The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

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Film Study of Panthers WR Steve Smith

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At Dallas Morning News, I proposed a way for the Cowboys to limit Steve Smith’s production this week. Specifically, I took a look at how the Seahawks were able to do it in Week 5.

On a 1st and 10 at their own 23-yard line, the Panthers called for base “21” personnel—two running backs, one tight end, and two receivers. In a form of a weak pistol formation, Smith was lined up to the bottom of the frame.

Cornerback Brandon Browner was aligned seven yards off of the ball at the snap. As the Carolina receivers got into their routes, there was really no smoke and mirrors from Seattle; they rushed their four down-linemen and played their traditional Cover 3.

Even as Smith progressed into his route, Browner maintained his cushion. He was able to do this because safety Earl Thomas, lined up near the line-of-scrimmage at the snap of the ball, sunk into his “curl-to-flat” responsibility underneath Smith. Had Smith run an out or comeback, Thomas would have been there to stop it. Thus, Browner was able to purposely play soft to defend any deep routes.

Read the entire breakdown at DMN.

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