I’ve been watching a lot of All-22 footage from the NFL’s 2013 season. Usually this involves me watching the Eagles’ offense and crying tears of joy that such a precious little angel like Chip Kelly would come and coach football for my favorite team and make it all so fun. However, I also take time to watch games involving NOT the Eagles every now and then. Not that I want to know anything about other teams, but just to remember how much best-er the Eagles are than every other team and how they’re going to win nine Super Bowls in a row.
But I figured while I watched these other teams I should take some time to examine other players. Just in case they want to sign with the Eagles down the road to get their share of those nine championships. My journey took me to Cameron Jordan, the Saints’ defensive end. Jordan, New Orleans’ 2011 first-round pick, had a breakout 2013 campaign. In his first year playing in Rob Ryan’s KILL FUCKING KILL 3-4 scheme, Jordan racked up 12.5 sacks and made it to the Pro Bowl.
I’m not here to talk about Cameron Jordan, though. Just know that he does wonderful things on the football field and also on Twitter, and my friend John Michael loves him endlessly for both of those things. The reason that I can’t say anything about Jordan yet is that I’ve only watched two games so far. While I watched the second game, a beautiful shooting star of ineptitude stole my focus. I’m talking about the Greg Schiano-led 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Man, are they fun. At least on this particular Sunday, the team was an amalgam of missteps, bungles and bed-shittings.
In fairness, I know that all of these things I’m about to highlight are mental mistakes that plague every football team at some point (except the Eagles when they mess up it’s just the Illuminati trying to ruin Chip Kelly’s perfect plan for perfect football damn Jay-Z like why do you even care about football bro). With that being said, watching these mistakes happen to a team led by an authoritative shitcunt like Greg Schiano massively multiplies the fun. If I wrote out the number by which it multiplies my viewing pleasure this post would be considered some serious #longform journalism. By the way, a post like this pointing out mistakes by players and coaches alike is EXACTLY why the NFL didn’t want All-22 to be viewed by the public. This is why we can’t have nice things.
And here are my top 5 moments from watching the Saints-Bucs Week 2 game, in chronological order:
1. HOLY CRAP JOSH FREEMAN IS PLAYING QUARTERBACK.
Do you remember? Do you remember that Josh Freeman was a starting quarterback? He was a first-round draft pick. He was a potential franchise QB. And now he’s just trying to find a team. Fuck, dude. If you want to see some sad shit, go on Rotoworld’s page for Josh Freeman and read his player news. Go back to Dec 31, 2012 and then read up until the end of last season. Freeman didn’t play terribly in this game against the Saints. He made a few plays, but he never had the offense running smoothly for anything longer than 4 plays in a row. So, you know, pretty Josh Freeman-y. #Memories
2. HAHAHA MARK BARRON YOU FOOL ‘BAMA STILL SUCKS
So Jimmy Graham had a 56 yard touchdown in this game. It was a lot easier than you’d expect for a team’s top passing option. Let’s show you just how easy it was:
Here we see the Saints in ’12’ personnel- one running back, two tight ends. The Bucs are in a 4-3 Under look, where the defensive line sets up away from the offense’s strong side, with the weakside linebacker (Will) stepping up toward the line. Behind the front seven, the Bucs are showing a two-deep safety look, which usually denotes a form of cover 2.
In a typical Cover 2 zone, the two safeties split the deep zones into two. To make up for the sweet, gushy vulnerability in the middle, the middle linebacker (Mike) hauls ass back and covers any passes down the deep middle (seen here in red). The two corners and other linebackers make up four underneath defenders. Meanwhile, four rushers go and try to make friends with the quarterback.
HOWEVER, we see Bucs safety and former Crimson Tide star Mark Barron start to creep toward the line before the snap. Drew Brees notices this, and makes an adjustment, because you shouldn’t fuck with Drew Brees.
Look at Drew, just switching the call like a champ. Let’s see how this goes for our sweet prince.
The ball is snapped, Brees pumps once toward his right to freeze the safety, then looks back left. And what do we have here? Every player on the Bucs is running cover 2. Look at Mason Foster, the middle ‘backer, just retreating to his seam spot. Look at Dashon Goldson, covering his deep half of the field. Well, every Buc except Mark Barron. Seems that he decided to play as an underneath defender. Every Buccaneer gets a gold star on this play except for Barron. You get a dunce hat, Mark. As Barron is getting his hat fitted, Jimmy Graham is running fast. I wonder how that’s going to end up.
He’s, uh, kind of open there, guys. And for the grand finale?
