Denver Broncos & The Bunch Formation. How Do We Stop It?

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  • How do we fare against the bunch formation? I know our corners love to play man and press coverage and from what I gather the bunch formation is good for teams going against press coverage. I hope our DBs are up to the task cause I have a feeling Peyton Manning and the donkeys are going to come out of that formation a lot...
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  • Don't let them off of the line? Subsequently break one of them in half?
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  • Punch them in the mouth as a collective!
    After they collapse in a heap a few times, they'll stop doing it!
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  • I bet we will be seeing this a bunch of times in this game. We need our D-LINE to get push up the middle and make Manning move his feet.
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  • Can we bump them before 5 yards? I think we can, right? Just bump them ...
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  • ET has said they've faced it a lot this year and know how to stop it quick.
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  • Cosell was concerned about how we'd handle the bunch formation. Here's what he said:

    COSELL: That’s really what I want to talk about. I heard a lot of people saying, “That won’t happen against Seattle because Richard Sherman will play press-man.” Really? They’re not going to let him do that.

    When I watched Carolina against Seattle, on five plays on their first series they lined up in bunch. Richard Sherman was 12 yards off the ball on every play because you can’t play press-man to bunch unless you’re the point man and he’s not going to play the point man.

    The Niners did an unbelievably great job with bunch because they know what Boldin is.


    Boldin was shut down that game.

    However, then we played Houston. Only one team passed for more yards against us than they averaged the rest of the season and that was Houston. This is what a Houston analyst had to say BEFORE that game:

    What do Jerry Rice, Rod Smith, and Andre Johnson all have in common? If your answer is "Everyone knew they were getting the ball, but they still couldn’t stop it," you would be correct. Gary Kubiak has worked with all three of these receivers from the early 1990s up until the present day, and every single one of them has accumulated countless yards from one concept – the pick play. The pick play, to put it as simply as possible, is using one receiver’s route to "accidentally" run into a defender that is trying to guard a second receiver in man coverage to delay them just long enough to give that second receiver some space to catch the ball. Houston in particular loves running pick plays out of stacks and bunch sets that pack as many bodies into as small an area as possible in order to create chaos within coverage schemes.


    That does not bode well.

    He then goes on to dissect why SF failed in their bunch formations. Mainly because of the pass rush. It will be difficult to get a pass rush against Peyton.

    This articletakes a long look at how to beat Seattle's secondary. It focuses on the Indy game.

    The Colts run the three level concept out of a condensed bunch formation. With free safety Earl Thomas in the middle of the field, the Colts now have their 3 on 2 advantage with a vertical, corner & flat route versus the corner and flat defender. The cornerback (Richard Sherman) gets caught too shallow trying to take away the corner route and passes off T.Y. Hilton’s vertical route. Thomas can’t make the play from the middle of the field and Sherman does not have the proper depth playing a deep 1/3. The result is Hilton taking the top off the #1 pass defense in the league for a 73 yard touchdown with the three level concept.


    That isn't to say we're doomed. Our team knows full well what they're up against and they're smart, footballs savvy players. Here's a look into what our guys have to say about it:

    Denver utilizes a bunch formation -- two receivers at the line of scrimmage and one at least one yard behind. The tactic can be effective in getting receivers into their routes without being jammed at the line of scrimmage by hyper-aggressive coverage defenders. That accurately describes the entire crew in the Seahawks secondary.

    "Well, there are different ways that you can counter it," Sherman said. "A lot of the times the middle linebacker will go bone speed is what they call it, which is pretty much he'll look up the Wes Welkers of the world or Demaryius Thomases just to combat that if we're running man coverage. That's what the Patriots did from time to time, that's one of the ways you could do it or sometimes you just have to slip screen and fight.


    This website focuses on the Bunch formation and does a great job of explaining how and why it works. Interestingly, they show the Seahawks using the bunch formation to get Tate open for a 43 yard gain, so it's not like the Hawks defense doesn't practice against it. Here's what that article had to say about stopping the bunch:

    As I illustrated, it's not easy. That said, with excellent, physical corners, safeties, nickelbacks, and linebackers, all sound tacklers, a defense can successfully stymie bunch concepts. It's about understanding of route concepts, discipline in your zone, good communication, changing coverages on the fly, and the basic tenets of the bunch can be stifiled.


    Sounds like the Legion of Boom doesn't it?
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  • There isn't a receiver on their team that can outrun our DB's! Jam them at the line and knock them on their asses!
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  • I'm more intrigued by what they'll do when Welker is lined up in the backfield next to the rb. I don't know how much Denver has done that recently, but I remember taking note of it earlier this season since it seemed like a great way to avoid being jammed at the line.
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  • ASuperForce wrote:I'm more intrigued by what they'll do when Welker is lined up in the backfield next to the rb. I don't know how much Denver has done that recently, but I remember taking note of it earlier this season since it seemed like a great way to avoid being jammed at the line.


