Importance of defensive deception

Arizona and Atlanta demonstrated how to confuse Brady and P. Manning

Originally Published: September 20, 2012
By Ron Jaworski | ESPN Insider

If you found it perplexing that the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons were able to bottle up two of the NFL's best quarterbacks in Week 2, you have good company -- namely, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

While the Cardinals disrupted Brady and the Patriots' prolific attack, the Falcons forced Manning into three first-quarter interceptions. How were those defenses able to confuse two future Hall of Famers? Through the art of deception, a practice more essential than ever as defenses confront the best group of NFL quarterbacks in league history.

History is a good place to start since what we saw in Week 2 is nothing new.

Confusing the QB has been a guiding principle of defenses for a long time. I look at what the Falcons did on Monday night -- late defensive movement, lots of two-point stances -- and I remember seeing those same principles in person in 1969. Of course, back then I was a senior at Lackawanna (N.Y.) High School, and the defense was employed by coach Jules Yakapovich and Kenmore West High.

Any year, at any level of football, you will see similar principles. The goal has always been the same: Create chaos and rent space in the QB's head. If you can distract him for even a split second before or after the snap, that's a victory for the defense.


To read more about how defenses are confusing Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Ron Jaworski

NFL analyst / writer
Ron Jaworski is one of the most popular and knowledgeable analysts covering the NFL today. Since joining ESPN in 1990, the former standout NFL quarterback has covered the league from virtually every angle -- sideline reporter, game-site reporter, host and both studio and game analyst. From 2007-11, Jaworski occupied one of the most coveted positions in sports as a Monday Night Football analyst.