The Cowboys are getting very reasonable production from their Backup QB during this stretch without starter Tony Romo. The truth is that there are not 32 QBs in this league who cause defenses problems, so the idea that everyone believes each team should have 2 good ones is silly and unrealistic. Many teams would love to have 1 QB. The Cowboys had no backup in 2008 when Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger held the position so we know what backup QB play can look like. Kitna has been fine for the most part.
However, the longer we go into this, the more we see why the NFL no longer believed Jon was a viable starter. Because of his diminishing ability to distribute the ball across the field, defenses sit on his strengths and make him try to beat them by throwing to places that make him uncomfortable. They attempt to shrink the field for him, and when you play a defense that is well designed, you see that the Cowboys offense becomes a series of throws underneath - mostly to Tight Ends and Running Backs for small yardage over and over.
Look at the QB Ratings to his starting Wide Receivers. Miles Austin (14.1) and Roy Williams (28.1) show a QB Rating that tells you his efficiency to the outside is lacking. Both of his INTs were to WRs and they could not make up for those picks with positive plays to the edge. The big receptions were a screen to Felix, a seam route to Witten, and not much else.
The Cowboys miss Tony Romo. There is no reason to hurry him back in 2010, but this idea that the offense runs the same without him is nonsense.
Target Distribution: - Game 13 vs Philadelphia
Against the Giants and Colts, Kitna had been making all of the throws on 3rd Down. The Eagles limited him on the money down and that was the big difference in this game.
3RD/4TH Down Targets - Week 13 vs Philadelphia
Let's take a look at the completion percentage to each of the WRs in 2010: Miles Austin catches 60.4% of the passes thrown in his direction, Roy Williams is at 61%, and Dez Bryant is at 62% to show that there is almost no fluctuation from man to man this year. 2009 had Miles Austin at 65%, Patrick Crayton at 54%, and Roy Williams at the bottom of the NFL with a 44% catch rate. Jason Witten is at 75% for 2010, after a 76% 2009.
The big difference in the passing game this season is the jump in interceptions. In 2009, there were only 9 all year. The Cowboys are already sitting at 17 on the season and with 3 weeks to play, that number will likely go up more. Last season, no receiver had more than 3 Interceptions on balls targeted for them. But, we see that Miles Austin has had 5 Interceptions in his direction and Roy Williams 4 on balls intended for him already this season.
Target Distribution - Season To Date
3RD/4TH Down Targets - Season To Date
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 www.twitter.com/bobanddan Bob offers his exclusive analysis after games on SportsDayDFW.com
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