    Me too. Weller was killing us last year when he was in New England.
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  • Remember when the Saints short running back (Darren Sproles) was lined up in the backfield? I don't remember him gaining many yards in both games.
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  • dopeboy206 wrote:
    ASuperForce wrote:I'm more intrigued by what they'll do when Welker is lined up in the backfield next to the rb. I don't know how much Denver has done that recently, but I remember taking note of it earlier this season since it seemed like a great way to avoid being jammed at the line.


    Me too. Weller was killing us last year when he was in New England.

    Our linebackers did not cover passes that well last year. They have improved this year. I'll be surprised if Welker breaks 100 yards on us, unless he makes a sick move and runs for 70 yards on one of them, or something.
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  • One key to defending the bunch is pretty simple. Have enough good DBs that can cover well.

    Let's see, who do we have that can cover back there?

    1. Sherm, obviously
    2. Thurman
    3. Maxwell
    4. ETIII, pretty good cover safety that can run with most WRs
    5. Kam, not great in coverage, but can make picks and jam people

    6. Irvin, still learning but not bad in the under zones. Has the speed, at least
    7. KJ, 2d game back and hopefully close to 100%...pretty good in the under zones and at neutralizing TEs

    I think we got this. :)
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  • sure would be nice to have BB..
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  • BGHawk wrote:sure would be nice to have BB..

    Well, yeah, but I think Thurmond will be a better cover corner when all is said and done.

    We're still in pretty good shape in our secondary.
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  • Welker is the one guy on the Broncos that worries me. Sherm can handle DT all day long, Maxwell on Decker seems like an even match-up, KJ shut down Graham so I've got no doubt he'll play well against Julius Thomas which leaves Thurmond to handle Welker and I'm iffy on that match-up and I suspect Peyton will zero in on it. I think that's going to be a huge key in this game, if Kam can come in and blowup Welker a couple of times and make him hear footsteps it might start forcing Peyton to look elsewhere where our guys will be ready. I actually wouldn't mind seeing Wagner cheat a little bit in coverage and double team Welker here and there if it looks like a designed pass play.
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  • Indy got huge pressure on Manning in their game. Their line is not good - Manning is good and AFC is weak. We will get pressure with Avril and Bennett over and over again. Irvin will have an impact because of speed
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  • BC-Hawk wrote:Welker is the one guy on the Broncos that worries me. Sherm can handle DT all day long, Maxwell on Decker seems like an even match-up, KJ shut down Graham so I've got no doubt he'll play well against Julius Thomas which leaves Thurmond to handle Welker and I'm iffy on that match-up and I suspect Peyton will zero in on it. I think that's going to be a huge key in this game, if Kam can come in and blowup Welker a couple of times and make him hear footsteps it might start forcing Peyton to look elsewhere where our guys will be ready. I actually wouldn't mind seeing Wagner cheat a little bit in coverage and double team Welker here and there if it looks like a designed pass play.


    After what he did to us last year he worries me too.
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  • Playing against the bunch is going to require crazy good communication. Get physical with them off the line, knock them off their routes, and don't get caught in the pick. But honestly, I think we can do this. Our linebackers are incredibly speedy and cover space, and with guys like Kam and Earl to pick up the slack, I really think we can contain them. It helps a lot that we don't blitz that often and can keep that man back in coverage, and I see us sticking with that. Avril, Bennett, Clemons and Mebane are a wrecking crew unto themselves and as long as they can keep up the pressure and force the ball out, we can hold their WRs in check. The thing with Manning is you have to assume that on top of the initial play, every WR probably has an extended route where, if he has the time and can't get them right away, they run that secondary route. That's what could hurt us. Too any good pairs of hands to lose track of someone deep.
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  • They try to pic with those plays. It is illegal, but they are getting away with it. We have fast LB's and a guided missle called Thomas.

    They are going to complete a few of these, however, the brick wall called Kam may have a say so in how long they try and get away with it.
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  • SalishHawkFan wrote:Cosell was concerned about how we'd handle the bunch formation. Here's what he said:

    COSELL: That’s really what I want to talk about. I heard a lot of people saying, “That won’t happen against Seattle because Richard Sherman will play press-man.” Really? They’re not going to let him do that.

    When I watched Carolina against Seattle, on five plays on their first series they lined up in bunch. Richard Sherman was 12 yards off the ball on every play because you can’t play press-man to bunch unless you’re the point man and he’s not going to play the point man.

    The Niners did an unbelievably great job with bunch because they know what Boldin is.


    Boldin was shut down that game.

