The Orange and Brown Report Film Room: X's & O's and First Overall Selection Myles Garrett

The OBR Film Room returns to breakdown the Browns' 2017 draft class through college game tape! What are each player's strengths and weaknesses? How do both show up on the field through scheme, concept, and technique? Join us as we take on the number one overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.

Over the next several months The OBR will breakdown the Browns' 2017 draft class through film study with a focus on each prospect’s strengths and weaknesses. Rather than approaching each breakdown using the traditional approach of a draft profile or scouting report, we will take a detailed look at what each prospect was asked to do within their college scheme. The goal is to illustrate each player’s attributes –both positive and negative—through the X’s & O’s of the game.

After months of the typical NFL draft rumors, innuendo, smoke screens, and outright lies, the Cleveland Browns did what most expected when they made Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett the first pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

While the Browns’ top brass spent the week leading up to the draft spinning stories through the media in an attempt to create uncertainty around what direction they were leaning with the first pick, the front office ultimately made the smart decision in selecting the dynamic 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end.

With the selection of the two-timeAll American, Sashi Brown and Co. presented defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with an early Christmas gift that should immediately aid the new coach as he transforms a woeful Browns’ defense.

Garrett’s draft profiles and scouting reports have saturated the sports media over the last year, but what do these strengths and weaknesses look like on tape?

Let’s go to The OBR film room to breakdown how Garrett’s attributes fit within the X’s & O’s of the Texas A&M defense.

The key word of our first breakdown is explosion.

Garrett’s explosive first step and ability to quickly eat up space immediately jump off the screen.

This explosiveness creates a run-stop and pass-rush nightmare for opposing DC’s. The All-American must be accounted for and game-planned around, particularly on third down. As we will see later, Garrett’s mere presence on the field often forced protection adjustments that led to 1-v-1 opportunities for his teammates or resulted in busted protections due to miscommunication.

Let’s go to the tape to see how the Arlington Texas native wreaked havoc using an explosive, lightning-quick first step in the run game before moving on to his explosion as a pass rusher.

Our first cut-up comes from Texas A&M’s 2015 19-7 loss to the LSU Tigers.

Down 13-7 with the third quarter winding down, the Texas A&M offense has a chance to get their offense good field position in what has been a tough, inside-the-trenches slug fest.

The LSU offense has just converted a third down on their own 37-yard line. Garret and Co. must hold right here to give the A&M special teams a chance to set up a good return.

As the LSU offense has shown a significant first-down run tendency over several season, Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis dials up a run stunt to counter an expected weak-side run (to the left of the offensive formation).

Defensive coordinators will call run stunts against run-heavy teams in order to confuse blocking assignments, disrupt double teams at the point of attack, dictate who runs the ball in zone read concepts, and shoot gaps before blockers can react. Going into a game against an LSU team that wants to pound the ball with first-round pick Leonard Fournette, a sensible game plan will include a variety of tricks such as full line stunts, gap plugs, and gap games such as the scrape exchange.

This gap game includes half-line movement to Garrett’s side and a gap-blitz by the WILL linebacker. Garrett and the adjacent interior lineman will shoot inside one gap and the SAM will flow outside to cover the vacated C-Gap. The WILL wants to time the snap in order to shoot the open B-gap before the guard has a chance to react.

After getting a look at the defense’s front alignment, the LSU offense checks to a strong-side Iso concept that will attack a major stress point in this 4-3 under alignment, the run bubble created by the 1-technique nose tackle and 5-technique defensive end. As an aside, head coach Hue Jackson often attacks this run bubble with the same Iso concept. Watch for it this season.

Let’s see how it plays out.

The impressive part of this play is not that Garrett ran down Fournette from the backside for a TFL, but the way in which he did it.

Garrett must cross the left tackle’s face in order to reach his assigned B-gap. Under most circumstances this is a tough play to make, but Garrett’s wide alignment—known as a “loose” 5—makes it that much more difficult as he must cover more ground. A single false step or even a moment of hesitation at the snap will take Garrett out of the play.

Go back to the film and pay attention to Garrett’s feet. His first step put his body over the left tackle’s inside shoulder while his second step puts him hip-to-hip with the blocker. All but the very best defensive ends cannot match the get off and width Garrett creates at the snap.

Another technique that is worth a look here is Garrett’s use of his outside arm (we will take an in-depth look at Garrett’s hand usage later on) to clear the blocker’s right hand.

Watch the right arm rip through the tackle’s inside arm as Garret initiates contact. The rip proves to be so effective that Garret simply has to push the opponent’s hands away in order to fully clear the would-be blocker. Garrett completes the play by dragging Fournette to the ground, putting the defense in an advantageous second-and-long as the LSU offense is now behind the chains.

Our next example comes from another 2015 late-season loss to the Auburn Tigers.

Like LSU, the Auburn offense has traditionally shown a heavy run tendency under head coach Gus Malzhon.

With the Tigers up four points and threatening inside the Aggies’ red zone, the defense needs a good first down stop to force a second and long. A solid gain will put Auburn in great position to punch the ball in and go up by two scores.

Chavis dials up a full-line run slant to the sniffer-side of the formation, likely expecting a gap-based play to the offset-Y (between the right tackle and tight end) based on film study.

The idea behind this gap game is to slant away from the down blocks in order to create quick penetration by the defensive line, while simultaneously forcing the ball back inside with the left defensive end. From there, the scrapping linebackers should make the tackle for a minimal gain.

