The improvement in the linebacking corps and defensive backfield will both combat this concept, which is almost identical to one of Jay Gruden’s favorites, which we will mention later. Andre Johnson motions to the opposite side of the formation, and since Adam Jones stays put the Bengals have identified that they are in a Cover 3 zone.
The Bengals are geared up to stop the run, and rightfully so. Especially with T.J. Yates at quarterback, but even now with Schaub, shutting down the running game is essential to beating the Texans. Houston runs a play action pass, and the linebackers over-commit to stopping the run, opening up the middle of the field.
The tight end and Johnson run patterns designed to cross up the zone-defenders, or rub off defenders in man coverage, with Johnson running down the seam. He blows past Nate Clements and Yates has no problem putting the ball on him because the linebackers have been sucked in so hard by the run fake. In this year’s match-up, Hall would be manning that side of the field, and Bufict or Lamur would be playing the seam route underneath.
The 40-yard touchdown to Johnson in last season’s Wild Card match-up was against Jones, however, and although Pacman has improved in coverage, he is still susceptible to bite on a double move. Even the best zone cornerback, Asante Samuel, will be exposed gambling, but Jones showed last week that he is still susceptible to a double move with only a single-high safety and may bite too hard to recover.
With Kevin Walter running a vertical route on the opposite side, Crocker was not able to cover enough ground to stay on top of Johnson, either, although that should always be a priority. Despite being in man coverage, Jones is caught with his eyes in the backfield when Johnson comes out of his break and does not see him cut upfield until it is too late. This is something that may become troublesome if the Texans try to isolate Johnson on Jones.
The Bengals can play the best coverage on Johnson by generating pressure up front. When Schaub is under pressure, he has a tendency to make errant throws.