Play 2: Vs. Liberty, 1st quarter, 7:24 remaining, 1st & 10
What the offense is running: A two-man route play-action play out of I-form with Isabella running a post and the other receiver running a vertical route.
What the defense is running: An inverted Cover 2 defense, meaning the safeties play shallow zone near the line of scrimmage along with linebackers and the cornerbacks run deep zones that edge towards the middle.
What Isabella is tasked to do: Same as last, burn the defense with the post down the field.
What happens: The cornerback is playing bail coverage (hips are flipped inside) to disallow Isabella to gain outside leverage. Which he does, but at the cost of letting the speedster gain inside leverage and ultimately get a touchdown.
In just six steps Isabella has the cornerback beat. He exploits the cornerback’s bail coverage by stepping outside, which makes the cornerback stutter and follow him. When the cornerback pauses, Isabella knows he’s won the battle and flips back inside. The freaky part is that he does all of this at full speed.
- This was shown to reaffirm the notion that Isabella isn’t just a slot receiver, and he shouldn’t be compared to former and present Patriots that played the position. He can create favorable leverage inside and out and is best used when vertically stretching the field.
- Impressive ball-tracking. In each of the past two plays, Isabella has shown good ball concentration and the ability to bread basket catch. This is minor, but it’s good to know he’s rarely dropping these passes and is aware of where passes are. Some receivers (cough J.J. Nelson, Chad Williams) struggle in that area.
- It’ll be interesting to see how he’s defended on the outside in the NFL. He’s proved to be a menace against off-man coverage. Many assume that teams will put lengthier, athletic, cornerbacks on him to contain him, but his press release is just as impressive. You’ll see why on the next play.