WASHINGTON — Reading NFL defenses is hard.
Whatever the Redskins did to limit Antonio Brown’s production Monday night against the Steelers, it was ineffective. Brown, who effectively destroyed Washington’s coverage, rattled off 126 yards and two touchdowns, and, if there had been a fifth quarter, it didn’t look like there was much the Redskins — not Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland or any other DBs — would have been able to do to stop the bleeding.
Now, I don’t know what ‘Cloud-Cover’ or ‘Three-Cloud’ mean, but what little I do know about reading defensive coverages, I’ve learned from watching former NFL safety Matt Bowen’s film analysis. And after hearing him Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant & Danny Show, I have a little better understanding of how the Redskins might possibly have better contained the best receiver in the league.
“So let’s say, ‘Well, he should have jammed him,'” Bowen said. “Yeah. Every DB coach is gonna say that, but you’re going against the best wide receiver — in terms of route-running and releases — that we’ve seen in the last 10 years, so what could he have done?”
“Where was the game-planning in this? Instead of saying, ‘Big Ben. We’re in Cover-1. Throw it over our heads again,’ how about, you know, play the Cloud-Cover,” he said.
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“You could play a Three-Cloud, where it’s three deep over the top and you have the corner jam Antonio Brown. Now you have the safety sitting right over the top in the deep third. You take away the deep ball. What about bracketing him? What about cutting him on inside releases with the safety driving downhill?
“There’s just little things you could have done to take him out of the game, and what you’re telling Pittsburgh then is, ‘Look. If DeAngelo Williams beats us, that’s fine. If another receiver beats us, that’s fine. But we’re not going to let Antonio Brown consistently beat us over the top of the defense.”
Listen carefully to Matt Bowen explain it in full below. And then listen again. You may come away with a better understanding of the confusing mess you saw Monday night.