Must Read of the Day: Jeff Duncan's Film Study

Remember 2009 Playoffs "close talker" Kurt Warner? Looks like A-Rodg is going for the title now. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I know that quite often around here we give the nola.com Saints Beat Patrol the blues. Between Varney's wardrobe, Jeff Duncan's height and weird v-log location choices, we take some cheap (and sometimes even funny) shots at those targets.

But one thing that is done really well each week on the nola.com (aside from the Feelin' the Brees graphic) during the season is this feature: Jeff Duncan's Film Study.

Make the jump with me to learn more of what i like about it, as well as highlights from his 2011 inaugural edition.

The Film Study series articles usually come out a few days after each game, and in it, Duncan shares detailed notes and observations from his review/analysis of the game film (or, to be more accurate, the section of his DVR hard drive that contains the game recording).  For me, it is excellent stuff, and in reading it I find myself saying both, "Yeah, I noticed that, too." and, "Dang. I completely missed that!" or "Now that you mention it, Jeff, that was going on in the game!"

In this week's edition, subtitled Green Bay Packers dominated the New Orleans Saints in the trenches, after describing this large theme that greatly impacted the game,

Green Bay's offensive and defensive lines dominated their Saints counterparts for most of the night en route to a resounding 42-34 victory.

Duncan identifies a Player (Darren Sproles, 'nuff said) and Play of the Game (Mark Ingram's failed third-and-one rush that preceded the fourth-and-one play-action disaster).

He follows that with his Pressure Report (a summary of how Gregg Williams applied pressure to the opposing QB), and I'm sure we can all agree with his overall assessment:

The Saints rarely were able to harass Aaron Rodgers and the Packers quarterback had a field day against the Saints' overmatched secondary.

Next comes the Zebra Report on what kind of game he feels the referees had/called (in this case a good one), and then the Didja Notice? segment, which this week pointed to the slippery footing of the Saints in the early going of the game.

The bulk of the article consists of his quarter-by-quarter Notes and Observations on individual plays and specific parts of drives.

Here are some gems from this section:

Somebody on CSC asked about P-Rob's playing so much, and Duncan notes this...

Cornerback Tracy Porter moved inside to handle the slot receiver for most the night, allowing Patrick Robinson to stay outside where he is most comfortable. This is a new position for Porter in the nickel coverage. Randall Gay and Malcolm Jenkins played the slot in previous years.

And this next part was my main GAAAAA! for the night (and I screamed that A LOT):

Saints played a soft zone on third-and-12 and the Packers ate it up. Somehow the Packers' five receivers beat the Saints' eight cover men.

How about this nugget?

Colston's fumble was a rare occurrence. He's now fumbled five times in six seasons.

Remember this?

The Saints burned Green Bay on a third-and-1 by throwing deep out of "heavy" personnel. The Packers had to be thinking run when the Saints employed two tight ends along with fullback Jed Collins and Brees took advantage by play-action faking to Thomas and firing a strike to Meachem, who beat Tramon Williams in single coverage with no deep safety help.

This one is pretty good (emphasis added)...

Horrible coverage by Harper on an in route by Cobb that produced a 32-yard touchdown catch-and-run. Harper was supposed to have inside leverage but allowed Cobb to beat him inside for a too-easy connection over the middle. Cobb showed his open-field ability by juking Jenkins, the Saints' best tackler, at the 15-yard line and cruising into the end zone. It was revealed later that Cobb actually ran the wrong route on the play.

I absolutely EAT THIS STUFF UP, and that was only from the first quarter!

Duncan closes each Film Study with the Personnel Breakdown, that reviews trends of and tallies full counts of the various personnel groupings Payton actually deployed on offense in the game.

Here's Duncan's synopsis of it (for the full breakdown, click on either the above or below link to the full article itself):

While rookie Mark Ingram started the game he finished wit the fewest snaps of the three backs. This was dictated primarily by the score. The Saints were forced to play a lot of three-receiver sets as they were in catch-up mode. By their standards, the Saints were fairly basic, using only six personnel groupings. The absence of Lance Moore clearly affected his play-calling. Instead of using Adrian Arrington, he elected to go with tight ends Jimmy Graham and David Thomas as wideouts in spread formations. Arrington played only played one snap. All of the fullback snaps went to Jed Collins. Korey Hall strictly played special teams.

After reading this article, I always feel much better informed about what the Saints did well and not so well in the game.

As the title of this post indicates, I consider it a "must read" every week and give it my second highest recommendation (it's almost as important as catching my "Hot Reads" each week - sorry, SSP), so if you missed the link to Duncan's Film Study above, here it is again.

Please share your own opinion of the Film Study series and/or Duncan's specific observation and notes in the comment section below. Do you enjoy it/get as much out of it as I do, or is it more one of those, "meh" deals for you?

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