In today’s addition of “The Film Don’t Lie“, we’re going to dissect the play of Jets’ cornerback Dee Milliner prior to, and after Ed Reed‘s arrival. Beginning with Milliner’s (porous) first half of the season, it’s easy to pick on him on any game. The most obvious choice would be the game in Cincinnati. Marvin Jones made Milliner look silly. Keep in mind, Milliner was a rookie learning on the fly.
Remember to read the next page, so you don’t go out thinking Dee stinks!
*Zooming in is highly recommended (depending on your device).
Anyway, let’s take a look at the touchdown from Andy Dalton to Marvin Jones…
The Bengals lined up with 3 wide receivers, 1 tight end, and 1 halfback.
Marvin Jones will run a fade route, highlighted above in black. Dee Milliner (white) will try his best to jam Jones at the line of scrimmage. Watch closely as the play develops. Dalton is going to Jones… and only Jones.
Andy Dalton’s eyes (yellow) are all over the Jones-Milliner matchup. He knows that Milliner is on an island, by himself in man-to-man coverage with Jones. Milliner has his back to the quarterback, which is fine, depending on his coverage.
When playing man, the cornerback has the option to backpedal while eyeing the quarterback, or face the receiver and deflect the ball when the receiver goes for the catch. In this case, Milliner appears to be playing the man and not the ball, facing the receiver. At this specific point in the play, Milliner has decent coverage.
Let’s move to the next frame.
Now here is where Dee makes a mistake. If he is playing the receiver and not the ball, he needs to be facing the receiver. The white arrow above, reflects Milliner’s positioning. His head is looking towards the end zone, as he attempts to turn his hips around. That’s a big no-no for cornerbacks in the NFL. Marvin Jones, on the other hand, is looking for the football. He is getting a feel for Dee, knowing that he’ll overrun the back-shoulder throw.
Jones is right. He makes a play for the ball, way before Milliner has a chance to turn around and swat the pass. Because he turned his hips, Milliner gave away any opportunity he had to make a play. He was completely out of position at this point, and didn’t stand a chance. It resulted in an easy touchdown for Jones…. 1 of 4 on the day.
Just look at Milliner’s body language. He knows he messed up. Messing up is fine. It happens… especially rookie cornerbacks. But his body language says a lot about his confidence. His swag was nowhere to be found.
Until Ed Reed showed up.
From this point on, Dee was considered Reed’s “shadow”, following him around. He picked up on how to study tape in the film room, how to be a professional, and how to translate both of those aspects onto the field.
Take the jump with us to page 2, where we will analyze Milliner’s play after the arrival of Ed Reed…