PS Pro – Here We Go! – Championship Sunday

Posted: January 19, 2020 in All Things Power Spread

Chaos before Order hears the reign of Freedom

PS Pro here WE GO!

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. Spread.

With over 100 years of Spread and after the synchronized union of Power and Spread, football is ready to finally explore true Flexibility. The “glue” that holds Power and Spread together. Aggressive Flexible Variety.

The beginning of that exploration has already begun. CHANGE is at hand. Resistance to it creates and will continue to create an element of CHAOS. From which an evolved Order will spring.

PS Pro. Lets Rock-n-Roll! 🙂

Championship Sunday

All four Divisional Playoff games were dominated by gameplans, schemes and again, as with the weekend before, Energy.

SanFran again showed why they were the best this year with their top notch schemes and execution. Minnesota looked a bit worn out, both emotionally and physically. Their big overtime win at New Orleans definitely took its toll.

Tenneesee, on the other hand, is absolutely on a roll and continuing to build momentum. Unbeknownst to most fans, it wasn’t their power RB or OLine that won the game, but a masterful gameplan by Vrabel and his staff versus an opponent that wasn’t ready for such a tough battle.

Kansas City and their Offensive genius Andy Reid did it again, but it was Reid’s Special Teams that energized his team out of a flat start and into the greatest comeback of all time in the playoffs. Houston had good energy, but fatigued mentally on Defense in the 2nd Half from the offensive onslaught by KC.

Lastly, Matt LaFleur continues his great coaching job at Green Bay in his first year. A really nice Pro PS scheme that is almost a PSWC scheme like Kyle Shanahan’s at SanFran. A nice mix of veteran and young talent took care of a beat up Seattle team who looked flat early, before their patented Russell Wilson comeback attempt fell short late.

We have three of the four best NFL teams this year, with one upstart in Tennessee. Only one home team won a game during the first playoff weekend. The opposite happened in the second weekend. Tennessee has won both games on the road.

Can their Momentum carrying them right into the Super Bowl? Will the two best teams left, KC and SanFran, play well enough to advance? We will see. For sure, expect to see more surprise schemes, interesting gameplans and Energy fluctuations as we race towards Super Bowl 54.

Tennessee at Kansas City

This game is going to be close. Tennessee is fired up, playing as a Team, respecting their opponents and Vrabel is pushing all the right buttons!

Last week, Baltimore was not ready for Vrabel’s gameplans and seemed to have underestimated their opponent.

I don’t expect Tennessee to be underestimated this week, but Coach Vrabel and his staff will come up with another great plan to give his team a chance to win.

Coach Vrabel’s on Fire!

All the talk of Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry have clouded the fact that Head Coach Mike Vrabel and his staff had great gameplans on both Offense and on Defense!

Offense – Henry as a Decoy in the 1st Half

As I said in my preview, Tennessee would not be able to come out and just pound on Baltimore like they did versus New England. First off, Baltimore would not line up in lighter pass defenses.

Sure enough, the Ravens used their run heavy sets. Henry had a couple of good runs in the 1st Half, but most of his yards came in the 2nd Half with the Titans in the lead.

What set up all this big running by Henry in the 2nd Half? Tennessee’s ability to use Henry a a decoy throughout the first half. In fact, the two scores by the Titans in the 1st Half didn’t even involve Henry.

The first was an incredible catch by Jonu Smith. It was debatable if he had control, but the hot team always gets the good breaks.

The second TD was a beautiful scheme, again using Henry as a decoy. Power heavy set, fake power to Henry, setting up a vertical spread. Deep pass to a little used speedster in a 1on1 match up. No contest.

Defense – Opportunistic “Bend but Don’t Break”

The Titans decided to run a heavy mix of Zone Coverage with a lot of 3 and 4 man rush. The idea was to turn Lamar Jackson into a pocket passer. Reading NFL defenses is his weakness.

The “Bend don’t Break” philosophy worked to some extent. The Ravens ended up with over 500 yards by the end of the game, but blew many opportunities throughout.

I’m not sure I have ever seen so many blown opportunities by one team in one game. Basically, every possession! See below. Not only the Ravens missed opportunities, but the Titans capitalizing at every chance.

  • 1st Half
    • Interception
    • 4th down stop
      • Titans Long Bomb TD off a Henry fake!
    • Drop Roberts for possible TD
    • Drop Snead for 1st down -FG
    • Time at Goaline – End of Half – FG
  • 2nd Half
    • Another Long Drive to start 2nd Half
      • 3rd & 1 stuff
      • 4th & 1 stop
    • Titans 3rd&1 – Henry Long Run
      • Judon attempts to punch at ball
      • Henry Jump Pass
    • Fumble
    • Titans – Henry as Decoy again!
      • 3rd down pass Brown
      • Tannehill speed option keep
  • Int
    • No huddle – 2 good passes
    • total mis-read on Zone Blitz
  • No Huddle – TD!
    • short passes
    • Jackson – amazing run
  • 2 more 4th down stops
    • – no huddle drives to red zone

The Ravens and Lamar got their yards, but Tennessee got the win.

