Week 1 X’s & O’s Review: A.J. Green vs. Revis

Week 1 Film Study–An X’s & O’s look at a big play from the past week in the NFL, Darrelle Revis and A.J. Green:

Bengals Play Action Yankee Concept TD vs. Jets Cover 3

Week 1 resulted in quite a bit of buzz around Darrelle Revis and his subpar performance against the Bengals. One particular play was a 54-yard touchdown to A.J. Green. Let’s take a further look and break down exactly what happened.

Below, the Bengals are running a play action Yankee Concept with a wide receiver running orbit motion behind the quarterback and running back. A.J. Green is at the top of the screen running a deep over, while Brandon LaFell is at the bottom of the screen running a deep crosser. Revis is lined up outside of the motion man and Green:

Bengals PA Yankee

The Jets are playing Cover 3, which means the safety and both cornerbacks will cover a deep third of the field (seen in green), while underneath defenders (boxed in white) will cover underneath:

Jets Cover 3

As the play develops, the coverage must adjust responsibilities according to the routes; the deep middle of field safety comes up to cover LaFell’s crosser and passes A.J. Green’s deep over route and middle third coverage to Revis. The basic assignments can be seen in a similar version of the Yankee concept below the Jets vs. Bengals diagram:

C3 communicate

General over route rules

However, the design of the Bengals play and motion makes the Jets coverage adjustment more difficult. Because of the orbit motion, Revis starts the play nearly a full 5 yards outside of A.J. Green. In a race to the middle of the field, A.J. Green will beat just about anybody with a 5-yard head start:

Also note that as the play develops, the underneath defenders get sucked into the play action, creating space underneath for LaFell’s crosser. If this play is run in a different situation, the underneath zone defenders may not come up hard for the play action. Instead, they may sink into their zone and cover LaFell, which may keep the single high safety in his deep third as opposed to coming up to play the crosser.

Overall, while Revis had his struggles Sunday, this touchdown was an example of good play design putting the Jets defense in a bind.

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