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The Aaron Curry Dissection: Weeks 10-11

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My last Curry post got 41 comments.  My heartfelt post about the current NFL labor situation got 83 comments.  My post about advanced NFl stats got 17 comments.  A rather innocuous post I threw up about a 3-year-old draft class got around 200 comments, most of them a referendum on the Ruskell regime.  Really, guys?  Are our priorities so whacked that we're still this emotional about a former GM?  I don't get it.

Enough author-filibustering.  Let's get to the real subject at hand.


Week 10-Vs. Cardinals



(6:02 1st Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 40 T.Hightower left tackle to SEA 39 for 1 yard (A.Curry).

For once, I like to cover a play with no frills, nuance or advanced knowledge of the game to know that this was a good play by Curry.  He was on the right side in a base 4-3 coverage, Tim Hightower took the ball to the left side, and Curry ran from one hashmark to the other to make the quick tackle.  It was quick and unglamorous, but sound awareness and execution.  The kind of play you expect out of a 4th-overall pick.

(2:10 1st Quarter) 3rd and 6 at SEA 29 (Shotgun) D.Anderson sacked at SEA 38 for -9 yards (A.Curry).

Speaking of the kind of plays you'd expect from a #4 pick, here's Super Curry Mode for all of us to admire.

Bradley rolls out one of his more unusual packages this time.  Curry is lined up as a DT against Deuce Lutui.  The Cards are in a shotgun, with Hightower to the right of Anderson, 2 WRs offset on the far right side, one WR on the left sideline, and a TE bunched on the left side.  The Seahawks have only one LB actually lined up in the LB slot.  From what I can see, Lofa Tatupu is the only pure LB in the scheme.  The others are crowded up on the LOS.  Even Roy Lewis gets in on the crowding fun.

But it's all a fun game.  Post-snap, most of the blitzing personnel drop back into a short zone,effectively sealing off Anderson's checkdown routes.  It's an inspired scheme.  With nobody open, Anderson hits the panic button and runs to the right sideline.  Curry doesn't like this move of cowardice, so he charges up that move we love but don't see very often:  Super Curry Mode.  Super Curry breaks off Lutui with ease, chases Anderson to the sideline, and drags him down like a beast bringing down his prey.  I wish we saw Super Curry Mode more often.  Maybe it's like an MP meter he's always low on and saves it for critical downs.  This is worth doing a study on.

(13:18 2nd Quarter) 1st and 10 at ARI 23 T.Hightower right tackle to ARZ 34 for 11 yards (A.Curry).

Maybe I need another category called "No-light."  Wherin Curry did his job, made a play, but that play did little to stop the bleeding.  He still helped in bailing out David Hawthorne in this play.  Curry was on the left side in a standard OlB stance.  Heater on the right side.  Post-snap, Hightower moves to the right side, and Heater whiffs badly.  Outside containment is lost, a first down is immiment.  Curry hustles over from the oposite hashmark to drop Hightower right where he missed, and stops the play before further damage can be wrought.

(8:54 2nd Quarter) 3rd and 5 at SEA 5 T.Hightower up the middle to SEA 5 for no gain (A.Curry).

Gus Bradley loves to confuse me.  From what I can tell, it's three down lineman, with Curry as one of the lineman on the right side.  Raheem Brock is on his left standing up.  I only see Lofa Tatupu and Jordan Babineaux as the nominal LBs.

Not that it matters, Arizona called a piss-poor play.  Simple run to the right, with no fullback covering him.  Aaron Curry was on the front-lines, shed his blocker quickly and brought down Hightower with little effort.

(4:07 3rd Quarter) 2nd and 8 at ARI 23 D.Anderson sacked at ARZ 18 for -5 yards (A.Curry). FUMBLES (A.Curry), RECOVERED by SEA-C.Clemons at ARZ 17. C.Clemons to ARZ 17 for no gain (T.Hightower).

The Derek Anderson assault continues.

