Oakland Raiders Film Room: Week 11 (Chargers)

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TJ Carrie: The Fighter

It’s been quite the pleasure to watch TJ Carrie get physical with tough and strong receivers week after week. Even after being demoted to nickel corner with the return and rise of DJ Hayden (there must be something to the whole initials as first names thing), he’s shown himself to be very valuable to the team. Carrie’s physical play has managed to break up many short-to-mid routes against both outside and slot receivers – a very difficult and crucial position in today’s pass heavy NFL.

Credit: NFL Game Rewind

Carrie displays excellent technique, footwork discipline, and physicality on this pass defense early in the first quarter. From 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs), San Diego motions RB Donald Brown out of the backfield almost to the sideline to give a 3×2 empty backfield look. The motion clears LB Sio Moore out of the box and alerts QB Philip Rivers to man coverage. Indeed, Oakland runs man-free coverage (1 deep safety, man coverage underneath) from their nickel package (3 DLs, 3 LBs, 5 DBs), and fakes the blitz with LB Miles Burris.

With the middle of the field wide open Rivers’ first look is to TE Antonio Gates on the inside hitch route, but Burris and Woodson double cover him. The second option is on the weak side where WRs Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen run a switch release (receivers cross each other on the initial stems) Out/Dig combination. Carrie does an amazing job at using early contact to disrupt the release, then staying on top of the route and ready to drive on the cut at the break point. When Rivers throws the ball, Carrie is in position and fights to get to the ball, breaking up the pass. Time to punt, San Diego.