Saints at Vikings preview: four keys to victory

dbehnken
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 21: Drew Brees
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 21: Drew Brees /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 5
Next

Pass protection

It should go without saying that blocking is critical to success. But against the Vikings defense, it is particularly important.

The Vikings defense boasts a total of six players with 2016 PFF grades above 80.0 and three of those players come on the defensive line in Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter and Linval Joseph. Hunter also ranked 15th in pass-rush productivity while linebacker Eric Kendricks recorded the seventh best run percentage among all inside linebackers. Not to mention, they have one of the best safeties in the league in Harrison Smith, who plays all over the field (free safety, slot, at the line of scrimmage, etc.).

Head Coach and defensive mind Mike Zimmer has a ton of talent on that defense and he uses it well. Below I’ve put together several plays demonstrating how Zimmer uses the Double A Gap alignment to generate pressure and cause confusion with coverage. It’s been one of his “go to” formations on defense.

As you can see, the formation can wreak havoc. The Saints must be able to recognize this alignment and properly pick up the rush. Equally as important in pass protection is the running back. Often times a free rusher is the result of the back’s failed recognition.

Luckily for the Saints, both Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson are veterans and should be up to the task. And if Ryan Ramczyk and Zach Strief are able to successfully anchor the edges, the Saints will be in a great position to win.

But the Saints’ offense relies heavily on the arm of Drew Brees. If the protection breaks down, he’s in for a long day.

facebooktwitterreddit