Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Decoding Garrett: Game 7 vs Jacksonville - Videos


Video Breakdowns:

I think if we are going to make the case that this offensive line no longer appears to be capable of run blocking, we should spend a week like this to focus on what we mean. I wish we had the coaches' tape. It would be very easy to evaluate the performance of each OL player if we had the endzone cut ups for this team, but since they protect that film as if it is the Holy Grail, we can only use television (and CBS seldom gives us the replays we need on garden variety plays - on touchdowns they have 22 angles, though!) to sort through the mess.

And make no mistake, the Cowboys running game is as poorly executed in 2010 as anything we have seen since the Pre-Parcells era. This is not going to be pretty.

Thanks, Brian at DC Fanatic.com for his help in getting the videos posted.

The Play:Play #3 - 1Q - 11 - 1/10/46 - Jones Runs Left -4

What Happened:Here you go, 3rd play of the game and the Cowboys are just getting started. So, if you are Jason Garrett you run a simple and safe run play to the left and try to get some yards on 1st Down. And look what happens. The entire Jacksonville defensive front destroys this play. In particular, look at the way Marc Colombo is beaten off the snap by the rookie, Tyson Alualu. What makes this particularly annoying to the coaches will be that they had a reasonable wall built at the point of attack with Costa and Gurode that gave this play a chance. Free turned his man to the outside properly, but can only hold him there for a second and Jones has to be through there. Davis loses his block at RG, but the real damage was done here by Alualu and Colombo's ability to beat him to the spot. Pretty easy to see why this play doesn't work and pretty easy to see why you would hesitate to call it again. Now you are 2nd and 14 and your drive has just been put in a bind on a basic 1st and 10 run play.

The Play:Play #6 - 1Q -"21" - 1/10/22 - Jones runs right -1

What Happened:Again, 3 snaps later. Play #6 of the game and another 1st Down because Kitna found Austin on 3rd Down. Again, on 1st and 10, Garrett gives his OL another chance to get something cooking from under center. 21 personnel, weakside run to RT, with the lead blocker Chandler ready to get the Will Linebacker. But, again, when Marc Colombo cannot do better than that against a rookie 92-Lane from Murray State, then the Cowboys will not have success. I think Marc Colombo is a fine RT, but he is not helping his reputation with this tape. He started the game with 2 significant

The Play:Play #20 - "12 personnel" 1/10/D31 Jones Right for 9

What Happened: Here is another play where the OL did not do a good job. This time, it is your rookie LG, Phil Costa. And this is where you might ask if he is being asked to do too much as he makes his NFL debut way before he is ready because of injuries and now you have him running the lead block on a pulling play. Regardless, the Cowboys have to run their offense, and 67 pulls to the right into the hole vacated by the blocking. He must get the LB 56-Durant or the play is doomed. In this case, Costa totally misses him (something we have seen Leonard Davis do countless times to the other side) and only because Felix Jones does a fabulous job does this play get 9 yards. This is a successful run play in spite of the blocking. The blocking would have lost you 2 or 3 yards on this play. We need more flashes of brilliance like this from Felix Jones because this is what could separate him from his competition, but we don't see it often enough. Make something out of nothing. That is what the special backs can do.

The Play: Play #23 - 2Q -"12" - 1/10/44 - Barber -5

What Happened: Yet another 1st and 10, and yet another attempt from Jason Garrett to get 4 yards on 1st down with a simple under center run play. Now, Jacksonville is sitting on runs (as they know you are frustrated and determined to fix this issue) so they start crowding the line of scrimmage in running scenarios. This might be where you check into a pass play if Kitna is authorized and comfortable enough to do it, because there are simply too many defenders waiting on this play to work. It looks like the Cowboys are asking 17-Hurd to get a block on the Will Linebacker (which doesn't work) and because of that (which is common for the WR to block inside and the CB to be unblocked in many run schemes) the CB 21-Cox has an easy and free run at Barber. Costa the pulling LG would try to get to Cox, but he finds himself surrounded by Jaguars and ends up getting none of them. Tough to blame him here, but the whole play is such a disaster that you now understand why Garrett pretty much pulled the plug on all under center runs after this one. They just can't get anyone blocked and these failed runs are zapping all energy from the team and the crowd.

The Play:Play #38 - 2Q - "23" 3/G/1 - Barber for no gain

What Happened: This first play is a straight street fight. Both teams have heavy personnel, which for the Cowboys means 2 RBs and 3 TEs (23 personnel). Unfortunately, that means Scott Chandler is your 3 different FB already this season and Alex Barron is your 3rd TE. The Cowboys are trying to shoot the A Gap or B Gap on the right side of the line - which makes sense because of course to go left, you are again asking Costa in his debut to win his block and then some on the goal-line. Very difficult battle here where Chandler and Costa both go after one LB (52) and only stand him straight up, leaving another LB (55-Morrison) to meet Barber at the 1 and end the play. The really issue was RT again, as Colombo must win the battle of leverage with 91 and loses it. This collapses the hole and makes Barber's job even tougher. I think Barber almost got in and frankly did as well as you can expect him to do. In 23, you must have everyone surging forward, and the Cowboys were backed off by Jacksonville.

The Play:Play #39 - 2Q - "23" 4/G/1 - Barber for no gain

What Happened: And now the last play, which is a flip of the last play it appears. Now, 82 and 80 are outside the LT, while Barron is outside Colombo. Obviously, the biggest issue here is that Jon Kitna appears confused as to either the play call or what the said play calls for. Anytime your QB is helping to stop the RB's momentum and could be credited for a partial tackle, we have major issues. Further, look at the overall surge at the snap. The entire interior of the OL is forklifted back at least a yard, with all-pro center, Andre Gurode stood almost completely straight up. You will often hear coaches yell that "Low man wins" in a battle of blocks. This is what he means - the low man gets leverage and can move the higher man, and Gurode was stood up by his man back at the 2 yard line. That would be notable, but after Tyson Alualu pancakes Doug Free on the snap right into the path of the run, this play had no chance. Free dominated. Gurode moved, Kitna runs into the runner. What a comedy of errors.

Tomorrow: Targets and Sacks for Week 6

Bob Sturm is host of BaD Radio on The Ticket 1310 AM Mondays through Fridays at 12-3 p.m. He also hosts The Ticket's Cowboys pregame show. Follow Bob on Twitter at
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1 comment:

asimmehmood said...

Sturm... Good stuff as usual...

As an aside, on the first series, Dallas passed 4 out of 5 times in shotgun. 3 out of 4 times they ran, it was directly under center.

On the play where Barber was stuffed twice in a row, Dallas threw ten straight plays out of shotgun, only to line up under center for the runs, where they were unsuccessful.

We ran twice from shotgun I believe, the whole half with one of those runs a scramble, meaning only once in reality.

I just don't see how we can establish any rhythm up front when we keep switching back and forth. You argue that Garrett has a problem with the OL and has to alter his game-plan, and that too, relatively early. Why not try and establish it over the long-run consistently? If your going to throw, throw plenty from the center as well.

Our OL are standing up 4 plays at a fast pace, and then there down being asked to pull on the next play, whiffing on blocks.

And one more point from a defensive perspective:

I think the loss of Grantham has really hurt the defensive line. Paul Pasqualoni seems to have turned a disciplined DL into a bunch of guys that play overly-aggresive and out of position.