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Film Study: Why Butler's Interception Was The Right Read For Cam & Just An Unfortunate Result

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Keep consistently sharing these guy's work, but they know their stuff. 

If you remember, Cam Newton threw one interception against the Patriots. At first glance, it appears he made a critical error that made no sense. However, deep-diving shows Cam making the correct decision with the defense just making a good play. 

Have a look here.

Excerpt of a part of the article. Plenty more, so make sure you read.

Slot Fade Concept

Newton overthrew Devin Funchess in the first quarter on a slot fade concept.

The Panthers are in the red zone on their first drive of the game. They come out in empty versus the Patriots man coverage. Devin Funchess, aligned in the slot, is running a slot fade concept. The benefit of this concept is it provides the quarterback to put air on it unlike a traditional fade. The wide receiver out wide acts as a decoy and is not part of the quarterback’s progression. He holds the wide cornerback, so he doesn’t interfere with the fade. This was a missed opportunity, but the Panthers returned to this same exact concept the next drive.

camintpre.png

Once again, the Panthers are in an empty formation against the Patriots cover 1 (man coverage).

https://streamable.com/qwpqd

Newton motions McCaffrey to the opposite side and when the linebacker follows, he is alerted that New England is in man coverage. Damiere Byrd is the intended target on the slot fade and Devin Funchess is the decoy. After Newton snaps the ball, he looks off the left side to move the safety away. Despite that, Malcolm Butler realizes the concept, avoids Funchess, and follows Byrd down the sideline.

 

The slot fade concept is a common concept in the NFL. Every team runs it.

butler_beat.png

Furthermore, he would have been sacked if he dropped the ball down and decided to scramble. Patriots defensive tackle, Malcolm Brown, beats Andrew Norwell on a swim move. He is free to the quarterback.

There is no part of the progression that instructs the quarterback to throw the ball to the decoy. Now, I’m certainly open to questioning why Damiere Byrd was the primary target. He does a poor job of breaking press, which slows down the timing of the route. Finally, the play occurred on 3rd down. The interception was essentially an arm punt. That doesn’t excuse the interception. Newton looked off the safety and made the correct read. Malcolm Butler is a top tier corner. He studied the Panthers tendencies and correctly bailed on his assignment to intercept the pass. He is a paid professional too.

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That was not the correct read. 

If they are in man then you look to hit slants, drags, digz, posts, out routes etc.

That deep fly route is mostly just to occupy the safety and maybe throw it if the cb slips or bites on a fake and the wr has a few steps and is wide open. 

That fly route is one of the lowest % passes in football. 

 

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13 minutes ago, PrimeTimeHeel said:

That was not the correct read. 

If they are in man then you look to hit slants, drags, digz, posts, out routes etc.

That deep fly route is mostly just to occupy the safety and maybe throw it if the cb slips or bites on a fake and the wr has a few steps and is wide open. 

That fly route is one of the lowest % passes in football. 

 

Yeah no. 

You clearly don't understand what this play is at all, nor even know how designed plays work.

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13 minutes ago, Doc Holiday said:

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Cam flinches very quickly like 3 times to the left if you notice closely.  It's hard to tell if Byrd as the first read here; I was thinking they were using KB's pattern to get CMC open...but...he made the decision before McCaffrey's route had crystalized.  Funchess is a decoy like you said, and Shepard isn't primary.

Byrd jittered then got pushed so hard initially, it threw everything off and then he got jammed between the two DBs.  I think this shows Byrd is out of his element on the field.  Excited for Samuel to come back.

 

 

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Josh from the riot report broke down this play also on the it is what it is podcast that was released yesterday. I would suggest giving it a listen.

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Yeah that is a fine pre-snap read.  But after he sees Butler chase Byrd, he needs to come off it and hit Funchess for the checkdown.  He had time to do that (although often he doesn't have that much time).  So as far as this particular play, including the time he had in the pocket, he made the wrong read.  

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Let me input my opinion without actually reading anything that was posted.

 

Anyways I felt like it wouldn't have looked so bad if it wasn't for the illegal contact before Byrd got to the ball, he definitely slowed down and it looks like he never even had a shot at it. Its near impossible to make that throw because how are you going to know that he's gonna slow down due to defenders. Just an unfortunate play and wasn't as bad as it first looked.

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7 hours ago, Saca312 said:

Yeah no. 

You clearly don't understand what this play is at all, nor even know how designed plays work.

like the other poster said, it was a fine pre snap read, but byrd was covered. 

was the wrong read. 

i understand they are in man coverage. i also understand that route is very low % route. the lowest in football. extremely difficult throw and catch. 

you send guys on fly / go / fade routes for 3 reasons 

1) occupy S's

2) Maybe catch a DB off a double move, slip, or just pure speed

3) a jump ball (dont want to do this on 3rd down as its low %)

not only did Byrds man stay with him like glue, funches man followed him. double coveraged. 

cam should have hit funches who was wide open in the flat. 

also maybe could have hit KB on his deep post as he was  wide open on his cut ( remember how i said post routes are good for man? ;)

for that throw to have been the correct read, byrd would have had to had 2+ steps on his defender AND funches's man stayed with him leaving no help on byrd with byrd 2+ steps on his man. 

Edited by PrimeTimeHeel
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just to try to make it even more clear to those who still think newton was correct...

the patriots are in man coverage.

as soon as newton identifies there are two defenders on byrd, his next thought should have been...

..."holy hit, someone is wide the fug open".

it was a good roll of the dice by butler, but in the end it's busted coverage.

no matter what the play design is, a qb will/should always recognize blown coverage and take advantage of it....hell, newton feasted on blown coverages the entire second half.

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