Week in Review: Bengals Film Study: Zimmer’s Fingerprints All Over Dolphins’ D
By Shawn Maher
Dolphins’ Zimmer-Inspired Blitz Package: O-Line Must Keep their Heads on a Swivel
Karlos Dansby delays his blitz until after the running back decides he is in coverage and leaves for the flat. He goes in unnoticed behind Jared Odrick.
In this play, the Dolphins’ defensive tackles again align over the guards and the Cardinals’ center uncovered. After the ball is snapped, Dansby moves closer to the line, but watches the running back. Left defensive tackle Randy Starks starts with an outside move then twists back inside. As the center moves to pick up Starks, the running back releases to the flat thinking Dansby is not blitzing.
Dansby mirrors the running back, hides behind Odrick to his right, and then shoots in unblocked for the sack.
In their nickel package, the Dolphins often have a three man front, with Koa Misi returning to his familiar pass-rushing outside linebacker position. Cameron Wake still aligns in a 9 technique to utilize his speed.
In their 3-3-5 nickel package, the Dolphins align with Misi as a stand-up rusher aligned wide. On the opposite end, Wake has spent the game aligning in the Wide 9 technique, using his speed to abuse rookie right tackle Bobby Massie.
Misi occupies the tackle, while Odrick shoots inside towards the guard. Starks bull rushes the center, and now little LaRod Stephens-Howling is forced to block Dansby, who is running at him with a full head of steam. Dansby blows up the diminutive running back and disrupts the play to force the Cardinals to punt.
Dalton will have to keep awareness of the location of underneath defenders in this situation, and the line must know that any defender in the box is always a threat to rush. Luckily, veteran Andrew Whitworth is an extremely cerebral left tackle, and his understanding of blitz pickup has helped out left guard Clint Boling immeasurably.
Right tackle Andre Smith is going to have a very long day trying to keep up with Wake’s speed rush. Wake can blaze around a tackle, dipping his shoulder and turning the corner with the best of them. Wake does not have a great counter-move when rushing, so if Smith can get his hands on Wake with a good punch, he should be able to contain him.
Gresham may end up chipping Wake on every play to help Smith get a head start, since Wake will be aligned over him. If Wake does manage to apply enough pressure, Gresham could end up disappearing from the stat column in order to keep Dalton upright.
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