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kurgan

kurgan's Coach/Film room

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A mixture of quarantine, idle hands and 42 years of playing/coaching experience has led to this...

I felt a rush when I did my study/write-up on Eric Ebron on that thread, and also saw the YouTube video that @MOSteelers56 posted about the future of the Steelers defense, and I wanted to see if you all were interested in using my 'talents' to answer any questions about the Steelers or football in general.  I have time on my hands now as I am a high school teacher, and my kids are ELearning, and I am trying to not do stuff around the house for the wife.  I would love to get into discussions about whatever you guys want to talk about regarding all aspects of football.  

A little about me... I played football through high school, a bit in college, and then promptly became a high school coach.  I've coached for 20 years, being a Defensive Line coach, Defensive Coordinator, OL Line coach, Offensive Coordinator before now settling in as DL coach again and Asst Head Coach as I wind my career down.  I've coached on 2 State Championship teams (05 and 07), and I have 2 kids in the league now (1 will be drafted as well).  I also coach soccer at my high school, and have been doing that for 18 years.

I'm an old school film junkie... 'the eye in the sky don't lie...'  I don't believe anything till I see it on tape.  I watch tape all day, and break down tendencies.  I am also OCD, so I am a formation/personnel guy and break down film the old way on index cards and charts.

The only thing I will not be able to do is post film and stuff.  I am a dinosaur, and I know nothing about the world of YouTube/editing videos.  So, I will write everything out... I can't do the fancy video like the one on the other thread, but I am good at typing, so I will do it that way.

So... anyway... if you all are interested, or have any questions... let me know.  I will try to stay away from stuff like "why does _____ suck?"  This is not necessarily a player vent thread, but more of a scheme/formation/X's and O's type idea.  If you want an example of what I am talking about, go look at the Ebron thread and I did a big writeup on him and how he fits into our offense.  I will also answer any questions you have about basic stuff like offensive and defensive formations, concepts, stuff like that.

So, if you have any Steelers questions, personnel/player questions or basic football questions, FIRE AWAY.  Consider this like a Reddit AMA... I will do my best to answer!!!

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I would love to read a breakdown on Devin Bush, how his role changed and how he may have improved as the season went on and how you anticipate his role/growth going into next season. 

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I would like to see something about the o-line. How was Feiler at RT? How did he look at LG? How bad was Ramon Foster? How much of the running game problems were on the O-line? All sorts of stuff.

But @bigben07MVP suggestion is more interesting to me. I’d like to see something about all of our ILBs. How bad was Vince? How do you think we replace Barron?

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Awesome ideas, guys.  I will get started immediately.  I will cull some film and break stuff down.

I'll start with Devin Bush.  I have always leaned more defense in my coaching, so he will be a fun study.  It will be fun to look at him across the season and see where he was, and then put on my coaching hat and envision where I think he will go.

I will put OL in the hopper and look at that after.  I love talking personnel and movement, so that should be a lot of fun.

I will start Devin Bush tonight... these are going to be in depth breakdowns, so they might take a few days.   If you guys or anyone else have any basic questions that need answered in the meantime, I can do that at the same time.  One of my favorite shows is Fast 'N Loud, and they always do a big build while flipping other cars to make money.  So, while I am working on the big build (Bush, OL), if there are any other questions that are easier to answer, I can do those in the meantime.

If there is anything anyone ever wanted to know from a coaches POV or anything like that... different nuances, calls, personnel groupings, game decisions, etc, etc... fire away.

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On 4/11/2020 at 1:45 PM, bigben07MVP said:

I would love to read a breakdown on Devin Bush, how his role changed and how he may have improved as the season went on and how you anticipate his role/growth going into next season. 

Ok... time to talk a little about Devin Bush.

First, lemme say that there are a TON of rabbitholes that I wanted to go down.  But, I am trying to just look at just the evolution of Bush and how his year 1 was, and where I see him in year 2.  

On 4/11/2020 at 4:05 PM, MOSteelers56 said:

But @bigben07MVP suggestion is more interesting to me. I’d like to see something about all of our ILBs. How bad was Vince? How do you think we replace Barron?

I will do all the ILB's later... that started as one of my rabbit holes and I had to put it away for right now.  There is so much meat on that bone, and I will come back to it.  That may be one I save for after the draft, since I feel like some of the answer is there.

OK, Devin Bush.

First, the numbers.  Bush got 82% of the snaps.  That is real good for a rookie.  His low was the Rams game at 45% (we will get to why later) and he had 100% vs. the 49'ers and the first Cincy game (also the games VWill was hurt).  We play base in 31.3% of snaps, and subpackage in 69%.  So, this tells me that he was in the plan regardless of formation.  The ONLY personnel package that I think he was out on was Dime.  We are a 16% dime team, and with 1 ILB, Barron was on, from my hit chart.

