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The fallacy of the playcalling argument

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by erod, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    First, I don't know who "you guys" is. Second, I didn't even mention a particular play, so why would I talk about route combinations, etc.?

    The fact is, some playcallers are better than others. As with pretty much everything else, some people have a talent for it more than others. You aren't claiming otherwise, are you?
  2. Bluestang

    Bluestang Well-Known Member

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    In case anyone was interested in the CHI game, the first INT that Romo was threw was on a 3rd and 9 pass play. The previous play was a manageable 2nd and 5 but Murray fumbled the ball on the play and lost 4 yards recovering the football.

    I know questioning the playcalling is easy to do after the results of the play but the intent is to keep the offense on schedule. Negative plays resulting from lack of player execution plays a big part of those calls.

    Dallas had the 5th fewest drives on offense and managed to rank 10th in points per drive and 11th in TDs per drive in the NFL. Did I mention that they also ranked 31st in INTs per drive too?

    JG said himself best though...they need to improve the scoring, running, and pass games. Basically everything needs improvment. Everything.
  3. jobberone

    jobberone Genetically engineered moderating Orangutan Staff Member

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    You will likely find the playcalling on any team to 'improve' with the talent, balance and execution of the offense. If you have guards that don't pull well and execute screens then you have lost an important chess piece.

    I'm not blaming it all on the players despite that comment. Garrett does some things that make me scratch my head at the very least. But he's been handicapped much of the time he's been here.

    In the end it's his party. If it doesn't go well he gets the blame.
  4. Bluestang

    Bluestang Well-Known Member

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    @Bease11: don't see why everybody cares so much about who calls the plays. If we don't execute it doesn't matter what we run. Have to execute #simple

    Cole Beasley offers his .02 cents
  5. wileedog

    wileedog Well-Known Member

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    Maybe better than we did?

    Did our offense at any point look like something that was compensating for having a terrible Oline?
  6. wileedog

    wileedog Well-Known Member

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    Well that's settled then.
  7. erod

    erod Well-Known Member

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    Reading through the responses...let me add a point.

    I'm not saying playcalling isn't part of the process, or that you don't have good playcallers and bad ones. What I'm saying is that, without a good offensive line, playcalling loses a lot of its value.

    I've read where the early 90s Cowboys had about three plays they'd call 20-25 times a game combined. They had a very SIMPLE gameplan because nobody could handle that offensive line.

    Here, Garrett has to rely on Romo to make chicken salad out of you know what. If Tom Brady was the quarterback here, Dallas would go 3-13. He'd be a dead man.
  8. CowboyMcCoy

    CowboyMcCoy Business is a Boomin

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    I can agree that Brady wouldn't fair very well behind our line. Romo's feet are much better than Brady's. With that said, we don't have the offensive line of the 90s. But I still think we could utilize our running game more.

    What people can't stop now, apparently, are the short routes to Witten. I love those plays. And I love the Witten/Romo connection, but the game changes over time. The key is being able to change with it and, more importantly, establish a rhythm.

    Garrett has a hard time establishing a rhythm.
  9. dstone2962

    dstone2962 Member

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    Obviously he's good enough to call plays. His teams get yards. But as others have pointed out theres something off about his offensive game planning or lack thereof.

    I think he might be better suited to running the team without being the game day play caller. There's no shame in that. Lots of famous coaches have taken that approach. The team from a long term perspective seems to be better run with his management skills but in terms of adapting on the fly to realities on the field he appears clueless.
  10. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    Establishing a rhythm is impossible when you have the issues on the line we had. Again I go back to both Sturm and Vela.

    They described the following miscues on a pretty steady basis. Bernadeau getting no anchor and being ridden back into the QB/RB exchange. Livings pulling and failing to get a hat on anyone. Ryan Cook time and again completely missing blocks and getting stood up. Doug Free missing blocks, falling down, not holding blocks, and all other manner of failure.

    This is why I constantly call people on specifics. If you call me on specifics and I will pull up both those guys archives and put them out there. I get crickets from the other end.