Seahawks in the Bandit.  Curry standing up on the left side.  The Cards are in what looks like a Jumbo package, with only one WR (Fitzgerald) lined up on the far right side.  Stephen Spach is on the left side next to Levi Brown, and Ben Patrick is behind Anderson, ostensibly as blitz pickup.  It didn't work out.

Snap.  Spach runs a crossing rough in the middle, and Brown is occupied by Jay Richardson.  Curry is free to attack.  He bursts through the line, thirsty for blood.  Ben Patrick tries to stop him, and fails miserably.  Anderson does not see him coming, and pays with his life.  And a fumble.  Glorious play.


(14:19 1st Quarter) 2nd and 9 at ARI 49 D.Anderson pass short left to L.Stephens-Howling to SEA 38 for 13 yards (J.Siavii).

Seahawks in a base 4-3.  Curry is on the left side in a zone.  The Cardinals are in an I-form with 3 WRs, two to the right.  Just before the snap, Curry sneaks forward a couple steps.  After the snap, Derek Anderson backs away from the pressure and tosses it to LaRod Stephens-Howling, who is only a yard in front of the LOS.  Curry is still in his zone, bewildered, while Alan Faneca and Lyle Sendleihn pull forward and block him out of his assigned zone.  LSH blows through the opened hole for an easy first down.  Yet another example of bad awareness from Curry.  If I were a talk radio hack, I'd say something like, "pick it up, brah."

(6:34 1st Quarter) 1st and 10 at ARI 46 D.Anderson pass short right to S.Spach pushed ob at SEA 40 for 14 yards (A.Curry).

If you don't have "bite on play action" as a rule in your Aaron Curry Drinking Game, you haven't been paying attention.

Yes, sadly, this trend is worth another entry in the drinking game.  He's lined up on the right side as a standing DE in the Bandit package we've come to know and fear.  The Cards are in a bundle package, with only one WR to the right, and two backs in the backfield.  Curry's main responsibility here is to contain the right side.

Snap.  Derek Anderson fakes the handoff to Tim Hightower in a laughably blatant play-action, yet Curry still falls for it, shuffling towards the middle of the field, convenviently ignoring TE Stephen Spach running right into the area he just abandoned.  Way too easy for Anderson.

I want to push for "TK-421" being Curry's new nickname.  It's all too appropriate.

Interesting Notes

--(12:59 1st Quarter) 2nd and 7 at SEA 35 D.Anderson pass deep right to L.Fitzgerald pushed ob at SEA 2 for 33 yards (M.Trufant). Seattle challenged the pass completion ruling, and the play was Upheld. (Timeout #1.)

Larry Fitzgerald vs. Marcus Trufant may have been a fair matchup in 2007.  Nowadays, it's just like watching the high-school senior who's NBA bound dunking on a hapless freshman who only joined the team to flirt with the cheerleaders.

--(5:00 1st Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 10 M.Hasselbeck sacked at SEA 4 for -6 yards (C.Campbell).

Calais Campbell blows by Chester Pitts, dives and strikes a glancing blow at Matt's feet.  Matt is standing perfectly still at the time, and upon receiving the glancing blow goes down like a house of cards.  I don't like focusing on Matt in these posts but, you know, Matt The Statue.

--(13:01 3rd Quarter) 1st and 10 at ARI 22 C.Whitehurst pass short right intended for B.Obomanu INTERCEPTED by D.Rodgers-Cromartie at ARZ 18. D.Rodgers-Cromartie to ARZ 44 for 26 yards (A.McCoy, B.Obomanu).

Now this is a play we can totally blame on Charlie.  After the snap, he drops back, senses phantom pressure that's not really there, and floats a weak ball to Ben obomanu on the right flat.  DRC sees the pass coming a mile away, and jumps the route.

--(8:15 3rd Quarter) (Shotgun) 2nd and 9 at ARI 18 C.Whitehurst sacked ob at ARZ 18 for 0 yards (A.Wilson).

