Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Football 301: Decoding Garrett - Week 8

DISCLAIMER: This is not for everyone. It may not be for you. This is a statistical study of the Cowboys offense with lots of numbers that may make your head tired if you are not up to it. Read it only if it is something that is of interest to you.

Against Seattle, the Cowboys went about their business and carved out an easy win. The running game still had to work hard for its yardage, 29-118 (4.0 yards avg), and the passing game had to work a lot harder than it had to in previous weeks (9.3 YPA at KC, 9.7 YPA vs. Atlanta, just 6.4 vs. Seattle), but the final score was certainly there.

Now, the proving ground for the offense lies on Sunday night in Philadelphia. We will spend plenty of time on that this week, but first let's finish up on what they did well, and not so well, against those Seahawks.

Let's look at the Cowboys use of Personnel in their offensive snaps:

Totals by Personnel Groups:
PackagePlays RunYardsRunPass

Table Tutorial

Definition of the Personnel Groups, click here .

It is interesting to me that you can see from week to week, certain things don't work as well because they Cowboys have put these concepts on film and that is objective #1 for the opponent to limit. But, what makes the Cowboys a legit contender in this division is its ability to move on to another concept. The Cowboys can do many things well, rather than teams who can only do a few things and must continue to try to pound those when the defense is keying on them.

Up until Sunday, the Cowboys were 4-0 when they got to 400 yards, and 0-2 when they did not get there. But, this week, the Cowboys actually turned out the 2nd fewest yards that they had all year with 360 (only Denver was worse, 313). The difference? Shawn shows us it is all in cashing in your opportunities:


Did the Cowboys fix their Goal to Go offense during the Bye week?
Falcons: 1-1
Seahawks: 3-3

4 Goal to Go situations and 4 TD's.

12 Run 3-29 yards 9.67
12 Pass 7-104 yards 14.86

21 Run 5-14 yards 2.80
S11 Pass 13-84 yards 6.46, TD

S12 Pass 9-44 yards 4.89, 2 TD's


Folks, the "12" package is working - don't get worried about Martellus Bennett's numbers to prove it.

Video Breakdowns:

Thanks, Brian at DC Fanatic.com who provides the videos (and the biting commentary) for this exercise. Despite the fact that I keep asking more and more out of him, he keeps saying yes!

The Play: 1Q - 2/1/35 S12 - Touchdown to Hurd

What Happened: This is a bunch formation, where both TEs are lined up with a WR tight to the OL. The Cowboys, on a 2nd and 1, have Roy and Miles on the sideline. Crayton is with Witten on the left, and Martellus and Hurd are together on the right. I assume the safeties base their coverage on looking who the Cowboys have on the field and instantly consider the TEs down the seam as their primary concern here. It looks like 80 and 82 both are running patterns straight down the hash marks, and Crayton is doing something deep, too (although I wish I had a better angle on this play to know for sure).

At the snap, 3 of the 4 receivers clear the area, and take all the DBs with them. That leaves Hurd to cut across the face of the MLB, 57 Hawthorne and the ROLB 59 Curry and exploit a massive speed advantage. If Romo can hit him in stride it is a big gainer, and he does. Hurd turns the corner and makes a decent gainer into a Touchdown with a nice play, but obviously the DBs need to arrive on the scene quicker.

This is what football is all about. Match-ups. Find the match-up, and take advantage of it. A nice concept, and perfect execution by Tony Romo and Sam Hurd.


The Play: 2Q - 1/G/2 22 Touchdown run by Barber

What Happened: This play is something the Cowboys had great success with against the Giants in week 2. You should check it out by going to the archives of that if you have a chance. "22" personnel, with Witten and Bennett lined up to the right. The lone WR 11 Williams is on the left. This play is almost impossible to stop in short yardage, and you can assume that they have this on their short list when they need a few near the goal-line.