    However, then we played Houston. Only one team passed for more yards against us than they averaged the rest of the season and that was Houston. This is what a Houston analyst had to say BEFORE that game:

    What do Jerry Rice, Rod Smith, and Andre Johnson all have in common? If your answer is "Everyone knew they were getting the ball, but they still couldn’t stop it," you would be correct. Gary Kubiak has worked with all three of these receivers from the early 1990s up until the present day, and every single one of them has accumulated countless yards from one concept – the pick play. The pick play, to put it as simply as possible, is using one receiver’s route to "accidentally" run into a defender that is trying to guard a second receiver in man coverage to delay them just long enough to give that second receiver some space to catch the ball. Houston in particular loves running pick plays out of stacks and bunch sets that pack as many bodies into as small an area as possible in order to create chaos within coverage schemes.


    That does not bode well.

    He then goes on to dissect why SF failed in their bunch formations. Mainly because of the pass rush. It will be difficult to get a pass rush against Peyton.

    This articletakes a long look at how to beat Seattle's secondary. It focuses on the Indy game.

    The Colts run the three level concept out of a condensed bunch formation. With free safety Earl Thomas in the middle of the field, the Colts now have their 3 on 2 advantage with a vertical, corner & flat route versus the corner and flat defender. The cornerback (Richard Sherman) gets caught too shallow trying to take away the corner route and passes off T.Y. Hilton’s vertical route. Thomas can’t make the play from the middle of the field and Sherman does not have the proper depth playing a deep 1/3. The result is Hilton taking the top off the #1 pass defense in the league for a 73 yard touchdown with the three level concept.


    That isn't to say we're doomed. Our team knows full well what they're up against and they're smart, footballs savvy players. Here's a look into what our guys have to say about it:

    Denver utilizes a bunch formation -- two receivers at the line of scrimmage and one at least one yard behind. The tactic can be effective in getting receivers into their routes without being jammed at the line of scrimmage by hyper-aggressive coverage defenders. That accurately describes the entire crew in the Seahawks secondary.

    "Well, there are different ways that you can counter it," Sherman said. "A lot of the times the middle linebacker will go bone speed is what they call it, which is pretty much he'll look up the Wes Welkers of the world or Demaryius Thomases just to combat that if we're running man coverage. That's what the Patriots did from time to time, that's one of the ways you could do it or sometimes you just have to slip screen and fight.


    This website focuses on the Bunch formation and does a great job of explaining how and why it works. Interestingly, they show the Seahawks using the bunch formation to get Tate open for a 43 yard gain, so it's not like the Hawks defense doesn't practice against it. Here's what that article had to say about stopping the bunch:

    As I illustrated, it's not easy. That said, with excellent, physical corners, safeties, nickelbacks, and linebackers, all sound tacklers, a defense can successfully stymie bunch concepts. It's about understanding of route concepts, discipline in your zone, good communication, changing coverages on the fly, and the basic tenets of the bunch can be stifiled.


    Sounds like the Legion of Boom doesn't it?


    Thanks for posting the link to my article on how to attack the Seahawks defense. I also just posted an article on the Seahawk offense and their use of the outside zone run with play action Y Cross: http://wp.me/p2V0ns-1Ah
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  • I like the idea of bumping them into them selves right at the line.
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  • I read on the Broncos forum they like to bunch up 3 receivers (Wes Welker, Demaryus Thomas & Eric Decker) on one side and on the other side Julius Thomas. Manning likes his one on one with their TE on the opposite side of the 3 WR's....Also Denver fans says Manning hates to throw over his shoulders for whatever it's worth.
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  • Also wrote earlier in the year about the Seahawks 'U Gotcha' sucker play on the goal line. Love this play, it would be awesome if they put this in the game plan on Super Bowl Sunday: http://wp.me/p2V0ns-16Z
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  • Jim Light wrote:Also wrote earlier in the year about the Seahawks 'U Gotcha' sucker play on the goal line. Love this play, it would be awesome if they put this in the game plan on Super Bowl Sunday: http://wp.me/p2V0ns-16Z


    That was awesome. I'd love to see that play or some sort of trickery to put Denver on its heels.
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  • Bunch formation is what teams do to get separation. If it was so effective, teams would run it all the time.

    The problem is with those formations the QB needs more time otherwise he is just throwing it to a place the defense can predict. This is where having athletic LBers gives a team like Seattle a chance to jump a route. If Pey-Pey drops back, the LBer can now trail off into the passing lane because early on, those lanes are reduced.

    If Pey-Pey gets a lot of time (I highly doubt this) the bunch formation can create deep coverage problems. Enter ET, the best range guy in the league. It will get results at times, but the pass rush will get to Pey-Pey. It will also result in both tipped and INT passes. The Hawks have run bunch formations in the past too, they know how to defend it.
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  • mikeak wrote:Indy got huge pressure on Manning in their game. Their line is not good - Manning is good and AFC is weak. We will get pressure with Avril and Bennett over and over again. Irvin will have an impact because of speed


    Our RT (Franklin) was out that game, and the RG (Vasquez) played RT. If you want to judge how Denver's O line will play in the SB, that is probably the worst game to base it off of.
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