Photo by Scobel Wiggins – UltiPhotos.com
These Don’t Lie
Double Teams to Stop the Fast Break
This might be the most consistently effective way to use the double team. Specifically, just after a turn, when the nearest two defenders immediately set marks, they generally prevent the disc from arriving on time and on target to a dangerous receiver.
The best players and teams do not need a set offense to find and use a poached offensive player (from a double team or otherwise). That said, transition defense is an ideal moment to remove an advantage from the opponent precisely because they have so many advantages.
And there is the illegal triple team version, which illustrates the point despite the violation. It also illustrates the characteristic eagerness of the 2016 Spinners to actively pursue blocks.
This is the sequence which most encapsulates New York’s Sunday:
Swing pass to Charles Cannon who considers/fakes the second swing to Marques Brownlee.
Cannon nearly turfs a 5-yard backhand in his own end zone, only to have it dropped on a tough catch by Scott Xu.
Cannon takes barely a breath to think about what he’s done, then admirably attacks the right read on defense only to miss the D. Then Dave Baer gives a half-hearted kick-spike to go up 11-2.
We’d usually call this a handblock, but handblocks are based on the players seeing the space the throw will travel through, and preempting the picked path with a paw. It often makes the same sound your head made when a sibling whacked you on the noggin with a plastic toy. Once you hear it from up close, the sound of a clean handblock is memorable.
This handblock, however, made nothing like that sound. In fact, this is one of the more unusual handblocks I’ve seen. Rather than attacking the rim of the disc as it flies forward, Matt Wilson slaps down cleanly on the TOP of the disc after it is clearly out of Delrico Johnson’s hands. The disc, rather than caroming off to a possibly less-advantageous position for the Rumble, calmly sits on the turf while all stare in disbelief. Chief among starers is Johnson who can’t quite suss out why the disc chose this place to rest.
Yeah: If you call your shot, you’ll make this section. In fact, calling your shot might be the only surefire way to get through the initial screening process.
Beautiful final delivery by Leon Chou, but the suspect defense on him as a handler tight to the sideline allowed both the initial free reset and Isaiah Bryant’s clean release after the throw. However, this is a tough double-bind if your mark’s main goal is preventing the around swing. By stepping to stop the around, the inside release is granted to the thrower.
I’m trying to decide if my favorite thing about this play is Chou’s perfect assist, Bryant’s excellent no-step backhand break, or the spacing from Philly’s offense which provided enough defender-free real estate for this cut.
Yes, Another Game, Another Tipped Catch
I doubt I could tire of plays which require luck, skill, preparation and execution all wrapped together. Thanks, Devon Williams!
These Do Lie
Brownlee Not Getting a Break
Before I get into this, to spare the feels of many, this section contains two close calls and one spectacular recovery. The refs can’t get all calls right all of the time. No one can. That said, Brownlee got the booty end of the stick:
This is a goal. Brownlee tapped his foot down for the goal. The positive from this clip is the composure of Brownlee after fortune has failed to smile upon him. Accepting the negative can often be harder than arguing the inarguable.
This is a block TBF: This is a block by about .1 inches. Or seconds, depending on how you count spacetime. In real-time there is no way to blame a ref for missing this call, but upon further review, it seems that Brownlee touched the disc first based on the direction the disc travels as it is first contacted. The first contact pushes the disc along the path it was already traveling, while the second contact pushes it off on a different path (more toward the sideline than the endline). If we consider the path which Brownlee was taking versus the path that Johnson was taking, it is unlikely that Johnson got to the disc first.
NOT impossible, just unlikely. Tough call to make.
The third Brownlee-related moment is a block on his part rendered meaningless by a swooping Dom Gibson. Gibson, as the throw goes up, is about 25-30 yards from the eventual catch. Not only this, but as he launches groundward after the disc, he is still ~5 yards from the disc, only to hurry his hand under the disc for the goal.
A great block by Brownlee on Johnson, but the awareness and ability of Gibson undermines the efficacy of the effort.
While many teams keep their timeouts ready for midfield pulls, there remain occasions and situations in which the ability to sub out a full line of players for a fresh seven is too tempting to resist. This is a great notion, but the follow through both from the coaches (play design/call and line selection) and players (execution) can obviate the purpose:
While neither of these was the result that the timeout call meant to engineer, but more troublesome is the lack of clear purpose after the timeout rather than the specific result. New York forced passes down the sideline while D.C. could have benefited from forcing a pass pretty much anywhere.
Lying depth perception is the only explanation for this particular midifield pull.
Midfield Heave as Time Expires
Ah yes, the hammer assist in the closing seconds of the first quarter is always the right move.