Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sacks - Game 15 - Cardinals

As we head to the final week of the season, the Cowboys have now allowed the 12th fewest sacks in the NFL this season with 29 (152 yards). By the way, the NFL Average is 32 allowed (216 yards). But, there are weeks where the Cowboys look horrid, and I think you can stack this one next to the Tennessee performance and the night in Green Bay as the 3 worst pass protection weeks of 2010. This was very bad, with 4 of the 5 sacks coming in safe down and distance, with base personnel on the field. There is no way you should look this bad, but it does expose where the Cowboys truly are in this department.


Play #3 21 1/10/D24 -6 SACK by Campbell

What Happened: 3rd play of the game here, and we already see issues. This is "21" personnel on a 1st and 10. Nothing says run situation more than "21" on 1st and 10. From there, the Cowboys attempt some play action, and despite what Matt Millen says on the video, this is only a 4-man rush. Nevertheless, we see immediately where Marc Colombo is going to be all night. 93-Calais Campbell, a 6'8, 300 lb, monster out of Miami, sets up Colombo to the outside and then when Colombo leans, he gets him back to the inside. Colombo is so inside out here that he ends up with his back to the rusher like he is boxing out for a rebound in basketball. Campbell gets to Kitna and the ominous sign of things to come is apparent.


Play #12 21 2/10/D20 -6 SACK by Haggans

What Happened: This one is disappointing to see as an offensive coordinator. It is tough enough always decoding a blitz scheme from an opponent. But, sometimes, the protection is perfect, but you just lose a block. This particular play has the offensive line with a perfect pocket set up for Kitna. The FB stays in to pick up any edge LBs that are rushing and here comes 53-Clark Haggans. You would like to think Chris Gronkowski can handle a LB on the edge, but this was not a very good showing as Haggans makes quick work of him on the way to the QB. Gronkowski, of course, is known for the worst moment of pass protection this season on the play that broke Tony Romo's collarbone, so this is not helping his body of work any.


Play #23 12 1/10/D19 0 SACK by Dockett

What Happened: Colombo had some real rough moments on Saturday Night. This one is not one of them. On this play, Colombo will get charged for the sack, but the real issues happened on the opposite side of the line. The Cardinals show a blitz they like the run and bring it back later in the game against McGee. They rush 3 but angle those 3 in such a way to open up a nice lane for 2 more delayed blitzers. Those 2 get matched up against Kyle Kosier, the LG, and Felix Jones, the RB. Kitna sees it coming and begins stepping away from that area (and with good reason as Felix and Kosier both get about 50% of each guy). But, because he is flushed up in the pocket, Colombo's man, Darnell Dockett gets a vulture sack despite not being able to get around Colombo at all. Colombo technically conceded this sack, but his protection is just fine. He has no way of knowing that Kitna was going to move up 8 yards right away. Not a good night for 75, but this one is not his fault (technically).


Play #25 - 21 1/10/D31 -4 SACK by Dockett (2)

What Happened: Amazing. For an entire season, the Cowboys had not conceded more than 1 sack in a game from "under center". Then, in this game, largely because of RT, the team concedes 4 in the 1st Half! No wonder Jon Kitna had to leave the game. These are simple play ideas from good down and distance spots. These should not be risky protections. If it is 3rd and 15, expect the defense to pin the ears back. But this is 1st and 10. This is "21" personnel. Nothing fancy at all, and yet Darnell Dockett smells blood and the Cowboys are not giving Colombo help because they assume he can at least handle this spot. He can't be this bad. This particular play might be ground for a benching if you had any tackle on the roster that gave you even the slightest bit of confidence. But, there is no such thing this season. Dockett is good, but it shouldn't be this easy.

Play #67 - S11 3/9/D47 -11 SACK Schofield

What Happened: This might be the toughest one to evaluate because you could make the case that each tackle was beaten here. My ruling is that Colombo's man (53-Haggans) caused the sack, and Free's man (50-O'Brien Schofield) actually got the sack. They both are not helped by McGee's deep drop, and McGee is trying to give his receivers a chance to get to the sticks on 3rd and long, but this play just cannot work without better protection. A classic case of two guys meeting at the QB, and this was the only time in the 2nd half that McGee was sacked. He did hold the ball a bit long in some cases, but he seems to have a reasonable clock in his head and then some pretty nice escapability when the situation calls for that, too. I believe I have to split responsibility here, so Colombo and Free share this one. Again, subjectivity, but that is what I see.


Season To Date Sacks
The season totals for Sacks Allowed: Colombo 7, Free 5, Davis 4.5, Coverage 3.5, Kitna 3, Costa 2, Gurode 1, Jones 1, Witten 1, Kosier 1, Gronkowski 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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