ROLL DAMN BLOWN COVERAGES.
3. Brian Leonard’s 0-yard Gain is a Sight to Behold
If you look up this moment in the play-by-play it just reads “B. Leonhard left end to TB 38 for no gain (C. Lofton).” Where NFL history sees a meaningless run, I see a masterpiece. Let’s go back to the All-22 and my poorly-drawn lines to illustrate what happens!
Here we see the Bucs lined up in ’21’personnel- two running backs and one tight end for those keeping count. The Saints are lined up in what is essentially a 4-3 with a bit of tweaking along the front four. Also, the Saints’ rookie heat-seeking missile/safety Kenny Vaccaro is acting as one of the three linebackers, because he likes to hit things with his body. Notice how the Saints’ two deep men are both at least fifteen yards from the line of scrimmage, giving the Bucs only seven defenders in the box to deal with.
The Bucs run a zone to the strong side, with fullback Erik Lorig leading Leonhard between the guard and tackle. The Bucs will leave Cameron Jordan on the backside unblocked, giving the Bucs a six-on-six blocking matchup before Lorig even has to account for someone.
The play starts out swimmingly. Look at that hole! If the tight end gets to the strong side linebacker, Brian Leonhard has an escort to the second level of the Saints’ defense. All Gabe Carimi has to do is take out Curtis Lofton. He’s got a head full of steam and the angle on Lofton, so THIS IS IT. THIS IS BRIAN LEONHARD’S MOMENT, AMERICA.
Oh no. Carimi fell over nothing. Like, actually nothing. I watched this play like the motherfucking Zapruder film. I’m pretty goddamn sure he didn’t trip over the center’s foot. Carimi just ate shit. What say you, Curtis Lofton?
Thought so. You could also blame Lorig here for not picking up Lofton as he came through the hole, but Lorig probably saw Carimi headed for Lofton and assumed he was blocked. Sorry, Brian Leonhard. Streets is rough. By the way: did you know that the Bears drafted Carimi as a tackle in the first round of 2011? And on that play he was playing as a guard? And he’s about to start training camp with the Falcons, his third team so far? Somebody needs to make an “It Gets Better” video for struggling offensive linemen.
4. THE GHOST OF ANDY REID MAKES HIS WAY TO TAMPA BAY
Here are two back to back plays from the second quarter:
(10:43) (Field Goal formation) G. Hartley 43 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Right, Center- J.Drescher, Holder- L. McCown.
(10:38) PENALTY on TB, Delay of Game, 5 yards, enforced at TB 33 – No Play.
Just amazing. Never underestimate a team’s ability to commit a delay of game AFTER A CHANGE OF POSSESSION. I don’t have any raw data here, but I feel like that doesn’t happen often. As an Eagles fan, I’m just glad to see that it doesn’t only happen to Andy Reid-coached teams.
Freeman: “What? 25 second play clock after a change of possession? You sure? I still think you’re fucking with me, man.”
He fed up.
WE NEED TO REUNITE THESE TWO MEN. SCHIANO/FREEMAN FOREVER.
5. KEEP THE BORDERS SAFE. STOP THIS ILLEGAL FORMATION
In the third quarter, with the Bucs down 13-7, Josh Freeman did what most of us would do if we played with Vincent Jackson: he threw the ball as far as he fucking could, and let Vincent go and fucking get it. The result was a 73-yard touchdown. It’s true! Look at this photo of Jackson welcoming Vaccaro to the NFL:
Yeah, shit happens, Kenny. Turns out that play actually went for -5 yards, because the Bucs committed an illegal formation penalty. Right tackle Demar Dotson wasn’t lined up on the line. It was the Bucs’ second illegal formation penalty on the day. Football is cruel.
I harbor no ill will toward the Buccaneers players or the city of Tampa Bay. I know that these plays happen to every team. The Bucs made some great plays, specifically on the defensive side. They ended up holding the Saints to 16 total points, and the Bucs’ D scored seven themselves (while taking away a FG opportunity from the Saints) with Mason Foster’s incredible pick 6. But I like to think that on a nice July evening with friends and family, Greg Schiano starts to pour himself another lemonade. As the beverage nears the rim of the glass, these plays start to flash into Schiano’s mind. He gets so overcome with rage that he shits himself sideways and crushes the glass in his hand. Then he sends a pair of soiled pants and a medical bill for a lacerated hand to Josh Freeman’s house.
BRING BACK SCHIANO AND FREEMAN, TAMPA. BUT LEAVE THE MRSA BEHIND BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS GROSS.