Nice Senesack, Charlie.  Adrian Wilson was at least 5-7 yards away from him.

--Arizona had -5 total yards in the 3rd quarter.

--The Cardinals fans started their boos at the end of the third quarter.  A dominating win like this feels so satisfying.

--Curry spent most of Arizona's 4th quarter TD drive as the DT in a 3-down man scheme.  I'm not too upset about Bradley coasting with a Prevent, the game was well in hand.  Curry himself wasn't very useful here, Deuce Lutui man-handled him nearly every play and he looked completely useless.  I think he's better suited to staying on the edges.

Week 11--vs. Saints



(4:58 1st Quarter) (Shotgun) 1st and 10 at NO 49 D.Brees pass short middle to J.Jones to SEA 46 for 5 yards (A.Curry).

Another No-Light, or perhaps just a Light.  Curry is lined up as a traditional LB on the left side in a zone.  His job is to contain the outside, and he fulfills that job.  Julius Jones gets the ball in the flat, moves into Curry's zone, and Curry cleans up with little fuss.  He didn't do anything awesome, but he didn't do anything cringe-worthy.  He did his job.  Good work, Aaron.  Here's a candy bar.

(13:41 2nd Quarter) 1st and 10 at NO 36 J.Jones right tackle to NO 33 for -3 yards (D.Hawthorne).

Heater got credit for the tackle, but it was Curry who got the heat on Julius Jones.

The Seahawks are in the Bandit, with Curry lining up on the left side as a DE.  The Saints have something that looks like a Jumbo package.  Only one WR out on the right, a TE bunched in close, and one back.

Snap.  Drew Brees gives it to Jones running to the right side.  The blocks and gaps appear to be set up, yet Jones chooses to run into those blocks.  All this time, Curry is running from the opposite hashmark in pursuit, un-challenged.  Earl Thomas is in on run support, and gets the first hit on Jones.  He spins away from this, only to meet Curry in his face.  With no hope left, Jones tries to spin away, but Heater is right there to meet him for the tackle.


(3:09 1st Quarter) 2nd and 6 at SEA 34 C.Ivory right guard to SEA 29 for 5 yards (A.Curry). SEA-A.Curry was injured during the play. His return is Probable.

Curry is on the right side in the normal Bandit.  The Saints are in an I-Form.  Post-snap, they call a standard run to the right-side gap.  Curry pursues and gets stone-walled easily by some dude named Joique Bell, letting Chris Ivory blow past him.  He later breaks off his block and tackles Ivory in a hustle move.  Ivory ran over Marcus Trufant, but give Tru some credit for slowing him down enough to let Curry finish the play.

(14:54 3rd Quarter) 2nd and 10 at NO 20 C.Ivory right guard to NO 27 for 7 yards (L.Tatupu, K.Balmer).

AC-59, why aren't you at your post?

Seahawks in the Bandit.  Curry is on the right side lined up against TE David Thomas.  The Saints are in one those unique Sean Payton packages.  One RB deep in the backfield, the FB up and to the right of him, two WRs bunched to the left.  Not that it matters what happens on the left side, the action is to the right.

Snap.  Brees gives to Chris Ivory on a simple run to the B gap.  That gap is very open, thanks to David Thomas moving Curry to the right and away from said gap.  Ivory bursts through the hole.  Lofa Tatupu is right there in his assigned zone to clean up, and Balmer helps out.

(13:49 3rd Quarter) 1st and 10 at NO 46 C.Ivory left end pushed ob at SEA 49 for 5 yards (A.Curry).

Aaron Curry got out-run by Chris Ivory.  I'm not sure what to make of that.

Curry is lined up in the standard 4-3 OLB slot.  It appears his only real job this play is to contain the left side.  Brees dumps it off to Ivory in the flat, and Curry has a free lane to him.  Only he over-pursues Ivory, and the ball-carrier makes a simple cut to the sideline to neutralize his pursurer.  Aaron charges up Super Curry Mode to later bring him down, but it was too late by then.