    We had two games where the offensive line blocked well AND we had Murray. Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Pitt still had many of the issues but we had a bit more consistency in execution. Garrett had a pretty good game plan against a pretty good DC. We dominated the LOS against Baltimore, scored 29 points and if not for a 2nd quarter Romo interception at the Baltimore 24 after a 10 play drive we would have scored more.
  11. Omegasupreme

    Omegasupreme Member

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    Patriot offense is amorphic. To protect Brady, they will emphasize short pass and misdriection. During Brady's first two years, Steve Young said the Pats were basically running the WCO. Since that time, the offense has been Moss-vertical, power running-Dillon, running backs by committee, etc. It's a system that includes any system it needs to.
  12. TwoDeep3

    TwoDeep3 Well-Known Member

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    Fuzzy, I find this to be the most interesting post you have made in a while. It encompasses the notions I believe in that this team is better than what is seen, but is held back by critical squads that when fail drag their entire side of the ball down.

    What I want to know is this.

    It seems you have been angry at the posters who discuss a more negative aspect of the team for a while. I get it, and sometimes it grates on my nerves.

    But, if there are a few of us who have been making the very same comment you made in this post - and this post is the one I agree with - how is it you have been so dismissive of them?

    Is it because this went on through the season and you were holding out hope that things would change?

    I am not challenging you, but want to understand the mind set that sees this as some type of disloyalty to the team when you express in training camp the offensive line will suck this year because they chose the wrong players to bolster the squad.

    It comes down to this. If Romo cannot have some type of pocket and be protected, he struggles, as all quarterbacks do.

    If the skill players do not see the defensive set as Romo does, and his audibles create doubt of confusion in their minds, they run the wrong routes and interceptions occur.

    Neither of these is play calling. Nor is it Garrett's fault that a play was changed at the line of scrimmage because of something the defense did or Tony saw.

    But, where the play calling comes in to play for me is this. Garrett is the focal point for the game plan, and at half time he has an opportunity to make changes from what he has seen the defense do.

    I cite the last Redskin game with he was getting schooled by the DC of Washington with the backside blitz.

    After half time he made NO adjustment to either move a TE to stop that, or force it to come from Tony's right where he sees the blitz.

    That was the ball game.

    So in a sense, adjustments, and to a larger degree play calling by Garrett had a hand in that loss more than anything, except the last pick.

    If that is true, then can we extrapolate that Garrett is slow on the uptake in adjustments, and this has a HUGE hand in why the team could not score in the first half?

    Because it is not just about adjusting at half time.

    And by the way, the line did suck, and it was expressed in early August it would.
  13. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

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    I agree with Cowboy McCoy, Garrett's early playcalling, which is predicated specifically to him, based on his "hours and hours of prepartion", really showed what is really holding this offense back. That is what Garrett came up with after "hours and hours" of prepartion? Ok....Watching the games, we all know nothing seemed to happen offensively until the "official playcalling" was thrown to out the window and we instead relied on our real offensive coordinator, Tony Romo, to get points when we needed it most. It is disturbing that our HC/OC has no feel whatsoever for gameplanning and executing gameplan that may give the Cowboys an advantage over a defense. We have to "make up" for the lack of offense put forth by our own HC/OC in order to even stay in games, yet alone try to win! No wonder Romo has to audbile to the 1 second mark, he is given a crap play call on almost every down.
  14. Picksix

    Picksix A Work in Progress

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    I've said many times that I don't think there's anything wrong with the playcalling, and if we had even a decent OL the playcalling would seem much better, simply because the execution and lack of drive killing plays would greatly improve. But I also think there's something to what you're saying about tempo and rhythm. We do seem to move the ball more effectively later in the game, when we go more into a hurry-up mode. Why we don't seem to speed the tempo up, even modestly, earlier in the game confuses me.
  15. Picksix

    Picksix A Work in Progress

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    Obviously just towing the company line. :cool:
  16. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    You completely miss what I am trying to convey. What I did in that post is bash the Oline and to a lesser extent Romo.

    My issue is not with negativity as much as it is with the complete failure to articulate an argument and what is a regurgitation of the DFW area sports radio narrative.

    I get that Garrett in many ways was over his head. There are plenty of things that point to it such as his not being able to discuss plays with the refs because he has to call plays to mismangement of the clock with time winding down and the offense on the field. The landscape is littered with examples to this.

    What I do not get is how people can come off as if they have any clue about playcalling when they cannot even bring up the defensive formation it was run against or any other detail.

    What we get is 'he doesn't run enough,' 'he runs too much,' and my personal favorite: 'I know what they are calling every time.' Guessing run, pass, pass, pass, run and being right 70% of the time is not 'guessing right.'

