Archive for the ‘Game Tape’ Category
Murray has moments where he looks pretty good. At least good enough to see beyond his smaller than ideal size (around 6-0 and 210lbs) and the fact he’s not the kind of athletically superior quarterback the NFL is crazy about right now. Then there are other times where he struggles to find any kind of rhythm and you can’t help but question whether he has what it takes to ever become a realistic starter at the next level. Georgia has a nice defense, but they’re relying on this guy to be a difference maker on offense. He was patchy against Boise State, Mississippi State, Florida and Kentucky last season – but he looked good against Georgia Tech and Auburn.
The bowl game against Michigan State highlights both the good and bad of Murray’s play. But without ideal physical tools and because he is so inconsistent, I’m not including him in our top 40 watch list.
I like Ellington, even if he didn’t make it onto the top 40 watchlist. He does have an X-Factor to his game and while he’ll probably never be a work-horse at the next level, he could have an impact as a complimentary runner. Clemson should have another productive season in 2012 so he’s one to monitor.
Ranked at #18 in the top 40 watch list, Barkevious Mingo is probably not going to play for the Seahawks if he ends up being a first round pick. Having just drafted ‘ideal LEO’ Bruce Irvin, it’s unlikely Seattle would draft another pass rusher that early next year. Even so, he’s on the list so it’s worth reviewing the tape. LSU are carrying a lot of defensive talent next year and will remain a SEC powerhouse in 2012.
Both Mingo and Sam Montgomery are limited in terms of how they create pressure and the big question that needs to be answered is whether they’re simply effective as a duo against college lineman, or whether they can excel once separated at the next level. I don’t think either would’ve gone before Bruce Irvin this year.
Later I’ll be publishing a 2013 prospect watch-list. FSU’s Bjoern Werner will be on the board, so check out his tape below (courtesy of Aaron Aloysius). There’s also a new tab on the menu bar titled ‘GAME TAPE’ where you’ll find all the 2013 prospect tape (listed alphabetically) and also all of the 2012 draft class videos.
Bruce Irvin took 43 snaps against Pittsburgh, a game we reviewed earlier in the week. In the Orange Bowl he didn’t need such a workload as the Mountaineers blew Clemson away in a record breaking 70-33 victory. The nature of the snaps was interesting though.
Against Pittsburgh, 58% of Irvin’s snaps were on first and second down in basic down/distance situations (eg, 1st/2nd down between 0-10 yards). Against Clemson, Irvin didn’t take a first down snap until the second quarter and by half time, he’d only played three first downs. Overall he had 27 snaps, the difference of 16 in part due to the nature of the game (Pittsburgh was a one-point nail-biter). But it’s interesting that this time 81% of his snaps came on second or third down.
First down snaps: 4
Second down snaps: 14
Third down snaps: 8
Fourth down snaps: 1
Irvin had one short-yardage snap on 3rd and 3 in the second quarter, but didn’t take another snap with the distance between 0-5 yards.
0-5 yards: 1
5-10 yards: 20
10-20 yards: 5
20+ yards: 1
It’s no real surprise that he didn’t feature too heavily in a 37-point victory, but the snaps he took do give some insight into how he was used. The Mountaineers were determined to persevere with the 3-3-5, a system which is the very antithesis of a good scheme fit for #11. Maybe it’s not such a surprise they were managing what amounted to a 5-technique who, by his own admission, was playing between 220-230lbs. They made no attempt to max out the most prolific pass rusher on their roster by switching schemes. Thus, we see 27-snap games.
So how much of an impact he have in those 27 snaps? The tape above offers an insight into what Irvin will probably be as a pro. He’ll make two or three big plays in a game, he’ll provide consistent threat with edge speed and a good counter – but he’ll also be blocked out of series too. Irvin may never be an every down work horse, although the LEO by design offers potential to be a starter. Even f he does feature in just 50% of the snaps, he’s good enough to make enough key plays per game to warrant the #15 pick.
Against Clemson he made back-to-back splash plays at the end of the first half and start of the second. Go to 2:03 in the video above and you’ll see Irvin run out of the play originally as Tahj Boyd attempts to scramble up the middle of the field. Irvin loops back around the line of scrimmage and spots the quarterback, before making up 20-yards to strip the ball and force a fumble. It wasn’t just great hustle to rush back and make the play, it was also pretty instinctive to get the turnover. It’s also worth noting he made that effort with a minute to go in the half and with his team leading 42-20. He wasn’t in the locker room. He could’ve been – and who would’ve blamed him – but he wanted more points.
