As I did last year, I will once again be selecting one play each week through the 2014 season 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: Too many to list
Play: Umm…wait and find out below
What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?
OK; I am gonna let the cat out of bag right off the bat. You may have already noticed that I gotta be up to something this week with our breakdown (based on what’s listed above) and I am: I have elected to give week 10’s Movement Play of the Week to multiple players all playing in different games.
I’ve once given it to 2 players, in 2 separate plays, in the same game (Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant in 2013)…but never 5 players, in 5 plays, in 5 different games! So, this is definitely a first. However, this is my site and I will do what I want to (I also had dessert before dinner on my birthday one year) so deal with it accordingly. Don’t like it? Get your own Movement blog.
The thing is; every play brought something so very different in comparison to the others in this week’s competition that it made it nearly impossible to make a final choice for the voters (note: there’s only 1 voter and I was obviously split in my decision).
Thus, I said “WTF” and gave it to each stand-out performer. These included:
• Dez Bryant against the Jaguars
• Brent Grimes against the Lions
• CJ Anderson against the Raiders
• Patrick Peterson against the Rams
• Randall Cobb against the Bears
What happened movement-wise on the play?
I love my readers at Football Beyond the Stats very much (all 12 of you! Haha; only kidding) but doing a full play breakdown on each movement action and pattern step-by-step as I usually do was a bit overwhelming even for my normal talkative self. Instead, I am going to highlight a few of the special highlights from each play that brought me to this harder-than-usual decision.
Dez Bryant looking like a man playing in a boy’s League
Last week I highlighted Antonio Brown in our Movement Play of the Week and even went as far as claiming that he is the best mover at the position currently playing in the League today. However, I think Dez Bryant must’ve gotten wind of this statement and had something to say about it…not once, but twice, during Sunday’s game. Either way; don’t worry, Dez…I see you!
In the play below that I decided to feature and start this 5-pack of plays off with, he seriously looked like he is playing with guys who are nowhere near the same qualification level as he is. This statement is seriously in no way meant to diminish the other plays on the field (I know it seems that way)…but instead it’s giving credit where credit is due with not only the movement that he has been displaying but also his overall performance thus far this season.
The “Wow” moment for me during this play from the X-Factor (I mean besides when the Jaguars let one of the best WRs in the game run free across the middle of the field) was really the high movement velocities that he executed each cut in the open field at. The impressiveness of a guy of this overall stature & size to make those kinds of cuts without dropping his center of mass or losing much velocity cannot be overstated.
Also, watch him and his linear speed mechanics as he runs along the sideline. They are crisp and efficient with a biomechanically-sound leading up to the time he hits the open field crossover cut (though this was a little too over-extended of a knee angle for my liking) to navigate himself through the Jaguars secondary members. Then of course, Dez just behaves like a grown-ass man to get into the end zone.
Brent Grimes flying through the air as Optimus Prime on Megatron
Of course, Grimes was up for a very, very tough task (to say the least) to man-up to Calvin Johnson in his first game back from injury. Though Grimes is a perennial Pro Bowl type cornerback the last few years (though often not mentioned with some of the “other” guys) it’s still a tall order (pun intended) to match up to CJ-81 all day long…especially when he’s 6’5” and you’re only 5’9”. Grimes isn’t the fastest or most explosive CB in the League but he makes up for it with clean & crisp footwork and timely bails that he often ends up on WR’s hips all day long.
In fact, early in the game, Grimes showed that very quality against Johnson but ended up well-short (damn; I promise I am not trying to poke fun of the height difference here being that I am only 5’7”) when Johnson caught a pretty touchdown that in some weeks would end up with the top play of the week nod here.
However, on this featured play, Grimes was able to get revenge when he came down with maybe the filthiest one-handed interception that you will see all season long. Now, the commentators claimed that Grimes used his “40 inch vertical leap” to go up and get that ball…but, I am not sure when or where they saw Grimes record a 40 inch vertical (in case you were wondering he jumped 33 and ½ at the 2006 NFL Combine). However, I digress because as I said this play was nasty especially when you keep in mind Grimes tore his Achilles tendon just two seasons ago.