The idea here is that you start Bennett and Witten looking like the play will be a pass, but in presnap, Bennett comes down to the LDE and knocks him out of the play. The LOLB 59 Curry looks free for a split second, but then Deon Anderson clears him. By this point Barber finds almost no resistance and walks into the end zone. The Cowboys do great work out of 22 on the ground, and this is one of their favorite plays. Barber call also cut back to the left on this play if they are not on the goal-line, but no need for that here.


The Play: 2Q - 1/10/25 - "21" Felix Jones 10 yard carry

What Happened: As you can see above, the Cowboys had a lousy day out of "21" personnel - 7 plays for 8 yards. But, this 10 yard carry shows 2 things that I wanted to point out: The burst of Felix Jones - he gets his yardage in the blink of an eye. He is a special talent if he can solve his durability issues. And the ability of the Cowboys guards (63 Kosier and 70 Davis) to get to the 2nd level and get on Linebackers quickly and then drive them down the field.

I think this study has shown us week after week that Kyle Kosier belongs in the Pro Bowl. He has been exceptional in many phases of his game, and I don't think has been responsible for sacks or penalties either. He is wonderful.


The Play:3Q - 1/10/38 12 - Pass to Felix for 30 yards

What Happened: Same concept as the Hurd TD. Take your weapons (in this case: Witten - who in presnap heads to the right sideline, Austin, and Roy) and have them all run fly patterns down field to pull most of the coverage away from the shallow part of the field.

All of this is a diversion to open up what they really are looking for. They want Aaron Curry, the rookie LB from Wake Forest, to have to run with Felix Jones. Curry is very, very fast - for his position. But against Felix Jones it is a major mismatch. Again, this is the very objective of coordinating an offense. Find the mismatch, exploit, and repeat.

Another fun thing to look for is Austin coming back to try and take out Curry on this play. That is sacrificing your body for the good of the team, and Austin sticks his nose in front of a moving train and gets Jones another bunch of yards. Then Jones takes on Ken Lucas by himself. This is great stuff.

The Play: 4Q - 3/10/40 - S11 - WR screen to Ogletree

What Happened: This is the first catch of Kevin Ogletree's career. I tend to think there will be many more, but time will be the judge. I wanted to show you this, because we see it across the league 100 times a weekend, but the Cowboys are not big WR screen guys. However, we see how simple and effective it can be if you run it right, with the proper OL play.

First, out of "S11", the fake to Tashard Choice going to the left should technically make the line backers take one step in the wrong direction. Then, after the run fake, the play is executed in the right flat. The key is timing. The slot receiver, 84 Crayton, must pick up 23 Trufant at precisely the moment Ogletree makes the catch. Then, Ogletree follows the block back inside, and this is where the OL must get downfield and get a body on guys. Pay special attention to 65 Gurode who runs downfield on screens (when they are rarely called) as well as anyone in a white uniform - check the Denver 301 for more on that. 19 quick yards, and everyone is pleased that Ogletree gets his first taste. And 10 receivers had catches.

Target Distribution and Sack studies will be in another entry today. Stay tuned for that.

Past Episodes:

Week 7 - Atlanta Falcons
Week 5 - Kansas City
Week 4 - Denver
Week 3 – Carolina
Week 2 - New York Giants
Week 1 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Garrett '08


wh1speringdeath said...

Bob, thanks for continuing to do these articles! After only 8 weeks of reading these I have come to depend on them for gaining that deeper understanding of what's going on out there on Sundays. If they were stolen from me, I would cry.

More hilarity from the Felix Jones catch and run - he finishes off the DB with an Anderson Silva style flying knee. Look at that! Felix is going straight UFC out there on Sundays! hahaha

Brent said...

Kosier actually gets three blocks on the Felix Jones run, and if Jones had broken that one tackle, he was poised to block another. What an underrated weapon!

southwick said...

Impressive writeup as always.
Had to listen to this on the radio, so it was nice getting to see the breakdown!

I still wonder what last year looks like if Romo and Kosier stay healthy.