Without going down this rabbit hole too far;  it seems like the formations were:  Base=VWill and Barron/Bush---- Nickel was Barron and Bush----- Dime was just Barron.  This is a bit simplistic, but for now, that is how we split time.  Now, nickel needs to be broken down more (another rabbit hole) as we run AT LEAST 4 types of nickel.

OK, numbers out of the way for now, we move to part #2, film.  Now, I am still teaching, so I just looked for highlights of the games, and broke down plays off of that.  Not what I would do in season, for sure, but with me still teaching and also lack of my ability to get film at hand, this will have to do.

OK, so Bush is what we thought he would be.  He is small, but he reads run plays super fast and diagnoses them, then attacks down hill.  One of the things that leapt out to me was how small he is.  You really see it when he hits the hole and almost vanishes.  But, he is excellent at keeping clean and his pad level low and exploding into and out of the line.  He knifes through and gets tackles.

Now, the issue that Bush had was coverage.  He got exposed vs. the Pats, Seahawks and 49'ers several times (in fairness, a lot of guys did).  We ran a lot of Man coverage early, and when locked up with RB's he was fine, but once they picked or rubbed him... he was toast.  This is where his diagnosing got him in trouble.  He read run, false stepped and he tried to recover, but it was too late.  Even in his zone drops, he was not where he needed to be.  When we went Cover 3, he was supposed to get to hook/curl and did not make it.  Or, he did not pass off the drag route and that hurt him.  For the season, he had team worst 46 completions allowed for 435 and 5 TDs and with a 97% QB rating allowed.

As we rolled along in season, we hit an OK patch, for me.  He was splitting time in base with Barron, and manning nickel with Barron.  He ran off 4 straight games of 90%+ snaps, and looked OK.  Then, for some reason in Week 9, we played the Rams and he was down to 45%.  Now, from what I could tell, we brought out, game planned and used Dime a lot that game.  Since Barron was the green dot, he was the dimebacker, and he was on the field.  I could not get a full snap/formation breakdown of that game, but I have to assume we were not in dime 55% of the time, so I wonder why he was off.  I would have to assume it was coverage based knowing his struggles there and the emergence of Barron in that aspect. 

Maybe he had a nagging injury (I think he had ankle vs. Chargers and a hip at some point), but he cooled way off and went 77, 61 and then fell into a groove of 70's and 80's into the tail end of the schedule.  Maybe he hit the rookie wall so to speak, or he was such a liablity in coverage that they just went with Barron more, but he did end with 94.  Film of the Baltimore game shows him very active and involved in the game, so he was basically the same player, so maybe it was conservation or injury management.

Overall, in a summation standpoint, he has to grow as a cover backer.  Now, base nickel is with one cover backer and with one stay backer, so he was fine in that role.  He was actually very good in the base assignments as well, as he was great in a run-first role.  Right now, UG3 would assume Barron's role, and Bush is the vet, but he would not be tasked with covering as much.  Regardless of our personnel, he has to get better in the coverage aspect of his game.  Now, I have confidence he will, as he sees more concepts and watches more film.  It sucks that we are losing this offseason, but hopefully he is good enough that he will grow on his own and see what he needs to change.

The question I have is, I assume he will take over the green dot role and be on the field in dime.  In most dimes, he will be the only ILB, so he has to know where he has to drop to or who his guy is.  With Barron gone, I assume he will take this role.  Now, again, we are not a heavy dime team, but enough that we have to know who covers what.

As a coach, I expect him to grow in to what we think he will be.  He will always be small, he will always need to be wary of injuries and what offenses are doing to him.  He will need a road dog like VWill beside him in base to keep him clean, and will need a cover backer/safety type to work with in nickel.  But, as a true MLB sniffer, we won out.

Expecting 82% of snaps year after year is crazy, but he might be the dude to do it.  He could grow into 85%+ like Heyward/Tuitt/Haden/Nelson, and that would be awesome.  I could see him take over the green dot next year and really grow into that role.

@bigben07MVP, hope this answered your questions... if you need any followup, please ask.

@MOSteelers56, I will start pulling OL stuff and looking at that, and saving the other ILB/Barron stuff for after the draft.

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Well broken down @kurgan thank you UG3 is a curious case. He looked good in coverage In the preseason last year but I really wonder if he can step into the Barron role full time next year. 

I thought Bush wore the green dot at times last year but I could be wrong. 

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13 hours ago, bigben07MVP said:

I thought Bush wore the green dot at times last year but I could be wrong. 

I found references to VWill wearing it, TJ Watt wearing it, and Barron.  I could not find a breakdown, but I never saw the green dot in clips I watched of Bush

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Nice work! He is a See Ball Get Ball ILB and quite good at it.  It's no surprise he needs to improve in Coverage.  That will come with experience but I don't think that will ever be his calling card.  

