Doesn’t get any better than this:
Below is a round-up of some pieces I’ve done relevant to the Super Bowl, as I’ve written about both the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens over the past couple of years:
- How the Ravens Will Try to Contain Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ Diverse Running Game
- Can Joe Flacco’s Big Arm Exploit San Francisco’s Secondary?
- The Future Is Already Here: How the Pistol is Changing the NFL
- Nevada’s ‘Pistol’, by Any Other Name, Would Fire as Sweet (includes old Kaepernick college clips)
- How do you Solve a Problem like Colin Kaepernick? (NPR)
- All Smart Football “Pistol” Articles
- Revolutionary Safeties: How Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu (and Quarters coverage) Changed Defenses
- Draw It Up: The 49ers and the “Wham” Play (the diagrams have unfortunately been taken down)
- Quarterbacking Made Simple: Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco Quarterback School
Jim Harbaugh on coaching quarterbacks:
My final link is not about the Ravens or 49ers directly, as it covers some of the tactics Stanford used to defend Oregon this past season, but it contained some good wisdom from former Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker that I think applies to the challenge Baltimore has in facing San Francisco’s multiple attack:
This made Stanford’s impressive performance remind me of some old quotes from Iowa’s great (former) defensive coordinator Norm Parker when his team faced a true triple-option team, Georgia Tech, in the 2010 Orange Bowl. In that game, which Iowa won 24-14, Parker’s defense held the Yellow Jackets to 155 yards of offense — just under 300 yards less than their season average — and one touchdown.
Parker explained that it’s not about inventing some new defensive scheme, but about being schematically sound: “You only have 11 guys out there. When they are balanced, you have to play five and a half guys on one side and five and a half guys on the other side.” If the offense is unbalanced, with additional blockers or receivers to one side or the other, the defense must “match” them and not allow the Ducks to get extra numbers or leverage. “You have to change up how you are covering it,” Parker explained. Being sound is the most important thing. “What they are looking for is for you to make a mistake.”
Ultimately, Stanford didn’t blitz or do anything overly aggressive. Instead, they relied on Parker’s most fundamental edict about stopping an option team: “The secret to the whole thing is that you have to get off blocks and run to the ball.”