems & Solutions- Discussion Thread Reply with quote

Wow I like your post, you bring good discussions to the form. LOL alot of cussing though. I agree with you about #1 but #2 I am a little shaky about. I agree CJ needs to be more decisive but I think he is dancing far less this year than last year and to me he looks more determined. Also the fact that the coaches haven't gave more carries to Harper, Ringer, or Reynaud tells me that they do not feel our other RB's can do any better. I think CJ must be doing better in practice than in games or the other RB's are equally failing. I does look like CJ is thinking too much though. He looks like he wants to dance but hears the criticism he gets and tries to hit a whole that sometimes is not there. He needs to play more natural (hard to do with our O line).

ThatTitansFan wrote:
Our OLine + CJ always looking for the big play= 2 yards a carry.


CJ is actually averaging 1.1 yard per carry with Reynaud averaging only 1. I would like them to split the carries more to get a better sample size though.

I am not extremely knowledgeable about the RB position but to me I think the best a RB can do behind this line is 2/carry. I see way to many defensive players in the back field as soon as the ball is snapped. If I ran the team picks 1 and 2 will be for the O line.

agree with you about #3, #4, and #5
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