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Film Room: Tre’von Moehrig gets physical in Indianapolis

Safety put together a strong performance on Sunday

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
Tre’von Moehrig
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tre’von Moehrig was a standout performer for the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17 as he was one of the Raiders’ highest-graded defenders with a 71.3 mark from Pro Football Focus. Moehrig’s physicality really popped up on tape as the film clips show below.

Man coverage against tight ends is something that the third-year pro has struggled with in the past, however, he did pretty well in that area on Sunday.

I’m not going to pretend like this is a highlight play by any means, but he does a good job of using his hands to help stay in phase to leave no room for a completion, especially since he knows he has safety help over the top and can play from a trail position.

When defensive backs are at a size disadvantage, playing a little more physical against bigger pass-catchers can help to “fight fire with fire” so to speak. Moehrig does that perfectly here and that allows him to stay in No. 83’s hip pocket.

The Colts have their tight ends switch release here to create a natural pick and the play design works out as Moehrig trips over Nate Hobbs. However, Moehrig has a great recovery and, again, uses his hands to get air-tight coverage against the tight end on the out-and-up route. The contact helps slow up 83 at the top of the route as the ball is slightly overthrown.

Plus, even if this was an on-target pass, the safety is in a perfect position to play the tight end’s hands at the catch point and rip the ball out.

The Raiders are going to show a two-high look initially here and then Moehrig rolls down into the box right before the snap. Meanwhile, the Colts are running an outside toss off of a pin-and-pull concept where the tight end is essentially pulling to come block the safety in open space.

Moehrig reads it and, as the theme of the article is, he’s physical while taking on the block and takes the fight to the tight end. That allows him to escape and get involved in the tackle with Robert Spillane. Good block destruction by the safety helps keep Indianapolis from picking up the first down and forces them into a third and short situation.

So, Moehrig doesn’t technically make an impact on this play as Maxx Crosby and Jack Jones combine for the tackle. But I wanted to include it because this is another example of impressive physicality and block destruction. The next time this receiver comes to block Moehrig, you can be this rep will be on the wideout’s mind.

There are about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter on this play and the Raiders are down seven. Moehrig rolls into the box post-snap and with the outside run away from him, he’s not going to be able to keep this to a short gain.

However, he doesn’t give up on the play, uses a nice move to work around the offensive lineman’s block and hustles to make what could have been a touchdown-saving tackle. Had Moehrig eased up, Jones would have had a tough open-field tackle when the running back cuts to the middle of the field since Jones’ momentum is going toward the sideline.