NFL Week 8 what to look at for: Bengals lower out intermediary, Grover Stewart dominates for Colts



Of us, we’re nearly on the midway level of the NFL season. I do know, loopy proper?

I’ve been rocking with Set up the Enjoyable for about seven weeks at this level, so I needed to say a fast thanks to everybody who’s learn and adopted. That is my first weekly column, like EVER, and with the ability to share a couple of of the ideas I’ve on the NFL as an entire with everybody is admittedly cool. I’m actually fortunate to have this chance, and hopefully everybody will proceed to observe alongside (if not, that’s additionally nice, I perceive).

We’re getting spooky this week for Set up the Enjoyable, with a couple of groups and gamers getting actual scary earlier than the pivotal a part of the season kicks in. Groups are beginning to discover the proper groove of ideas and performs that put their gamers in one of the best state of affairs to succeed, and it’ll be attention-grabbing to see how these group traits develop because the season continues on.

Let’s begin with an offense that could be hitting their stride on the excellent time within the Queen Metropolis.

Bengals lower out the intermediary and cargo the gun

For many of final yr and thru about 5 weeks of this yr, the Bengals offense was fairly predictable.

In the event that they have been below heart, it was a run.

In the event that they have been within the shotgun, it was a cross.

It made their offense stale, and the numbers displayed this within the early a part of the season. Towards the run, groups may key in on the run as a result of they might give off an apparent inform: QB Joe Burrow was below heart. Then, in shotgun, they weren’t capable of generate the identical explosive performs as final yr as a result of they have been seeing a variety of two-high coverages from defenses that anticipated a cross. Via the primary 5 video games of the season, solely the Commanders noticed extra two excessive shells in shotgun dropbacks. This diminished their passing recreation to dinking and dunking, and groups may sit on all of the routes as a result of they knew a cross was coming.

Nicely, then the Bengals did this:

The Bengals determined to chop out the Jekyll and Hyde of their offense and go full shotgun. That is extraordinarily notable, contemplating head coach Zac Taylor is a McVay acolyte. They need to run exterior zone from below heart with jet movement. For Taylor to do the self scouting and notice that each the offensive line and the circulate of the offense works higher going full shotgun is extraordinarily sensible, and the Bengals offense has exploded due to it.

Since Week 5, they’ve barely gone below heart, and but the offense has grow to be extra explosive. They’ve managed to get their offense out of impartial and hitting max pace, whereas taking out the predictability of the offense.

Bengals load shotgun with malicious intent

Time Interval Shotgun Runs(EPA/att) Beneath Middle Runs (EPA/att) Shotgun Passes (EPA/att) Beneath Middle Passes (EPA/att) RPOS(EPA/att)
Time Interval Shotgun Runs(EPA/att) Beneath Middle Runs (EPA/att) Shotgun Passes (EPA/att) Beneath Middle Passes (EPA/att) RPOS(EPA/att)
2021 127(0.05) 309(-0.13) 539(0.08) 92(-0.009) 9(0.54)
2022 Weeks 1-5 58(0.02) 80(-0.26) 193(-0.09) 27(0.02) 6(-0.06)
2022 Weeks 5-7 22(0.18) 13(-0.09) 85(0.45) 2(0.04) 6(0.17)

Their explosive first half in opposition to the Falcons was an ideal show of how the Bengals have turned up the shotgun utilization and brought the predictability out of their offense. Towards Atlanta, their shotgun runs had an Anticipated Factors Added of 0.06 per try, sixth highest within the NFL amongst groups that ran ten occasions or extra out of the gun (by way of Sports activities Information Options). They’re getting favorable numbers within the field depend as a result of groups are so fearful in regards to the passing recreation that their gun run has grow to be so significantly better.

This run may not appear to be a lot, however have a look at how vertical the best facet of the offensive line will get within the run recreation. With the ability to create holes and creases within the run recreation is extraordinarily useful when the packing containers are lighter.

By operating so successfully, this holds the intermediate ranges of the protection, and now the Bengals offense can get again to what they have been doing in 2021: throwing BOMBS. It is a basic Bengals idea known as 989. The 2 exterior receivers run “9” routes, or go routes, and the within receiver runs an “8” or a put up. This places the protection in a bind, particularly whenever you run Cowl 2 just like the Falcons do right here. As a result of the protection to the 2 receiver facet is confronted with two vertical routes coming proper at him, he falls and Tyler Boyd walks proper into the endzone. That is the Bengals offense we keep in mind.

In fact, when the Bengals offense is working like this they’ll hit groups over the pinnacle with a relentless weight loss program of Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase, which is what occurred on this stunning landing. When the Bengals are in shotgun, it permits Burrow to see the sector extra and primarily grow to be the purpose guard for the offense, very like what he was doing at LSU. This throw is gorgeous, man. Take a look at the timing and the ball placement to beat the protection excessive and provides Chase sufficient space to get his toes in.

