PS Pro – Here we go! – Wildcard Sunday

Posted: January 5, 2020 in All Things Power Spread

Welcome to the 2020s. PS Pro synching up College and Pro Football for the first time in 80 yrs!

Power Spread has brought us Back to the Future. Aggressive Flexible Variety. The exploration Flexibility – the “glue” that holds it all together. Exploring all Space- spanning all Time – evolving all Team. Present, Past, Future as One. PS and beyond…

2020 – A New Vision – Back to the Future

When I started the idea of Power Spread – some 10+ years ago – I began to form an idea around this concept of Dynamic Opposition. I saw two disparate elements – Power and Spread – more powerful as One. Just as we could see on the playing field. Spread to Power the middle. Power the middle to Spread.

PS=st2

Thus the more advanced concept of Team. United we Stand, Divided we Fall. Soon after I realized the great Energy that this synergy creates. A Game Energy if you will. So PS became Game Energy. A microcosm of Energy using Space / Time / Team on the field and off. Sport as a microcosm of Life.

Aggressive Flexible Variety

I then added the precepts Aggressive Flexible Variety, but soon left Flexible out the formula. The Football world – the world in general – wasn’t ready. Exploration in Variety is still a relatively new thing over the last few hundred years or so.

Evolution is happening fast now. Variety is more accepted and explored than ever before. In Football, Sport and the World at large. The time has come for the precept -Flexible – to be entered back into the mix.

2010s – The Beginning of the Merge

We saw it start forming in this past decade. As the College “Spread” started evolving, it combined with other Spreads and Power Spreads – the most popular of which was the Air Raid. Thus PSAR.

The NFL started experimenting with the Power Spread. Quicker than I expected, to be honest. The Talent that was coming into the league dictated a different type of scheme, concept, way of thinking. Still based largely on the Pro style offense, but with PS sprinkled throughout. Pro PS.

Pro PS – Power of One

Now we see something amazing happening. Power Spread really is the epitome of Dynamic Opposition exploring the Power of One. College has now added more Pro concepts back to its PS base, while NFL Teams are experimenting with PS as their base as well. PS Pro!

Colleges are taking it a step further. Experimenting with all sorts of schemes and concepts from All Football History. Combining it all into one powerful dynamic. We will see this at the NFL level soon. PS2020.

PS2020 – Dynamic Opposition Full Circle – Back to the Future

While most NFL teams still use a Pro Style base, the lean towards PS is stronger than ever before. Baltimore with Lamar Jackson, for sure, is a PS Pro Offense at this point. There will be more.

The distinction between Pro and College is dwindling every year. PS is everywhere and will continue to grow into new forms throughout the Roaring 20s! Back to the Future we go! PS2020 and beyond…

Wildcard Sunday

Unlike the 4 AFC Teams that play on Saturday, the 4 NFC Teams have a better balance offensive and defensive schemes. As noted, most of the innovation happening on the AFC WC side was on defense. Except for the Bills, the other 3 use a pretty basic Pro PS concept.

This is not the case for at least two of the teams on Sunday. Sean Payton and Doug Pederson are two of the more brilliant NFL offensive minds in the game. As for Seattle and Minnesota, where both Head Coaches are from the defensive side of the ball, they have also worked to slowly progress their schemes on the other side of the ball this year.

Both games could be close – especially the Eagles/Seahawks – but I do expect we may see more offense and Power Spread in Sunday’s games than we will see on Saturday. More of a push towards PS Pro, rather than just the standard Pro PS most of the NFL is still running.

Minnesota at New Orleans

Saints Offense vs Vikings Defense – Progressive vs Standard

This game is interesting. Most are expecting a relatively easy New Orleans win. I’m not so sure, but they are definitely the favorite. What I’m interested to see is how the Minnesota schemes hold up versus the Saints.

Sean Payton is always progressing his offense, which is an interesting Pro PS concept leaning towards a PS WCO (West Coast Offense), which I would put in the category of PS Pro. A Power Spread concept as its base.

The way in which Payton explores space, vertically as well as horizontally, to open up the power game is very Power Spread. Also, there is timing and misdirection in everything he does. With a veteran “point guard” like Drew Brees leading the way, this Offense is always very effective.

