Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decoding Garrett - Week 11 vs Saints - Videos

Video Breakdowns:

Time now to look at some of the more pivotal plays from the thriller against the Saints. Let's see what is working and what is not here.

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

The Play:Play # - 1Q - 3/2/47 - "22" comp to Witten +17

What Happened: I hope by now you see what the Cowboys offense wants to do. They want to keep you in uncertainty as a defense by running when you think pass and passing when you think run. "22" personnel is a heavy group that consists of 2 RBs and 2 TEs. This has often been the Cowboys most difficult group to defend against. The 1 WR lines up on one side and because it is Miles Austin, he demands a double team with a corner in front of him and a single high safety. If the safety leaves, the play will go to Miles in man to man with nobody behind them. If Miles occupies 2 DBs, now the Saints have 9 in the box to stop the run an the Cowboys can use Jason Witten as a big weapon going the other way. If you put 9 in the box, that means the Saints strong safety - 41 Roman Harper - has to run with Jason Witten on a play action fake and now Witten can run a route on the opposite side of Austin and stress the defense with his ability to run any route in space and Harper is at his mercy. Harper does a nice job, but the Cowboys get a nice gain here based on the pass/run conflict the Saints were placed in. If Harper sits back off of Witten, then the Cowboys will run the ball here. I love "22" in early down and distances. The Cowboys have perfect personnel to do it. It would be even better if Martellus Bennett ever broke out.

The Play:Play # - 2Q - 4/1/21 - "22" toss to Barber 0

What Happened: Here is "22" again, but the Cowboys on 4th and 1 are not going to fool the Saints here as much as they try. First, they have Felix out and Marion in which tells the Saints by tendencies that the Cowboys are going to run it between the tackles. When the Cowboys run Barber wide, it might frustrate you, but it is going against tendencies and for that reason it just might work. But, when Roman Harper protects the flank by crashing on top of RT Marc Colombo. This makes Barber have to hurdle a man at the 25 yard line when the line of scrimmage is the 21. Obviously, most fans are mad at Barber for the result here, but when you are dodging players 4 yards deep, this play is destined to fail. In retrospect, there are a dozen better ideas, but this play is usually a successful one when the Cowboys are rolling. But the Saints dedicated the kitchen sink on this one, and they deserve some credit here. I am not sure it is fair to single out Colombo, because as I look at the play repeatedly, I am not sure what he could do here. He is just out-flanked. And once Harper slows the flow, Dunbar, the linebacker has time to make the play at the turn.

The Play:Play # - 2Q - 1/10/18 - "21" Run Jones +10

What Happened: Every week we are trying to see if Felix Jones has what the Cowboys need to be an "Every Down" back. Here is one of those plays that tease us into thinking he is worth all of this trouble. His burst here at the corner is what makes a 3 yard gain into 10. I believe if Barber is the ball carrier here, the Cowboys are facing 2nd and 7 because Marion doesn't have that extra gear. Felix does and you see that rare flash. Gronkowski with a decent enough lead block, but Felix has to make a player miss on the edge and does a fine job. Also, Doug Free looks good again blocking in space and making the play possible on a weakside run.

The Play:Play # - 2Q - 2/10/40 - "S11" - Screen to Jones +28

What Happened: What are we seeing more and more of as the season progresses? Felix Jones screen plays. They can be run best with "11" personnel in and then the Cowboys make you make a tough decision as a defense. This time, they line Witten and 2 WRs to the right. The Saints are manning up on their defense, so when all 3 of those targets get off the line of scrimmage and into their routes, we see a clear-out of that side of the field. Once the screen is executed quickly, now Felix is in space and his speed does the rest for a quick +28 yards. This is great design and a reason we are hopeful that Garrett has creative ideas to utilize Felix more. Obviously, he isn't a traditional back, and so you must figure out how to use his strengths more and more. The screens seem to be the answer.

The Play:Play # - 3Q - 2/2/40 - "12" - end around for Austin TD

What Happened: Pause this play right before the snap and see the unbalanced line to the right. The Cowboys are declaring strong right run. Free is outside Colombo on the right. Now, here comes Witten in motion to the right. If you are a linebacker or a safety for New Orleans, you see a ton of beef on 2nd and 2, so you believe this is right run. And this is where tendencies can get you killed. Martellus Bennett is playing left tackle on this unbalanced line, so when Austin comes around on the end around, it is all about giving Miles a 1 step head start for the corner. From there, the blocks of Roy Williams, Felix Jones, and the block/hold from Jason Witten gets the Touchdown. But the design and the chess game of the play is what makes is a great idea even if it only gets 10 yards. This is another case of Garrett properly using all of his weapons and ideas. We accuse him of getting too cute sometimes, but this is really good stuff.

The Play:Play # - 4Q - 3/6/42 - "S11" - Pass to Roy, Fumble

What Happened: The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all in 1 play. It is 3rd and 6, and the Cowboys feel that if they can convert this it is game over. They are in "S11" and only one WR is being pressed, Roy Williams. Interesting that the Saints want to press him, while giving Dez Bryant and Miles Austin free releases off the line on 3rd and 6, but Greg Williams knows what he is doing. The rookie, 34-Patrick Robinson, falls down on the play and Roy Williams is off to the races. I detailed on Friday that although Malcolm Jenkins made a great play, Roy does have a bit of a track record of turning great plays into fumbles in the last year or so, which makes me wonder why a strong guy like him doesn't guard against this much closer. Still, everything worked except the large detail that didn't. That slim margin for error rears its ugly head. Nice throw by Kitna and nice execution by all involved (picking up the blitz), but what a shame.


Tomorrow: Targets and Sacks for Week 8

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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