The next big play is a sack, where Irvin leads the tackle to the edge before quickly cutting inside and taking down the quarterback. It’s a move he’s pretty much mastered and he’s very fluid when changing direction during a sprint. A tackle is always going to need to cover the inside counter. Yet by protecting inside, he’ll be susceptible to the speed around the edge. Irvin might not have superb upper body strength (although it’s underrated for his size) but having a counter move like this will cause pro-lineman problems, not just college left tackles.
He likes this move. Check 1:00 where he tries it again and probably should’ve drawn a holding call for the tackle basically grabbing him round the neck to avoid the sack.
There are also examples in the tape where the counter doesn’t work. See 0:13 where Irvin just lacks a little bit of extra juice in the cut and the tackle reads it. I keep reading that when a lineman gets his hands on Irvin it’s over, but I think we see in this play that he can fight, he’ll prod and jab. He almost tips the pass in the end because he has another fight to drive the tackle backwards. Don’t write off this guy’s ability to brawl.
Irvin shows decent instinct at 0:46 to read the play, work through traffic and do enough to put off Boyd and force him to throw the ball away. He’s stoned on four consecutive plays from 1:31-2:01, with the #63 dominating him with a good punch to the body and following through the block. This is really what Seahawks fans should expect at the next level – a lot of key defensive plays, but also a series or two where Irvin is just blocked out pretty comfortably.
Back to this 3-3-5 scheme, because he’s again playing in a three-man front. It’s going to be much harder to block the guy when he’s rushing opposite Chris Clemons with some beef in the middle, or even in an aggressive five-man front. He may be unblockable in those situations. It stands to reason that the Seahawks will utilise Irvin’s foot speed in the same way that San Francisco did last year with their first round pick. The 49ers would regularly send Justin Smith to the edge and have Aldon Smith loop around and attack through the middle, with all the attention going to Justin. The Seahawks will try and get Irvin into positions where he’s not accounted for and if he finds a gap, it’s over. They could even have Clemons and Irvin rush the same side. It’s impossible to see how WVU were getting anything like the best out of him in this 3-3-5 scheme… and he still made 20+ sacks in two years.
I’m still a little annoyed for second guessing myself and not spending the necessary time to understand the role he was being asked to play in West Virginia. The position never suited him and I didn’t pay enough attention to that when watching WVU games last season. Now that I have a reason to sit down and pick through this, I get it. And I also get why the Seahawks spent the #15 pick on Irvin, and why one GM called him the hottest prospect in the draft in the week leading up to April 26th. The raw speed, the surprising upper body strength, the ability to counter. “Bruce Irvin is ready to crash the 2012 NFL Draft” I wrote a year ago. Why did I ignore that?
There will be frustrating plays, but there’s also going to be an impact. People will watch this game and second guess themselves just like I did. The guy had a key sack and a forced fumble. He could’ve had another sack but for a blatant hold. If he’s recording that most weeks in Seattle, nobody will be giving the pick a D grade in twelve months time.
Irvin is going to be a headache to scheme against next season, particularly if there’s interior pressure from Mebane/Branch/Jones and continued effectiveness from Chris Clemons. It’s also going to be pretty difficult to send the tight end on a route when Irvin’s in the game and not playing with his hand in the dirt. He’s just not going to be truly effective on every series – but who really is? Rest assured that every offensive coordinator the team faces next year is going to be working overtime to find a way to block this guy. Specialist or not, he’ll have an impact.
PFT broke the news today that Bruce Irvin had agreed terms with the Seahawks, becoming the first 2012 round-one pick to sign a contract. The deal is worth $9.34m fully guaranteed over four years, with over $5m in bonuses. The news is less of a huge relief as it was in the past, with the rookie pay scale all but ending the long hold-outs witnessed pre-2011. Eight rookies in total agreed terms today, including second round pick Bobby Wagner and third round quarterback Russell Wilson.
One of the things we’ve looked at so far is how West Virginia used Irvin, schematically and in down/distance. By now everyone’s aware of the 3-3-5 formation the Mountaineers used and Irvin’s admittance that he didn’t exactly fit within that system. Irvin: “We ran a 3-3-5 stack defense, I was 235 pounds and you got me in a three technique? I can’t help you. You got me going against two 300-pounders and I’m only 235? I don’t know anybody who could play the run against two 300-pound guys at 235 pounds.” The thing I always come back to is this – everybody knows it was a bad fit for Bruce. He admits it, the Seahawks won’t use him in a three-man front and most people who watch WVU tape can see it wasn’t a great fit. Yet he still had over 20 sacks in two years. So what will he do in a position or scheme which suits him down to the ground?
