Keys to the Super Bowl — Part II: How will the Bengals defend against empty?
How the Bengals set-up vs. empty formations will be the game within a game to track on Sunday
If you’re looking for a game within the game to track during the Super Bowl, how about this: How the Bengals defend against empty formations.
The Rams are an empty-heavy team – first in the NFL by a hair; empty formations occupying 19 percent (!) of the Rams offensive snaps. Over the past 12 months, Sean McVay has steadily morphed his offense from the confuse-and-clobber style of the early-to-mid Jared Goff era into more of a static, spread-based style with a focus on isolation routes and manipulating the coverage pre-snap through formation rather than movement.
Some of it has worked. Some has not. It’s shifted the brunt of the creative burden from the play design to the quarterback. When Matthew Stafford has been on – like, really, really on – it has been a revelation. When Stafford has been off, part of you is left to sit and wonder: Why did they not just plug the good quarterback into the old set-up, the one that carried Goff to an air of respectability and piloted the team to a Supe…
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