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 mobile 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…
Week 17 was Dee Milliner’s last chance to prove he has developed tremendously as a rookie. After an interception in the Jets week 16 win over Cleveland, Milliner’s confidence was at an all-time high. Thanks to Dennis Thurman for teaching, Ed Reed for mentoring, and Milliner for his natural football instincts — Dee was able to show (@Miami) why he was the 9th overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Dee’s 1st interception of the game came on a cover-zero look.
With man-to-man across the board, Milliner is once again on an island. Let’s see how he responds to Mike Wallace, who is running a curl route.
Right off the bat, Ryan Tannehill takes his three-step drop with a clean pocket, and knows where he wants to go with the football — Mike Wallace. Tannehill, via the film room, knows that Milliner is vulnerable with the back-shoulder throw. We were able to see where Milliner went wrong on the previous play (page 1). Now let’s compare.
In Cincinnati, Milliner twisted his hips. Remember? He didn’t stand a chance. Now, Milliner has his body square with the receiver, allowing him to plant off his back foot.
Dee Milliner had great pursuit when he played for Alabama, and he still has the same pursuit playing in the NFL for the New York Jets.
He plants his back foot and springs forward from the backpedal, enabling him to make a diving attempt for the ball.
It’s hard to see, but the white circle above is Milliner making a heck of a play… diving for an interception on Ryan Tannehill.
Later in the same game…
The Dolphins line up in a bunch-right formation, with 3 wide receivers, 1 tight end, and 1 half back.
The 2 receivers in white, closest to the line of scrimmage, are running posts in the middle of the field. The Jets send three down linemen, as well as linebacker David Harris. The pressure gets to Tannehill.
At this point in the play, the ball is in the air. The blue arrow above represents Dee Milliner’s vision. He has his eyes locked on the football. The pressure from Quinton Coples forces Ryan Tannehill to overthrow Wallace.
Milliner makes a great play on the ball. Let’s just say, it wasn’t right to him. Tannehill did overthrow Wallace, but Milliner made this play on his own. He went up and made the interception — his 2nd of the day. So you know…. good for him.
The best part is, this was a game-clincher. Milliner had great presence for a rookie, knowing to get down and slide. There’s no need to be like Richard Sherman, taunting your opponent every single time you making a play. Slide, and give your offense the ball to knee it.
But hey, maybe that’s just me.
Thanks for reading!
Be sure to Follow @JETSerious on Twitter!