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15 minutes ago, Chieferific said:

Nice work! He is a See Ball Get Ball ILB and quite good at it.  It's no surprise he needs to improve in Coverage.  That will come with experience but I don't think that will ever be his calling card.  

Yea... and I was happy to see it translated to the pros.  I was worried his size would kill him but he is quite effecient.  He does have a nasty false step that needs to be corrected, but otherwise the fundamentals are there.

I just think he needs to 'see' the passes faster.  I think at Michigan he was a heat seeking missile that attacked run, and did not have much pass coverage.  He needs to work on it.  Also, I forgot in my write up, he sucks vs TEs.  Not a surprise with the size differential, but just a note anyway.

My concern is that he needs a strong cover guy with him in nickel.  Barron was not the best, but he was a + pass defender.  I worry about UG3 being that guy.  Could a guy like Wallace, Edmunds or even Minkah be that guy??  IDK... the thing that intrigues me is if you drop a guy like Sutton.

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3 minutes ago, kurgan said:

Yea... and I was happy to see it translated to the pros.  I was worried his size would kill him but he is quite effecient.  He does have a nasty false step that needs to be corrected, but otherwise the fundamentals are there.

I just think he needs to 'see' the passes faster.  I think at Michigan he was a heat seeking missile that attacked run, and did not have much pass coverage.  He needs to work on it.  Also, I forgot in my write up, he sucks vs TEs.  Not a surprise with the size differential, but just a note anyway.

My concern is that he needs a strong cover guy with him in nickel.  Barron was not the best, but he was a + pass defender.  I worry about UG3 being that guy.  Could a guy like Wallace, Edmunds or even Minkah be that guy??  IDK... the thing that intrigues me is if you drop a guy like Sutton.

We've discussed this before and seem to be on the same page.  I think the "plan" is to have a Baron-type (but better) lined up next to him.  Let him shoot gaps and take shallow Zones.  Let "Baron 2.0" handle TEs, RB Wheel Routes...etc.  I don't think UG3 is that guy.  Could be tho.  Haven't seen enough to know for sure.  

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3 minutes ago, Chieferific said:

We've discussed this before and seem to be on the same page.  I think the "plan" is to have a Baron-type (but better) lined up next to him.  Let him shoot gaps and take shallow Zones.  Let "Baron 2.0" handle TEs, RB Wheel Routes...etc.  I don't think UG3 is that guy.  Could be tho.  Haven't seen enough to know for sure.  

Kind of seems like finding that second type of ILB is going to be hard. Seems like a rare player and it kind of makes me wish we didn’t trade up for an ILB that can’t cover.

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1 minute ago, Chieferific said:

We've discussed this before and seem to be on the same page.  I think the "plan" is to have a Baron-type (but better) lined up next to him.  Let him shoot gaps and take shallow Zones.  Let "Baron 2.0" handle TEs, RB Wheel Routes...etc.  I don't think UG3 is that guy.  Could be tho.  Haven't seen enough to know for sure.  

I don't think it can be one guy, TBH.  I don't want to give too much away for my next project, but Barron, for all of his warts, was pretty unique.  UG3 may be that guy in time, but he is not now.  Wallace (who we got in FFMD) is not that guy either, but allows Minkah/Edmunds to be more flexible, but neither is that guy.  It will all have to be schemed, but sometimes it could be UG3, sometimes Edmunds, sometimes Minkah, sometimes Rookie X.

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IIRC Gilbert was more of a chase and tackle guy in college too right? I vaguely remember he was a similar player to Bush. 

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6 minutes ago, kurgan said:

I don't think it can be one guy, TBH.  I don't want to give too much away for my next project, but Barron, for all of his warts, was pretty unique.  UG3 may be that guy in time, but he is not now.  Wallace (who we got in FFMD) is not that guy either, but allows Minkah/Edmunds to be more flexible, but neither is that guy.  It will all have to be schemed, but sometimes it could be UG3, sometimes Edmunds, sometimes Minkah, sometimes Rookie X.

It won't be until they find that guy.  Ideally they find a better Baron to take that 60%.  I'd rather not move Edmunds or Fitz regularly.  But as suggested, it won't be easy.  

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10 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

Kind of seems like finding that second type of ILB is going to be hard. Seems like a rare player and it kind of makes me wish we didn’t trade up for an ILB that can’t cover.

Its the new NFL, unfortunatley.  I am happy we got Bush... we had no one to do what he does, so now we need a Robin to his Batman, so to speak.  Before Bush, we didn't even have a Batman.

8 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

IIRC Gilbert was more of a chase and tackle guy in college too right? I vaguely remember he was a similar player to Bush. 

I think I always saw him as an athletic LB.  Not a chase and tackle guy per se, but a SPARQ-y ILB.  I think we have visions of Barron with him.

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