Of course, the “Wow” moment on this play centered on the incredible leap and one-handed nab. Though Grimes was beat by a few steps by Johnson (don’t criticize because most usually are!), he made up for it by taking a risk and exploding into the air in a perfectly-timed fashion just enough to get his right hand on the ball & bring it down.
The most impressive part of it all is not even his kinesthetic sense/awareness to maintain control of his body and the ball to the ground but more so his perception and anticipation to know when to execute the leap all while delivering enough force to the ground to get up vertically but also out horizontally traveling probably 4 yards!
CJ Anderson slicing through the Raiders like cheese
At first glance, this will seem like a “who in the heck are you talking about” type moment (especially with 2 other relatively productive RBs in the Broncos stable) but after you watch his outstanding play below you may remember his name at least for when you are watching the Broncos play into January and maybe February.
Throughout this play you can see a few of the characteristics which highlight Anderson’s repertoire; a guy not afraid of contact, his low center of gravity (5’8”, 220+), thick legs capable of delivering a lot of power in acceleration (and reacceleration) in a blink of an eye, and surprisingly well-rounded open-field movement strategy use.
When he hits the gas pedal at separate times throughout the clip, you can see he has a very unique ability to get himself back into reacceleration really quickly after any type of transitional movement or deceleration type actions. That all said though, the “Wow” moment for me came when Anderson hit the speed crossover cut from a narrow stance to cut back into the middle of the field which would ultimately be the move that sprung him to paydirt.
Peterson playing Tip Drill…with himself
Last year’s top mover at Cornerback on my All-Movement Team came to play on Sunday ending up with 2 interceptions including one taken back to the house for his first-ever Pick-6 at the NFL-level. As mentioned last year in the tidbit I wrote about him for the Movement Team, Peterson is a rare athlete who just happens play CB and this was more than on display in this featured play.
If you’ve played football at any level, it’s likely that you’ve practiced the “Tip Drill”. Well, this is why. However, it’s usually for when the ball gets tipped into the air by a teammate or an opponent…not when you’re tipping it to yourself to catch it.
The “Wow” moment here comes from the sheer ingrained football instinct, sense for the ball, and first step acceleration that Peterson uses to attack the ground and get moving in a hurry to nab the ball out of the air in stride and en route to the end zone. This whole task & endeavor may appear to be easy & simple enough. However, I would be willing to bet that the majority of corners in the League would not have made this play (at least not in a similar fashion as Peterson did here).
If Grimes was Optimus Prime, Randall Cobb was playing Superman
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve mentioned Randall Cobb here on Football Beyond the Stats (I did a Training Camp Movement Analysis of him in 2013) but I’ve always been a fan of his style. You can see that evaluation from last year right here:
This year Cobb has obviously really come on in a more predominant role for the Packers this season with the exit of James Jones to Oakland. However, this play he was used differently than I ever expected if he were going to be featured here as one of our movers of the week (I would’ve expected him to be running past someone or slashing through a defense instead). As you can see though; Randall Cobb is simply an athletic freak of nature.
Of course, Cobb is dynamically fast and often gets separation though not as much on this play as most Packers were getting on the Bears secondary members this week. However, when you have Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback, a little separation may as well equate to wide-open as he will likely find a way to throw it to your spot anyway.
The “Wow” moment on our 5th and final featured play this week came on the leap, dive, and one-handed grab which kind of equates to the offensive version of the Brent Grime’s interception earlier. Though Cobb didn’t have to go as vertical as Grimes to come down with this pass, watching this play in slow motion as he takes off of his left leg is as pretty as it’s gonna come for a guy who used to study jumping performance for a living (i.e. me).
If you look at his left leg during this motor action you will see the overall stiffness from the plant all the way up to his hip so ground contact remains responsive and very little energy is leaked so he can carry himself into an effective jump. Obviously, to complete the catch he had to maintain control through an intense concentration and feel for the ball that is hard to replicate or practice especially in a game-like fashion.