Breaking Down Vernon Davis

We’ve celebrated the victory; now we move on to San Fran. Vernon Davis had a huge game Saturday against New Orleans, catching 7 balls for 180 yards and 2 scores. Stopping him will be vital. Matt Bowen of National Football Post, breaks down how he did it:

Cover 1 (man-free): Go back to the first TD. Inside breaking route vs. outside leverage. Davis worked back to the opposite numbers, put Roman Harper in a “trail” position and broke a tackle from FS Malcolm Jenkins on the 49-yard TD. Now, go to the fourth quarter vs. Jenkins in a press-position. Davis wins at the line of scrimmage, gets vertical up the field and stacks on top of the safety. Ideal route running after beating a press-man look at the line of scrimmage.

Blitz-man (Cover 0): Again in the 4th quarter in a one-on-one matchup. The Saints sent Cover 0 pressure (no safety help). Jenkins aligned in an off-man look with inside leverage (blitz technique). Davis not only ate up the cushion of Jenkins (distance between DB and WR), but also created separation with the ball in the air. I don’t think Jenkins expected Davis to run by him. But when you are in an off-man position, you have to turn your hips and go. An explosive play when QB Alex Smith put that throw on the up field shoulder.

Cover 2 (game winner): The Saints are a heavy Cover 2 (Tampa 2) defense inside of the red zone—and I love the route from the Niners. Reduced (tight) split to the formation that will allow Davis a free release. With the CB playing a “soft squat” (sink at the snap), the TE can now work the Skinny Post vs. a deep half safety. A route that breaks in front of the safety and works vertically away from the Mike Backer running the middle of the field. Great execution from Davis and Smith to get this win in a crucial situation.

Look to the last one. Giants play a lot of Cover 2. They wil be running that skinny post a lot and getting some yardage. I wonder if a double team of Rolle and Boley might be used. It’s not like the other wideouts are as dangerous. I think stopping Davis is key to victory. And yes, the Giants are hot on defense, and the secondary has been so good. Still, I don’t think he can be played with single coverage. Once again, pressure is going to be key.

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9 Responses to “Breaking Down Vernon Davis”

  1. Big Daddy says:

    I get all excited when I read stuff like that. It’s the real deal. I still forget so many of the names they use because I do not use them in my regular life, only in my football life which is centered on this blog now.

    The bottom line is what the Giants defense does and did to the Packers. The Giants defense during a pass play is effective only when they get a rush on the passer. It does not have to be a sack, in fact some times it’s better to not TRY to sack a QB all out as it opens up more chances for an interception. It really all depends on the QB and the game. If you go for the straight sack as a defender you can get burnt big time. So some times it’s better to get those big arms up and force the QB into making a mistake(also those bogus roughing the passer calls). So many times the rusher was not close enough to Rodgers to actually sack him but the rushers presence was enough to throw off his timing and take him out of sync with his receivers. I sure he could feel and hear that huge man coming for him, the Giants have some very big Dlineman.

    For a QB it’s all about rhythm and comfort zone whether inside the pocket or rolling out. Destroy that and you have poorly thrown passes and drops by receivers, both lead to INTs. Put the QB’s head on a swivel making him pay as much attention to were the pressure is coming from as much as looking for the open receiver. Eli is a master at this and nobody really talks about that.

    Fewell has to understand that the success of his defense is predicated NOT on what cover scheme they are in but on how best to get to the quarterback first and foremost. The softer zone defense can work if you get a pass rush, in fact the zone defense is probably better at intercepting passes then a M2M. But it’s ALL about the pass rush.

    If you want to live or have to live by the pass rush your players cannot forget about their gap integrity or they will run on you. That’s what the Packers tried to do and got some yardage that way. One way in the past was to sucker Osi into a pure rush and give him a lane then run it by him. That does not work against JPP. Now it’s about taking what Osi does best and using it effectively. The Giants Dline has enough depth and quality to keep the pressure on all game long. I saw that on a few plays they were in a 3-4 defense and Rodgers looked absolutely and totally confused. It was not a zone blitz but a pure 3-4 and I think that’s when Boley got a sack later in the game.

