'Triple' teams: Saints, Patriots have third big threat to scramble defenses
Teams with one or two "matchup" players can be contained, keeping scoring down. When an offense adds that third threat, defenses must roll coverage to an elite wide receiver, have a linebacker carry the tight end to the safety and bracket a running back with two underneath players. It's just not doable because it requires six defenders players to handle three offensive players. That leaves only five defenders for the other eight offensive players.
The ideal situation is the Saints' package. A wide receiver that requires rolled coverage along with a tight end who no linebacker and very few safeties can cover and running back who empties out of the backfield and performs like a wide receiver. The same combination also can present a solid run threat, too. The Saints provide the blueprint for an ideal three-headed monster.
New Orleans led the league in third down conversions with a whopping 56.7 percent conversion rate. The closest team to them was San Diego at 48.8 percent, but the Chargers lost Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert who accounted for 114 receptions last year (35 on third down).
The Saints' trio of tight end Jimmy Graham, wide receiver and running back Darren Sproles was nearly impossible to cover in any situation. All three also finished in the top 12 among third-down receivers and in total targets (Jimmy Graham No. 3, Sproles No. 7, Colston No. 12).
Their 265 combined receptions were second to the Patriots' 291 for Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez. Hernandez actually took some snaps at running back to stress the defense. While Hernandez in the backfield was effective he was no Darren Sproles.
'Triple' teams: Saints, Patriots have third big threat to scramble defenses - NFL - CBSSports.com News, Rumors, Scores, Stats, Fantasy
Cover one threat and we will kill you with another. Cover two and we still kill you. Sean Payton certainly knows how to build an offense.
Think about it. If the other team is playing zone defense, we flood that zone with with Colson, Graham and Sproles all on one side of the field as described above. If it's man to man defense and if the other team does a good job of covering those 3 or rolling defenders to that side of the field, then we still likely have Lance Moore single-teamed running an out or the slant on the other side of the field for some reliable yardage. Oh, and also as a last resort, Devery Henderson is running a seam or a go pattern to keep the safeties deep and away from Moore.
Other teams just have to pick their poison ... or usually let Drew pick it for them :)
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