PS Dynamic Opposition has taken over the NFL — SUPER BOWL 53 – PS Chaos

Posted: February 3, 2019 in All Things Power Spread
USA TODAY

The Final Frontier is at hand. No matter what happens in this game, the course of NFL football, and for that matter, all of Football, is about to change forever. Power Spread is here to stay and growing fast. The NFL was the last bastion, but they are finally adopting it as well. “Times they are a Changin.”
Get ready for the rest of Football History!

PRO PS WELCOME TO THE NFL – Super Bowl 52 – A Changing of the Guard

I wrote this before last year’s Super Bowl, but never could I have imagined how quickly the NFL has adopted PS Concepts. Not only is every team running some version of ProPS, there are leaps “ahead” into PS2020, Gillman+ and FULL PS. Are there any more surprises left?

A Wild Ride

After a wild NFL Regular Season, we had a slow start to the Playoffs. There was a clear distinction between the top 3 Teams and the rest of the league. And then there’s the NE Patriots. An unbelievable 20 year Dynasty.

These 4 Teams gave us, possibly, the Wildest Playoff Day of all time. To talk of 1 Penalty in 1 Game is a disservice to the Football played that day. It wasn’t all high quality. Power Spread is still new to the NFL. But it was exciting and competitive. PS Football is catching on fast!

Is New England still the Best!?

No

I’m not saying they won’t win it all. I’m saying that they are not the clear best team in the game anymore. They are older for one. More importantly, Bill Belichick and his Patriots are no longer the leaders in Aggressive Football. Everyone’s doing it now.

Still, we are sitting here talking about the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Again. Why?

The Power of Chaos

The Pats have a great Experience Expectancy. They have been doing this a long time. They expect to win and are shocked when they do not. This is a huge factor that sways EVERYTHING their way. It’s more powerful than scheme or talent or technique.

There were times during the Regular Season, when the Pats looked old, slow and tired. But now it’s playoff time and their experience crushed the Chargers and “lucked” out a close win vs the Chiefs.

In a year where so much has happened, the Pats remain steady. Maybe no longer the best, but still one of the best and now with a chance to BE the best once again. Can they do it? Lets take a look…

The Game

New England = the Dynasty – the Experience – the Favorite for sure. There’s a lot more going for them than the Rams. Does this mean Victory? Or more PS Chaos?

As I wrote in my first Chaos article, Luck is only that which we don’t yet understand. The lucky bounces and calls for NE is a product of their Thinking. More specifically their Feeling. They expect to win. They expect to get the breaks. They know what they are doing. They’ve done this for a long time now and they FEEL lucky.

But before we get to the Chaos element of the equation. Lets look at that which we already know.

When New England has the Ball

Rams must play an Aggressive Pressure/Coverage Mix

Rams DC Wade Phillips is known for his Aggressive Defenses. Late in the year he added more Variety with a mix of coverages that really helped the Rams D.

Inexplicably, his gameplan against the Cowboys was passive and almost got the Rams in trouble. Thankfully vs the Saints he went back to his Aggressive ways and saved the day. Even though his players were sleep walking through a lot of the game.

The Chiefs Defense actually employed some decent aggressive variety vs the Pats, but didn’t have the talent to stop NE’s Ball Control early. Mahomes playoff inexperience on the Chiefs Offense didn’t help matters. Everything was bad for the Chiefs early.

In the 2nd Half the Chiefs went to more 5 man fronts and tighter man coverage to shut down the Pats O. Unfortunately, they got passive on the last 2 Patriot Drives and lost the game.

The video above shows the Passive Cover 2 played by the Chiefs on the last 2 NE drives. Brady with Edelman and Gronk killed this passive scheme late. Brady scares DCs – especially late in games – but I don’t think Phillips will scare so easy.

Josh McDaniels Breaking Tendency

The bigger problem for Phillips is NE’s OC McDaniels – who has been fantastic in these playoffs.

Everyone is talking about the Patriots newfound Power Ball Control with FB James Develin leading the way for RB Sony Michel and Tom Brady in the short pass game.

The truth? Josh McDaniels great play calling is what’s making it all work.

Just like Doug Pederson last year, McDaniels is breaking tendency with some very creative play calls and schemes. Using shifty runner, James White on 3rd Down Draw Plays, Spread Passing from Power Sets and Power Running from Spread Sets.

He’s also breaking tendency with Tom Brady.

