PS Pro – Here we go! – Divisional Sunday

Posted: January 12, 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 is at hand.

2020s – A New Vision – An Evolved Flexibility – Back to the Future

The Age of Sport has allowed us the exploration of Aggression and the Power that it creates. Eventually Variety was explored in all its Forms – Space Time Team. With over 100 years of Spread, Football is ready to finally explore true Flexibility. The “glue” that holds Power Spread together.

Human ability to create from many sources, using all of history, has never been greater. How it all fits together will be the challenge. Expect much experimentation in this upcoming decade. Old married with New. Past,Present,Future as one.

For now we deal with Change. The NFL is slowly heading into the age of Power Spread. We already saw some of this last week in the WC Playoffs. Resistance to change brings chaos. There are some rough waters ahead, but ahead we shall go!

Divisional Saturday – Energy Fluctuations in a Changing Landscape

The transition of the NFL from Pro to PS is moving along slowly – 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Last week I noticed, maybe for the first time, the effect that the changing football landscape is having on Team Energy.

  • The Pats are aging and finally looked a little stale in both their schemes and personnel.
  • The Bills, for all the progression they have made in PS Concepts throughout the year, really got conservative with the lead in the 2nd Half of their game.
  • The Saints were flat for most of 3 Quarters and relied too much on an old schematic mindset.
  • The Eagles succumbed to No Mas after a year long mindset of Next Man Up.
Control versus Freedom

In the end, it’s a struggle for Control. Better said – a struggle to LET GO of Control. Power Spread is not a Mistake Driven Paradigm. Focus on Aggression and eventual Balance. Exploring the Unknown.

Chaos before Order hears the reign of Freedom

The NFL has had a Control Paradigm in place for a long time. Big Money plays a Big Part. Change doesn’t come easy with this mindset. But Change is upon us.

As the game of Football continues to shift, we will see a lot more ups and downs in Energy. Especially in the NFL at Playoff Time, when so much is on the line. It’s hard to predict, but let us see what we have this weekend?

Houston at Kansas City

Houston came back from a 16-0 deficit last week largely behind the magic of Deshaun Watson.

Buffalo played an aggressive first half, but “safe” once they had a big lead. Both on Offense and Defense. By the time they went back to more aggressive schemes, the momentum for Houston at home was too much to overcome.

This week Houston won’t have the benefit of being home. Their benefit will come from the great energy they have built from their last win. As we have seen this entire playoffs – Energy is at a premium. Teams are riding it to improbable wins.

Injuries

Part of the Chaos of the changing landscape of the NFL is all the injuries teams now deal with on a regular basis. KC and Houston have had their share as well.

For KC, their star QB Pat Mahomes missed time this year with a knee injury. So did their electric WR Tyreek Hill (Shoulder). Plus, their DLine has been banged up late in the season. DE Ogbah was a big loss.

Ironically, KC has had good luck with their older injury prone guys like McCoy, Kelce and Tardif. They signed old vet Terrell Suggs to help rectify the issues on the DLine. Then their star rookie FS Josh Thornhill went down with a Knee Injury at the end of the year!

For Houston, it has mainly been their Defensive Backfield that has been hit hard. JJ Watt also went down…again. He came back last week and positively effected the outcome. Some of the DBs are back, but still banged up.

Defense – Crennel vs Spagnuolo

The hidden star of last weekend was Romeo Crennel, the Defensive Coordinator for Houston.

Though at times he was a bit too conservative and frankly fooled by the Buffalo PS Schemes early on, he really stepped it up in the 2nd Half. Surprise blitzes, phantom looks and coverage mixes all fooled the young QB Josh Allen time and again.

At one point in the 4th Quarter, Crennel came with a tricky 6 man Zone Blitz. On the next play he showed 7 man pressure across the line of scrimmage, then dropped 5 into coverage for a 2 man rush! Allen was completely confused.

Spagnuolo can do his thing too. Crennel is a Belichick 3-4 Hybrid disciple, where as Spagnuolo is more 4-3 – but with no less aggression or mix of coverages. His mentor is the late great Jim Johnson of Philadelphia Eagles fame.

The mix of Aggressive Variety that Johnson ran in the 00s has left its mark on all the PS Defensive schemes we see today.

Spagnuolo is a smart coach – always exploring for new ways to get it done – but KC had a lot of changeover in defensive personnel this year due to age. It was tough early, but Spags has his defense playing better now.

The one worry I have is that Spags tends to fall in love with a standard 4-Man Rush w/ man coverage. Versus Watson this will lead to easy scrambles and dump offs to elusive RB receiver Duke Johnson.

