Film Notes: Shutting down elite QBs

Defenses are focusing their efforts less on blitzes and more on frustration

Originally Published: November 12, 2010
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
After breaking down film, Scouts Inc. gives its take on what to watch in the NFL this weekend:

How are defenses scheming vs. the elite QBs?
It appears that defensive coordinators have developed a trend to stop top QBs such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. It seems their production is somewhat down and the interceptions are up. In the past, a lot of coaches seemed to believe they had to pressure these QBs with a variety of blitz packages and that if the defenses sat back the QBs would pick them apart. But blitzes are fairly easy for these top guys to identify, and great QBs love man-to-man matchups that they can see quickly. What I am seeing is a lot of three-man rushes, while dropping eight into coverage, and a variety of zone, man and combonation coverages on the back end. The feeling is that, while these guys have more time to throw, they have much tighter windows to put the ball in. Those coverage schemes require patience to put 10- to 12-play drives together without a lot of deep throws. Patience is not always a virtue for elite guys. They seem to be forcing some throws instead of taking those underneath routes that the defenses give them, which leads to turnovers.
Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.