(Written by Austin Stallings)
In their week 2 victory over the Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens were able to use multiple Tight End sets to move the ball, convert critical 3rd downs, and complete 2 touchdown passes. The combination of tight ends Dennis Pitta and newly signed Owen Daniels proved to be a matchup that the Steelers defense struggled with. Here is a film breakdown of what the Ravens did and how the Panthers will look to emulate that Sunday Night
On the first of Owen Daniels’ 2 touchdown receptions, the Ravens are lined up on the 2 yard line, in a 3 Tight-End 2 Back set. They motion the full back to the strong side of the formation where they have their dual tight ends lined up. This is the side they will run the fake to.
Now in an unbalance formation, the Ravens will draw most of the Steelers defense to the right with the fake to Bernard Pierce – while the lone tight end on the weak side, Owen Daniels, leaks out to the left.
After selling the run, both backs stay in to block and Daniels is able to get behind the defense on the weak side.
Daniels finds himself wide open for an easy touchdown, while the linebacker finds himself in a defender’s worst nightmare. Even worse, he had to re-live it the following day in the film room.
The Panthers like to run similar goal line concepts, like this Cam Newton touchdown pass in week 8 of 2013. The Panthers are on the 2 yard line, in a 2 TE 2 RB set. They motion full back Richie Brockel to the strong side of the formation, where they have dual tight ends Greg Olsen and Ben Hartsock lined up.
They will run a run fake to Mike Tolbert to the strong side, sending Richie Brockel out to the right flat, and keeping the entire Tampa defense pursuing to that side. Greg Olsen, the inside tight end, will leak out the the left side and find open space. Hartsock will do the same but position himself behind the linebackers who are stepping up in their run responsibility.
As Newton and Tolbert sell the run, the linebackers are frozen in their run-stop priority,allowing Olsen and Hartsock to get by unnoticed.
At this point Newton just has his choice between his two wide open tight ends. The Panthers have significantly upgraded their pass-catching tight ends this offseason, acquiring Ed Dickson from Baltimore and developing former basketball star Brandon Williams. After seeing the success the Ravens had in multiple tight end sets, this will surely be a matchup they will try to exploit Sunday night against the Steelers.