Tandem and Bunch Formations: Capers' Kryptonite

An excellent look at the offensive concepts that gave Capers' defense such problems last year.

Just a fantastic post over at Blitzology (hat tip: Smart Football) regarding the offensive concepts that gave the Packers' defense absolute nightmares last season.

Do you want to know why guys like Jarrett Bush and Brandon Underwood got turned around so easily against teams like the Steelers and Cardinals? Take a look below at what is only a fraction of what their coverage responsibilities might be on any given play when presented with a bunch/tandem formation and their corresponding route combos. You can bet THIS is the stuff that Capers, Perry et all will be drilling extensively this offseason.

If #1 goes under immediately the inside of the combo (SS) will take it and the outside (Corner) will squeeze to #2.
Vs. a whip route (in then back out) the DB's will stay. Once the receiver goes inside the man responsibilities are set to avoid confusion.
If #1 goes out the Corner will take it and the SS will squeeze to #2
Vs. #1 vertical the SS and Corner will pedal and maintain their bracket position. The SS must be ready for any inside breaking routes and the Corner must be ready for any outside breaking routes.
This same teaching model is then applied to covering a Bunch (3 receivers with reduced splits).
Vs. Bunch the Middle player vs. the Bunch (SS) plays press man and has #2 all the way. The press is used to disrupt the release of the bunch and help the DBs coordinate their levels. The FS and C will bracket the bunch and play the #1 and #3 receivers like Tandem. However, both receiver are off the LOS therefore both the FS and Corner will read the inside receiver's release.
If that isn't enough to send your head spinning, check out this amazingly detailed post from RUNCODHIT on some of the same concepts.
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Comments (25)

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alexwoodsiam's picture

June 21, 2010 at 03:01 pm

damn thats confusing

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maxginsberg's picture

June 21, 2010 at 03:22 pm

Wow. There are certainly times I question the competency of individual coaches, but it's pretty clear that they have an enormous amount of specialized knowledge and understanding of a complex game.

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PackersRS's picture

June 21, 2010 at 03:26 pm

Damn, I don't know squat about football. Unless I'm wrong about the terminology, I would never allign a Strong Safety to a Wr, while keeping an extra LB. Would go nickel against 3 Wrs and dime to 4 Wrs. And would press the bunch (#2) every single time...

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PackerAaron's picture

June 21, 2010 at 03:33 pm

It's the last part that would get you in trouble. If you do anything "every single time" as a coordinator, you can bet to be exploited...every single time. ;)

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PackersRS's picture

June 21, 2010 at 04:06 pm

I know, but that's how I learned to counter the bunch. Press the front guy, so that every release on that side is jammed. Thinking about it, if you don't have a big corner, putting a safety in there would be a good idea...

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alex's picture

June 21, 2010 at 03:33 pm

aaron I think you meant to post this on your psychology blog.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

June 21, 2010 at 04:17 pm

Where's the problem?

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Graffin's picture

June 22, 2010 at 04:48 pm

Exactly, paid pros. Learn it.

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nypacker's picture

June 21, 2010 at 04:58 pm

YES! Finally a cheat code for Madden! In all seriousness though I agree, I remember the NFL broadcasters from FOX mentioning how Whisenhunt kept dialing up a 2-3 WR Bunch formation out of the shotgun that totally disrupted our defense. We couldn't get a pass rush, and our DBs couldn't cover that set.

What keeps me in optimism is what Nick Barnett said on the Jim Rome show. He said the coaching staff and the players went over the film from the Pittsburgh, Arizona and both Minnesota games over and over again. He mentioned that if teams want to try what they did this season then "they're in for a surprise."

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packsmack25's picture

June 21, 2010 at 06:58 pm

All the more reason guys with little-to-no intelligence need to be purged from the defensive backfield. Like Bush.

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Jersey Al's picture

June 21, 2010 at 07:42 pm

Actually, in these examples, the coverage responsibilities are pretty clear. Offensive coordinators will get much more creative, as the Cardinals did, to present very difficult coverage assignments.