Tom Brady – the best he’s ever been?

Brady came into the NFL from an old Pro Scheme at Michigan. Everything in that pass game was based on Timing – the old Gillman West Coast way. Under Belichick, Brady learned the Pro Spread which is largely based on Match-Ups.

In recent years I feel that McDaniel has tried to get Brady to “think” Space as well as Time+Team. Like the Spread Passing Teams in College. Find the athlete in Space, regardless of who or when. This creates the illusion of extra width and depth.

Now I notice – for the first time – that Brady is quick to check down to his outlets or throw to the open space. He’s not always glued to one type of match up or stuck with a certain progression of reads. This frees his mind up for ALL of it.

In the broadcast, Tony Romo detailed some of the reads and matchups correctly, but Brady’s new thought pattern – seeing open space – is what makes him even more efficient and dangerous as a passer.

Summary

I think the Rams may play their most Aggressive Variety of the season. Phillips makes a habit of showing up big for big games. Expect a lot of M2M looks with a shift to zone before the snap. Plus, man on one side of the field or with key wrs and zone in other spots.

Phillips tends not to blitz as much when he doesn’t trust his DBs. He NEEDS to mix in some blitz on Brady. Even if Brady beats it, he must feel some pressure. He cannot relax. I do think Phillips will mix in some Blitz. And when he doesn’t, his athletic DLine will create havoc the Pats haven’t seen yet.

The Pats need to continue to pound the ball off of McDaniels Aggressive Variety in play calling. The Rams Dfront is fast, but light. They can be bullied.

But the Pats can’t get too hung up on Ball Control. If the Rams force the issue, then Brady needs to open up the field vertically as well as horizontally. Too much Ball Control could backfire late as it almost did versus the Chiefs.

When the Rams have the Ball

Goff – Don’t Get Greedy

Goff has shown patience versus a Zone Pressure Mix Defense. The Pats run mostly M2M, but I think Belilchick will mix it up for this game as the Rams are lethal vs M2M.

The Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes was very impatient and had underneath receivers open throughout the game. He forced the “big play” too much. I don’t think Goff will do the same.

With all the PlayAction, Misdirection and incredible Route Designs of Sean McVay, Goff doesn’t need to force anything. Just take what the Defense gives you. Belichick will test the youngster, but Goff is a cool customer.

Can he keep his cool in the biggest game of his life?

McVay needs to up his Aggression

I feel that McVay has been somewhat conservative in his approach to all 3 playoff games he’s been in as a HC. This is time to let go of the Fear and Rock-n-Roll. Gameplan as if you have nothing to lose.

In reality, the Rams don’t. They probably shouldn’t even be in this game. This can be a positive.

The Patriots should be a big favorite – even if they are not. They have all the experience. This could again work in the Rams favor. IF they let it.

McVay can certainly mix in some power runs out of 2 TE Sets, but he needs to keep the field Spread. Power out of the Spread. Not the other way around. Let Goff move the ball around. Use misdirection. Set up the runs, then move into Play Action to spread the field again.

Use Goff’s legs as well. He’s not a great runner, but he can move. Roll him out away from pressure, to set up more misdirection. McVay is great at all of this – HE JUST NEEDS TO DO IT – like he did during the Regular Season.

Pats need more Coverage Variety

I really think if the Pats stay M2M, they will eventually get burned. Of course, a lot depends on two youngsters – the HC and the QB.

If McVay’s gameplan is conservative, then it won’t matter what the Pats do. For sure, the Pats will scheme to stop the run first. They always do. Then their M2M will work versus a conservative gameplan.

But if McVay comes out aggressive with Goff, the Rams can be dangerous – especially vs M2M. Normal blitz pressure or a 4 man rush won’t get to Goff. The Rams will max protect or use their quick route designs.

A confusing mix of zone and man may fool the young QB. Maybe not all the time, but enough to create some big plays for the Pats and swing momentum.

Matchup Zone Coverage may be the phrase of the day for the Pats. This is the best way to handle misdirection and crossers – which the Rams love. This can also confuse a young QB. I expect to see more of this from the Pats in this game.

Summary

I expect the Pats to mix it up. If McVay is aggressive with his gameplan, the Rams can still move the ball. If not, Goff will get killed.

If Belichick sticks to his usual M2M Pressure and the Rams start aggressive on O, then Goff could flourish early, gain confidence, and explode into his best playoff game ever!