Will KC be Over Confident as well?

In the end, my biggest question – “Did the Ravens underestimate their Opponent?”

For me, the turning point of this game was the huge run by Henry to start the 2nd Half. Baltimore had just been stopped again on a big 4th down play. After that Henry run, the game was in the Titans control.

Trying to punch the ball is a cheap Quick Fix!

OLB Judon had a clean hit on Henry on 3rd&1, but instead of securing the tackle, he tried to punch the ball out! See the video above. This will make coaches crazy.

Then DB Carr lunged weakly for Henry’s legs, not running to give up his body. Overall, this was a weak effort by the Ravens Defense.

Credit to the Titans OLine, who are completely synced right now and doing a great job of run blocking, but this should have been a no-gain or at most a first down. Not a 60 yard run!

Respect the Opponent

I do not think the Ravens respected Tennessee and I think the Titans knew it! They played with a great ferocity, while the Ravens were trying to punch out balls and find a quick easy way back into the game.

In fact, on one of the Ravens short yardage plays, LB David Long of the Titans absolutely THEW his body into the play! He ended up injured for a short time.

This is a team that wants it! This was not the Ravens on this day.

It’s hard to speculate on the mental or emotional state of a team from afar, but I’ve played the game and I’ve seen this before. Going for fumbles and quick fixes usually means you do not respect your opponent.

I do not expect the same disrespect to come from a KC team that lost the regular season match to Tennessee. They also lost a heartbreaker to this same team in the playoffs 2 years ago!

Kansas City Big Play Onslaught!

Tennessee and Henry will get their yards, but can they keep up on points with a powerful KC Offense and Special Teams!?

Special Teams

Everyone knows Andy Reed as an Offensive guru, but he has always had top notch Special Teams.

Now, there were some SpTeams mistakes by KC early, but the team had a very Flat Start overall. Dropped passes by Kelce and Robinson, a fumbled punt by Hill, blown coverage by Ward, a flat OLine and a fired up Houston team running some nice PS Offense with Watson led to a 24-0 deficit.

After a huge KR by Hardman the Team and the Crowd were energized. A big stop by Sorenson on a 4th Down Punt Fake, then a big hit by Sorenson on a KR led to two more Touchdowns and suddenly a close game!

KC cannot start Flat again. They are not coming off a bye this week and should be ready. For sure they will need more big plays by their Special Teams to overcome the hottest team in football right now.

Which Defense can stop the bleeding?

Like so many teams today, KC’s Defense is more suited to the spread pass game. The really don’t have the size up front like Baltimore. So the chances of them holding Tennessee to under 100 yards rushing is slim to none.

Tennessee hasn’t lost a game all year when they went over 100 yds on the ground. This may be the first. They will most likely need points this time. Not just yards and clock control.

Titans Defensive Scheme vs KC?

Houston’s DC Crennel, who had such a great game versus Buffalo, dropped the ball vs KC. He obviously didn’t know how to deal with the offensive genius of Reid and the talent on hand.

Playing mostly M2M Coverage with a 4 man rush was simply not good enough. JJ Watt also looked tired after missing so much of the year. This didn’t help.

Do not expect the same from Tennessee’s DC Pees. He likes to mix in some pressure and do a lot with Zone Coverage. He won’t just sit back versus Pat Mahomes, who reads defenses much better than Lamar.

The problem for Tennessee is that KC runs incredible PS Schemes and has the talent and speed to make big plays out of these schemes. In Zone, Mahomes can pick a Defense apart. In Man, he can burn the blitz and 1on1 coverage.

I expect that Pees will be more aggressive than usual. The only chance for this Defense is to make some big plays and let their Offense take over. If they sit back and play “Bend Don’t Break” they will Break.

Spagnuolo KC Defense

Spags likes to play a lot of M2M with a 4 or 5 man Zone Blitz. His problem is not having enough size to stop Tennessee’s Power. Having their best player, DT Chris Jones back will help.

I think Spags is going to have to be ultra aggressive with 8 in the Box. Make Tennessee throw! As Counter-Intuitive as it sounds, better to give up big plays to the Titans, than let their Power Game control the clock.

Big Scores will give the ball back to KC. KC can win a high scoring game. I’m not sure they can win a low scoring one.

Plus, if their Defense is aggressive and gives up some big plays, they will also make their own big plays. KC is going to win on Big Plays. Not conservative small plays.

Prognostication – Kansas City

This is tough. I really think the Titans have a real shot not only to get to the Super Bowl, but to win the whole thing!

I just think the experience level for Kansas City will help them in a close game. Plus, their Special Teams edge.

I think the Tennessee Offense will score more points than previous games. Whether Henry gets a lot of yards or not. Either by pass or run, Tennessee will move the ball. But not enough to outlast KC.

