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Pass defense - an observation


In our win vs Rutgers, a key play was the interception at the end to their final drive. And that play was replayed a number of times so many of us are very familiar with it. But as I watched it I noticed that as the receiver went downfield, our defender dropped back to defend, looking directly at the QB. Then, as the receiver broke to the sideline, our defender did not break that way to defend. Instead he maintained his position and continued to stare at the QB. Thankfully the QB and receiver were out of sync, the pass went downfield instead of to the sideline, and we intercepted it.

Now everybody's happy, right? Well it occurred to me that this play was fairly indicative of our pass defense all season. Shouldn't the defender have broken to the sideline with the receiver? I know that in this case, he would not have gotten the interception, but if the pass were throw as it should have been, it would have been a completion and Rutgers would have been very close to field goal range and tying the game.

I have noticed all year that our pass defender don't seem to close on the receivers when they make their cuts, but rather just seem to hold their position in the area. I thought this play was pretty indicative of that and while it surely worked out for us on this case, it illustrates how opponents have had so many open receivers against us all year on critical 3rd down plays. Now, is it just me or is this the way we should be playing pass defense?

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