    I get what is going on. It's oh so obvious that Joe fan is not going to be able to do what even Phil Costa does but for some reason when it comes down to coaches/managers and the like fans seem to think they are qualified to do that. It's awful in baseball and as a Red Sox fan it can get really annoying. Where the rubber meets the road, most fans cannot tell you what route combinations work or what kind of footwork is needed in a zone blocking versus man blocking play call.

    I also get that it's real easy to point the finger at the coach or Jerry Jones. That is why media types feed that garbage to us. And sure enough we get inferiority complex derisions about Ivy League or how Jones is a drunk. What we seldom get are specific examples. When I don't see them I ask for them. When I don't get them, I call people out on it.

    What annoys me are people that front like they know what they are talking about and present their guesses and gross generalizations as fact. At a certain point, it's okay to say: 'I don't know.' That engenders real conversation about finding specifics so we can know.
  17. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    What plays Garrett called early in games were you having issues with?

    What makes you think that Tony Romo was calling plays after they deviated from the 'script?'

    How do you know what part was the script and when it was deviated from?

    What was the audible from and what plays was Romo given to audible to?
  18. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

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    I do understand that Romo is given two plays run/pass that he relays in the huddle to the offense witout usual deviation to start the game. This notoriously starts with a run with Murray that goes the way it goes...Romo maybe checking down to this run early in games to get a feel for a defense. This tends to lead to a short pass to witten to set up a third down which is almost neccesitated due to predictable offensive tendencies. THEN THERE IS THIRD DOWN. EVERY TIME!

    I guess that is kind of the gripe of us whiners who want more createvity early in the games from our HC/OC. The scenerio I just described may not be the first drive of the game, but is definately similar to the majority of our offensive drives before needing to go to the hurry up or, the most reliant offense, "Romo audibles". You ask, "how do I know?", these are obvious to most of us by the panic he creates in trying to get out of a bad playcall. This is why he is consistantly trying to get the snap off with nearly a second left...Does this signify to you an offensive attack that is a well coached, oranized offensive attack?"
  19. Shinywalrus

    Shinywalrus Active Member

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    There are a LOT of biases that crop up whenever fans or anyone else look at playcalling. It's easy for a fan to wait to see how a play turned out before responding to a playcall - and they'll remember the ones they didn't like that didn't work more than any of the others.

    Still, your argument is tantamount to saying that we will never be in a position to evaluate the difference between playcallers. That offensive coordinators are interchangable commodities. There is plenty of evidence (the amount of money spent on coordinators, the consistent schematic success of certain teams, the process teams go through to hire effective coordinators) that indicates that isn't the case. The truth is that it is very difficult to have an empirical, intellectually honest discussion about playcalling, because of some of the very issues you mention crop up. Audibles, whether or not the play was poorly executed, whether the play was a setup from prior plays that went awry - that kind of detail doesn't always make it clear to an outside observer how much accountability should lie at the feet of the offensive playcaller.

    But at some point there has to be a 100-people-in-a-bar test for playcalling cuteness and effectiveness. Between the media and play-by-play commentary and the even greater emphasis placed on this area by Cowboys fans right now than what is typical for this or any other fan base, there's probably something to this. For my part, I found Garrett's early play-calling, even in weaker seasons, to be fairly inventive and structured to take advantage of both situation and player ability. In the last two years, I have seen the pass play that goes to the line assign routes TO ALL RECEIVERS that go well past the line of scrimmage in a critical conversion scenario. We ran 4-verts in a 3rd and 3 situation once this season! I have seen more elaborate pull blocking schemes incorporated into the run play sent to Romo on short yardage situations that have contributed to making us one of the poorest short-yardage rushing teams in the league of late. I have seen plays that force vertical concepts to a roster that is chock-full of prototype horizontal concept offensive players, to the detriment of the offense in general.

    It's not all about those random plays where things don't work and we automatically blame it on Garrett, whether it was poor execution or Romo audibling out. Of course fans overreact to those, and they always have. But that's a straw man. There are real issues in the playcalling and offensive scheme here, and they're solvable. Pretending that they don't exist just because people have biases in other areas doesn't make any sense.
  20. phildadon86

    phildadon86 Active Member

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    Maybe this has been answered already, but I will ask again as im heading out for the day and dont have time to look at every post. If it isnt jgs fault, can someone please explain to me who else on this team/staff is supposed to figure out how to counter the same blitz that was thrown at us all game against washington? Garrett cant adjust. Sometimes he seems like he literally has no clue what is happening during the game.

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