BSL Ravens Film Room: Much More to the Gillmore TD (that wasn’t)
In Saturday’s 31-13 loss to the Redskins, that made headlines for some of the wrong reasons, one of the stand out plays was second year tight end, Crockett Gillmore, putting on a display of power, trucking through multiple defenders en route to the endzone. Unfortunately, the play would be be called back on an offensive pass interference well away from the action itself. But impressive on Gillmore nonetheless.
Let’s take a look at the entire play. We’ll see how Gillmore got open to begin with, the options Joe Flacco had, or could have had on this one, and why poor blocking cost Marlon Brown a much needed opportunity to show his skills in an otherwise quiet preseason for him.
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First. The Ravens come out with a trips set on the right, giving Kamar Aiken one on one coverage on the left. Had he not been ejected shortly prior to this scenario, Steve Smith Sr. may have been in the one on one situation. Something teams often exploit when they use trips, to force the defense to one side, allowing their best receiver a better shot at getting open. The Redskins are in a nickel set with five DBs on the field, circled in red. No one went in motion prior to the snap, so we did not know if the Redskins were playing zone or man coverage.
Second. It would be zone coverage by the Redskins. This is a very complex series of events, so we will evaluate it from the top of the screen, down. As we know, the play was called back by offensive PI called on Aiken. There is Aiken about to make his cut toward sideline, and we see the outstretched arms. The broadcast team didn’t see it, but the push off will get called every time. Next, Look at where Joe Flacco is looking. The LB, Riley Jr., flashed blitz at the snap, then reverted to assist with the one on one coverage on Aiken, likely because Joe looking that way, gave him no choice with single high safety help over the middle, not the left. Also, Buck Allen hasn’t appeared out from the backfield yet, so Riley Jr. can’t lurk over the middle and seek him out taking away a check down opportunity. In the trips package, Marlon Brown engages with Ihenacho. Darren Waller engages with Rogers. Amerson has to stick in his zone on along the sidelines in case Waller, who is sort of running an out route similar to Aiken, though not a crisp one, decides to turn it up field into a wheel route. Brown and Waller clear the road, and Gillmore has a clear lane to run through.
Third. What are Flacco’s options? His first read is to the one on one with Aiken who didn’t win right away. Darren Waller is all decoy as he isn’t even looking for the ball. His job was to clear space for Gillmore, Flacco’s second read. Left tackle, Jah Reid, is the one face down with his butt in the air. Not an ideal blocking stance. Flacco senses the pressure, and unloads to Gillmore who splits the defenders. But what if Reid made his blocks and Flacco had two more seconds to continue his progression? The third look is to Marlon Brown. When Ihenahco sees Allen wide open underneath, he breaks to take away the check down, leaving a LB in Robinson to cover Brown (total mismatch) and safety help over the top. But Brown’s route is a post where he would have easily gotten past Robinson and settled underneath he deep safety Goldson. Futhermore, with enough time, Flacco could have pump faked to Brown or Gillmore, freezing the safety, and allowing the other of the two receivers to come even more open. The fourth read for Flacco, had Amerson engaged Gillmore, and Ihenacho or Goldson stuck to Brown, is Allen underneath. With all the clearing out by the receivers, Allen should be able to pick up first down yardage.
Finally, the ball is in the air. Gillmore hauls it in and eludes 1, 2, 3 tackles to find paydirt. Meanwhile. With a little extra time, Marlon Brown has enough room to have himself a picnic, and catch a pass, and walk in for a score. A little easier route than Gillmore had to take to get his. Unfortunate that this was all for not on the score board.
Keys on this play:
1. Everyone must do their part. If Waller doesn’t keep the attention of both Rogers and Amerson, Amerson can easily target Gillmore taking him out of the play. With Flacco only having time to make his second read, this would have been a sack, possibly fumble from the blind side hit, if Gillmore was covered. Reid needed to do a better job blocking. Plain and simple. Even without the penalty, this could have been a negative play had Washington simply been playing man. Again, we didn’t know until the snap.
2. Flacco looking off one of the blitzers early. Ultimately it may have bought him another second. It also meant that Allen didn’t have to step up and block him, which could have taken him out of the check down. Though sometimes they do slip out and catch passes after throwing a block. Also on Flacco, hell of a job sensing the pressure, staying poised in the pocket, and firing a bullet to Gillmore. Floating the ball in there would have led to hanging your man out to dry and getting rocked. A great job by Flacco all around that no one will talk about because the play was called back, and Gillmore was the feature with his powerful running.
3. This looks like a play designed by Marc Trestman that no matter the circumstances, someone would be open. Whether it be Aiken winning one on one. If the safety bites on Brown’s post route, Gillmore is open up the seam. If he bites on Gillmore up the seam, Brown is open on the deep post. If they aren’t there, Allen is the easy check down, and maybe has to beat one guy to move the chains.
In the future, If I’m Trestman or Flacco, and I see single high safety coverage. I’m always audibling to make two guys run deep in the middle, and make the safety pick only one. Hit the open one. Just hope your O-Line can keep you upright long enough for it to develop that far.