Inside the Film Room: Preseason Edition


One of the many perks of being a premium subscriber is getting to learn what to look for when watching film. The average fan is naturally trained to watch the ball. Well, as Pat Kirwan says, “Take your eye off the ball.” In order to analyze film, it’s a must.

Players are coached to execute specific assignments on any given play. Those assignments are predicated on what the offense is showing pre-snap and what happens post-snap. So, whether you are trying to evaluate a specific player or the overall scheme, you must put the pieces of the puzzle together.

You need to start from the time the offense or defense breaks the huddle to the point the refs blow the whistle dead. You need to know the personnel, the alignment, how the offense or defense is aligning across from them. You need to study a specific player’s assignment, but also what others are doing around him. And that’s just the start.

There are so many factors that need to be considered when trying to decipher what an offense, defense, or player was asked to do, and what happened. It’s not an exact science, because whatever conclusion you may come to, chances are that it wasn’t exactly as you thought. The path to your conclusion may have taken a different route, or said player actually was taught to read this guy or play that technique.

So while I love to break down film, have done it for many years and have a good grasp of common techniques, there’s no way to know for sure unless it comes from the players or coaches themselves.

This series is meant to be educational. In this episode, I simply pop on the film and break it down. You will see my process, learn a few things in that regard, then see how I come to my conclusions.

My hope is that you understand and process of how I do things but manage to come up with your own system — your own process to watching film or the game as a whole.

By doing that, you will learn but also become a more educated fan, one who doesn’t rely on beat writers or analysts to tell you what they saw. Instead, you will form your own opinion and become a better-educated fan, thereby increasing the football IQ of the NFL fanbase.