While he was as exclamation point to the pass rush and not used as an every down player at WVU, it’s time the critics realised this is just the way the game is going. If Irvin has ten or more sacks next year as a rookie specialist, few people will be disecting the decision to make him the first pass rusher off the board. Greg Cosell today called the mocking of Seattle’s choice as, “so absurd it’s laughable” before breaking down why:
“It could easily be argued based on tape study that Irvin was the most explosive edge pass rusher in the draft. Think about that for a minute. The most important defensive priority in today’s NFL is rushing the quarterback. You can go all the way back to Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh in the 1980s; Walsh, always a step ahead, said that fourth quarter pass rush was the key to winning. His theory has evolved to the point where it encompasses all four quarters. Thus, the Seahawks selected a player with explosive attributes at a premium position.
“What about the argument that he’s not a “three-down player”? That’s another use of “conventional wisdom” that does not withstand further scrutiny. Irvin will likely be on the field close to 60 percent of the plays in an increasingly pass-first league. In the NFL, if you cannot defend the pass, you will not win. Last year, the San Francisco 49ers selected Aldon Smith with the seventh pick in the first round. I watched every 49ers defensive play in 2011. Smith did not play more than 20 snaps in the base 3-4 defense. He was exclusively a sub-package player, playing only in nickel and dime personnel. He had 14 sacks in the regular season, and two more in the playoffs. Was he a poor draft choice because he was not a three-down player? Please, let’s think before we react.”
Aldon Smith too approximately 46% less snaps than Von Miller last year, but still had more sacks. Against Louisville Irvin took 30 total snaps, which is 13 less than he took against Pittsburgh and three more than against Clemson. Yet the great thing about the Louisville game is it kind of sums up Cosell’s argument quite emphatically. Irvin’s first snap in the game doesn’t come until the score is already 14-7 to Louisville with 1:21 remaining in the first quarter. Irvin’s first snap is a sack for an 11-yard loss. He stays on the field for 3rd and 19, and gets another sack. Two plays in one entire quarter, two sacks.
The Seahawks have enough defensive lineman who can stop the run. They need a pass rush to get teams off the field. If Irvin can team up with Chris Clemons as a rookie it doesn’t matter if he only plays two snaps in a quarter as long as he can have an impact.
First down snaps: 11
Second down snaps: 11
Third down snaps: 8
Fourth down snaps: 0
This is the first tape I’ve studied where Irvin is on the field for 1st and 10 more than any other down/distance. The two sacks are classic Irvin, beating the tackle to the edge and getting to the quarterback. The second sack is the kind of play that will really appeal to the Seahawks – flashing the explosive get-off, the ability to find the edge before the tackle can adjust and then showing impressive lean to turn at a seemingly impossible angle to make the play. Balance, speed, execution – something the Seahawks lacked last year aside even with Clemons playing the majority of downs.
When Irvin talks about playing the three, look at 1:32 in the video when he lined up as an interior pass rusher. There’s essentially a center, guard and tight end teaming up to block him. It’s almost unexplainable that he’d be put into that position, but WVU did use a lot of creative blitzes and looks and actually made a sack on this play via the left edge rusher with the extra attention Irvin received to the right-center.
Irvin has two staple moves – the speed rush to the edge and the inside counter. He’ll drive and plant his foot into the ground to give the impression he’ll go outside, before sidestepping inside to attack the center. I don’t buy-in to the theory that he’s too weak to engage a tackle, because there are examples of a capable bull rush or successful brawl. In this video though, the left tackle had his number when he got into his pads. This will be the greatest test Irvin has to deal with if he’s to become a permanent LEO pass rusher. Tackles in the NFL will be quicker and trying to counter will be more difficult. Can he cut back with a punch to the chest to jolt the tackle? Because if the tackle always covers the inside but can kick out well enough, he could be dominated at times. Can he adopt a spin move so that when he fakes the edge rush he can avoid contact and break into the middle in a more fluid manner without sidestepping/dancing? Developing a spin move could be a major positive for Bruce.
