X's & O's with Eddie Mason

Xs & Os: One of the most important plays in the game was when Antonio Pierce intercepted the pass from Brad Johnson. Andre Lott is the one who helped make that play possible. I'll tell you why in a minute, but first let me talk about Coach Williams' defense and how they set this play up.

One of the things he's trying to do when he's bringing basic blitzes with the linebacker is put pressure up the middle. You don't see a lot of corner blitzes or a ton of outside blitzes. You see a lot of pressure up the middel to force that quarterback to move and do things he ordinarily can't do. What he's trying to do is not only get guys in his face.

Gregg is using a lot of basic blitzes with linebackers, his Will and his Mike in particular. Then on basic packages and regular down defenses, he's incorporating some fire zones, where he drops the lineme out and he's having other guys fake from one side to draw the protection to that side and bring the other safety or linebacker from the other side. It's basic and it's common, but you have to know when to call it, which is what made my ears stand up Sunday.

And that brings us to the interception. Andre Lott was faking the blitz -- it was a fire zone blitz in a nickel package. As Andre was faking, Antonio was getting ready to drop into zone coverage. So the protection was drawn to Andre because he walked up to the line of scrimmage. It appeared as though he was blitzing. That left Jermaine Haley free in the middle so he was able to get pressure up the middle, forcing Brad to throw off his back foot. Antonio was in that zone drop and he dropped right into the throwing lane. That play really stood out.


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