Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Football 301: Decoding Garrett - Week 13

Football can be difficult to figure out sometimes. 21 rushes from Under Center for 37 yards? How does that make any sense based on what we have seen this season? Further, these same humans banged into eachother back in September and the Cowboys dominated them for 250 yards on the ground. So, subtract Marc Colombo and they subtract Antonio Pierce and we see that big of a difference?

Meanwhile, the Cowboys have completed 1 pass out of "11" personnel all season (a 8 yard pass in Week 3 against Carolina). So, you can understand how the Giants were confused on that fake pitch to Miles Austin and the TD pass to Roy Williams. It is a look that made no sense based on the track record. We will show you that play, but this is what defensive coordinators prepare for - every possible scenario.

This week's odd statistical observation: Twice this season, the Cowboys have had 70+ snaps. This week at New York and Week 4 at Denver. Both losses. Theories? I have none on this topic.

Totals by Personnel Groups:
PackagePlays RunYardsRunPass

Table Tutorial

Definition of the Personnel Groups, click here .

Check out the video breakdowns, where we highlight good things the offense accomplished. Many fun things to break down when you get nearly 500 yards:

Video Breakdowns:

Thanks, Brian at DC Fanatic.com . He works on holiday weekends, and deserves your occasional visit to his site.

The Play:1Q 3/12/16 - S11 Romo to Witten +12

What Happened: I wanted to take a look this week at something that happens all of the time when the Cowboys play in 3rd and long; the cat and mouse game with the defense and the blitz. Here, we have the Cowboys facing a 3rd and 12 very early in the game, and the Giants walk both linebackers up like they are going to blitz. Choice is to Romo's left, Witten to Romo's right in this formation, and their principle responsibility is to make sure the LBs get blocked. But, here we see that they don't really blitz. The Giants only rush 4, so Choice and Witten then must diagnose and get into their routes because with 7 in coverage, there is a very good chance that the 3 WRs are not going to get open down field. So, when Witten reads his role in this play, he then heads downfield - after first chipping Osi Umenyiora to assist Flozell. From my conversations with him in the past, I am pretty certain this turns into an option route, where if a LB picks him up, he may make it more vertical, whereas if he is picked up by a safety he will take a more lateral cut to make the DB come up and meet him, allowing him to perhaps turn the corner and get additional yards. Here, Witten gets just enough to move the chains, as Romo has nowhere else to go. Also, not Doug Free doing a decent job at RT.


The Play:2Q 3/1/29 - 22 Barber +6

What Happened: This is about the best run the Cowboys had all day out of the "22". I found it quite interesting that the Cowboys had such great success with Power Plays in Week 2 - and really all season long - but on Sunday they had no chance. The one thing I did find interesting is that if you look at the past weeks when I break this down, the "22" generally featured both Tight Ends deployed to the same side which creates a massive overload, and causes defenses to cheat that way. For whatever reason (and I wish I could ask Jason this stuff), the Cowboys "22" this week had balance - meaning Martellus on one side, Witten on the other. Regardless, the Giants were so much more physical at the point of attack that I don't think strategy had much to do with this area of the game on Sunday. It just looked like the Giants had been inspired by King Leonidas and look, they had!


The Play: 2Q 2/10/33 22 Pass to Witten +12

What Happened: OK, this is kind of cool. "22" with the Power 35 look that we have shown you a number of times this season as a bulldozing run play that is the bread and butter as Troy said. Both TE's to the right, with Bennett in motion, which seems to always mean power run. Here, Jason uses the tendencies against the Giants, as he uses play action to get a nice gain through the air. (this further explains that the run was not a full failure on Sunday - if the threat of a run opens up the pass, then the run is working!) Anyway, watch Bennett go shallow, Witten square in deeper, and even Deon Anderson looking open on the wheel route to the top of the screen. But, as usual, Romo uses his weapon he can most depend upon, and that is 82.


The Play: 3Q S12 2/7/24 Pass to Witten +15

What Happened: S12 for the Cowboys, with Bennett in entirely to pass block with Free on the right flank. Here, the Giants show a blitz from the right, but end up sending it from the left. It is a very risky manuever, as they blitz the man across from Witten. You can see how tough OL have it when it comes to blitz diagonsis. In the presnap, it is clear Flozell will have to deal with the DE, but right at the moment of truth, the Giants throw a trap and send a blitz where only Flozell can block it up. Incredibly tricky, and then, Romo must see it, too. Romo picks his hot route as 54 Goff is trying to get to Witten to close that window, but Romo throws an amazingly perfect pass and Witten comes up with the tough catch. If we would see more of this Peyton Manning-like execution, teams would blitz much less. But it is not easy doing what the Cowboys did here.

The Play: 3Q 2/G/5 "11" Pass to Roy TD

What Happened: Again, football is much more enjoyable when we ponder the types of mind chess these guys play all night with eachother. This time, Jason Garrett offers "11" personnel - 1 RB, 1 TE, a set they never use from under center. 9 times in 11 games is all, and certainly not in high-leverage spots like this one. But, here, the Cowboys spring this grouping on the Giants, and then deploy Austin as a deep TB, behind Barber. Now, the Giants are getting ready to swarm to the side where Austin is heading, and the fake to Barber freezes them for a moment, followed by the fake pitch to Austin which causes half the Giants defense to react in panic. This is absolute strategic genius. The opening behind the LBs is huge for Roy Williams to run a simple slant to the open space and a nice pitch and catch Touchdown all because of the confusion the formation and personnel group caused the Giants defense.

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

Past Episodes:

Week 12 - Oakland Raiders
Week 11 - Washington Redskins
Week 10 - Green Bay Packers
Week 9 - Philadelphia Eagles
Week 8 - Seattle Seahawks
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


TSY said...

"If we would see more of this Peyton Manning-like execution, teams would blitz much less. But it is not easy doing what the Cowboys did here."

You could see more of that if Romo and friends were willing to put in the extra work that guys like Peyton and Drew Brees are willing to dedicate to their craft.

Romo has the tools to be that kind of quarterback. I'm not sure he has the mental make-up. Instead of playing blackjack and getting lap dances during extra days, he should have been working on timing and precision (like a guy such as Peyton or Drew would do).

It wouldn't have mattered in this game, though, as other aspects of the team broke down.

Pastor Dave said...

Yes, TSY, I suppose all other NFL quarterbacks spend all of their off days looking at film just like all of us enjoy taking work home from the office every night so that we can perform better the next day for the boss.
There were 10 days off until the next day and he was back in Dallas by the next morning.
Give the guy a break.

Doctorjorts said...

Having more plays means the Cowboys were able to sustain drives, but it also means they didn't get any homerun plays and quick scores. It also means the other team might have had the benefit of some long plays/short fields/good special teams play, all of which happened.

DJT said...

TSY: if Romo plays every week like he just did I highly encourage him to go to Vegas more often. He was awesome, and not the reason we lost. Did you even watch the game??

Anyway, great job breaking it down Bob. I really wish you or someone with your insight were an advisor to Garrett. He seems so close to "getting it" and taking his play calling to the next level but just does some strange things every now and then that make you wonder what was he thinking...

TSY said...

Romo cheerleaders need to take a step back and look again at what was being addressed in my first comment.

Cowboy fans are a hoot.

Imagine what Tony could do if he had the work ethic of a Peyton or Drew...