    The key to keeping that pressure up is the linebackers. They have started to learn to work together and are healthy now(Boley). Kiwi, Blackburn and Boley form an underrated group. They have really good physicality but lack a little in the way of speed. That’s OK though because with the constant pressure of the front 4 they are better off sitting in zones, keeping their gaps and not free lancing. The use of Boley as a pass rusher again confused the packers. He slid in unexpected, you would more expect Kiwi as the blitzer and not Boley. A brilliant scheme by Fewell’s defense, do the unexpected and wait until late in the game to spring it on them. The Packers were not prepared. Even though there was wide open receivers either they dropped the ball or Rodgers could not get the ball to them.

    The question is why did the Packers drop the ball. Well maybe it comes from being hit constantly. I could not tell because of the typical TV coverage which almost completely forgets there is something called a secondary unless it’s a high profile CB like Revis. So we don’t really get to see enough of that action. But they did look a little spooked, probably from getting pounded by Rolle, KP and Webster and Boley, Chase and Kiwi.

    Having a linebacker at the SAM with that size(Kiwi is 6’5″ and 260 with a 7 foot wingspan) has to be utilized by the DC. The wing span alone can cause problems for a QB especially trying to throw in the flats, he can disrupt a screen pass or a hot read or the safety value. He can basically take away a huge area from the QB with his wing span and agility on the strong side or whichever side he lines up on. I don’t believe in having the linebackers on one side or another all the time, they really should be able to have interchangeability within different schemes.

    So it’s really best to use as many coverage schemes as the players are able to do. If they get confused on any get rid of that scheme. Let the strength work for you and that is the pass rush. Mix it up and spring unexpected things on that offense, especially later in the game. Alex Smith is a master of nothing.

    Stop their run game first, Alex Smith is not a great quarterback, don’t make him look like one like we did with Grossman and the Redskins. Stop Gore, smother Davis and knock Smith down. I don’t expect a high scoring game.

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  3. Per Head says:

    Vernon Davis is an amazing football player. I remember when he played for the Terps how impressed I was. At this point, he looks like the top TE of his class. I guess Antrel Rolle will have his hands full of Davis jersey because the Giants don’t have to worry to much about Crabtree. How many passes did he drop last week? Amazing. I really thing as long as Manning is protected and Davis is covered, the Giants come away with a victory Sunday.

  4. Jason C. says:

    The one thing that scares me is that the 9ers have a lot more experience this year in winning close low scoring games.
    The one player nobody is talking about who we should be tremendously concerned with is Tedd Ginn.
    Shut down the return game, play defense and don’t turn the ball over and we win. We will have to punt in this game, probably more than the past couple of weeks, but punting is ok as long as we can pin them deep.

  5. Big Daddy says:

    I think stopping Frank Gore is more important than Davis.

  6. I Hate Onsides says:

    Need to hit A. Smith in the mouth early and often and contain Gore.

    I just want to see the offense catch fire early and start putting up touchdowns instead of field goals.

    Ever hear of 3 points closer to losing?

    I don’t see the 9er’s winning a scoring battle against Elite Eli and his stable of receivers.

  7. Jason says:

    If Micheal Boley plays like he did last game we have a good chance of winning use Kiwimuka more in blitz’s along side JPP Tuck & big mouth Osi . But lets face it this game in my Opinion is going to be low scoring i just hope Tynes can make his field goals becuase if he don’t were screwed with Akers that could hit 40-50 yard field goals easily .

    • Russo757 says:

      Right thats what worries me a bit. In a low scoring game we need every opportunity and Tynes has been Mr. Inconsistant and we all know what Akers can do. NY has to be putting up 7 and let them use Akers leg to try and keep them in the game. THe last thing they need to do is give the ball back to SF with even minimal time left for Akers to kick a 55 yarder to win by 1. Cant have tight margins this sunday boys.

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