Notice that Garrett is aligned as a 4i (inside shoulder of guard) in a 3-4 front. He was likely moved inside in this spot because his explosion at the snap will allow him to disrupt the guard by “getting in the puller’s pocket” to impact the wrap through. In addition the slant should allow him to climb over a down block from the center or avoid a reach block by the left tackle, putting him the backfield before the tailback can build up a full head of steam.

Focus on the first step…

Auburn’s offensive coordinator did no favors for his left tackle by asking him to reach the inside shoulder of a 4i named Myles Garrett, buteven so, the explosion at the snap is phenomenal.

The elite first step allows Garret to clear the blocker’s face and set himself up to get hip-to-hip on the second step. The third step takes him past the blocker into the backfield where he forces the tailback to alter his aiming point (the C-gap) and take the ball East-West down the line of scrimmage. Stringing out a run play designed to hit downhill generally leads to very good things, as several Aggie defenders get in on the tackle after a short gain.

Let’s move on to the section most fans are likely waiting for, Myles Garret the pass rusher.

Again, over the course of several film studies we will breakdown the strengths that created a college pass-rushing demon. In this section, we will continue to focus on the explosive first step and ability to eat up space.

Our first example comes from Garrett’s 7-tackle, 3.5 sack performance against the Nevada Wolf Pack (for those that want to bring up the “quality of the opponent” argument, do not fear as we will breakdown plenty of film against Power 5 and SEC opponents).

Early in the first quarter the Aggie defense has the Nevada offense exactly where they want them to be all afternoon, facing a third-and-long in which they must pass to have a realistic chance at gaining a first down. Garrett can tee-off without worry about abandoning his gap assignment at this down and distance as the ball is likely going through the air here.

The A&M defense rolls with a 4-man rush that includes a “Green Dog” technique from the linebackers responsible for the tailback and wing.

In a Green Dog call, each linebacker is responsible for a single player in man coverage. If the offensive player releases into a route, play man. The interesting part occurs if the offensive player stays in to block.

In this scenario, the coverage linebackers (#42 and #46) becomes pass rushers. Modern defenses want to avoid “guarding grass” in pass coverage by using unassigned defenders to double cover, rob, or blitz. Green Dog is a simple way to ensure all eleven defenders play an active role on any giving play, regardless of the pass concept.

Notice that Garrett is aligned in a wide-9 to create extra space in which he can utilize his variety of pass rush moves. An explosive get off is a must for a wide-9 pass rusher as he must cover extra space to get to the quarterback.

Let’s see how Garrett notches this sack. Remember to watch the first two steps.

Let’s look at a few pass-blocking 101 rules before moving to Garrett.

First, the blocker wants to gain depth by kick-stepping off the inside foot while stepping back with the outside foot. The further the pass-rush threat, the deeper the initial step must be. In addition, the offensive lineman does not want to gain depth at a sharp angle. Although techniques will vary, the first step should keep the body parallel to the line of scrimmage.

Throughout a kick slide the shoulders should remain parallel to the line of scrimmage and only be turned as a last resort. If the blocker gains proper depth through his kick step, the shoulders can remain square, ensuring the body is in proper alignment and balance when the time comes to deliver a powerful strike to the rusher.

Go back to the play and identify the blocker’s first mistake.

If you noticed the shallow first step that opens the shoulders you win a prize to be determined by Barry!

The lineman compounds his errors by taking a weak second step and continuing to turn his shoulders away from the line of scrimmage until they are perpendicular.

While it is easy to point out the relative strength of the team and the blocker’s poor technique, keep in mind that Garrett’s explosion at the snap creates many of these breakdowns.

The blocker likely knows his vertical pass set will not match Garrett,'s off-the-ball quickness, so he tries to cheat the edge rush by prematurely turning his body in an attempt to get hands on as the Freshman All-American passes by. This is not happening.

Notice that the top selection in the 2107 draft draws even with the blocker with his second step. To slow down the explosive Garrett, the tackle is reduced to a weak attempt at striking the stud pass rusher as he flies by (more bad technique here as a pass blocker should never lean forward over the toes).

A winner was decided before the ball was snapped due to blocker’s poor technique, likely caused by hte knowledge that Garrett will come screaming off the edge momentarily.

Our final play comes from the 2016 A&M-Mississippi match up.

Like the previous play, we see Garrett’s explosiveness force bad technique from a would-be blocker.

The breakdowns in pass blocking technique are almost identical to the previous clip.

The left tackle cannot match Garrett’s explosive first two step with his initial kick slide, forcing him to turn his shoulder sand offer another weak attempt at getting hands on the pass rusher. Notice how far over his toes the blocker ends up here. This is a pure lunge. If he was not able to make any contact with Garrett, he likely would have tipped forward on his fourth step.

While Garrett does not record a sack the quarterback is forced to release the ball early into a closed window, allowing the nose tackle to bat the ball down. The pressure was very timely as the second crossing route was wide open, but the quarterback did have the extra half-second he needed to deliver the ball. This pass rush will not show up in the stat line, but it demonstrates how Garrett can affect the game without putting up gaudy numbers.

Keep an eye out for our next trip to The OBR film room in which we will breakdown Garrett’s ability to make plays in space and use his superior athleticism to get hands on the ball.

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