Prognostication

Toss Up or Blowout?

Both or None

My initial feeling about this game was Blowout for the Pats. The experience, momentum, revenge factor over last year’s SB loss, the anger at being discounted by so many this year, the Experience Expectancy which creates a lot of “luck” in their favor. I mean, heck, the Rams shouldn’t even be here – right??

The more I looked at Championship Sunday, and focused on this game I realized that the Rams give the Pats some real Matchup Problems.

Pats MatchUp Problem #1 = Rams on Offense

The Patriots predominantly play M2M Defense. As I mentioned above, the Rams are great versus M2M.

It’s basically the schemes of McVay and talent of Goff and his WRs/RBs. McVay makes reading Defenses easy and fun with his amazing use of Space. Then he mixes in Power thru Breaking Tendency – similar to the Pats OC McDaniels.

M2M Press Defense is tough against these types of schemes with that type of talent.

There is a second Matchup issue on the other side of the ball for the Pats. INSIDE PRESSURE!

Pats Matchup Problem #2 – Rams on Defense

The Rams have the best DT Tandem in the league with Suh and Donald. Donald’s undersized and Suh isn’t the massive either, but they are mobile, strong and create a lot of havoc.

The NE Offense this year has struggled with Inside Rush Pressure. No other team has 2 such DTs that create this much havoc up the middle. Plus they will bring fast LBs up the gut and stunt with anyone, anywhere at anytime.

Brady is not a great scrambler, but he can run a little. He will need to take off at times – especially when he catches the Rams in M2M – and gain some yards with his legs.

The Pats will also need to work Power up the middle vs the undersized Rams. Of course, DC Phillips may move to a 5 man front the way KC did in the 2nd half of the Championship Game. Then Brady will have to rely on his Spread Passing to open up Space.

Chess Match

This whole game is going to be a Chess Match. A veteran Head Coach and OC on one side. A veteran DC on the other. A brilliant up and coming HC in the middle of it all.

AGGRESSION

IF either of these teams does anything in a passive manner – on Defense, Offense or Special Teams – then a blowout could happen – fast. Especially for the Rams.

Because of their youth and inexperience, they cannot afford any passivity. Though, if the Pats get a big lead, then get conservative themselves, the Rams could finally let loose and play the best game of their recent playoff history.

This could happen the other way as well. The Pats use TOO MUCH ball control. This time they are stymied. The Rams are aggressive with their own Offense and rack up a big lead. Then, if THEY get conservative – the Pats could once again show their mettle as Comeback Kids.

Experience vs Youth

This will be the final piece – which wins out?

Special Teams

Belichick’s SpTeams always come up big in big games. The difference this time is that the Rams have great SpTeams as well. And they are younger, stronger, faster.

Does Belichick have anymore tricks up his sleeve? Or is it the Rams time to take this mantle?

LUCK

And here we are – back where we started. Which of the Luck wins out in a close chaotic game?

The Rams Timely Experience or the Pats Experience Expectancy?

Your guess is as good as mine – it’s Chaos.

IF the Rams feels they are a Team of Destiny with nothing to lose – they may play their first good playoff game under Sean McVay in the most unexpected Time – against a Dynasty.

IF the Rams feel the pressure, then the Pats could roll. They have a massive experience edge. Even if it’s close – or the Pats fall behind – they have done this before. Many times before.

Dynasty vs Destiny….we will see?

Pick – Pats one more time – but anything could happen!

This could be a wild Chaotic game to wrap up a wild NFL Season. Or this could be a blowout. For the Rams or the Pats. Though the probability of a Pats blowout – or win for that matter – are heavily in their favor.

I have a slight feeling that the Rams will play their best playoff game yet and could pull this off. The MatchUp favors them. Also, they may feel they have nothing to lose at this point. The pressure may just be on New England.

But I can’t take that as my final Pick. I have gone against NE twice in these playoffs. Three strikes and your out.

I’ll take NE in a close game – that is a blowout at some point – for either side – with the team being blown out, coming back late to make it close.

IF this becomes total Chaos – then it just could be that it’s the Rams leading us into the next decade of PS Football.

OR we will have to wait until next year as the Pats have one more Taste of Glory to finish out a 20 Year Dynasty.

~DP

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  1. […] PS Dynamic Opposition has taken over the NFL — SUPER BOWL 53 – PS Chaos […]

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