Tag:Arrelious Benn
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 9:35 am

Film Room: Saints vs. Buccaneers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Back in Week 6, the Bucs beat the Saints 26-20 to move into first place in the NFC South. They enter the Week 9 rematch coming off a bye and once again playing New Orleans for the division lead. The Saints are coming off a surprising loss at St. Louis in which they didn’t fail to show up, but rather, simply got outplayed.

An analyst loves nothing more than to break down a matchup involving two teams that recently played each other. The previous film notes are fresh and applicable. Let’s look forward by glimpsing back.

1. Blitzing Freeman
Gregg Williams is the most aggressive blitzing coordinator in the league. It’s not just that he blitzes frequently, it’s that he blitzes with six pass-rushers (as opposed to five). And they’re fast defenders. The Saints’ nickel defense offers a lot of speed. Strong safety Roman Harper essentially serves as a swift linebacker.

Actual linebacker Jonathan Casillas is a lightning bolt when going downhill. He wouldn’t thrive as a traditional read-and-react run-defending linebacker, but as a read-and-attack blitzer, he’s fervid. Something that stood out in the Week 6 game was that when free safety Malcolm Jenkins dropped into the box, he almost always blitzed. He too does so with speed.

The Bucs offensive line did a phenomenal job at picking up New Orleans’ blitzes in the last meeting. However, the nature of those plays left Josh Freeman with minimal room to step into throws. This revealed that a lot of Freeman’s throwing power comes from his lower body (this could be why he’s a more dynamic passer outside the pocket on the run). Big as Freeman is, his ball floats a bit when he has to rely solely on his arm.

2. Saints coverages
Knowing what they know about Freeman’s arm, it will be interesting to see what coverages the Saints design to allow their corners to jump routes behind the blitzes. A floating ball is an interception opportunity. Tracy Porter is particularly good at route-jumping from his off-coverage techniques in the slot.

The Saints should feel confident in Jabari Greer’s and Patrick Robinson’s abilities to stay with Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn in man coverage outside (neither wideout is particularly quick or fast). If the outside is handled with no help coverage, Porter will have more freedom to take chances from the inside.

Of course, if WE know this, then so do the Bucs. Look for them to design a few routes that could take advantage of Porter’s aggression. The fourth-year corner has been somewhat vulnerable against downfield patterns this season.

3. Running Backs
Earnest Graham started for the injured LeGarrette Blount in Week 6 and wound up rushing for 109 yards on 17 carries. It was plain to see that Graham, with his decent quickness and tempo-changing ability, gave the Bucs’ rushing attack more dimension than it has with the lumbering, bulldozing Blount. And because Graham was a good pass-blocker and receiver, the Bucs could camouflage their run/pass play-calls with him on the field. With Blount, it’s a safe bet that the play is either a between-the-tackles handoff or a basic three/five-step pass.

Blount is healthy now. It would have been interesting to see if some of his spotlight shifted over to Graham this week. We’ll never know; Graham tore his Achilles in London two weeks ago. Tampa’s No. 2 running back is now Kregg Lumpkin. And Tampa’s running game is now one dimensional.

The Saints are also dinged up at running back. Rookie Mark Ingram missed last week’s contest with a bruised heel. Veteran replacement Pierre Thomas played in his stead. Thomas’ screen pass receiving prowess gave the offense a little more dimension, but his lack of phone booth power became a problem when the Rams swarming front seven congested the lanes against New Orleans’ pull blocks.

Style-wise, the Bucs’ front seven is similar to St. Louis’ and, while not great against the run, it’s capable of invoking similar disruption.

4. Facing the Saints offense
Any team that plays the Saints this season should closely study what the Rams did last week. It was simple, really. The Rams started the game with high blitz frequency but backed off after it quickly became apparent that New Orleans’ offensive tackles could not block the defensive ends.

With pressure coming out of a four-man rush, Rams corners played tight press coverage against the Saints receivers, which took away the quick routes that Drew Brees and this offense love. On the inside, the linebackers defended the underneath lanes and the safeties jumped lanes from over the top (that’s traditional two-deep coverage). This mix of man and zone principles requires physical strength at cornerback and speed at linebacker and safety.

The Bucs have the personnel to mimic this gameplan. Rookie defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who has a terrific combination of speed and power for trench play, destroyed left tackle Jermon Bushrod in Week 6. To be blunt, Bushrod gets destroyed often. He’s probably the worst pass-blocking left tackle in the league.

