Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Decoding Garrett - Videos - Week 15 vs Cardinals


Video Breakdowns:

Let's look at 5 plays from the heartbreaker in Arizona. 2 runs and 3 passes from Stephen McGee. McGee is obviously a player of intrigue here as a relatively high pick in the 2009 Draft, and now there is some question of whether he projects to an eventual starter in this league. Saturday was our first look at him with live fire, and the results were quite impressive.

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

The Play:Play #47 "S12" Pass 1/10/D39 McGee to Austin, +19 FD

What Happened: The first thing I want to see from a new QB is his willingness to take a hit to make a play. McGee has never had to answer questions about toughness, but you do think that at the NFL level, the players hit harder and at some point he will have to show he is willing again to take a beating in the name of finding a man down the field. The blitz that teams are using more and more against the Cowboys continues to be the zone blitz. Drop a few guys who look like rushers, rush a few guys who look like cover men, and try to confuse the OL. This works again as the Cardinals rush 5 and the first wave goes wide leaving the middle wide open for the safety who rushes right down main street and hits McGee in the chin as he releases a strike right to his hot route with Miles Austin. A very impressive first salvo from McGee.

The Play:Play #52 "22" - 2/6/O43 Jones +7 FD

What Happened: Nothing special about this play except its rarity in 2010. This is "22" personnel and an overload right where they have both TEs and a FB all right. Then, it is a small departure from the pulling LG which they like to show. This time, it is everyone straight ahead. Hat on a hat as they say, and the Cowboys all win their blocks so Jones has a chance to get a 1st Down. Again, I have nothing extraordinary here save for the idea that everyone kept their end of the bargain here. When you go "22" and get a push 5 yards down the field, it is an impressive show of force and this play shows it can be done. But, it needs to happen more often.


The Play:Play # 56 "22" Run 1/10/O24 Barber +24 TD

What Happened: 4 plays later, we see how one play can set up another. In the play above, Play #52, the Cowboys overload right and run right with success. Now, they overload left. The Cardinals respond by placing bodies into the box, but all to the left side of the Cowboys line. So, look at Gurode in the presnap. Now look at all of the players on the Cardinals defense that are to his right. I count 1. So, when Davis, Colombo, and Gronkowski are there to block 1 Cardinal and then pick up the Safety, Barber is off to the races. Sometimes, your formation is there to set up your play. Sometimes, it is there to deceive the defense. This time, the Cardinals were cheating the overload and guessed way wrong. Touchdown and excessive celebration.

The Play:Play #59 "S11" - 3/8/D12 McGee to Hurd, +13 FD

What Happened: No zone blitz here from Arizona. This is straight blitz. 6 men coming and the Cowboys have to block it for a moment, but McGee has to diagnose and get the ball out. He also is facing 3rd and 8, in the shadow of his own goal posts. This is a vital play that must be played properly. It is 4th Quarter, but a 1 point game so you can make a throw, but you cannot throw a pick. For him to hit Hurd in stride, move the chains, and not freak out in the face of a full blitz is very, very impressive again. I need to see more from McGee, but the fact that he can come off the bench and deliver these two 3rd Down passes shows that he is prepared and comfortable about what he needs to do, and more importantly for me, has the poise to carry out his duty in the face of a blitz.


The Play:Play #75 "S11" -1/10/O37 McGee to Austin, +37 and TD

What Happened: Inside the 2 minute warning, the Cowboys are in the 2-minute offense facing a 1st and 10. The Cardinals bring the blitz again (6 men) and the Cowboys have 6 men in protection and do a real nice job ( a rarity of its own on this night). That leaves 4 Cowboys in pass routes versus 5 Cardinals in coverage. The outside receivers - Hurd and Williams run short routes to the sideline and take their men. Witten runs a route across the middle of the field and Austin runs a deep vertical to make the safety decide and then the QB takes his cue from the safety and selects the best option. McGee thinks he can get the ball to Austin, and he barely does. But, there is no barely pregnant. Either you make the throw or you don't, and McGee made a magical throw to a receiver who made a nice play for him. It is a real shame that this play won't get more historic significance because of Buehler's extra point and the defensive collapse, but nonetheless, McGee made a real great throw and he should get credit for it.


Tomorrow: Targets and Sacks for Week 15

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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