Green Bay at San Francisco

San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan has built a solid team with good talent and top schemes. Robert Saleh has good assistants in place who are teaching great technique to their most talented players as I show in the video above.

Getting Dee Ford back last week, made the 49er Defense even stronger. Their OTs are healthy again and their replacement at C, Ben Garland, fits in perfectly with this mobile smart Oline.

Can Green Bay stop the 49er Offense?

Shanahan actually runs a sneaky Power type West Coast Offense, based on Power Spread. SanFran pounded the ball with the lead in the 2nd Half. Similar to Tennessee in their game against the Ravens. Though no one is really talking about the 49ers run game.

Like Vrabel over at Tennessee, Shanahan also Spreads the field to open up the inside Power. Shanahan’s schemes are much more innovative and easy for the fans to see.

Shanahan’s PSWC Offense

Above is an example of the way Shanahan uses all his Personnel in a wide variety of ways. FB Kyle Juszczyk plays option QB on this play, which looks like the original Don Faurot Speed Option from the 1940s/50s!

Shanahan will also use TE George Kittle and WR Deebo Samuel in a positionless scheme, maximizing the full use of his Talent. Shanahan’s use of Space/Time through motion, play-action and mis-direction creates openings for the Power game that he will then exploit with this PSWC scheme!

By the 2nd Half, Minnesota was a tiring Defense. Especially on their DLine. Part of this was due to an emotional letdown from their big win in New Orleans the week before, but also due to all the great Offense from Shanahan.

Green Bay Defense with DC Mike Pettine

The good news for Green Bay is that their DC Pettine is showing a nice aggressive mix with his young talent. Pettine is a Rex Ryan disciple, but I’ve never seen this kind of aggression from his defenses.

In the Seattle game, Pettine was mixing Man and Zone Coverages brilliantly. At times his young secondary did get confused. Especially late in the game when they were trying to thwart another Russell Wilson comeback.

Still, the pressure GB is getting from their bookends, Preston and ZaDarius Smith, has been strong all year. Combine that with the pressure mix Pettine showed last week and GB’s Defense should be able to keep this game close versus a great Offensive mind like Shanahan.

LaFleur a great year one!

What a year by LaFleur! Yes, former HC Mike McCarthy left a lot of young talent mixed with seasoned veterans. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is still the QB. Yes, Mike Pettine is still the Defensive Coordinator.

But LaFleur had to put this all together! Get this Team to play as One. What a job he’s done in only his first year!

LaFleur’s own offensive brilliance

There isn’t only one brilliant offensive mind coaching this game today. LaFleur is proving that he may be up to the challenge of his former mentor on the other side of the ball.

Yes, Kyle Shanahan coached LaFleur in the recent past. More recently it has been Sean McVay and his dynamic Pro Gillman+ Offenses with the Rams. LaFleur uses a mix of both. A McVay philosophy of Power + Vertical Spread, along with the tricky PSWC ideas of Shanahan.

I’m not sure what to call it yet, but the above vid is an example of the simple elegance of LaFleur’s scheme. Fake Crossers. Totally fooled the DBs into a false switch to create an easy TD pass by Rodgers to Adams.

LaFleur also likes to use RBs as WRs, mix in Reverses and then, like both Shanahan and McVay, mix in heavy power to seal the deal! SanFran’s Defense is good, but GB’s Offense will be tough to stop.

Synching Personnel in One Year

This may be the most amazing feat that LaFleur has pulled off. GB under McCarthy was building towards the future with a lot of new youngsters coming on board. Still, veterans abound on this team.

LaFleur did a good job by keeping the defensive scheme and coaches on this team. On Offense he’s added his ideas, without straying too far from what McCarthy did. Overall the youngsters and vets have synched into a unified whole.

Like the 49ers, GB is playing great football and has all year. Seattle was beat up and worn out, but GB was ready to go. I expect that will be again, though this time they will not have a beat up team, nor the home crowd advantage.

Will they’re youngsters hold up? Especially on Defense vs the big play SanFran Offense? Will Rodgers be able to pull off his magic one more time?

Prognostication – San Francisco

San Francisco blew out Green Bay in the regular season. LaFleur and Pettine will have made adjustments. I expect a better aggressive mix on both Offense and Defense for GB and a much closer game!

What still worries me for GB is their youth in the Secondary and a somewhat banged up Oline. They will need both to come through. The whole game.

SanFran will mix more on Defense than Seattle did. They also have a much stronger DLine and are not beat up like Seattle was across the board.

I do worry a bit about their CB situation where Witherspoon was repeatedly burnt early and eventually benched. GB could go at that matchup early.

Also, SanFran’s lack of experience in big games vs Green Bay’s veterans led by Rodgers.

Still, a lot of variables are pointing towards the 49ers winning a close one, though I wouldn’t be surprised at all by more late game heroics from Rodgers and another Green Bay trip to the Super Bowl!


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