Right tackle Charles Brown had been equally as shaky. He improved his mechanics over the past few weeks but still got abused by a surprisingly explosive and always-fundamentally sound Chris Long last week. It’s a moot point now as he just landed on injured reserve (hip). The unspectacular but experienced Zach Strief is back from injury and once again starting. He’ll be facing Bucs end Michael Bennett, who is not beast but is having a career-year. It’s a matchup that favors the Bucs.

As far as the coverage goes, Tampa has drifted from its Cover 2 tradition and gone to more of a man-based scheme. Their corners are hit-or-miss jammers at the line of scrimmage but all better athletes than those the Rams put on the field. The Bucs linebackers have enough speed to perform in underneath coverage, but the same is not true of the safeties.

A lot of people think Tanard Jackson is an “oh wow!” success story because he picked off a pass in each of his first two games back from suspension. But those picks came off fortuitously tipped balls. On a down-to-down basis, Jackson has shown limited range in coverage.

5. Defending Jimmy Graham
This is always the $64,000 question for defensive coordinators. In their last meeting, the Bucs treated Graham as a wide receiver and defended him with Ronde Barber. This posed a major size differential that the Saints took advantage of (Graham finished with seven catches for 124 yards).

But don’t be surprised if Tampa uses the same tactic again. It fits well into the rest of their defensive scheme. And you can play nickel against the Saints’ base personnel because the Saints don’t have a dominant ground game right now. Tampa’s nickelback, Barber, is an excellent run-defender anyway. Besides, the more overall speed the Bucs have on the field, the better.

After all, they also have to deal with Darren Sproles.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 9 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 27, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2010 1:22 pm

Bucs lose WR Arrelious Benn for the season

Posted by Andy Benoit
A. Benn (US Presswire)
Another injury has struck the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: wide receiver Arrelious Benn has been placed on injured reserve with a torn knee ligament. This news comes as little surprise to those who saw the second-round rookie go down, slam his helmet and dejectedly leave the field on a cart against the Seahawks Sunday.

Benn had been a slow work in progress this season, though he had a four-catch, 122-yard breakout performance against the Redskins in Week 14. He finished his rookie year with 25 catches for 395 yards.

It was not disclosed what specific ligament Benn hurt. Thus, his status for this upcoming offseason is unclear.

Because the Bucs like to keep Sammie Stroughter in the slot, it’s possible that return artist Michael Spurlock could replace as the No. 2 starter outside.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:34 pm

Hot Routes 12.13.10 box score tidbits Week 14

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Ryan Torain ripped off 172 yards against a Bucs front seven that had major problems getting off blocks early on.

Thanks to a 64-yard reception, Bucs rookie wideout Arrelious Benn had his first 100-yard game as a pro (122, to be exact). In fact, Benn’s previous high was 53 yards.

The Browns ran nine plays on their opening field goal drive against the Bills but just 37 plays the rest of the game.

The Packers were 2/12 on third down and 0/1 in the red zone at Detroit.

Though no player had more than 51 yards rushing for Detroit, the Lions still racked up 190 yards on the ground.

Hines Ward had his best outing since Week 7, catching eight passes for 115 yards against Cincinnati.

In addition to an interception returned for a touchdown, LaMarr Woodley had two sacks and two tackles for a loss.

Michael Turner rushed for over 100 yards for the third time in four weeks. The Falcons running back is getting stronger as the season wears on.

Kroy Biermann and John Abraham both had two sacks against the Panthers.

The Raiders and Jaguars combined for 387 yards rushing. Three players – Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings – went over the century mark.

Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis had four catches for an important 57 yards. He also scored his career-high ninth touchdown.

The Rams were just 1/4 in the red zone against the Saints. (Unless you count Sam Bradford’s pick-six to Malcom Jenkins as a score.)

Pretty simple what happened in San Francisco: Niners zero turnovers, Seahawks five.

Brian Westbrook had 87 yards on six receptions.

The Patriots recorded 27 first downs at Chicago.

Perhaps the only Bears defender who played well was Brian Urlacher. He had 11 tackles (three for a loss), a sack and three pass breakups.

Chad Henne’s 5/18 performance was the lowest completion percentage that a winning Dolphins quarterback has had since 1980.

Dolphins punter Brandon Fields had 10 punts for 564 yards.

More special teams notes: Cardinals kicker Jay Feely was 5/6 on field goals.

Part of the reason the Cardinals-Broncos game took forever to end: Kyle Orton 19/41; John Skelton 15/37.

The Chargers had 25 first downs, which was 20 more than the Chiefs had.

Brodie Croyle probably isn’t the answer: Kansas City finished the game with 19 total yards passing.

