Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Decoding Garrett - Week 14 - Videos vs Redskins


Video Breakdowns:

5 Plays to chew on from the win over Washington, including the re-introduction of the Wildcat!

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

The Play:Play #8 - "22" - 1/10/W30 - pass to Witten +26

What Happened:I love "22" personnel for so many reasons. In the post earlier today that offers the data, I expressed my thoughts, but let's show you why "22" is so awesome. When you run the ball out of "22", the defense reacts. So, your reaction to their reaction is a very simple counter; Play Action pass. You are sitting on the run, so you crowd the line. All of your LBs are moving north to the gaps. And that is how Jason Witten can get a step on you and then work 1-on-1 with a safety and because Witten starts the play on the same side as the lone WR, he now has the entire width of the field to take that safety. Honestly, there is almost no chance you can stay with a good TE if he can take you anywhere and you know you have no help coming anytime soon. This is why you must be able to scare a team with your run game. This is the first play of the 2nd drive and it is when the Cowboys are at their best. There are 9 Redskins in the box - perfect counter punch.

The Play:Play #18 - "21" - 2/10/W35 - Screen to Felix +15

What Happened: Regular personnel for the Cowboys - which is "21" - and here we see our weekly feature known as "Felix Jones Screen Plays". Another clear attribute of the 2nd half of 2010 is when the Cowboys finally figured out how to execute a screen pass. It is not easy, because the more you do it, the more the defense sits on it and doesn't believe you are really going to do anything else. So, the LBs key on Felix and the second he tries to sneak out to a flank, the LBs are in hot pursuit. And that is when you know you are getting good. Watch the Redskins sit on this play by cheating out to Felix, but the Cowboys get this blocked to a decent level, and then it is Felix in space using his ability to make guys miss. He doesn't hit on all of these, but he hits on at least 1 a game and it is becoming a real weapon.

The Play:Play #28 - 1/10/D32 - WC22 - Pass to Felix Jones +32

What Happened: Ah yes, the Wildcat. Or the Razorback. Or whatever we call the fad in the NFL that went from curiosity to all the rage to afterthought in about 3 seasons. That should teach us that the defensive minds in the NFL are pretty smart, too, and if Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick were going to play the Dolphins twice a year, they were going to figure it out and make it extinct pretty quickly. I would love to explain why I believe the Wildcat went away, but because of space limitations let's just boil it down to one single issue: Nobody had to account for the QB. Once everyone figured out that the QB had no impact on the play, the whole personnel package was in trouble. The one exception was when you could bring the QB back in the play like the Cowboys did here. Now, the math issues again make it difficult to account for everyone. Felix Jones on the wheel route is accounted for, but by 98-Orakpo, someone who cannot run with Felix for very long. The other keys here are Jason Witten picking up Kitna's man once Kitna gets the ball, and Miles Austin drawing all the coverage on his post route. These two beauties and then a perfect throw make this a big gainer. This is the 3rd time the Cowboys have run the Wildcat, but the first since Week 2, so the odds that the Redskins did not even consider it are very strong.

The Play:Play #33 - S11 - 3/9/14 - Touchdown pass to Witten

What Happened: This is a very popular concept out of "S11". Because of 3 WRs, the defense is in nickel, so you already are spreading out personnel into a man-on-man concept with a single high safety on most situations. It is 3rd and 9, so the Redskins are going to match everyone up. But, in presnap, the Cowboys move Jason Witten out in motion to the edge and this is how we find how the Redskins are going to do things before the ball is snapped. If a LB or S goes with Witten, then Kitna will have some choices because the middle of the field will be vacated for a slant opportunity. But when everyone just hands off their guy and shuffles out to Witten (like DeAngelo Hall did here) then Kitna realizes he has a big TE who will merely have to shed a Corner to get a fresh set of downs. I am sure it is an option route depending on the coverage, but once Hall backs off, the short pass is the read. From there, Hall gambles to prevent the 1st down, and because of a great throw to the outside, Witten spins and not only moves the chains but gets in the end zone. Well played.

The Play:Play #47 - "12" - 2/G/3 - Run for Choice TD

What Happened:Here is the famous down-down-and-around concept that so many teams including the Cowboys employ routinely. Here, watch C, RG, and RT all block to their left and LG Kyle Kosier leads the way to the right. Once he gets in space he just has to block up 41-Kareem Moore, and Choice bounces it to the outside to walk into the endzone. It seems these plays that stretch the perimeters with outside options for the RB to read are much more effective than the between the tackle wrestling match that the Cowboys often attempt in short yardage. Witten's job on Orakpo here is key and then Kosier completes the deal. This sort of run gives you hope moving to 2011 that there is something to work with in short yardage without Marion Barber. Tashard Choice looks like he might be able to handle it based on this play and a few others in the last few weeks. But, Barber will be missed in short yardage. He had many good moments but most people only remember the bad ones.

Tomorrow: Targets and Sacks for Week 14

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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