FanPost

Victor Cruz Vs Falcons Secondary: Matchup Primer

Victor Cruz had a great year especially towards end of the season; Cruz now has all attention going in to the playoff game. Before we get in to Cruz Vs Falcons Secondary Match up, lets dig deeper in to his coverage numbers and how Giants have used him in the regular season. These numbers were gathered after watching the Victor Cruz plays on NFL Rewind.

How the Giants used Victor Cruz

Victor Cruz was very effective when playing in slot and play action pass. Cruz can escape the tackles and can go all the way to the endzone..

1. Slot: Cruz very effective in the slot when matched up against Nickel Back or Safety. Most of the big plays and Yards after Catch yards were in the slot. He had multiple TD because of missed tackles.

2. Play Action Pass: He has been very effective in Play action pass for Giants, most of the play action passes were on the Right side and few on the Left Side. If Eli Manning had time to throw, he looked for Play action pass to Cruz.

Coverage Details and Matchup

Coverage

TA

Comp

Comp%

Yards

YAC

YPA

TD

RCB

21

14

66.60%

199

32

9.47

3

LCB

33

17

51.50%

312

146

9.45

1

NB

35

25

71.40%

566

214

16.17

3

FS

8

6

75%

82

31

8.2

0

SS

11

9

81.80%

223

106

20.2

2

LB

14

11

78.70%

154

73

11

0

Total

122

82

67.80%

1536

602

12.59

9

Note: These numbers show who was covering Victor Cruz in given play, not necessarily who tackled or missed a tackle. Also it's not an indication which position he lined up because based on coverage scheme and route the coverage matchups change.

Key Observations and Matchups:

1. Cruz was not very effective on the Right Side when covered by a LCB(Left Corner Back). Cruz had lowest completion percentage (51.5 %), lowest YPA and just one long 74 Yard TD given up in Dallas game. This is a good match up and an advantage for Atlanta, Cruz needs to step up his game when matched up against Grimes (one of the best corners in the NFC) if he wants to do some damage.

2. Cruz was not very effective on the Left Side when covered by RCB except when covered by Nnamdi Asomugha who gave up two TDs to Cruz. He had second lowest YPA of 9.47 and second lowest completion percentage when covered by RCB. This probably is a good matchup for Atlanta, though Cruz might get a big play on Dunta Robinson.

3. Cruz is best when he is matched up with a Nickel Back; he gained most yards and most YAC when covered by Nickel Back. This is a favorable matchup for Giants, as Cruz will be matched up against Franks or Chris Owens. However, if Falcons can move Grimes to Nickel it might be effective. 49ers shuffled Carlos Rogers between LCB and NB to shadow Cruz and made him a nonfactor in that game.

4. Cruz when covered by SS had a mixed year, when covered by top safeties he was a non factor, however he had success with lower tier safeties like Kurt Coleman of Eagles who missed an easy tackle for long TD. Its important for the SS to lay the wood on Cruz or else Cruz will be in the end zone. This is favorable match up for Falcons if William Moore is healthy enough to play. Moore needs to continue hitting like a truck and not miss tackles.

Bottom-line:

Advantage Cruz: His strength is against Nickel Backs and Falcons are weakest in the Nickel Back position.

Falcons can contain Cruz if Grimes can shadow Cruz or Franks and Chris Owens step up big time along with a very good pass rush. Cruz can also help out falcons if he continues dropping easy passes. One thing Falcons can't afford is missed tackles against Cruz.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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