Filmroom Friday: Scoring Vick vs. Lewis, Plus a Look at Calais Campbell and Arizona's Special Teams

Filmroom Friday: Scoring Vick vs. Lewis, Plus a Look at Calais Campbell and Arizona's Special Teams

Last week, we used our first look at All-22 coaches film to break down the Michael Vick vs. Ray Lewis match-up. Needless to say, we were pleased with the outcome, not only during the game, but with our research. Lewis may be a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, but against the Eagles he showed little of the range and instinct in the middle that led to two of Vick's four interceptions in Cleveland.

Look no further than the impact Brent Celek had in the passing game. Celek torched the Ravens defense to the tune of eight catches for 157 yards, and while not all of that production came at the expense of any one defender, it appeared Lewis was on the hook multiple times.

Before Lewis shows up at my house and checks me into a wall, he had his victories, too. Tight coverage on one attempt may have disrupted Celek's concentration, causing the ball to bounce off of the receiver's hands and into Ed Reed's. Lewis would get his own mit on a Celek target earlier, but was slightly out of position, and the pass fell to the turf for a harmless incomplete instead of going for another pick.

That was the difference between Lewis and D'Qwell Jackson one week
earlier. Simply put, Jackson was better at reading Vick's body language
than Lewis. On the near miss, Lewis easily could have slid into the
passing lane as Jackson did twice in Week 1, but here he overshoots for
whatever reason, nearly running himself out of the play entirely. It's
not as if Vick looks him off, or there are any other receivers over
there. He just missed some subtlety in the quarterback's motion.

Nor was he as adept at diagnosing the action as Jackson, as the first snap from scrimmage illustrated perfectly. Lewis appears to be in a zone designed to take away the middle, but he's so worried about the threat of Vick taking off, behind him Celek is allowed to run free 20 yards down the field. To his credit, Lewis may have spy responsibilities, or thought he had help from Bernard Pollard, who is doubling a wide receiver. Jackson was much more active and instinctual in these situations though.

It didn't seem to be a question of whether or not Lewis has lost a step, though a younger 52 probably could've made up more ground some of the time. Mostly he was content to let the action develop around him, which is why he wound up chasing on multiple occasions. Whether that is scheme or on Ray-Ray, we can't say, but the coaches film told us beforehand this was something we could expect.

Unfortunately, the lesson for this week is watching the film doesn't automatically provide that level of insight into your next opponent.

At first I considered examining how the Eagles tightened up against the Ravens ground attack in the second half, but the Cardinals are only averaging 2.8 yards per carry to begin with, so chances are it won't be a huge factor. Then I went and looked at DE Calais Campbell, who won Defensive Player of the Week honors for his 10 tackle, two sack performance against the Patriots, and how he would prove problematic for an offensive line with two new starters. It turns out Campbell typically lines up over the left guard, in Philly's case Evan Mathis rather than Demetress Bell or Dallas Reynolds.

For as disruptive a performance as it sounded like he had in New England, Campbell was surprisingly boring to watch anyway. He usually draws some sort of double team, and it's not as if he was routinely blowing through blockers. A healthy number of the plays he was in on were a result of Campbell standing his ground or filling a hole with his one free arm, and both sacks were effort plays where the quarterback was already on the run. None of which is to say this isn't an impressive player we're talking about. Arizona uses a 3-4, which means they will blitz to generate pressure, so having a guy up front that can occupy two blockers certainly sets up the pass rush.

But one of the biggest things that stands out about Campbell is, well, he's big... enormous actually. We saw him go sky high to pick off a Vick pass in last season's encounter -- it hit him in the belly as I recall -- and it's a wonder more passers haven't had similar trouble. His arms are up on every attempt, and he's always trying jump into the throwing lane. Take a look at how 93 works his way back to the middle.

Campbell spun right into Brady's face, and it's not like there was only one example to pick from where he nearly got his hands on a ball. Even when he's not getting to the quarterback, he can still ruin a perfectly good play.

The same principle applies on field goals, too. You may think the Eagles are about to add three points, but the Cardinals have led the league in blocked tries three years running, and Campbell has them out on the fast track for a fourth. He's so tall, there isn't even all that much penetration required -- although here against Seattle in Week 1, he's about four yards deep.

Turning the tides with dynamic talent on special teams isn't limited to blocking field goals though. They already had a devastating punt returner in Patrick Peterson, and last week they added punt blocking into the mix as well. The Cardinals didn't really do anything special, either. Looks like New England simply had a one-on-one breakdown protecting the left edge.

The Eagles can't allow something similar to happen on Sunday. That play changed the course of the game, giving the Cardinals the ball on the 2-yard line for an easy six -- and even their offense can score from there.

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.