Minnesota HC Mike Zimmer’s Defense is more standard. A 4-3 base, but with a good aggressive mix of pressure and coverage. He’s always been a top notch DC, but with a stubborn bent. He won’t mix too much and sometimes his aggression – without enough variety – gets his D in trouble.

Right now the Saints are clicking and they have a talented OLine along with their skill players.. When Payton has his kind of freedom to play call as he likes, they can be very dangerous. We may even see some surprising No-Huddle Tempo if Payton feels confident.

The Vikings are talented on D as well. Their DEs are fast and pressure the QB. Fast LBs along with a decent Secondary. The issue will be Brees’ ability in Payton’s PS WCO schemes.

If the Saints start fast, spreading the ball all over the field with a nice tempo, the Vikings will start to become over aggressive. IF they begin to bring more pressure, Payton will burn them with screens and underneath passes. IF they sit back, then the power game will start churning.

The Saints are impossible to stop right now, but Minnesota needs to at least slow them down AND/OR get some big plays/turnovers for their Offense. Most of all, their own Offense needs to get some points today.

Vikings Offense vs Saints Defense – Standard vs Tricky

Again, Zimmer runs a tight ship. He’s a good Head Coach and Defensive mind. But he leans towards conservative, which hurts him versus the best teams.

Saints DC Dennis Allen used to run a more conservative style of Defense. Then he worked with Rob Ryan, who some consider a mad genius. Or just mad.

Allen very wisely has combined his solid 4-3 style of D with Ryan’s 3-4/3-3 hybrid pressure mix. Sometimes the Saints will play a standard defense. Other times a surprising aggressive mix of pressure/coverage. Especially on 3rd Downs.

Because Allen is a smart play caller, the Saints D will cause problems for an offense. There is also a decent amount of talent on that side of the ball, though the secondary has dealt with injuries and other issues throughout the course of the year.

On Offense, Zimmer tends to get too involved and hamstring his OC. After firing offensive coaches he last 3 years, Zimmer has a guy he can work with. Early in the year, the Offense was again too conservative, but lately it has opened up. QB Cousins is now using his legs more – with more play action roll outs and overall misdirection.

The Vikings have a great RB/WR in Cook and Diggs. Cook’s shoulder is still a question. The Vikings need him for the power part of their Pro PS. IF the Saints shut down the run early and start mixing their pressures and coverages, it will be a long day for Cousins and the Vikings.

The only way the Vikings can keep up with Brees and the Saints Offense, is to mix the Power off the Spread Pass and keep mixing all game long. Keep Allen’s Defense off balance and conservative. Eat up clock and score points.

Prognostication – New Orleans

This may be closer than people expect, but again I have to go with the favorite Saints. These are two good defenses, but I still think the Saints will get points. I do not trust the Vikings Offense will have enough to keep up.

I also think there’s more of a chance that Allen’s Defense will produce big plays. Though the Vikings possibly have the better talent on that side of the ball, the Saints have enough. They may give up some big plays, but they will also get some back.

On another level, I think the Saints and their fans want revenge bad for the last couple of bad playoff years. I think today they get it. Possibly the start to their second Super Bowl.

Philadelphia at Seattle

The Injury Bowl

No two teams in the playoffs have been hit harder by injuries than these two. Lets take a look.

Seattle Injuries blow up in December

The Eagles have had a ton of injuries during the Pederson regime. A lot of it is old age. A team of vets who got Philly their first SB, but are consistently battling injuries as much as their opponents.

The Seahawks were slowly racking up their own share of physical problems when they were nailed at the end of the year – losing their 3 top RBs in the last month! Earlier in the year they lost their SS and vocal leader Tedric Thompson, but made a nice trade to get Quandre Diggs as a replacement.

They also picked up an old fan fav “The Beast”, Marshawn Lynch, to help their running game. The O & D Lines have also struggled some with injury and suspension, but in the end, no one compares to the Eagles problems.

Philly Injuries could be the most ever for one team in one year!??

