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How Jeff Ulbrich’s Falcons stifled the Panthers offense in 2020 (Film)

Jeff Ulbrich, Robby Anderson, Joe Brady
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

New York Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich has already shown he knows how to stop Joe Brady’s Carolina Panthers offense.

As the New York Jets defense prepares for their season opener against the Carolina Panthers, they will surely be combing through some of the film from defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich‘s battle against the team in Week 8 of the 2020 season.

Last year, we saw a glimpse of how Ulbrich handled the Panthers when he was the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator in the second matchup between the two rivals. The Falcons allowed only 17 points and 304 yards in a victory after giving up 23 points and 437 yards to the Panthers in a loss three weeks earlier, which was the final game before Dan Quinn was fired and Ulbrich was promoted to the defensive coordinator role.

Ulbrich’s adjustments and overall blueprint in order to come away with the win were clear and impressive. In fact, it was night and day compared to the Week 5 meeting. In that game, Atlanta played a tremendous amount of man coverage on the outside and it cost them the game in the first half. Week 8 featured the polar opposite, as the Falcons brought tremendous zone pressures throughout the day. They played less man-to-man, brought more fire zone pressures, and really played excellent situational football on third down.

What impressed me most was the route and concept recognition and how prepared the defense was.

In the Week 5 meeting, The Panthers had four big plays in the passing game in the first half for a whopping 131 yards. Two of the big plays were to Robby Anderson, one to D.J. Moore, and one more to Mike Davis on a nice screen play. All were against some type of man coverage.

Well, let’s just say Ulbrich learned from that and stayed far away from five and six-man pressures with man coverage for the majority of the game.

The zone pressures started on the first series. Here on second and 10, they bring the zone pressure from the boundary. It’s a 3-under, 3-deep pressure.

The result is positive as the Panthers a forced to throw a quick five-yard slant to bring up third and 5.

On the next play seen below, the Falcons get 12 personnel from the Panthers and respond with a bear front (one defender lined up over each of the LG, C and RG) while bringing both outside linebackers. This was how they wanted to play against condensed 12, as they generated great pressure off the edge but were also sound against the run with the extra run support defender. Atlanta wins the play as Teddy Bridgewater is forced to scramble and throw the ball away. Great call.

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