Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sacks: Game 8 at Green Bay

Sunday Night was a dark day in many departments of the Cowboys organization, and pass protection would be no exception. Despite the Cowboys not having many snaps and despite the score being such that there wasn't a great deal of urgency to get to the QB, the Packers still seemed to be able to get pressure just about any time they desired such a thing.



Play #10 - 2/9/33 Sack by Matthews - "12" personnel

What Happened: Let me ask you a question: If you have watched film where Charles Woodson blitzes when he is lined up as defending the slot receiver time and time again, would you continue to put the slot receiver on Clay Matthews side? If you can decide where Woodson has to start the play, why would you allow him to deploy right next to Matthews when it is your choice? The Cowboys seemed to not be able to deal with this very well, because the combination of Woodson/Matthews coming from the same side over and over again destroyed any game plan the Cowboys had. In this instance, both of them could have had the sack, but Matthews beat Leonard Davis quicker than Woodson could spin past Colombo. Funny thing is that Clay was a complete decoy, but his motor runs so fast that he decided to get in on the sack anyway. Leonard Davis is not getting better each week. If the Cowboys had any reserves that I found promising, I would definitely recommend that they move on from the Davis era. It seems to be over as he leads the team in sacks allowed. Guards should never, ever lead the team in sacks allowed. Especially those on $50 million contracts.


Play #24 - 3/10/11 Sack for Woodson

What Happened: 3rd down and long is when the defenses in the NFL unleash the exotic blitzes and the Packers and Dom Capers do not disappoint. Here is a classic Fire Zone Blitz. Remember, the fire zone is when they overload one side while dropping the opposite side of the blitz into zone coverage. Here, AJ Hawk shoots Leonard Davis to Gurode's side. Clay Matthews takes Colombo out wide. And that leaves a lane that you could drive a truck through for Charles Woodson again. Look at the play in presnap and see that all 3 of those players look like they might be defending receivers. If you are Jon Kitna, you have watched Matthews and Woodson show blitz and then play coverage a number of times in the game already. But on 3rd and 10, they all come from the front side. For a moment, Witten is open in the flat, but on 3rd and 10, that does not really appeal to Kitna since it likely gets you 5 yards or so. This seems unfair to put it on the QB, but in the NFL, the OL cannot account for every DB to come on a blitz. There are 11 defenders and usually 5 or 6 blockers. This falls on the QB to see a guy coming from his front side and get the ball out of there. I believe that his coaches will put this on the QB, and when you are at this spot on the field you have to take the 5 yards and put rather than risk a defensive TD which could have easily happened here.


Play #27 - 2/10/50 Sack for Bishop

What Happened: Nothing tricky here. The OL does a perfect job just fine. But, here Felix Jones appears to have no idea that Desmond Bishop is rushing. I really have no explanation on how this happens when blitz pickup is the single most important job when a team is in Shotgun as much as the Cowboys are. This is disappointing if you believe Jones has really developed. As the play is happening, it sure looks like Felix is expecting an inside blitz, and perhaps this is an accumulation of exotic blitzes by the Packers that now have Felix misdiagnosing simple protection concepts. Pressure bursts pipes, and the Cowboys were seeing ghosts at Lambeau.


Play #48 - 2/10/22 Sack for CJ Wilson

What Happened: Finally, the last play of the game. Under normal circumstances you might say that Kitna holds the ball too long, but given the finality of the play, you can understand that he is waiting for his receivers to get into the end zone. The Packers just want the game over and are only rushing 3, but reserve DE CJ Wilson still works his way past Doug Free. Not a horrible job by Free initally, but you have to stay in front for an extra second on these rare situations where a team is trying to score, and he finally was beaten with a inside/outside move.

Season To Date Sacks
The Rankings for the season in Sacks Allowed among the OL: Davis 4, Coverage 3.5, Colombo 2, Costa 2, Free 2.5, Gurode 1, Jones 1.

Sack #Down/DistPersonnelSackerBlame

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...

Hey STurm,

Good stuff as usual... It just seems our offense doesn't know what the hell it is doing, especially in pass protection and that includes coaching.

On the play where Felix "failed" to pick up the blitz, it looks as if Kitna actually calls out Clay Matthews, thinking blitz.

Either, Felix must have heard that and shifted left to pick up the blitz, or the offense was going to present the look of a shotgun draw. After looking at it, I think the latter, especially considering Felix doesn't even look left, and the O-line had all men accounted for on the RIGHT side, including Matthews.

This brings me to the stupidity of the play-call. Why would Garrett present run down 28 points in the 3rd quarter, especially in shotgun?

This is why I don't think it's just a problem of the OL, but clearly this type of play-calling is reflective of Jason Garrett as a reason why the OL play is horrible.

It's depressing that he's our next Head Coach and I honestly think that the team just gave up when Romo was out, not so much because they didn't believe in Wade. In fact, I think the players never realizes the implications of Jerry's wrath and now they are in a situation of playing for a guy they don't even like. I mean it is play's like these where one has to ask one's self, can we really blame it on Wade? The guy was a lame-duck and couldn't correct the offense. Ultimately, his defense just ceded points as well.