Set the enjoyable: Talanoa Hufanga is a menace and different issues to observe in Week 3

Welcome again to Set up the Enjoyable, the place soccer is enjoyable and I would wish to… nicely… set up that!

I am nonetheless engaged on the introduction, please bear with me.

Week 2 gave us some superb and loopy wild comebacks like Tua’s renaissance recreation, the Jaguars merely proudly owning your complete metropolis of Indianapolis, and the Justin Herbert “Put the workforce in your again like Greg Jennings in Madden” second. They are going to most likely all make the video explaining what occurred within the 2022 season by the top of the yr.

Nevertheless, we’re on to Week 3 and with that, extra cool stuff and funky gamers I’ve loved that you should hold an eye fixed out for.

Talanoa Hufanga: My favourite menace within the league

The San Francisco 49ers protection is a workforce filled with threats. I imply, they simply need to trigger hassle for each offense they play. All 11 boys play with their hair on fireplace and are not afraid to get slightly soiled. I am reminded of the ghost band in Hunter x Hunter, particularly within the Uvogin Requiem scene the place they simply destroy the entire city as a result of their good friend was killed by Kurapika.

Nevertheless, second-year security Talanoa Hufanga is perhaps probably the most threatening of all threats, and in 2022 he was among the best safeties within the league. What I like most about Hufanga is that he simply makes explosive performs on protection. An explosive defensive play is a deal with for loss, sack or turnover.

The 49ers line up Hufanga in all places, and within the fashionable NFL, having a 6’0, 200-pound security who will be as versatile as Hufanga is essential to operating an efficient protection. Let’s examine him go to work right here. He’s lined up because the deep security, however drops when the Seahawks transfer a receiver to make it appear like they’re operating Duo. The receiver breaks free from Hufanga and Seattle executes a boot from the run motion. Hufanga merely assaults the QB and forces a rushed throw and an incompletion:

In opposition to the run, Hufanga has nice instincts mixed with tackling capability and a willingness to trigger issues on objective. Seattle tries to clear the cut up zone out of the pistol with the cut up motion going away from Hufanga, however he comes flying off the sideline for the deal with. He simply makes issues occur and is a lot enjoyable to observe.

This got here towards the Bears in week 1, however this was the play that acquired me out of my seat. Bears transfer slot receiver to get Fred Warner, Niners MIKE and one other menace out of the field. This places Hufanga, a security, to match up towards the run, which is what you need as an offense. Nevertheless, Hufanga can also be a menace and sneaks the guard block on Duo from the pistol to make a brilliant spectacular cease.

His versatility would not simply cease within the operating recreation. The Niners demand so much from their safeties, change rotations primarily based on movement, change tasks if personnel change and do plenty of rotations after the snap. Hufanga’s instincts on the run additionally translate to the cross, the place he additionally simply throws within the air.

On this instance, the 49ers are in Quarters protection. The Seahawks transfer a receiver on the alternative facet because the ball is snapped, making LOS tight finish Tyler Lockett the brand new No. 2 receiver. On this protection, Hufanga matches any No. 2 route, operating a Bang 8 ( tempo submit, usually used with RPOs). This transfer causes the LB on that facet to widen, which opens the window for Geno Smith to throw to Lockett.

Hufanga comes off the roof (from the highest of quarterback protection) and drives down Lockett’s route, flatly closing any window Smith had and inflicting an incompletion. He is soccer participant, man.

This interception is attributable to Hufanga, as soon as once more solely inflicting issues for the Seahawks’ passing offense. Seattle punts, which once more places the onus on Hufanga to match no matter route the second receiver runs. Hufanga undercut in-breaker, deflects the cross proper into the palms of the opposite security for INT.

Creating turnovers and simply usually ripping issues off for offense is vital on protection proper now, and Hufanga has confirmed to be among the best within the subject. On Sunday night time, the Niners play Denver, who will greater than probably run plenty of play motion and attempt to assault Hufanga’s eyes with misdirection. Be careful for this menace on Sunday Night time Soccer.

The Packers are coming into the Ginuwine period

Do we expect Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers love Ginuwine’s “Pony”? I feel so, as a result of the Inexperienced Bay Packers abused the Chicago Bears on Sunday night time with their Pony personnel.

Pony personnel is when there are two operating backs within the lineup, and the Packers have two superb backs in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon who’ve complementary talent units. Given the dearth of depth on the receiver place, it is sensible for each to play on the identical time.

Nevertheless, Inexperienced Bay is not simply throwing personnel on the market simply to do it; there’s a mindset and a technique to the Pony’s insanity.

Let’s watch this primary play within the Pony vs. Bears deck. Inexperienced Bay indicators the TE to the sideline, presumably to place rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon (who by no means actually performed nickel in school) into the operating recreation.

