Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Musings - Power Runing

This morning, I wanted to show you a few numbers about this question about the 2-TE results. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the receiving portion of Martellus Bennett has been shockingly disappointing. You can ask a dozen people as to why, and you will get different responses about why Marty B has 4 catches in 5 weeks (not quite the 50 or so that I had thought possible!) for 40 yards. Surely, Tony Curtis could have done that.

But, does that mean the "12" and the "22" personnel packages are failing? Not even close.

Is the object of the game to get Martellus Bennett stats, or for this offense to prove it can be elite? Originally, I thought one would lead to another, but now we see something different so far.

The Cowboys are destroying the opposition out of 2 TE sets. Understand, that traditionally, Jason Garrett's offense makes its real dent with Shotgun formations and an aerial attack that had Tony Romo setting team records in nearly every passing category.

But, we are seeing a greater focus put on the running game. We knew it should be a focus, but knowing you need to run the ball, and actually running the ball can often be two different things.

With 2 TEs, and even occasionally 3 TEs, the Cowboys are showing that they can "Show Run", you can counter (as KC did with 9 in the box!) and still run it down your throat.

But, it isn't quite as I thought it would be. Here is the "12" personnel. 1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR - this package has the defense thinking both pass and run as a legit possibility:

YearPlays-Yards, Avg% of Off Snaps
2008170-856, 5.0317.3%
200955-252, 4.5816.5%

Table Tutorial

But, now check this out. "22" personnel. 2 RB, 2 TE, and just 1 WR. Basically, you are telling the defense you are about to run the ball because off comes a Wide Out like Patrick Crayton, and on comes a FB, Deon Anderson. With 5 OL, a FB, and 2 big TEs, you are not kidding around about your intentions.

YearPlays-Yards - Avg% of Off Snaps
200892-375, 4.0710%
200951-381, 7.4717.8%

Table Tutorial

Look at that! "22" which should just be a power "3-yards-and-cloud-of-dust" is getting 7.47 yards per? That is crazy production. And they already have more yards than in all of 2008.

So, how do we look at those 51 snaps?


Table Tutorial

They are running 67% out of this look. The defense knows it. And yet they are getting steamrolled. And, to me, that is where Witten/Bennett are dominating linebackers at the point of attack. To show run, and to still get 8.44 yards per carry is something that the coaches realize, and the rest of the NFL does, too. In 2008, the Cowboys ran this look 5.75 times per game, now they are running it over 10 times.

And this is why I would suggest that 2 TEs is working, despite the weak receiving year for Marty B so far. In preseason, I thought Martellus would replace Deon Anderson. In reality, the combination has made the offense a bulldozing machine. Some might call it, "Romo Friendly".

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