Re: Let Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis Play Over Laura Maroney...
posted at 10/9/2009 2:44 AM EDT
As a somewhat more educated casual viewer, I'm almost certain they run this play to Maroney more than half of the time from the same personnel set (11 - 1 tight end, 1 running back):
And the line gets their a**es handed to them almost every time. I think it's gotten so predictable that they're going to run this play when Maroney is in the game that it's easy for defenses to defend. If the line fires off the line of scrimmage and flow goes in one or the other direction, the play is obvious. Faulk and Taylor have had a lot of their success running from the shotgun formation on draws or in passing situations. I also noticed that Maroney has more success on play calls that are straight ahead runs (3-4yds/carry). I think at the very least they should start running counters. I haven't seen one counter all year. At the rate that they're getting defenses to bite on the stretch play, they should at least run a counter to make them pay for overplaying to one side of the field. But even more importantly, I'd like to see Maroney get opportunities to run in other formations in non-running situations to see what he can do. I also like him in space, especially after he made that linebacker miss on his run-and-catch last week. I'd like to see if he can split out wide like Morris did, catch the ball, and make someone miss (or use his stiff arm, which is an excellent stiff arm).
Yes, I think Maroney should cut it up the field and get what he can (Taylor has had a couple carries this year where he managed to make himself small by turning his body kind of sideways and getting the 2-3 yds that were there), but no I don't think the fault is entirely his. I think it also falls on the line to execute their zone blocking (which is when the whole line steps in the same direction and then blocks whoever is in front of them; I'm almost certain that this is the blocking scheme when the Patriots run their version of the stretch play) and on the play calling (something other than that same stretch play) to help give Maroney no excuses.
By the way, Taylor got injured on that same stretch play. He lost 2 yards. It was the third quarter. I don't think it was just Maroney getting killed by that play.
Also, the Patriots ran a few play action passes with Maroney in the backfield last week against the Ravens with some success, and I think part of the success was the apparent obviousness of Maroney getting the ball when he's on the field in single back formation. Brady's return to form will force defenses to play more honestly, which should open up running room for everybody.
Either way, it's important for whoever carries the ball this week to take what's there immediately because the Broncos' front seven is evidently very fast - if so, then they'll rally to the ball if there's any hesitation.
I think our line could just run them over and plow ahead, though, so we'll see.