Antoine Cason took over as the punt returner for San Diego. He averaged 15.2 yards per return with a long of 42.

The Eagles held Miles Austin and Roy Williams to a combined four catches for 45 yards.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: November 7, 2010 2:20 pm

Arrelious Benn needs to work on his TD dances

Posted by Will Brinson

Arrelious Benn had a fantastic touchdown against the Falcons (little known fact: all touchdowns thrown by Josh Freeman are fantastic), and because it was his first ever TD catch, he was pretty, pretty excited.

He may want to work on his end zone celebration though, because unless this the always-popular "Half Pony Ride Into Slipknot Dance," Benn just acted the fool by not keeping his balance.

And, of course, you KNOW we was gonna get a .GIF of that action. It's pretty entrancing:

Posted on: August 14, 2010 7:00 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2010 7:35 pm

What to Watch For: Saturday Preseason Games

Saturday features a pretty good slate of preseason games, each with some interesting storylines. You can follow all the action on our NFL Scoreboard, but for now, let's take a quick walk through the schedule and let you know what we're looking for; hit us with what you're watching in the comments or on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • Miami v. Tampa Bay : Easily the biggest story here will be the performance of the Bucs' youngsters. While it's unlikely Tampa Bay will be contending for anything in 2010, how Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Josh Freeman, Gerald McCoy and Brian Price perform during the season will probably determine the length that Raheem Morris keeps his job. For the Dolphins, seeing how Brandon Marshall and Chad Henne click will be interesting -- their being on the same page is paramount for the Fins success.
  • Pittsburgh v. Detroit : It's all about Ben Roethlisberger. (Will he start? Will he get booed?) At least for Pittsburgh, anyway. For Detroit, I'm focusing on how Jahvid Best runs and what kind of coverage Calvin Johnson sees with additional weapons on the offensive side of the ball, as well as how much disruption Ndamukong Suh can cause.
  • Arizona v. Houston : For the Cardinals, the passing game is going to be crucial -- how will Matt Leinart perform in his first opportunity to make an in-game impression following the Kurt Warner era? The Texans are set as far as the passing game goes, but the running game is a whole different issue: out of Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Steve Slaton, someone has to emerge who can carry the load.
  • Green Bay v. Cleveland : Yikes -- the Packers are fun and all, but this shouldn't be a thriller. I suppose it's worth checking out my man Jake Delhomme to see if he can make Cleveland relevant. Rookie Joe Haden will start too, and he gets quite the test against Aaron Rodgers. Andy and I discussed the man-crushing on Jermichael Finley Friday as well, so it'll be interesting to see if Rodgers looks his way first chance he gets. Bryan Bulaga's probably the only other potentially big surprise for the Pack.
  • St. Louis v. Minnesota : I, for one, am stoked to see how Sam Bradford and A.J. Feeley compare. Also, Mardy Gilyard is stupid good on Madden '11 (I know, I know) but unfortunately, he's not supposed to play. For Minnesota, the focus is going to be on the quarterback position as well -- if Brett Favre doesn't come back, can Tavaris Jackson at least look good against what shouldn't be dangerous defense? (Or, alternately, can the Rams' D manage to make the Favre-less Vikes O look bad?)
  • San Diego v. Chicago : With Shawn Merriman now in camp, the biggest issue facing the Chargers is the absence of Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeil -- can Malcolm Floyd/Buster Davis and a patchwork group of left tackles fill the respective holes on the offense? For the Bears, Julius Peppers' performance will be interesting to watch, but more important will be the offensive line play and Jay Cutler's ability to adapt to Mike Martz' system.
  • Seattle v. Tennessee : I'll be scoping out Golden Tate's action, as I think he could be a difference maker this year. I also happen to love Justin Forsett for some reason -- Charlie Whitehurst will get some action to prove why he's such a highly paid backup. Vince Young's ability to perform at the same level he maintained during the second half is imperative for the Titans to succeed. Tonight we get to see if he can get off on the right foot.
So, what about you -- what are you looking for tonight?

(Ed. Note: Sorry, we published an un-saved version that didn't have the SD/CHI and SEA/TEN games on there. Our bad.)
Posted on: August 12, 2010 1:08 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 1:09 pm

Bucs depth chart highlights GM's blunder

Posted by Andy Benoit

The plan all along has been for the Bucs to start to mid-round rookie wide receivers in 2010. For the most part, the rM. Clayton (US Presswire)elease of the first depth chart confirmed this. Mike Williams, the ubertalented but immature stallion from Syracuse, is penciled in as the starting X receiver (Antonio Bryant’s old position).