I like the play at 3:25 where he dips inside and spots a hole to break on the quarterback. Seattle could find some fortune having Irvin dip into the interior from Clemons’ side similar to the way San Francisco uses the two Smith’s. Justin holds the edge, Aldon loops back around and attacks from the interior. Seattle could use the extra attention given to Clemons in order to similarly enhance Irvin’s ability to have an impact. I also like the way Irvin reads the play, it’s an underrated quality he has. Seattle struggled against mobile quarterbacks on the bootleg or PA and getting out of the pocket. Irvin should help here because he reads the game very well in space, takes good angles and will limit the area in which a quarterback is prepared to move into.
Anyone who says Irvin can’t hold up against the run needs to watch the play at 3:49. He blows through the guard and knife’s through from the left end position and destroys the play for a loss. Irvin’s strength for his size is deceptive and while he won’t play with the same level of ferocity on every down, it’s worth noting that he plays stronger than most 235-245lbs lineman.
This tape comes from 2010, Irvin’s first year at West Virginia where he was predominantly used as an impact pass rusher on third downs. It shows in the snap count – Irvin featured in just 15 defensive snaps, ten of which were on third down. He took just three snaps on first and second down. Yet despite this limited work-load, he had three sacks and three quarterback hits.
First down snaps: 2
Second down snaps: 1
Third down snaps: 10
Fourth down snaps: 2
In 2011 Irvin took 43 snaps against Pittsburgh, 30 against Louisville and 27 against Clemson. He more or less doubled his game-time in comparison to 2011. Almost certainly due to the scheme, Irvin was more comfortable as an impact player at West Virginia. He had 14 sacks in 2010 with 15-snap games. After taking on a larger role at the start of 2011, he managed just one sack in his first five outings. When WVU scaled back his snaps in the second half of the season, he recorded 7.5 sacks in his last five games for the Mountaineers. There’s some consistency between work-load and snap count.
We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about the 3-3-5 and how it didn’t suit Bruce. Pete Carroll has described him as the ‘ideal’ LEO pass rusher, and it’ll be intriguing to see how he adapts into that role as a full-time starter in the future. With Chris Clemons likely to remain the every-down LEO for at least 2012, once again we’ll get a chance to compare Irvin as an impact player and a starter. Even if he never truly translates to a full-time starter, if he can make three sacks in 15 snaps as a pro, nobody will be calling him a bust.
Among the 15 snaps tallied above, Irvin faced a double team six times from two offensive lineman. On one futher snap he had to deal with the running back blocking down to support the right tackle. He got his sacks on 1st and 10, 3rd and 7 and 3rd and 18. If the Seahawks sneak Irvin into the game on third downs, it’s going to be very difficult not to keep the tight end blocking, forcing teams to either take a receiver off the field or stay in max-protect. It won’t always be in the stat-column where #51 had an impact.
The first sack is at 1:58 on the video. Irvin lines up on the right side of the now infamous 3-3-5, with the two other defensive lineman positioned to the extreme left. First of all the blocking is abysmal on this play – despite the fact the left tackle and guard only have to monitor Irvin (there isn’t even a blitzing linebacker) it’s a complete mystery how he’s managed to penetrate inside. He engages the tackle, disengages with too much ease (did the tackle expect inside support from the guard?) and hammers the quarterback to end the first half. Fair play to Irvin for capitalizing on an opportunity, but this was a gift.
Irvin gets his second sack at 3:40, this time lining up on the left side again in a three-man front. He just flat out beats the right tackle for speed off the edge, leans around the corner and gets to the quarterback. This is the type of explosive edge speed the Seahawks are looking for and against sluggish right tackles and tight ends, Irvin should have a field day even in the NFL.
The final sack comes at 4:30. Again, I have no idea what the left tackle and guard are doing here. The tackle is left on an island with Irvin, who just dips inside and sprints past him like he’s not there. Where’s the guard? The most impressive part of this play is the leap at full stretch to get a fingertip to the quarterback’s shoe-laces to take him down. Great execution, again making the most of bad line play to make a maximum impact.
Even when Irvin was blocked out of a play, the tendency to be double teamed created opportunities for others. Teams aren’t going to be able to zone-in on Clemons off the edge with Irvin in the team, and it works the other way too. If the Seahawks can get any kind of impact from Jason Jones as an interior rusher, the defense (and team in general) will receive a substantial upgrade. Irvin will have an impact next year playing around 50-60% of snaps. The acid test will be how he copes as the eventual LEO starter, but it’s a role that suits him a lot better than the 3-3-5.