About Needle77

A lifelong football learner. A former Division II College Player/Undergraduate Assistant, FCS Graduate Assistant, an assistant coach of 3 time NJ state champion, and FBS assistant.

A look into Jordan Cameron

I went into the tape for Jordan Cameron not looking for anything in particular. He is a player who has exploded onto the scene after having a huge preseason and carrying that momentum into the season. Cameron’s bulk production is way, way up from last year. He caught 20 passes for 226 yards and 1 TD then. This year, he has already caught 45 balls for 515 yards and 6 TDs.

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Green Bay’s Running Game with Eddie Lacy

A talking point of many analysts right now is how the Packers will rebound with the Randall Cobb injury. A major point that many analysts are keying on is the running game that the Packers may have finally found. They’ve had a 100 yard rusher in 3 of their last 4 games, all 3 games are a different running back accumulating the 100 yards. So I decided to take a look at Eddie Lacy.

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A look at Cam Newton against Arizona

One of the interesting questions of the early part of this season is “What is the problem with Cam Newton?” ┬áCam is in his third season and is undoubtedly struggling. His bulk numbers are not good so far this season:

  • Attempts: 127
  • Completion%: 57.5
  • Interceptions: 5
  • Interception%: 3.9
  • Yards/Attempt: 7.0
  • ANY/A: 4.67
  • Sack%: 10.6

All of those numbers are worse than his past two seasons. The two eye-popping stats are Cam’s ANY/A and sack%. ANY/A is a statistic that includes a QB’s pass yards, sack yards, touchdowns, and interceptions, as well as the number of pass attempts and number of times sacked. It’s a stat meant to measure overall performance by a QB, and it’s a good starting point for looking at how a quarterback is performing. Cam’s ANY/A is subpar and a significant decline from his first two seasons.

Onto the concerns: Continue reading

DeMarcus Ware: Transition from OLB to 4-3 DE

Monte Kiffin was hired by the Cowboys to be their Defensive Coordinator despite some red flags: He was 73 years old, and he’d been unimpressive at his last two stops at the University of Tennessee and University of Southern California. (To be fair, head coach Lane Kiffin was probably a much bigger cause of those teams’ struggles.) The Cowboys had been one of the most recognizable 3-4 teams in the league, with their man-to-man cornerbacks and a Hall of Fame player in DeMarcus Ware at Outside Linebacker. So, understandably, the move to Kiffin’s 4-3 Tampa-2 style of defense was criticized in the offseason as being a waste of personnel talent. Maybe, though, the man who invented the Tampa-2 defense and won a Super Bowl behind it still has some tricks up his sleeve. Continue reading

Why is the Giants run game so important?

The Giants have started the season in probably the worst possible way they had envisioned. First, they suffered a loss in Dallas in which they outplayed the Cowboys in every way, except for giving away touchdowns and not executing in the red zone. Against the Broncos, they were able to hang on early, but turnovers showed up again, their level of play dropped, and the game ended up becoming basically a blowout.

The questions I keep seeing come up are of this nature: The Giants have this tremendous passing game, due to their three WRs and a good pass catching TE, so why are the problems David Wilson is having even important? (The Brandon Jacobs signing actually made Giant fans happy, when just an offseason before, many were happy to see him go.) With the run game troubles the Giants have had early on, some fans are even asking for the Giants to become like the Detroit Lions of 2011-2012 and have Eli drop back 50 times a game. With the way they can pass, why does the running game matter?

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Nnamdi Asomugha: Comeback Year or a Preseason Cut?

Back in early April, the 49ers signed former shutdown corner Nnamdi Asomugha to a 1-year, 1.3 million dollar contract. Nnamdi had a brutal two years trying to fit into the Eagles scheme. He is two years older than when he left Oakland and is very much not the cornerback he was in 2008. At age 32, though, the 49ers are likely not expecting him to be an elite corner who can cut off half the field– instead they are likely looking for a cheap veteran signing who could be a solid starter.

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Defending the Zone Read Option

Needle here. I thought it was only appropriate that for a blog called Zone Reads, I write an analysis of the Zone Read play, and how teams use it and defend against it.

So I’ve finally gotten to spend some time sitting back and enjoying the spectacle that was Robert Griffin III of 2012. After watching the film, I came to a surprising conclusion: Despite all of the greatness that RG3 showed, the biggest surprise I saw was other teams’ inability to adapt to the zone read.

I, for one, believe in the importance of scheme, and have a lot of praise for coaches who can adjust rather quickly and find weaknesses in certain schemes. For example, the Dolphins rocked the Patriots with the pseudo-single wing scheme that is known as the Wildcat. That kind of team performance had yet to be repeated– until last year, when the new breed of QBs brought the zone read to the NFL. Though I put the Wildcat single-wing and the Spread Offense Zone Read into two separate categories, the concept of using scheme to gain a man advantage in the running game is the same. With that said, I want to look at three teams’ attempts to stop this scheme.

Quick note: While I have watched Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson run their offense, I’m focusing solely on Griffin, as I want to keep this analysis consistent and to the point.

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