From the exhibition through the entire year, Philadelphia has had players dropping like flies! Remember Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler “consecutive” injuries (Elbow/Concussion) at the start of the Exo Season!

Next, the WR corp goes down. Yes, the whole corp! Olineman once again. RBs Howard, Sanders. Almost the whole DBackfield at one point or another. The DLine and yes – a LB or two as well. If you thought 2017-18 was bad, that was nothing compared to 2019!

Amazingly, the player all philly fans worry the most about getting injured, Carson Wentz, has been fine. Well, sort of.. he still can’t read NFL defenses and makes too many errors. Not having a consistent group around him hasn’t helped matters.

Thankfully for the Eagles their Head Coach is one of the best in the biz. He again has come through to save the day. For Wentz and his entire team.

Doug Pederson – Most underrated Head Coach in Football History? I wonder..
Issue #1: Injuries – Next Man Up!

As you can see – the injuries were a big deal. I usually don’t like to focus much on injuries. In today’s game they happen. A lot. Super beings with super strength and speed are hitting into each other. It’s the facts.

But there are extreme cases. This is one of them. The fact that Philly is high on the injury list may lead to Pederson and his GM/Owner restructuring their personnel ideals. Veterans are great for leadership and experience, but if half of them are going down to injury every year, one has to revaluate.

So I guess, in this particular situation, Pederson now has experience on his side. What I find interesting the way in which he’s using the situation to build character and Team Synergy. “Next Man Up”. What a great motto. And talk about TEAM over Star.

In some strange way, Pederson may be creating a Motto, not just for HIS team or THIS year, but for the whole Decade! TEAM over Star may become an ideal for all the Football Teams by the end of the 2020s!

Issue #2: Morale – Faith!

With all the struggles the Eagles were having early in the year, there were rumblings of discontent off the field and in the locker room. There were surprising comments and surprising releases. One of the players released said that the Eagles no longer had the desire or passion to win. They were resting on the laurels of their SB win 2 years ago.

Personally, I find this hard to believe, but something was happening. Watching a mid-season game, I was taken back by a lack of good energy. Highly surprising for a Pederson team.

Well, after they beat Dallas, Pederson was in the locker room saying that they won this game every day that week on the practice field. Then he said that he wouldn’t preach, but that “a little bit of faith goes a long way.”

Pederson is not only a great play designer / concept innovator / and organizer, but he’s also a great players coach. He’s proven it time and again.

Issue #3: Carson Wentz struggles to read NFL Defenses – No Read Passing Game!

I have been saying this since Wentz came into the league. His experience at the FCS level and with the type of Offense he ran at NDST has not provided him with the proper tools to read tricky NFL Defenses. Schemes and coaching have always covered for Wentz.

I figured he is a smart guy and may get it in time. Finally with a healthy body and Foles gone, I thought we may see an improvement this year. It didn’t happen.

What Pederson did next is amazing to me. All year he said he is trying to simplify the Offense. It took all year, but I finally see what he meant. He is taking away Wentz’s reads! In other words – giving him a 1 or even a 0 read scheme or concept. Either the primary WR is open or dump it to an outlet. Or Run!

To see this type of concept in today’s NFL is shocking. But it’s working!! While the Defenses are mixing coverages and pressure, Wentz is simply looking 1, 2 then go! Either it’s open or not. Simple. Quick. No holding the ball too long. No indecision and prolonged mistakes. Or worse – that feared injury.

Issue #4: Evolving Scheme – Keep It Simple: Spread to Power, Power to Spread

How can a coach get away with this scheme in today’s NFL? Not easily. The schemes have to be spot on. One thing Pederson does is use Trips – 3 WRs to one side (or 2WR and TE or RB). The Route design stays on one side of the field – a quick read. If no one is open – run!

Now if you say – “Wentz shouldn’t be running so much!” – you would be wrong. I know it’s a chance he can get hurt, but if he keeps holding the ball in the pocket with great indecision, there’s a better chance he will get hurt!

Plus, his skill set is IMPROVISATION! He’s a big man’s Doug Flutie. He is way better on the move, where his athleticism can take over and he can use his big arm and imagination to make big plays.