The Packers then assault the sides of the protection in what seems to be a crack throw motion the place the tipped TE cracks the EDGE participant down the sector and RT Elgton Jenkins pulls him across the sideline. The best way Rodgers offers the ball to Jones is just like the performs the Niners would run with Deebo Samuel. Take a look at LB’s eyes within the again although. He’s caught gazing AJ Dillon, who runs in direction of him. That slows him down and prevents him from attending to the sport sooner.

On this subsequent play, the Packers use Aaron Jones on the transfer to stretch the protection horizontally to create lowered lanes for AJ Dillon. Watch how Jones’ orbit strikes the defenders out and the way far the defender has to come back to make the deal with. Deliberate issues like these are used to create small benefits that may be the distinction between two and 6 yards.

On this landing, Jones begins with the ball however is lined up as a large receiver. He strikes and takes the jet sweep (which should not rely as a cross) into the top zone and will get an amazing block from Dillon.

Chicago’s linebackers had been dazed and confused Sunday night time, and Matthew McConaughey wasn’t even within the constructing. That is how calculated use of their personnel could make this offense dynamic on the sector. Do you see the secondary change when the TE strikes off the ball? They anticipate the identical outdoors recreation that was proven earlier, however as an alternative he will get a run with Dillon. Simply ugly.

This passing recreation ends in a sack, however what I like most right here is the method behind them. Inexperienced Bay LOVES to get Aaron Jones vertical within the passing recreation out of the backfield, they usually acquired precisely the look they wished from the Bears protection, which runs Cowl 1 with a linebacker within the center gap.

AJ Dillion fast transfer (transfer on the snap) turns into the protection to the touch Dillon they usually put Jones on a linebacker. The precise look you need and one the Packers have exploited earlier than. Just one Bears security on the prime of the protection has to run the deep over, and if Rodgers is not sacked, he most likely will get a TD to Jones.

The Packers tackle the Buccaneers on Sunday, they usually’re not going to win simply by making an attempt to hit the run protection like they’re hitting a wall. If they’ll drive the Bucs protection to make errors with this personnel and stretch their second-tier gamers horizontally once more, they need to have a preventing probability on offense with out a true receiving menace.

We caught up with some rookie receivers

The 2022 WR class within the NFL draft wasn’t as dominant up prime because the 2021 rookies, however some high-quality receivers had been picked. Some have adjusted to the NFL extra slowly than others, however the ones to control primarily based on their efficiency in Week 2 are the Jets’ Garrett Wilson and the Falcons’ Drake London.

The very first thing that stood out to me once I watched Wilson go for 102 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches is how sudden he’s. He goes from cease to start out — from gradual to blazing quick — in a flash, and when you’re not prepared, you may find yourself like Martin Emerson Jr. on this fade route for a landing:

Not solely does his pace threaten defensive backs, however how shortly he can get out and in of breaks with out giving an excessive amount of of an opinion can also be so spectacular for a rookie. Watch him flip Grant Delpit on this route. Head pretend and three heavy steps to the within, then exploding again, leaves Delpit within the mud.

Poor Jacob Phillips will get hit by Wilson’s stop-start capability within the pink zone, the place the Jets run Wilson on a spot and go, which requires Wilson to cease like he is operating a spot route , then break floor. One higher throw and Wilson may need had a 3rd landing.

What’s intriguing is how the Jets are placing him in favorable positions to succeed. Wilson is not the most effective at getting out of the press but, so New York simply will get him free appears and targets from the slot or from the pile and stacks. The Jets are empty right here with Wilson out. The Jets transfer Wilson right into a tighter formation with the slot receiver to his facet, making certain he will not see press protection and may work towards a slot defender, which is unfair to that defender.

The Jets play the Bengals on Sunday, who’ve a nice however unspectacular protection. Search for offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur to proceed to scheme Wilson targets the place he can use his electrifying capability after the catch and physique management to get underneath defenders.

Utilizing London is a little more fascinating to me, primarily as a result of I have never essentially seen him as the kind of participant I take advantage of, however it works!

Atlanta makes use of it so much on smokescreens on their RPOs. If QB Marcus Mariota would not like what he sees, he can throw it at London, who has confirmed he could make guys miss. In accordance with Sports activities Information Options, London leads all rookies in yards after the catch, and for a motive. He is an even bigger man, however he can transfer.

The place I have been impressed with London and the Falcons is how they’ve used him on breaking routes, utilizing his measurement to assault the center of the sector, spots vacated by the linebackers. The Falcons run a Dagger idea with Kyle Pitts (LOL) operating the deep route and London operating the dig behind him. London can go up and get the ball and create a throwing lane for his QB, simply put it within the zone code.

What I additionally appreciated was how London is aware of when to settle into an space as an alternative of going into visitors. I am assuming he is imagined to take a again dig right here, however as an alternative he drops down when he sees grass cleared and Mariota hits him for an enormous completion.

When the Falcons tackle the Seahawks, you should definitely search for how London is getting used. Head coach Arthur Smith has made it a precedence to get rookie targets. Now if solely they may do this for Kyle Pitts.

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