Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Decoding Garrett - Game 12 vs Colts - Videos

Video Breakdowns:

Cowboys showed us some more interesting looks on Sunday out of the "22" package, so let's focus on what Tashard Choice did to be successful in his first big game in 2010. Also, Kitna misses on a big throw but then makes up for it late.

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

The Play:Play #9- "22" - 1Q - 1/10/20 - Tashard Choice TD Run

What Happened: I hope you look at these videos every week, because if you do, you are beginning to see trends in how teams defend things that the Cowboys like to do. This is why I continue to say that "22" personnel is consistently the best thing the Cowboys do, which flies right in the face of what most fans believe. How can the Cowboys be good at running a personnel group that involves only 1 WR? Simple. The defense must make declarations based on what you have on the field and then you make them pay. Here, we see it: The Colts have 9 guys right up on the line of scrimmage. Sam Hurd is the only WR out to the right. Bennett off right tackle, Witten off left tackle. The pulling guards and the Fullback lead the play right. This is the same "G Power" game the Cowboys run 5-10 times a game, but occasionally they pull out this change up. It is a weakside pitch to the TB - Tashard Choice, who must simply out run the weakside DE to the flank. If he gets there, the defense has almost no other help, because 9 men are up tight, and the other 2 are shaded to the far side of the field because of Hurd's presence. This shows Choice's ability to get there with great speed and then what he does down the field with his side step just helps solidify his performance.

The Play:Play #10 - "12" - 1Q - 1/10/16 - Felix Jones +11

What Happened: Why is this such a rare feat? Why is a simple run between the tackles something that we never see this year? Well, take notes - because this one works for 11 yards, perhaps revealing that the Colts are not very good in the middle against the run if the Cowboys "middle 3", Kosier-Gurode-Davis can get this done. Check out the job that Kosier and Gurode get done where they push their men 5 yards back down the field, and then Davis comes around to get a great pulling block on the LB in the hole. Felix simply has to follow the bulldozers for a change and he is able to get an easy first down. It may seem like a non-descript play to most, but I think this was note-worthy in the Cowboys film room.

The Play:Play #25 - 3Q - "S11" - 3/10/36 Pass to Witten +19

What Happened: I thought this was a real key play in the game and it does show us that although Jason Witten is not quite what Witten was a few years ago, he is still very good. This play looks simple, but it takes precision from the QB and the ability for the TE to find the seam and then make a catch even though he knows how things go for TEs running across the middle of the field these days (Heath Miller, Todd Heap). But, on 3rd and long, things have to happen quickly and if you have 3 WRs working the outside, then the safeties cannot be sitting on Witten. The LB's drop is not quite where they would want it, and it works for a big 19 yard pick up.

The Play:Play #42 - 3Q - "22" - 1/10/32 - Incomplete to Austin in end zone

What Happened: Ok, for you lovers of play design, let's show you a play that is designed from that same "22" personnel package and it is all part of keeping the defense in that "classic conflict" about what to key on in the presnap reads. "22" means only 1 WR and everyone covers it the same way. Corner up tight, safety over the top. Very basic stuff. This means that most of the time, the WR will not be a huge factor, but if he can get running, he has the entire length and width of the field to work because there are no other routes being run. On this play, the Cowboys show the Colts they are running that same power play off right tackle and then the play action fake makes it a max-protect situation where Kitna is going to have time if Miles can get behind the safety to put one in the end zone here. This works well because it is 1st and 10, and most teams are not expecting a deep shot on 1st down. It happens, but odds are that Dallas is going to try the run. The play works perfectly and the opportunity is there, but Kitna airmails Austin pretty badly and the Cowboys miss a golden opportunity. It may remind you of a similar chance where Kitna missed a wide open Austin in the Green Bay game and these are the chances you cannot miss in the NFL and get away with it. Again, Kitna has been decent, but the group of people that want him to replace Romo permanently are a bit nuts.

The Play:Play #56 - "22" - 4Q -2/5/38 - Choice run for +26

What Happened: OK, this is the exact same formation, group, and pretty much everything as the 1Q TD run for Choice. It is again that 1 on 1 race between Choice and the weakside DE to the edge. Marion Barber has tried this play (I recall in Minnesota against Ray Edwards in the playoffs last year) and it failed miserably because Barber cannot win that footrace. Choice can, and on one hand we should be very impressed by Choice's Sunday, but we should remember that 46 of his 100 yards were on these 2 identical plays. Very nice, but I have to think that the Eagles will not be fooled by this again. I expect they will see this formation with that RB and cheat a linebacker a bit more to that side to protect the flank. We will know Choice has arrived when he can follow this up with another type of big run as his 2nd pitch. That is when we will know he is no "1-trick pony". But, this is a very nice 1 trick so far.

The Play:Play #65 - "S11" - 4Q - 3/G/2 - TD to Witten

What Happened: This was a great throw from Kitna on a rather simple goal-line play. Many times when we look at these plays we will see someone else in the route running wide open. Not the case here. It looks like Roy Williams and Sam Hurd are running the same route so I am not sure who is at fault here, but you can see that Kitna never considers the right side of the field. Austin looks covered, and of course, Dez Bryant's season ended a few minutes earlier, so the Cowboys go-to play on the goal-line - the fade to Dez is now off the cards. We take this throw and catch for granted, but it is a thing of beauty and the safety running with Witten, 41-Bethea, has no chance to get to the outside of that throw. Then, for good measure, Kitna makes an even more impressive throw to Roy Williams on the 2 point conversion. This sequence is what got everyone all excited about Kitna's performance, and it was impressive. Interesting to note that it doesn't even happen without the leverage penalty on the Buehler FG that was good. Good work by Dallas to make them pay.


Tomorrow: Targets and Sacks for Week 12

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:

Mulrooneys said...

Love the breakdowns and analysis. "preciate the time you spend on these.

I think we're seeing two things here:

1. It seems like their football "IQ" is improving. If that's a result of wearing pads for practice or the accountability structure Garrett's putting in place, let's hope he continues to look for ways to improve the football IQ of this team. At some point, the rhetoric will grow old--so he may have to defer to employ other coaches to chime in from time to time.

2. I'm not for Kitna replacing Romo but what I think I've noticed is that Kitna seems to spread the ball around more and isn't as predictable on those third downs. Maybe he's simply smarter than Tony, both in how he prepares for games and thus within the games themselves.


Jason-from Little Elm