Saturday, June 22, 2013

NexGen Filmroom: Revolver

I'm going to try to more formally analyze the NexGen tour this year.  Last year was pretty haphazard but I got some benefit from it.  First, kudos to all of the U23 Worlds players who are on the team (Simon, Tim, Jimmy, Elliott, Eli and Dylan).  I had decided not to pay for the streaming option this year because I was disappointed with the quality of the games from last year's tour (that was entirely on the club teams, not on NexGen) and I was tired of watching people spike the disc.  But with some of my players (and U23 Open) on the team I felt like I should.  So with the games bought I also thought I should do some analysis.  If nothing else I get to watch more of my players and hone my film skills for worlds.  This round I'm going to focus on NexGen's defensive efforts with a little commentary on Revolver.

Defensively NexGen seems to give Revolver (and teams last year) fits.  They get a number of point blocks and poach off of cutters to get the disc.  Figure 1 is how they come into their defense off of the pull.
Figure 1: NexGen is always looking at the disc

Nothing to suspicious here, you have the handler defenders poaching the lanes, but the thing to notice is that every NexGen player is looking at the disc.  Jimmy is playing behind the far (rail) cutter in the H, Jay is playing behind the close (rail) cutter.  The two cutters in the center (lane) are being backed but at least playing man.  Both Chris and Neal are effectively sagging into the lane by not closing on their handlers.  By looking at the disc they are hoping to see the cutting lanes and get a jump on the disc.  By playing loose they are trying to stay in good position to pounce on a cut, but also are looking to help and switch often.

Figure 2 shows the result of this poaching.  Jay has drifted off camera to help Will (far left in black) bracket Beau.  Mac (offense: towards the right) has just thrown an invert flick to a slashing cutter who will effectively reverse the field.  This is a great way to abuse the poaching defense.  Using upfield breaks (where is Bart with is hammer when you need him) will facilitate getting the disc to the break-side poached players.  Especially when we see another common NexGen tendency.

Figure 2: Revolver attacks the poach by reversing the field.

The video below shows what NexGen wants to do with their defense: poach or sag off of inactive players to clog the throwing lanes.  In this situation (after a forward pass) Dillon stumbles to recover at the mark, but rather than find his man the first move is to go straight to the reset poach position.  This allows him to constrict the cutting lane and force the disc to move backwards.  He is still playing his man (or at least facing him) but his primary role is to clog this lane and in this case prevent any under cutters from slicing towards the open side.  Revolver correctly counters by moving the disc quickly, but if they have  handlers that aren't thinking with that mentality this can stymie an offense pretty quickly.  The key is not just to recognize the sag and keep your reset further back to exploit the poach, but to have something beneficial for the reset to do once they get the disc.  Just swinging to the open side is fine, but having something that is attacking the defense would be better.

Towards the end of the game (10s) Revolver has successfully pulled the sagging reset defenders out of the lanes.  In the picture below (Figure 3) both of the resets are off screen to the right and their defenders are no where to be seen.  
Figure 3: Defenders have been pulled out of the cutting lanes

NexGen's downfield defenders have started playing tight defense with the exception of Dillon closest to the screen.  Revolver feels the flick force and sweeps the open side cutter out of the way maybe to get an inside break but really to get a cutter in the open lane.  The defender stays with the initial cutter, but that is the last bit of good defense for a while.  What follows in the video below is terrible open side defense from NexGen players as three defenders over commit to deep fakes and lose positioning on the under cut.  The first cutter has an easy route because Jay's back is to the cutter, so a simple juke convinces the defender to cover the deep (it is Beau, though).  The second cutter has a better defender, but when Dillon turns his head to check on the throw the cutter blows right past him.  There is even a third open side cutter that loses his defender, but the disc had already begun to swing.

In this case Eli (the last defender) sets his positioning on the engaging cutter too high so the cutter can attack his back.  If Eli drop stepped into his positioning then the cutter would have to take a deeper line to attack his back which would slow down his overall cut.  But instead Eli turns to his best athletic stance level with the cutter so a shallow juke deep attacks Eli's back and the cutter can just push off of his foot to come back in without having to really negate his forward momentum (a more vertical cut would require multiple steps to stop the momentum making it slower).  But the worst thing here is that Eli turns the wrong was as the cutter fakes deep.  But taking the wrong turn (away from the cutter) Eli loses sight to see that it is just a jab-step rather than a full cut and can't recover because he loses his athletic stance.  I could talk about this play forever, but I'll get to my main point.

Figure 4: Jay helps Will cover Beau deep
Figure 4/5 will be my last point.  NexGen is often looking to help defenders.  With a roster of only 15 that will quickly whittle down to 14 if Elliott can't keep his hamstring in check it is no surprise that they want to reduce defensive effort (despite how athletic they are).  In Figure 4, Jay (circled) is correctly pulling off of his offender to help Will cover the deep option for Beau.  This will eventually lead to a switch for the two.  What is perplexing is why Jay's offender is running to him.  In Figure 5 we have what NexGen will often try to set up.  The disc is trapped and every one (even the circled player who is guarding the reset and again dropped to level with the disc despite it being trapped away from him) is looking at the disc.  In this case Revolver will swing the disc.  On the swing two people are wide open because their defender was so far on the open side.   This eventually leads to an unmarked backhand huck for the score.  

Figure 5: Everyone is looking at the disc



Bill Mill said...

It's very challenging to follow what you're saying because you're referring to players by name and pointing to tiny, unannotated pictures. Who are Jimmy, Chris, Neal, Dillon, and Eli? I know of the people who those names represent, but I don't know them well enough to pick them out of a picture.

Hope this helps, really enjoy this type of commentary and hope to see more.

Martin said...

Thanks for the comment. Especially given the small nature of the photos and the poor video quality I can hear what you are saying. I'll try to find a way to highlight the indicated players more (especially in stills) so that it is more worthwhile. Thanks for the comment.