Another thing Pederson has done is use a 2 RB Spread scheme. One of the RBs is used as an XFactor or XBack. Put him in motion – flanked out wide – jet sweeps or fly patterns down the field. Boston Scott has filled that role brilliantly.

Pederson is great at mis-direction, breaking tendency and using space. All of this is helping his QB and taking the pressure off his shoulders. Wentz can be free to cut it loose, which is his best and only way to play. The Space opens up – freeing up the Power and vice versa.

Pete Carroll – Oh yeah, there’s another Head Coach in this game

I would be remiss if I don’t even make mention of Seattle’s own HC. I don’t make as big a deal about Carroll for two reasons. One, his schemes are no longer cutting edge, though at one time his Defensive Concepts were. Two, I’m an Ohio State fan who absolutely loathed USC under Carrol’s reign. 🙂

Truth be told, he has done one heckuva job this past decade with the Seattle Seahawks. He brought a college style atmosphere – a lot of fun passion – to this NFL organization and it worked immediately. He also brought the dual-threat QB from college, in Russell Wilson, though he has never fully given in to that style of Power Spread Offense.

Seattle Defense : 4-3 Hybrid Mix

Seattle’s Defense no longer has the cutting edge talent or scheme that they possessed a few years ago. Their D is good, but nothing special. Carroll is actually better now at mixing pressure and coverages, but everyone is doing it and offenses are used to it.

His DBs are solid – especially at CB – but not special like back in the day. He has some of the same speedy LBs, but they are older now. His DLine has totally changed and not for the better, though the acquisition of Jadveon Clowney at the start of the year was big.

Offense – Never enough PS for Wilson

On offense he has a good OC in Brian Schottenheimer, but still tends to “control” his Offense too much. When Seattle uses Wilson’s quick feet and improv skills, they are at their best.

Unfortunately, they will tend to be conservative or large parts of the game – especially early on – which gets them in trouble. When they are in trouble is when you will see their best Offense. The reigns come off and Wilson is allowed to do his thing!

The OLine in recent years has been a real issue for the Seahawks. This year is no different, though they have been more effective than many believed – both in the run and passing game. Losing 3 RBs late won’t help their cause, but they did give Wilson at least a little bit of time versus a speedy 49er Defense last week.

Bottom Line – if Schottenheimer is allowed to mix it up and be aggressive early, then the Seahawks have a real chance to win. If the gameplan is for safety and development, then the Seahawk fans will have to wait until the 2nd Half and hope for another patented Wilson led comeback.

Prognostication – Fly Eagles Fly

They have the coach, schemes and players. They finally have continuity on both offense and defense and they are at home – not the deathtrap of the Kingdome!

More Injuries? – Next Man Up!

Injuries are what have me concerned. As noted above.

RB Sanders may join TE Ertz on the shelf, while most of their DBs are either out or struggling with something. This in particular is scary, because rookie WR Metcalf is really coming on and providing a great sidekick to top WR Lockett.

Ironically, I believe the Eagles can survive additional injuries better than Seattle. They are used to it and have built up a lot of depth. WR Ward is one such example of that depth. I was excited about him and the other players Pederson brought into training camp! Next Man Up.

They also have a proven commodity in Josh McCown as backup QB, who I’m sure can run the Pederson Offense just fine. Wilson absolutely can’t go down for Seattle.

Pick – Close but home field swing for Philly

I can see Seattle starting conservatively, Wilson leading a 2nd Half comeback and Wentz making a crucial mistake late.

I can also see this new Philly Offense continuing to improve, controlling the game and finally finishing some drives. The D giving up some big plays to Wilson, but making big plays down the stretch with the Philly Crowd behind them!

Pederson is arguably the best coach in football. He’s pulled his team together again with PS Belief and Schemes. I’m going with the Eagles in a close one.

~DP

Comments
  1. Christian Woods says:

    Keep us informed. Keep it real. Power spread is real.
    I have had a few beers.

  2. David Fattizzo says:

    Excellent commentary! I am a Philadelphia fan, but nice to see objective analysis.

  3. […] PS Pro – Here we go! – Wildcard Sunday […]

  4. […] PS Pro – Here we go! – Wildcard Sunday […]

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