That is what the Bengals offense must be, as a result of they’ve a QB who could make you proper within the shotgun passing recreation and a trio of receivers who can all function collectively. The Bengals could be enjoyable once more, and their transfer again to the shotgun-exclusive offense is why. We’ll see in opposition to the Browns on Monday.


Nicely … gonna go cry.


The Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets engaged in a mini blockbuster commerce when the Jaguars traded James Robinson to the New York Jets for a conditional sixth spherical decide. Whereas this helps the Jets in wake of the Breece Corridor harm, it alerts the Travis Etienne period because the lead again within the Jaguars’ backfield.

Since Week 4, a majority of the snaps within the Jaguars backfield has gone to Etienne. Week 7 was no completely different, as Etienne collected 80 p.c of the operating again snaps within the Jaguars’ loss to the Giants. Since Week 4, Etienne has been sixth in your complete NFL in damaged sort out + missed sort out fee (minimal 30 carries), per SIS, and 118 of his 303 yards have come after contact.

The principle calling card for Etienne proper now could be burst and acceleration. When he sees a crease, he can flip a two yard acquire into 25 yards, or could make acquire an enormous one. The Jaguars run a crack toss out of shotgun right here, and paired with an important block by Zay Jones, the play goes for 40 yards. Watch how Etienne’s pace forces the DB to hesitate and take a foul angle, which is one thing you completely can’t do in opposition to Etienne.

Towards the Colts, Etienne ripped off a few huge runs that confirmed off his dynamic pace and acceleration. The Jaguars run trap-wham (guard pulls, TE takes on DT within the gap) and Etienne takes the crease and turns it into an enormous play. Nice throughout work by the Jaguars, and whew when Etienne hits the gasoline pedal it’s a gorgeous sight to see.

The place Etienne can enhance, nevertheless, is his imaginative and prescient. For each 30 or 40 yard run, there’s a one yard acquire or a loss on the play. Throughout the identical time interval (weeks 4-7), Etienne has had 23.8 p.c of his runs stuffed, which means they get stopped for no acquire or a lack of yards, fifth in your complete league throughout that point interval.

The place he will get in hassle is bouncing performs to the sting too rapidly and never letting holes develop, and it popped up throughout the Jaguars loss to the Giants on Sunday. Nevertheless, he did present good imaginative and prescient on his TD run, establishing the protection then bouncing into the open gap, slowing the protection down sufficient to get into the tip zone.

If Etienne can clear up the imaginative and prescient and work on cross safety, he ought to show himself to be an each down again, and a darn good one as nicely.

The Jaguars play the Denver Broncos in London on Sunday, and the Broncos protection has been the most effective models within the league, regardless of their report (seems to be at Russell Wilson). With the intention to get explosives (which is one thing the Jaguars have struggled with), Etienne should play an enormous position.

Tremendous Grover with a G

So I’m unsure what number of have seen, however Colts DT Grover Stewart has been BALLING this season. He’s second amongst defensive tackles in whole tackles and has 4 tackles for loss this season, fifteenth within the NFL.

On Sunday, Stewart had 12 TACKLES. Sure, 12. At defensive sort out. It’s probably the most within the NFL this season as a defensive lineman and one other notch in what has been a breakout yr for Stewart. These aren’t simply gimme tackles both, tackles made seven yards previous the road of scrimmage. He’s straight up beating dudes on the level of assault.

The Colts are in an Over entrance on this play in opposition to the Titans. Which means the protection units their three-technique (defensive sort out lined up on the skin shoulder of the guard) to the facet that the tight finish is on. Stewart is on the opposite facet, which means he’s in a shade approach, in between the middle and guard. The Titans attempt to run inside zone to Stewart’s facet, and watch how he deconstructs the double group. He takes on the guard first, beats the guard which throws off the middle, then makes the play.

This subsequent play is superior due to Stewart’s first step explosiveness after which the flexibility to redirect. He’s now the 3-technique and slants inside on the snap because the Titans run cut up zone. This throws the guard off his path so the linebacker can circulate to the ball, however Stewart wasn’t carried out there. He stored ripping via the middle, not permitting him to get Stewart’s chest, and makes the sort out. This was sick stuff, and an important play by Stewart.

That rep was so good he did it twice. Stewart has proven up within the run recreation in an enormous means this yr, utilizing first step quickness and hand quickness to beat inside linemen.

The Colts are in a tailspin proper now, and are going through the Commanders on Sunday regardless of beginning Sam Elingher as an alternative of Matt Ryan. The Colts protection should put collectively considered one of their greatest performances of the season, and Stewart should play a serious position.




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