(2:54 4th Quarter) (Shotgun) PENALTY on SEA-A.Curry, Encroachment, 5 yards, enforced at SEA 29 - No Play.


Interesting Notes

--(10:02 1st Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 30 J.Forsett right guard to SEA 22 for -8 yards (T.Hargrove).

This was a designed Flea Flicker that went horribly wrong.  Whether the Flea Flicker was a good call or not is up for debate, but the execution was botched by none other than Russell Okung.  It hurts to type that.

After the snap, Matt tosses to Justin Forsett in the backfield.  He runs up to the LOS and turns around, looking to toss the ball back to Matt.  Problem is, Okung gets completely schooled by Will Smith, who finds his way within arm's length of Matt.  Seeing this unfold, Force wisely aborts the play, eats the ball and tries to salvage the situation, with little success.

I don't like seeing Okung fail.  Don't do that again, Russell.

--In the 1st quarter, FOX shows a picture of BMW's broken finger.  Jesus, FOX, I didn't need to see that.  If I wanted to, I would watch ER reruns.

--(10:11 2nd Quarter) 2nd and 10 at SEA 20 M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete short left to M.Lynch.

So close to a perfect call.  Lynch jogs out to the left flat with nobody covering him.  Matt throws the ball just a yard away from his arms, he muffs it for an incomplete.  What could have been.

--(8:31 2nd Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 28 D.Brees pass incomplete deep right to J.Graham (W.Thurmond).

Walter Thurmond was the hero here.  He lined up on the right side in an apparent man coverage on the tight end.  An intimidating coverage for any rookie CB, yet Thurmond rises to the challenge, covers Graham step-to-step and turns around to knock away the ball at the last second.

I like Walter Thurmond.

--At 1:27 in the 2nd quarter, Ladell Betts gets the ball in the left flat and out-runs Tatupu like Tats is an 80-year-old man chasing a kid off his lawn.  Tats is really slow these days.

--(12:25 3rd Quarter) 1st and 10 at SEA 32 (Shotgun) D.Brees pass deep right to R.Meachem for 32 yards, TOUCHDOWN. pass 28, YAC 4

Every time I start to warm up to Gus Bradley, he rolls out a zone package that just kills me.

The Hawks are in the Bandit.  Curry didn't do anything.  You shouldn't care about the LOS on this play.  You should care about the ludicrous cushions given to New Orleans' WRs.  Walter Thurmond is at least 10 yards behind Robert Meachem before the snap.  Lawyer Milloy is 5 yards to the right of Thurmond..  After the snap, Meachem runs a post route to the middle.  Milloy covers him briefly in his zone, but stops covering him once he exits that zone.  Thurmond is still on the outside, and is completely helpless when Milloy abandons the coverage.  He's forced into a one-on-one footrace, and Meachem has an easy window for Brees to give him the ball.

This is bad scheming, bad game-planning, and bad execution.  Why call deep zones when the opponent is so close to the red-zone?  Why leave a rookie CB out on his own?  It baffles the mind.

--(2:08 3rd Quarter) 3rd and 2 at SEA 47 (Shotgun) M.Hasselbeck pass short left to J.Carlson to NO 46 for 7 yards (R.Harper, T.Hargrove)

Part of the reason for JC's disapperance in '10 was his bigger committment to blocking after Micheal Robinson's injury.  Judging by this play, that wasn't going too well.  Carlson was never famous for his pass-blocking skills, but this play in particular shows off his strengths and weaknesses perfectly.  After the snap, Will Smith gets up in JC's business, and easily swats him away to get to Matt.  But, after failing in pass protection, Carlson smartly and quickly runs a pass route to the left flat.  Matt gives him the ball despite Smith being in his face, and JC makes some sweet moves to get the first down.

--Marshawn Lynch had two fumbles in this game, both involving runs after a catch.  Let's just stop throwing the ball to Lynch, shall we?