Perhaps the best play of the entire 2012 preseason for the Bengals was the 50-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green. The second game seemed to be the team's best overall performance of the preseason, which was on the road agains the Falcons.
Bengals fans were waiting to see any semblance of improvement on the deep call for 2012 and in the second quarter of that game, we caught a glimpse. In case you forgot, here's the play once again:
Matt Bowen of The National Football Post breaks down the play with some great insight. Some of the observations he made:
- (Asante) Samuel uses a "bail" technique (also called a "zone turn") from an off-man position. The Falcons’ CB is patient in his drop and also does a nice job of maintaining his "cushion" (distance between DB and WR) on the initial stem.
- As I have said before, every route (outside of the 3-step game) breaks between a depth of 12-15 yards. The "Double-Move?" You should expect the WR to drop his hips and stutter at a depth of 8-10 yards.
- Where does Samuel get into trouble? Look at his eyes. On that stutter from Green, the veteran CB sticks his eyes in the backfield. This is where you lose leverage and cushion vs. the "Double-Move." Remember, as a DB the QB isn't throwing the ball to you...no need to stare him down.
Bowen seems to point more to a breakdown in Samuel's coverage than to Green's route-running ability. It's an understandable stance, really, as Bowen is a former NFL defensive back and knows the defensive side of the play thoroughly. Still, though I'm not as refined on NFL techniques as Bowen, three different things stood out to me--particularly with Green.
First, Dalton and Green worked the route to perfection. The receiver ran a great route with a spectacular move to beat Samuel and Dalton pretty much hit Green in stride. Secondly, though it has been said often before, Green has deceptive speed. After he made the double move, Green truly beat Samuel on the play while running down the sideline, not so much on the move itself. For his size, Green runs extremely well--likely due to his long strides.
Lastly, I'm thankful that Green wasn't hurt on this play. As Samuel tackled him into the end zone, the two tangled up awkwardly. Upon first blush, it looked as if Green could have tweaked an ankle and/or knee and it wouldn't have been much of a surprise, given the rash of injuries that the team suffered the week before. Thankfully, that wasn't the case.