FanPost

What Vince does for the Running Game

89 yards play for Chris Johnson (via AmiableJason)


The play above is a microcosm of what Vince does for the running game.  It appears to be a zone read, though to be completely honest, it's possible this could just be a designed run for Chris Johnson.  Either way, it's not especially important.

 

Vince takes the snap out of the shotgun.  Daryl Smith (#52) recognizes this play, and hesitates in anticipation of Vince keeping the ball.  You'll also notice just a slight hesitation out of Scott Starks (#31) and Justin Durant (#56).  The pauses by these two isn't nearly as noticeable as Daryl Smith, but it is equally significant. 

 

Daryl Smith is now immediately out of position and now dealt the impossible task of tracking down Chris Johnson from behind.  The split second that Durant waits gives Mawae enough time to get up field and engage him, eliminating his chance of pursuit.  Similarly, the Starks gets engaged while he's identifying who has the ball, as opposed to immediately beginning going after CJ.  This becomes even more important at the end of the play because this fraction of a second kills his chance of stopping Johnson from breaking off the huge run as he runs up field.

 

Obviously, this run probably doesn't happen with anyone else in the NFL other than CJ.  He finds a crease, makes one defender miss, and breaks another tackle.  Then his track star speed does the rest.  But, it's important to notice that Vince's threat of a run does have an impact.  And, with a guy as explosive as CJ, even just a half of a step can mean the difference between an 8 yard gain and a touchdown.

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