Next man up is a series of articles examining players further down the depth chart, particularly young players being developed for larger roles.
This time, we continue our review of defensive tackle Caraun Reid.
For the first article in this series, see Next man up: Caraun Reid (Part one).
Holding the Point of Attack
From last time, something we wanted to examine was how Reid has been able to deal with double teams and his technical work both in one-on-one situations and as part of the overall defensive scheme. Playing the run demands different treatment with respect to these things than pass rush situations.
For example, against the run, the defensive scheme may not want the DT to immediately shed blocks and attempt to shoot a gap. Instead, the goal may be to tie up blockers and clog the hole without giving up ground, allowing linebackers and safeties to fly to the ball and make the stop. Let's go to the film to see two examples of Reid doing just that.
2015 MIN, 2Q (13:26). First-and-10 at the Detroit 23.
The playcall is a designed inside zone with cutback lane similar to the kind of split zone play that Detroit sometimes runs. 31 HB Jerick McKinnon can take the handoff and attack frontside if there is a crease, but otherwise has a designed cutback lane behind the lead block of 48 FB Zach Line on 55 MLB Stephen Tulloch.
Detroit comes with a stacked eight-man front against seven blockers, making 32 SS James Ihedigbo the free man to plug the cutback opportunity. Reid holds his ground at the point of attack against the double team from 63 LG Brandon Fusco and 61 C Joe Berger, forcing McKinnon to take the cutback lane.
Tulloch actually beat the FB and skipped around to make the tackle, though Ihedigbo was also in position to make the play. This stopped McKinnon for a 1 yard gain.
2015 MIN, 2Q (12:42). Second-and-9 from the Detroit 22.
On the very next play, the Vikings come out in the same Strong I-formation set and try to run it up the gut. In fact, the offense comes to the line and Teddy checks with everyone at the line into the same play they just ran. The defensive call is a seven-man front with an inside twist between Flu and Reid. This is the same style twist we saw in the last article in a pass rush situation. Reid goes first, then Flu loops behind him.
The twist takes Reid out of the lane and makes it look like the inside zone to the front is the right hole for McKinnon to hit. But stop and look at what Caraun Reid does on the stunt. Just like in the pass rush situation, he takes control of both the LG and the C, eating up both blockers. Again, this leaves the looper (Flu) clean to come around into the lane. McKinnon has to abandon the hole, which is now plugged by an unblocked defensive tackle and a linebacker (57 Josh Bynes) running support from the next level.
The ball-carrier has nowhere to go because Reid has clogged the middle by hugging the two double teamers. This is totally a Haloti Ngata move, and shows the kind of good strength and pile control Reid can bring against double teams in the wash. Reid ends up shedding the blocks at the right moment and was credited with the tackle for 2 yard loss on the play.
Disrupting Runs from the Backside
When not at the point of attack, though, players up front need to take control of their gap and then see if they can blow up the play from behind. Reid has demonstrated the ability to do just this, defeating one-on-one blocks to cut off the runner from behind for minimal gain.
2015 at SEA, 4Q (1:45). First-and-10 at the Seattle 20.
Late in a close road game, Seattle lines up in the I-formation and tries to go inside zone to the left. Detroit is matched up pretty well to stop this with a seven-man front, but Seattle accounts for this by leaving the end man on the line of scrimmage to the backside unblocked (52 DE Darryl Tapp). 34 HB Thomas Rawls takes the handoff and has to read left to right to decide which hole to hit. It turns out that nobody over-pursues and the correct read is to cut it back inside where Reid is being sealed off by 79 RT Garry Gilliam.
Knowing he has Tapp behind him for contain, Reid tosses Gilliam aside and quickly moves down the line. He finishes the play by wrapping up securely on Rawls for a meager 1 yard gain.
2015 MIN, 3Q (1:05). First-and-Goal at the Detroit 2.
This doesn't need much of a setup: goal line situation with Minnesota lined up in a three TE I-formation jumbo package. Reid simply beats his man and blows through the line to bring down 28 HB Adrian Peterson before he can hit the outside for a two yard loss.
Next time: Still more Caraun Reid?
We've seen Reid in pass rush situations and now lining up stout against the run. To round out the early 2015 review on Reid's development, we'll check out his nonstop effort and smart pursuit plus one more look at that nasty swim move.