Game: Vikings at Raiders
Play: All-Day long…from start to finish
What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?
Over the past month, it seems one way or another the Oakland Raiders have found their way to the Football Beyond the Stats Play of the Week…whether their players were responsible for that week’s top Movement Play of the Week or if they resided on the other end (like these past 2 weeks). Last week, this residence came at the movement of Steelers WR, Martavis Bryant. This week, they feel victim to the best RB of this generation, Adrian Peterson.
Initially, I was planning on only breaking down AD28’s movement on his 80 yard run that put the game away for the day and solidified the Viking’s sole possession of first place in the NFC North going into a head-to-head battle this week with the reigning champion Packers. However, as most of you know, I have a number of Vikings that I assist & advise in aspects of their movement & performance; thus, each week I go through the Viking’s game, frame-by-frame to analyze and breakdown the movement displayed by several players. Well, as I did this, I continued to see how on point 28 was throughout the entire game and thus wanted to give credit where credit is due for him in front of ya’ll.
What happened movement-wise on the play?
Earlier this season, I tweeted out (and told numerous people) that even though I could see that Adrian’s patented short distance acceleration burst was back, there were still some very visible deficiencies in some of his movement patterns especially during agility actions. Of course, some of this came from the necessary time needed to get his attunement to the speed/nature of the game completely back after being off of the field essentially all of last year. Simply put; he wasn’t lowering his center of gravity, widening his base of support, and slicing in a confident & violent manner in many change-of-direction-type movement actions.
Additionally, even though Adrian is clearly a once-in-a-generation, all-world player that is without rival when taking all aspects of his game into consideration, over the last few years he has also had some movement compensations when moving laterally in explosive manners; many of these were more visible asymmetrical compensations when cutting at extreme angles post-2011/2012 (as most know this was when the best back in the game tore his ACL/MCL). Meaning, when the movement problem required him to either be moving left or linearly and he would have the need to load rapidly onto his left leg, he would naturally keep his base of support narrower and his center of gravity higher in comparison to the biomechanics we would witness when he would when utilizing his right leg to be his plant/support leg in sharp cuts.
Well, especially over these past two weeks, even though he’s at the dreaded 30 years old (how dare I say it?), this version of AD28 is as comfortable, confident, and as in control as I have seen him moving in both tight spaces and in the open field since probably his first two seasons in the League (and I say that having broken down & analyzed every movement he’s ever made on a football field on a Sunday since his introduction to the League). Thus, let’s just say that this is scary for the rest of the entire National Football League. When you watch the video below, you should see what I mean.
Lately, the Adrian that I have seen emerge through his movement evolution from the culmination over the first 9 games of the season is a different and somewhat improved version. It’s one that has much greater ability to load and explode off of both legs in more symmetrical and equal fashions. He also is starting to possess the ability to put those biomechanics to work for him through better reading & recognizing of common movement problems and an attunement to his most optimal affordances for movement action in response to common movement problems he is faced with.
For example, he’s back to setting guys up while maintaining a wider range of diverse movement solutions to react and overcome problems (which is a key to movement mastery). Due to differences in his style he will never be a mover in the style of a Barry Sanders (they obviously have much different anthropometric features as well as movement tendencies). Additionally, there still are slightly more proficient movement biomechanics manifested as a result of his behaviors when he is cutting off of his right (and there maybe always will be as the amount of repetitions have built up into who he is today) but his ability to utilize elastic-reactive energy on his left and to position himself in a more optimal biomechanical position on that side has drastically improved.
Adrian has obviously always had his exceptional acceleration ability…even immediately after his knee injury and throughout the compensations in his groin/abdominal issues that he faced in the years after the MVP campaign. Now, it may have been compromised in the actual ability within the context of who he is but it was still better than the rest of his peers. However, now, with more equalized and enhanced special strength qualities and a better balance from right side to left side, as well as front side to back side, this has allowed him to continue to display less energy leaks & deficiencies in the earlier steps of his acceleration (which then equates to greater ultimate speeds attained as well) and hit even higher speeds earlier as he has always been notoriously known for.
Additionally, most are well aware of the abundance of yards that AD28 accumulated during his magical MVP season of 2012. However, what most people don’t realize is that even then he was likely never fully at 100%; not only in his tight space agility movement mechanics and asymmetries there that we already highlighted above, but also in his top end linear speed mechanics. Obviously, this is a surprising for many to hear however, take some time to go back and watch some highlight film from that year.
Again, I will always take a compromised AD over pretty much any other RB in the League…but even during his numerous game breaking big runs that season, if you watch closely enough you will see some hitch in the race horse’s giddy-up. When he gets loose in the open field heading linearly, watch the discrepancy between the technical execution/mechanics of his left leg & hip versus that of his right. As a result, his left foot was spending longer time on the ground and this was leading to some compensation up the chain. Some of this was only natural due to what which he just came off of (the injuries) and honestly, these compensations are likely what manifested into some of the groin & hip flexor issues that he dealt with in the years to come.
Some of that was even still apparent earlier this season but honestly, game by game, his movement mechanics in this regards has continued to improve. And that is what brings us to today…at this point of the season…where AD28 is continuing to ascend as his movement behaviors and biomechanics become more solidified and proficient week by week. And as I mentioned earlier, this should be a scary wake-up call for the rest of the League. If you thought he was next to impossible to tackle before, just wait…if this continues (and Adrian is a hyper-adapter!), my prediction is that the best may be yet to come for AD28.
To see AD-28 doing his thing throughout Sunday’s game, watch this link here: