Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Decoding Garrett - Week 13 - At Cincinnati
Aside from the very unique circumstances to the win in Cincinnati, we should not completely lose sight of the fact that the offense had the least productive outing in 2012. With just 288 total yards of offense (despite an above-average 70 snaps), the production was quite modest. In fact, the final 2 drives produced 118 yards, or the Cowboys offense would have flirted with a rare sub-250 day, which hasn't happened in a Tony Romo-started game since December of 2007. Those days are normally reserved for Brad Johnson, Stephen McGee, or Jon Kitna starts, and game plans that simply are constructed to avert risk from the moment the Cowboys run out of the tunnel.
All roads of explanation lead us back to the match-up at the line of scrimmage. I promise, I do not try to make every "Decoding Garrett" review about the fact that this team's offensive line cannot block with any regularity the teams on their schedule, but it seems to reveal itself as anyone observing a Cowboys game can see an offense that is constantly under siege.
And what makes matters worse, is that the Cowboys are not a horrible team at picking up blitzes. What this means is that teams do not trouble Romo on blitz plays any worse than they seem to bother a normal NFL offense. But, where the Cowboys really have failing grades across the board all season long seems to be the plays where the opponent is just rushing the front 4.
A successful offense must be able to block 4 pass rushers with 5 offensive linemen most (if not all) of the time. If a team cannot, it has two choices - both bad. Either leave their tight end and their running back in to help - this leaves 7 defensive players covering just 2 or 3 targets - or run routes that can develop in less than 2.5 seconds so as not to ask the offensive line to hold up. The trouble with the first option is nobody can get open because they are all doubled and the trouble with the latter is the defense reacts and pushes up to defend all shallow routes, making all openings smaller and smaller for a QB under duress to find.
"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like
Norman Einstein." --Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.