Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

NFC West

Cardinals ::

  • Top 10 pass-blocking OL, bottom 10 run-blocking OL
  • Addition of AJ Green in FA and Rondale Moore in draft
  • Moore is likely to push Kirk for snaps earlier rather than later
  • Interesting dynamic wrt WR room with AJG/Nuk both intermediate threats/WRs that work in tight spaces and win at point of attack
  • DeAndre Hopkins saw his most shallow aDOT of his career in 2020 at 8.9
  • Addition of James Conner in FA; likely 1-2 punch at RB with Conner favorite for GL work
  • Arizona ran the fastest offense in 2020 at a situation neutral 27.14 seconds per play
  • 7th highest situation neutral rush rate in 2020, somewhat quietly
  • Spread offense predicated on stretching an opposing defense horizontally, with majority of plays within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage
  • Addition of Moore likely enables this team to attack downfield with greater frequency and efficiency
  • Kyler Murray attempted 58 passes of 20+ yards downfield in 2020, resulting in a ridiculously low 28.4% expected completion rate; even so, he completed 23 of 58 attempts for 874 (!!) yards and eight touchdowns
  • Moore is going to have some absolute blowup games in this offense
  • Vance Joseph’s man-heavy defense blitzed at the fourth highest rate in 2020
  • Secondary lost Patrick Peterson, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Jonathan Joseph
  • Newcomers Malcolm Butler, Marco Wilson (rookie), and Tay Gowan (rookie), in addition to Robert Alford (back-to-back years on the IR), set to take over
  • Allowed a whopping 4.7 yards per rush attempt against but only 9.9 yards per completion in 2020
  • Expect this defense to regress, with the likelihood of them allowing more downfield strikes quite high

Rams ::

  • Starting 5 on OL are top of the league, but little-to-no depth up front
  • Akers injury, Sony Michel signing
  • Matt Stafford at QB
  • DeSean Jackson/Van Jefferson deep threats to stretch seam
  • Gerald Everett gone
  • Sean McVay wants his offense putting consistent pressure on the opposing defense, something they largely failed to do in 2020 with a conservative offense with Jared Goff at the helm
  • They showed this through their offseason actions: brought in Matt Stafford through trade, drafted Tutu Atwell at 57 overall, drafted 6’5” tight end Jacob Harris in the fourth round, brought in speedster DeSean Jackson through FA
  • Big picture from this offense: the only players that I expect every-down work from are Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Tyler Higbee; I expect Darrell Henderson, Sony Michel, Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, DeSean Jackson, and rookie TE Jacob Harris to all assume situational roles
  • After ranking third in the league in 11-personnel in 2019 (73%), the Rams shifted to more 12-personnel in 2021 (29%) with Higbee and Gerald Everett
  • This season, I expect a larger portion of mixed personnel alignments, creating a dynamic offense, but also one maddening to predict on a weekly basis outside of the aforementioned big three
  • Raheem Morris DC (ATL DC)
  • The defensive side of the ball is also likely to be more dynamic in 2021, with a base 3-4 cover-2 top-level look
  • Rams ranked first in the league in 2020 against deep passing, look for that to continue in 2021
  • Expect them to be more forgiving against opposing running backs through the air and to opposing tight ends

49ers ::

  • Mike McDaniel OC (run)
  • DeMeco Ryans DC (LB)
  • In typical 49ers (and Shanahan) fashion, the team promoted from within
  • OL healthy; zone-based run scheme with a healthy Raheem Mostert (fastest RB in the league) and Trey Sermon; expect 1-2 punch with Sermon likeliest for GL work
  • Geor ge Kittle the best run-blocker at the tight end position in the game
  • Deebo Samuel healthy
  • Targeted RBs on 24.5% of passes in 2020, sixth most in the league
  • Raheem Mostert expected for bulk of work between the 20s, with schemed plays to get the ball into his hands in space
  • Second lowest WR target rate in 2020 at 50.7% (Deebo missed significant time; will this trend continue into 2021?)
  • Offense played at the second slowest situation neutral pace of play in 2020 at 32.62 seconds per play
  • That number jumped to a second-ranked 23.22 seconds per play when trailing by seven or more points
  • DeMeco Ryans gets his first crack at DC duties after learning under Robert Saleh
  • Expect the defense to operate primarily the same
  • Interestingly, the Niners were top five in the league in defensive DVOA from man coverage and bottom seven in the league in defensive DVOA from zone
  • The one glaring weakness from this defense in 2020 was against the pass on early downs, where they ranked just 18th in the league in success rate allowed

Seahawks ::

  • Shane Waldron OC (LAR pass)
  • Based on the OC hire and offseason personnel decisions (addition of tight end Gerald Everett, drafting of wide receiver Dee Eskridge with their first pick (56th overall)), it appears this offense is likely to settle into 11-personnel base with increased 12-personnel usage with Everett and holdover Will Dissly
  • Seattle finished the 2020 season middle of the pack in situation neutral pass rate at 60%; it is highly likely we see that rate dip in 2021 under Waldron’s tutelage (LAR sat at 56% in 2020, 7th lowest in the league)
  • Chris Carson was typically held around 60% of the offensive snaps in his 10 fully healthy games in 2020; he has seen 46 and 47 targets in the last two seasons over 15 games and 12 games, respectively
  • Consistency will be key for this offense in 2021, and the hope is that Waldron will get them there through a more balanced approach
  • Russell Wilson ranked sixth in the NFL in 2020 in total intended air yards at 4809; when this offense is passing, they are looking for chunk gains
  • New corner Akhello Witherspoon downgrade from Shaquill Griffin
  • Expect the 10.2 average yards allowed per completion from 2020 to increase
  • Allowed only 3.9 yards per rush attempt in 2020
  • Avenue of least resistance is through the air on the perimeter
  • With the explosiveness of the offensive paired with their early selection of burner Eskridge, their propensity to attack deep, and the hit to their secondary, expect a similar deep passing outlook when they look to the air

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