Analysis: Cowboys DTs vs Giants

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by xwalker, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    I reviewed the Cowboys DTs on all snaps vs the Giants.

    I've seen a narrative that the DTs were a problem and that the Cowboys have a problem at DT.

    Where that narrative came from is unknown to me.

    Last season the starters were Woods at 1-tech with Crawford at 3-tech for 7 games until Collins was near-100% healthy and he started the final 9 games. All of those players remain on the roster and Collins started the season healthy. Crawford did play significant snaps at DT in the Giants game when the Cowboys were in a pass rush alignment (Both DTs playing at 3-techs).

    The DT Covington is an upgrade, especially on run defense from last year with Daniel Ross and Caraun Reid.

    Analysis of the Giants Game

    The DT group had a solid game.

    Run Defense
    The big 59 yard run by Barkley was outside of the DE. The DTs were not at fault on that.

    There were 2 good inside runs (11 yards & 7 yards) before the Cowboys went to the prevent defense in the 2nd half.

    Both of those runs were to an "open" gap or LB gap.

    Without considering TEs, there are 6 gaps.
    A gap: OC-OG
    B gap: OG-OT
    C cap: Outside OT

    There are obviously 2 of each A, B and C.

    With 4 DLinemen that leaves 2 "open" or LB gaps.

    The interesting thing that the Giants did on both of those run was to have a WR run horizontally just behind the DL and take the Nickel CB with him such that the WR and Nickel CB were in the way of the LB coming up to fill that gap.

    There were a couple of decent inside runs late but the Cowboys were playing pass defense at that point which is obvious when they used Crawford or Hyder at DT. They were also playing the LBs way off on those plays which is another indicator of a pass defense alignment.

    Pass Rush

    They did get occasional pressure with the DTs but overall the Cowboys rarely rushed more than 4 and were more concerned with the run than the pass in the 1st half.

    They also ran less DL Stunts than at anytime last season. Most people probably recall that excessive stunting was one of the issues with the run defense in the Rams game.

    Eli does not hold the ball long. He has been near the top of the list of QB the past several years in terms of time from the snap to releasing the ball.

    The LBs were a bigger issue against the run than the DTs. Both Jaylon and LVE made some mistakes with regards to filling the wrong gap.
  2. Doc50

    Doc50 Original Fan Zone Supporter

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    And that long run was too early in the game for the LB's to play so aggressively and fill that quickly (and incorrectly).

    I guess they were fired up.
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  3. Hennessy_King

    Hennessy_King Well-Known Member

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    How did those Safeties and corners look?
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  4. Mr_437

    Mr_437 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I was posting during the game "where are the LBs".
  5. Eanwen

    Eanwen Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't particularly worried re: pass rush because I knew going in that Manning usually gets rid of the ball quickly. It does not make me feel better thinking it's a problem with our LBs. We've put a lot of resources into them, just resigned one of them, and more than likely this is Lee's last year.
  6. Verdict

    Verdict Well-Known Member

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    While I haven’t done an in depth study of the game, I was pretty sure that we didn’t have superior linebacker play last week of a few plays. I think that will get fixed because we have the horses to play those two positions.

    The DL didn’t get much pressure on Eli Manning. I respect your analysis. I just don’t think our DL as a whole did what it was supposed to do and that was get to ELI.

    Hill wasn’t even active. We got very little push up front. We got very little pressure on the QB.

    I’m interested to see how this story line develops over time. I know Zietler is more than solid and Hernandez was a CZ favorite but they one of the worst lines in football last year and not everyone was replaced.

    We are shelling out some big bucks to Tank. He’s not getting a pass from me. Hill was a second round pick. He’s not getting a pass from me for not making the 46 man active roster.

    It’s not the end of the world because we won, but it IS concerning.
  7. T-RO

    T-RO Well-Known Member

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    Nice work X. Appreciate it when some one can defend their opinion.

    I need more data to make conclusions at DT
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  8. Cebrin

    Cebrin Well-Known Member

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    I said this in another thread when someone blamed the line. Hopefully they clean it up. They either were out of position, or getting man handled on blocks.
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  9. Teague31

    Teague31 Defender of the Star

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    Thought wolf hunter was fine but I thought it was one of Jaylon’s worst games
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  10. eromeopolk

    eromeopolk Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly what I saw. Leighton is looking like a sophomore slump Jaylon is still partying on his signing bonus. The LB did not play well and they have very good TE and Running game to go against in Washington with the return of AP.

    Buckle up strap up and head up.
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  11. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    The Cowboys don't rack up a lot of sacks against Eli most of the time.

    They had a big sack game against him in the 1st match-up last season but only 1 in the 2nd match-up.

    Eli got sacked often last year because their OL was really really bad but in prior years he does not get sacked at high rate because he does not hold the ball long.

    D-Coordinators have 3 basic choices on the focus of their game plan:
    1. Focus on pressure (blitz and let DL play the run as an after thought).
    2. Focus on coverage (minimal blitzing & some 3 man pass rushes).
    3. Focus on run defense (DL delay pass rushing until it's clear not a run, etc..).

    The Cowboys game plan against the Giants was to stop the run. They made the 1 big error on the 59 yard run by Barkley but otherwise only 61 yards on all of his other runs.

    Anything that happened in the 4th quarter is basically meaningless. They were playing prevent defense and were happy if the Giant ran the ball or threw short passes because that just burns time off the clock.

    Even in the 3rd quarter the defense played more conservative than their already conservative game plan coming into the game.

    Bottom Line:
    Before the Cowboys started playing prevent, the Giants had an 11 yard and a 7 yard run on the inside and those were both in the LB gaps.

    Considering that Barkley is a top 3 RB and regarded by many as the best RB in the NFL, the run defense was quite successful.

    With regards to Hill being inactive, I don't know how that relates to the actual performance by the DTs that played in the game.
  12. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Prior to the Cowboys going to a prevent defense, LVE had 2 significant mistakes on run plays and Jaylon had 1.

    I have not reviewed them on pass plays yet.
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  13. Screw The Hall

    Screw The Hall Well-Known Member

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    Enjoy your posts.

    I was most disappointed with Collins. He looked like a man amongst boys all during camp and the preseason, only to turn into captain average against the Gmen. We need him to pick it up moving forward.
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  14. HellCrowe

    HellCrowe Well-Known Member

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    Not enough work with the #1 RB during training camp

    Lol I kid :flagwave:
  15. Kolemmitt

    Kolemmitt Well-Known Member

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    I think the narrative that the DTs are always the cause of poor running defense is a knee-jerk reaction from people that have a rudimentary understanding of defensive football.

    As you have pointed out, before blame can be given out, you need to study the film and understand what the defensive assignments were especially gap assignments.

    Thanks for the breakdown!
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  16. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Yes, he was not bad but he was knocked off balance a few times. He needs to watch the film of this game because they surprised him a few times with a 2nd blocker hitting him from the side on a delayed type block and he lost his balance when that happened.
  17. Runwildboys

    Runwildboys Well-Known Member

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    They didn't play well against Rams either, IIRC. Lee was about the only one who played well against the Rams on defense.
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  18. Oz-of-Cowboy-Country

    Oz-of-Cowboy-Country Well-Known Member

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    If the defensive linemen are being pushed out of their gaps and into the gaps that are assigned to the linebackers, guess who looks bad. The linebackers, because that linebacker has basically been taken out of that play. But it isn't the linebackers fault the defensive linemen can't take or control their assigned spots.

    So everytime we see a linebacker run directly into the back of one of our defensive linemen, it could be the defensive linemen's fault or it could be a miscommunication. And reviewing the footage is not going to tell you whose fault it was unless you know the play call.

    So we as fans can sit here and say it was this guys fault or that guys fault. But unless you know the actual play call, meaning the actual gap assignments, then we are just pointing the finger without the knowledge to back up our statements.

    By the run defense is something that needs to be cleaned up. What ever the cause.
  19. ColoCowboy

    ColoCowboy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, @xwalker, I really appreciate the analysis. Count me as one of those felt the DT's did not have a good game.

    However, I thought the deficiency was more in the passing game than in the run game. It seemed as though we were not getting the kind of push up the middle that I expected. No, I have not done a detailed review. Rather I used the always infallible "eye test" - wink, wink, nod, nod.
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  20. CT Dal Fan

    CT Dal Fan Well-Known Member

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    Excellent post. But I thought the Giants' 151 yards rushing was more easily explained.

    First, 59 of those came on one carry. Just taking that away puts them under 100.

    Second, a lot of the Giants' other big runs came when they were hopelessly behind and the Cowboys were expecting pass. In other words, they were inconsequential.
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