As part of something I want to do for the blog throughout the NFL season, I will be selecting one play each week where I felt as though special movement was displayed. In the post I will then breakdown some things that I felt contributed to the movement performance. In my normal fashion, I will also be very likely to make note of things that maybe could’ve been done differently, as well.
Game: Vikings at Lions
Play: A.D. makes 2013’s first attempt a house call
Actually, I should note that my close 2nd was also a play from this game where Reggie Bush took a short dump off pass and ended up going from 0-60 in a blink to split through the defense on his way to the end zone.
What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?
Obviously, people will say this is the obvious choice because of the WOW factor and suspense of it all. But, what better way to start this blog series than with the reigning MVP doing what he does best? Of course, if 2012 is any indication of what All-Day will do in 2013; his play and movement could be a weekly occurrence on this series.
What happened movement-wise on the play?
Well, to put it mildly, A.D. did what he does best…he made what should’ve been a routine first-down run (even some of the game’s higher tier backs would’ve actually been tackled by the guy coming up into the hole) and turned it into something special. Adrian has gotten much more patient in his running behind a fullback the past 2 seasons. However, he didn’t really have to display that quality here. One of my boys, Rhett Ellison, made the necessary seal block and Adrian then had to simply make one man miss (which of course, he did) and then it was off to the races. There were a few other opponent deterrents en-route to the end zone after the initial hard power cut but really they presented little challenge once he gets someone set up like that. Once he gets going linearly, very rarely is he going to be caught before pay-dirt (minus him getting sniped from cross-field last year in Seattle).
In my mind, the thing that is crazy about this play that some people may or may not realize but this was Adrian’s first real live carry the last 9 months! Sure he played throughout training camp but he never felt the ground once and never saw live bullets as he didn’t play against anyone who wasn’t wearing purple throughout camp/preseason. Plus, in any play against guys in purple he doesn’t have to be worried about them hitting him with more than thud tempo intention. Now, anyone who has seen comparisons of the biomechanical and neuromuscular characteristics of movement during closed/preplanned vs. open/chaotic conditions should acknowledge that those conditional differences will change the displayed movement considerably.
Though I still think that Adrian’s cutting actions can still improve considerably (especially with where his physical preparedness is at this time of the year), when he has a chance to set one guy up in this fashion and perform a hybrid power/speed cut after moving in a linearly, he is able to place his planting foot in a position where his body involuntarily can eccentrically control his linear speed and get himself back into an effective reacceleration position relatively easily. This is what occurred on what was technically the second cutting action of the play (i.e. the one where he was actually making the move on the defender). His planting foot in this specific situation happens to be his ACL/MCL leg from 2011. If you look at the plant of the first cut of the play, he also plants quickly off of his left. This decelerating/planting characteristic is something that I think his brain and body are still readjusting to and finding a way to self-optimization. Post-injury, while going left, he has a tendency to get his feet a little close to one another when he is about to plant; he does not push his left foot out as far as would be biomechanically optimal because of the position/angles then attained up the kinematic chain. On this play, it didn’t hamper the play/movement outcome whatsoever. However, when he is moving more off-tackle and looking to get a single cut back with defenders pursuing it sometimes shows itself yet. (On a side note: I am in the process of putting together a soon-to-be released blog about the cutting actions seen in the NFL so look forward to that!)
Adrian’s short to mid-range speed looks like midseason form of last year. His concentric force exertion in linear acceleration patterns from 1st to 3rd gear are as good as any back the NFL has ever seen (I know; thanks, Captain Obvious). However, you can see towards the end of the run his speed endurance is just a tad lacking and his movement mechanics began to breakdown. This characteristic and strength quality will come with more time and repetitions to where his efficiency and mechanics can get back in line with breaking off 60 plus yarders!
Without further adieu, here is the play. I am guessing that most of you have already seen it unless you were trapped under a rock yesterday or your significant other selected the opening day of the season to make you go shopping.