Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
On two separate plays in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake were in coverage and both gave up touchdowns. The first was Vernon where tight end Travis Kelce traveled across the middle of the field and ran right by Vernon for an easy touchdown. The second was when running back Joe McKnight came out of the backfield and ran right past Wake for an easy touchdown.
It seemed like a crazy defensive alignment at the time and more surprisingly, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said that it was designed to be that way.
“We have a number of different defenses that we’re going to use in the red zone and there are ones that we utilize inside linebackers, outside linebackers. In some cases, defensive ends as well as the secondary (are used). In one case, you’re correct in the fact that we had, on the shallow crossing route, Olivier (Vernon) was one of the guys in coverage there and we had some miscommunication as they changed strength with some motion if you watch the play and we got out leveraged to the flat. So that was one instance. Another instance, we had a situation where we were blitzing and at times we’ll require our outside guys to peel with a back, if a back free releases. Normally, the back stays up in the protection and that was the case on the other one. But those are things that we practice every week. Those guys have been doing (it) and doing very well, so that’s not a major concern.”
After the game, several anonymous players blasted the play-calling on defense and the lack of in-game adjustments. If Coyle thinks that his ideas are working, he needs to think again and realizes that he better improve quickly or the rumblings will only get louder.