If this happens, then Spags may back his Defense off into too much Zone Coverage. Watson has really improved as a pocket passer and can eat that up as well!

Spags has to stay aggressive and mix the pressure/coverage. Keep Watson and company guessing. This may be harder than I originally thought due to a slight change in HC Bill O’Brien’s approach.

Bill O’Brien – Power Spread Surprise

I noticed in my review of the game highlights that O’Brien was running more PS Offense in the 2nd Half with Watson. I originally stated that he didn’t make adjustments. I was wrong.

To his credit, O’Brien did find ways to use Watson’s great speed in the 2nd Half. That’s all he needs to do . Something I’ve been saying for years with him.

If O’Brien schemes the same way – but from the beginning of the game – not just late, when his team is in trouble, then we may have another upset on our hand.

How will Spagnuolo and Chiefs Defense stop this? Not with M2M or Zone or 4man rushes or Zone Blitzes – BUT WITH ALL OF IT! Spags will have to keep Watson and the Houston Offense off balance and fool Watson into mistakes.

It won’t be easy. IF OBrien lets Watson do his thing, he WILL get his big plays. KC needs to focus on Aggression – not mistakes! – and create big plays for themselves with turnovers. That’s PS Football.

The other problem is the Houston Power Game. If OBrien does open up the Offense, the KC Defense may be spread out with smaller personnel. This sets up the power run game of Carlos Hyde behind a decent OLine.

Open up the Offense early, then clamp down late. Use Power to control the clock and keep Andy Reid’s Offense off the field in the 2nd Half.

Not exactly Power Spread Aggression – BUT – the best we will get from the NFL right now. The shift form Pro to Pro PS to PS Pro is coming. Albeit slowly.

Andy Reid – PS Pro to Full PS…eventually…

And what of Andy Reid? I can’t leave without saying a few words about this brilliant coach.

As always, his Offensive Schemes set the trend. When he picked up on Jim Harbaugh’s Pro PS several years back, he expanded it into a dynamic Pro PS system. Doug Pederson rode these ideas to a Super Bowl victory.

With a true PS QB like Mahomes and some speedy WRs, Reid has a lot at his disposal. Rookie WR Hardman adds more speed to the mix this year. RB isn’t as strong as last year, but the OLine is relatively strong so Reid can wield his magic.

My one concern is the injury factor. With Mahomes and Hill both on the shelf earlier this year, I wonder if they’re fully recovered. More importantly, will Reid be more conservative to protect Mahomes? This would give Houston’s DC Crennel a chance to really create some chaos and big plays for Houston.

Reid’s Special Teams

This is one area where Andy Reid doesn’t get enough attention. He is a master at Special Teams as well as Offense.

In Week 17, Hardman broke a big KR off a brilliant scheme design. It looked like the Vince Lombardi Power Sweep on a Kickoff!

  • Safties Lucas and Sorenson sealed the Left Edge.
  • FB Sherman kicked out.
  • RB Thompson raced back around from the right like a pulling lead guard for downfield blocking!
  • Hardman’s speed took care of the rest

KC has solid kickers and speed on returns. Add to that some younger, faster defensive depth for kick coverages, Reid’s Special Teams could be a difference maker in this game.

Prognostication – Kansas City

To be honest, I have a feeling Houston is going to ride the Energy Wave to victory in this one. Just like I feel the Vikings and Tennessee may do the same on Saturday.

But I’d like to stay with my “perfect” prediction record so I will take Kansas City! 🙂

It’s all about PS Energy

Truth be told, the shifting landscape right now in football – especially in the NFL – has Team Energies fluctuating all over the place. It’s all about momentum.

But I am here to talk about what happens on the field of play. I’m not in the locker room or on the sidelines. So once again I will pick the best Team – on the year and overall. Not necessarily the one who wins this game.

The hot team with the momentum right now is Houston. If O’Brien continues to mix in some PS Offense to his Pass Spread, then Houston may not only have a chance, but be the favorite.

KC is also coming off a bye week. A proven “danger zone” for many teams in past playoffs. This year’s playoffs as well. While the bye gives teams a chance to rest and heal, it can also break much needed momentum when facing a young fired up opponent.

Of course, if Reid lets his offense fly and Spagnuolo doesn’t back down from Watson’s PS Ability, then KC can create a new momentum and ride it to a Super Bowl Victory.

Now that I say all that – take the safe bet – Houston. Hehe. PS all the way!

Seattle at Green Bay

In last weeks Injury Bowl, Seattle won a close battle with Philadelphia, where Philly drove the ball all game long with their backup QB, but for only 9 points! A problem that haunted them all year.

The scary thing for Seattle is that they are probably the most banged up team left in the playoffs outside of the Eagles.

They gave up a lot of yards to a downtrodden Eagles Offense and although Russell Wilson created a lot of big plays with both his arm and feet, it came against a ridiculously beat up Eagles Secondary.

Green Bay is one of the healthiest teams left. Their OLine lost a key cog in Lane Taylor, but has had enough time to recover, with 2nd Round Draft Pick Elgton Jenkins filling in nicely.

Green Bay is younger on defense, but has a veteran led Offense behind Aaron Rodgers. This could spell trouble for Seattle’s own banged up secondary. Can the beat up Seahawks pull off another road victory and get to the NFC Championship?

Matt Lafleur continuing tradition

I’m not sure many thought the Pack had a chance this year after the firing of long time coach Mike McCarthy. In Matt LaFleur’s first head coaching job, he has done a heckuva job. Though McCarthy certainly didn’t leave the cupboard bare.

Besides Rodgers, LaFleur inherited a lot of veteran leadership and young talent as McCarthy was preparing for another successful run. LaFleur kept last year’s DC Mike Pettine and hasn’t changed the Offensive Scheme too drastically.

LaFleur hired long time Marrone OC, Nathaniel Hackett – son of Paul Hackett. Hackett runs a Power WCO with some PS concepts. LaFleur coached under two Power WCO gurus, Gary Kubiak and Kyle Shanahan.

He also learned from one of the original Power Spread coaches, Brian Kelly.

Most recently he coached under Sean McVay who runs, what I like to call, a Pro PS-Gillman Plus style Offense. Power based, but with a lot more of a vertical attack than a typical Bill Walsh WCO.

In the end, it isn’t extremely different from what McCarthy ran. Still, there are differences.

Rodgers and the new Green Bay Offense

Compared to McCarthy, LaFleur will use more power from heavy run sets, setting up deep shots down the field. Also, he will employ more misdirection/play-action setting up screens and passes to the RBs.

Seattle struggled last week with backup QB McCown’s scrambling, screen passes and deep shots. This could spell trouble versus Green Bay.

Rodgers also has found a new target – big WR Lazzard – in the mold of Seattle’s new young WR Metcalf. RB Aaron Jones has been great at Power Runs and Screens, which set up Rodgers and the passing game.

I don’t think Seattle is going to have an easy time with this Offense. Knowing LaFleur, he may have a few schematic tricks up his sleeve with two weeks to prepare.

Brian Schottenheimer and the Seattle Offense

OC Schottenheimer did a great job with the Seahawks Offense last week. Mixing in some No Huddle Tempo and using Wilson’s legs to get him outside of the pocket to create havoc for the Eagles. Sound Power Spread Concepts.

This week he won’t be up against a beat up Secondary, but he will face a young one. GB’s talented youngsters have stepped up all year, but now it’s playoff time and they are facing a tested vet.

Seattle will move the ball again as DC Pettine doesn’t use the heavy Aggressive Variety of his mentor Rex Ryan. Still, he uses enough and GB has the talent to make it work. Two top OLBs who have racked up a lot of sacks this year and a top NT / ILB duo.

Schottenheimer will have Wilson on the move again, but he may not get away from the pass rush as often this week. I expect big plays, but how many is the question.

As for the Seahawks Injury status – Wilson is the one player who absolutely cannot go down. Seattle fans do not want to see Geno Smith running this Offense. Unlike some other Offenses in the league, this is not one that can suffer a hit at the QB Position.

Prognostication – Green Bay

I had Seattle all week, but do wonder if they are too banged up to pull this off two weeks in a row.

So far, these playoffs have been dominated by Energy and Momentum swings. Seattle has both at the moment. I feel that all four Bye Teams are going to have to contend with this issue and Green Bay is no different.

The difference is that the other 3 Bye Teams don’t have a veteran QB like Rodgers.

Pick – Toss Up

I usually don’t switch my picks or base them on the QB or any one player. So for the sake of flexibility – lets go for it!

Wilson and Seattle will rack up some yards – maybe even led for most of the game – but Rodgers and GB will make a comeback and possibly pull out one of his patented last minute comeback wins.

I believe in Seattle. So I will take GB! Lol.

PS Chaos – Resistance to Change – It’s Only the Beginning

There you have it. The Power of Chaos.

Two games, where I take the team I feel will probably lose. Will this break the streak? Or will I come out on top – a perfect 0-8! We will see…

One things for sure. Power Spread is here and it’s growing fast! Whether anyone can keep up or not. Including me. 🙂

~PS

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