For example, in the last diagram, what happens if #3 runs right at the free safety and then breaks off a deep post. No way the corner can make it over. the free safety is forced to take the post route, leaving #2 underneath working against a linebacker. We all saw how well that worked in the playoff game.

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 22, 2010 at 04:33 pm

This is where the CB(WOODSON) needs patience to not bite quickly.If the 3 goes at FS, then SS goes with the 1 and the FS picks up the 2 and the CB gets the 3 or the FS stays man on the 3 and the Cb gets the 2 who is closer than the 3,but if the FS and CB cross or meet in the lane that ='s PI or toasted TD.
This is where Tra and Woodson need communication.The other problem will be Bigby sliding with the 1 to cover(hmm).Like Burnett already.

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Cuphound's picture

June 21, 2010 at 09:10 pm

This is why I really love Cheesehead TV. You actually <I>learn</I> about football instead of reading empty, useless prose aimed at Monday morning water coolers.

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Wiscokid's picture

June 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Aaron, are we going to get tested on this stuff? :)

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PackersRS's picture

June 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I couldn't find the original topic of discussion, so I thought I'd post it in here: Kareem Copeland is doing a very good job of tweeting the practices. He describes the happenings very well, and is always updated.

We (I) may've judged him too soon. His strenghts are definitely reporting...

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Ryeguy812's picture

June 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

"All this would be a moot point if we added a veteran pass rusher or drafted an OLB. Hard to throw the ball while on your back."
-There someone had to say it since the usual crowd hasn't chimed in on this one yet.
Great article though, might have to go re-read it though to understand everything

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 22, 2010 at 05:18 pm

So having a pass rusher gets it done every play.HEADLINES"PACKERS STOP OPPONENTS DEAD AT LINE" In an unprecedented defensive explosion,the Packers have recorded an all time sack record of 34 in a game not to mention the -28 yds rushing as they were dropped in the backfield every play they ran.
Amazing what "one little OLE pass rusher can do,hell if I knew that I'd only have OLB's on my team" said Lombardi. LOL

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Ruppert's picture

June 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

"Do you want to know why guys like Jarrett Bush and Brandon Underwood got turned around so easily against teams like the Steelers and Cardinals?"

Because Bush totally sucks and Underwood was a rookie?

Point being that I'm not so sure that Capers was the problem. You say how this stuff is "Capers'" Kryptonite...is it really? Have these formations tormented him through the years? I don't know that they have.

Don't get me wrong...it's Capers' problem to get the guys on the roster to adjust and perform better this year. No doubt about it. But it's hard to pass up an opportunity to slam Jarrett Bush...

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PackerAaron's picture

June 23, 2010 at 08:27 am

There's some truth to this - but ultimatley, it's Capers responsibility to stop the bleeding. Last year, he couldn't do it.

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 23, 2010 at 10:27 am

I don't recall seeing Capers suited up and in the huddles.There comes a time when you can't blame the coach.
My question for last year is how comfortable were the players in the new scheme.This year will tell more of who isn't getting it(mentally) done.Something tells me it's the individual effort of the player that we keep i;e physical but dumb=loser.Bush,Bigby,Ford.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

June 23, 2010 at 11:10 am

As some (or all of you) may know, I am a HUGE Soccer fan.

Congrats USA, that was some SHIZIT! Represent.

GBP 4 LIFE

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PackersRS's picture

June 23, 2010 at 11:21 am

You see Fitz??? you big hater...

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FITZCORE1252's picture

June 23, 2010 at 08:25 pm

That was pretty dang cool at the end, I must admit. Now if we could just spruce up the first 90+ minutes...

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Jeff's picture

June 28, 2010 at 06:12 pm

Hey guys,

Awesome post. You always wonder how guys could get turned around again and again. Now we know.

Have you guys ever thought about joining the Yardbarker Network (YBN)? I'm one of the co-founders and think you guys would be a great fit. Let me know if you're interested in hearing more.

Sorry to do this in the comments. I couldn't find a contact form.

Thanks,
Jeff

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PackerAaron's picture

June 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Thanks Jeff. I'll send you an email.

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