"I'm not satisfied. Even if I was to go out there and be No. 1 on opening day, that's not my goal," Williams told the Tampa Tribune’s Anwar Richardson. "My goal is to be rookie of the year and help this team. I'll be satisfied after that and proving all those people wrong about me off the field.”

Third-round rookie Arrelious Benn is a backup behind Maurice Stovall, but, despite an unimpressive showing thus far, Benn will likely be given every opportunity to earn playing time over the next two years. 

Perhaps most noteworthy is that former first-round pick Michael Clayton isn’t even on the depth chart. He’s behind at least six receivers.

"They let me know coming in what it was," Clayton said Wednesday in Roy Cummings’s Tampa Tribune article. "And it's not like I haven't been in this position before. I had to climb from being sixth on the depth chart once, so I know how to handle it."

Clayton’s demotion is expected, given his penchant for dazzling on weekdays and then disappearing on Sundays. But why in the world did GM Mark Domenik give Clayton a five-year, $24 million contract just one year ago? That contract made the veteran wideout untradeable. And, as the Bucs will probably learn before Week 1, it gives everyone an extra dose of humiliation when it comes time to release him.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: August 2, 2010 8:19 pm

Mike Williams getting first-team reps in Tampa

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed their wide receiver issues (or, at the very least, attempted to address those issues) in the draft: taking Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Williams and Benn are both quite talented: whether they work out in the long run, of course, is yet to be determined.

But it sure does seem like they're going to get a chance to play -- Williams, in particular, is getting run with the starters after a "dynamic" offseason for the Bucs. Sayeth head coach Raheem Morris:

"He's a big, tall, fast guy who can go out there and make plays, and right now he's running with the ones. So he'll have an opportunity to go out there and prove himself in the preseason. Depth charts don't come out until we play Cleveland (the first regular-season game). But right now, he's running with the ones (first team), and he's having a ball and his teammates are having a ball with him."

Morris also pointed to Sammie Stroughter as a guy who'll spend some time at the "X position" and cautioned that it wasn't fair to compare Williams to Benn, at least in the sense of Benn being drafted first (and therefore having theoretically higher expectations).

Williams is an interesting case, because he has tons of talent, obviously. But he quit the Syracuse team in 2009 when it appeared he might be suspended ... following his suspension for the entire 2008 season.

As Sean Keeley said this morniing , if you're a Syracuse fan, you should go ahead and prepare yourself for a discussion of "misunderstandings" while he was at Syracuse. If you're a Bucs fan, well, you'll probably end up being a little bit less upset, provided Williams can keep his head on straight and handle the pressures of being a starting rookie wide receiver in the NFL.

Since, well, you go ahead and look at that roster and tell me who's beating him out for the job. In all seriousness, though, Williams and Benn are a pair of guys that, if they pan out the way Tampa hopes they will, could form with Josh Freeman to create a pretty formidable offensive core.

-- Will Brinson

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .
Posted on: June 20, 2010 2:59 pm

The importance of running good routes

There’s more to protecting your quarterback than just the offensive line keeping the opposing defense from touching him. Receivers can do their parts as well. And that’s what the Tampa Bay receiving corps has focused on this offseason. Keeping QB Josh Freeman from throwing interceptions that aren’t his fault.

The way receivers can protect their quarterback? Running crisp routes and being where the quarterback expects them to be.

"In this league, if you're not running crisp routes, you're prone to turnovers and interceptions," Tampa Bay WR coach Eric Yarber told the Tampa Tribune . "If you're supposed to go 15 yards and you break the route off at 13, the quarterback is not ready to throw. If he throws it, he's late and that's when interceptions occur."

That was a problem last year when, according to the Tampa Tribune, a high number of Freeman’s 18 interceptions occurred when he attempted to throw to current Bengals WR Antonio Bryant. The article states that Bryant didn’t finish running some of his routes, leading to the interceptions, but Bryant has told Cincinnati media that he’s happy to be working with Carson Palmer because Palmer’s precision and timing will aid Bryant’s game.

Either way, Yarber is making sure rookie receivers Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams know the importance of running those pinpoint-accurate routes. Coming out of college, Benn was known as a player with size and strength but a guy who ran lazy routes and didn’t always give great effort. Williams, meanwhile, had off-the-field questions, despite good height and good size.

To help Benn and Williams visualize the way they should be running routes, offensive coordinator Greg Olson showed them film of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt – receivers who knew the importance of accurate route-running. If Benn and Williams show they can master that art, they’ll have a chance of earning significant playing time in a Tampa Bay receiving corps that’s pretty thin. 

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com