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News: Gosselin: A new wrinkle on offense

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Rick Gosselin: A new wrinkle on offense

    Testaverde, 40, not the running threat that Carter was at QB


    09:41 PM CDT on Friday, August 6, 2004

    Cowboys fans can expect the obvious now that Quincy Carter is out and Vinny Testaverde is in as quarterback. The brief era of the mobile quarterback in Dallas is over.

    Carter rushed for 257 yards last season and 498 yards in his three years as the starting quarterback. Testaverde hasn't rushed for a touchdown since 1998 and hasn't rushed for as many as 200 yards in a season since 1990.

    When you have a mobile quarterback, your coaches build in opportunities for him to move around and run. The quarterback draw was a favorite play in Denver when John Elway was the quarterback, and San Francisco liked to roll Joe Montana and Steve Young in a floating pocket.

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    The Cowboys had some wrinkles in their playbook to feature Carter's legs. But because he's gone doesn't mean Bill Parcells is going to trash his offense and start over.

    No one player is bigger than this offense. Not every play in the Dallas playbook was designed to feature Carter's legs. The overwhelming number of plays remains the same whether it's Carter, Testaverde or Parcells himself taking the snaps.

    Teams have dozens of plays in the playbook – some teams have hundreds – but not all of them are included in the game plan each week.

    Coaches select plays for a game plan that have the best chance of succeeding against that week's opponent. Those plays are meant to enhance the strengths of your offense and magnify the weaknesses of their defense.

    Testaverde has different strengths as a passer than Carter, so any game plan will be heavier on routes Testaverde prefers throwing. But that's a courtesy extended to all quarterbacks. Let your players do what they do best.

    The difference in the eye of the fan in the stands won't necessarily be how the Cowboys play offense. It will be how opponents play defense against Dallas.

    There's a certain amount of respect afforded a mobile quarterback by defenses. His presence slows the pass rush and forces linebackers to hover a step deeper off the ball.

    When a defense was playing against Dan Marino or Troy Aikman, you could paint a bull's-eye 7 yards back of the center. He was going to be standing in the pocket, and the pass rushers knew it. So the defensive goal was to reach that spot as fast as your pass rush could get you there.

    But there's no guarantee a mobile quarterback is going to be standing in the pocket when the rushers arrive. So the rush is a little less frenzied. Some teams even invest a defender in spying on the mobile quarterback. That was the case with a Randall Cunningham, Mike Vick and Steve McNair.

    The 49ers led the NFL in rushing in 1998 not because they had the best offensive line or the best runner. They were No. 1 because with Young taking the snaps, defenses had to focus on the quarterback and not the runner.

    That's the respect you show for a 4,000-yard passer and 400-yard rusher such as Young. That allowed the 49ers to run the ball against softer fronts – and they averaged 5 yards per carry.

    So the Cowboys' running game will have to work a little harder this season with Testaverde at quarterback instead of Carter. With Carter, there was always a chance he could bolt 20 yards on a busted play or a bootleg. At 40, the longest run Testaverde can be expected to make is his jog off the field on fourth down.

    The Cowboys will still run inside with Eddie George and on the edge with Julius Jones, and throw the quick possession passes to Keyshawn Johnson. That won't change from Carter to Testaverde.

    What will change is the amount of defenders bunched at the line of scrimmage and the number of blitzes the Cowboys will have to block. It's going to be crowded up front. There will be no respect shown for Testaverde's legs. The Cowboys will miss Quincy Carter in 2004.

    E-mail rgosselin@dallasnews.com
  2. Etonicas

    Etonicas New Member

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    So, Parcells said last season we'd be begging teams to blitz us. Do you think that still applies? Just because Vinnie isn't mobile doesn't mean he still can't make opponents pay for blitzing.
  3. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    I'm amazed people still think of Carter as a scrambler or running QB...he was NOT a good scrambler or a big threat to take off and run...he was indecisive and kinda "ran around like a chicken with his head cut off" type player...he was very good at eluding the rush, but he was not a good scrambler or runner

    David
  4. chinch

    chinch No Quarter

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    it applies more 'cause Vinny will find and hit the open guy with ease.

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