Since we're on the subject of grades, check out this incredibly interesting article
featuring analysis by ESPN's Matt Bowen of the play that led to Xavier Rhodes' pick-six. He grades the Vikings execution as "almost perfect."
For those of you who haven't yet become fans of Andrew Sendejo, check this out.
Matt Bowen of ESPN wrote:"The first thing here is the safety play -- look at Sendejo, look at his technique," Bowen said. "That's perfect. He stays square, gets into his pedal, and he opens his hips to [Larry] Fitzgerald. He's anticipating the dig route, or the square-in. That's exactly what you want, because now he's in a position where if they throw that ball, that's a pick, too."
And of course, there's Harrison Smith.
Matt Bowen of ESPN wrote:"For young safeties to study, if you watch Harrison Smith, he's going before the ball is even out," Bowen said. "Go find work. I always say that to my high school DBs -- go find work. If you stay square, if you're Harrison Smith, and you're reading the quarterback, you're doing your job. That's what the chalkboard says to do. But the next step to become a productive football player at any level is, 'Look -- the quarterback's eyes are to the open side of the formation. I'm going.' Who knows what happens? He's trying to find an area where he can make a play. And that's important.
"To me, young safeties don't do that. They do their job, 'Alignment and assignment, I'm good.' The next step is, 'How do I start making plays.' Watch Harrison Smith. That's one of the ways you do it. You start anticipating and saying, 'Hey -- this is where the football is going. I'm going to be aggressive, I'm going to help my teammates and hopefully, I'm going to go make a play.' That's making the scheme more aggressive. It's not anymore just a chalkboard defense."
I love in-depth articles like this. An entire article analyzing ONE PLAY. So cool.
Our defense has the ability to do great things. We've seen that. Somehow, the offense needs to find a way to consistently do enough to get us over the top.