The DC Times

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By Jonathan Bales

Preseason Week Two, Cowboys vs. Raiders: Final Film Study Observations

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  • The Cowboys lined up in “Double Tight Strong” (or a slight variation of it) four times, running a strong side dive on two of those plays.  The ability to use the formation was obviously limited by the lack of depth at tight end.  In the first two preseason games, the Cowboys have now lined up in the formation seven times and run five strong side dives.  That rate of 71.4 percent is nearly identical to the 71.6 percent clip at which the team ran a strong side dive out of the formation last season.
  • The Cowboys lined up in “Gun Spread” or “Gun Tight End Spread” on 28 total plays.  Again, this was likely due to the lack of tight ends (and being behind at the end of the game).
  • As I noted in my article on what we learned from the Raiders game, the Cowboys ran just seven two-tight end sets of a possible 67 plays (10.5 percent), compared to 44 plays with three or more receivers on the field (65.7 percent)–including 23 plays with four receivers.  In comparison, the Cowboys ran a two-tight end set 15.9 percent of the time against the Bengals and just 39.1 percent of plays implemented three receivers (and none with four).

  • The Cowboys’ offensive line obviously need to perform better.  The first-teamers allowed four sacks in limited action, which is simply unacceptable.  Marc Colombo in particular really struggled.  He gave up two of the sacks and was beat on a few other plays.  I also credited Doug Free, Robert Brewster, and Travis Bright with sacks (and one I put on Romo for holding the ball too long).
  • Five of the Cowboys 19 called runs (26.3 percent) were to the weak side. They ran weak side on 19.5 percent of all runs last season.
  • Dallas ran nine draws for 23 yards (2.56 yards-per-carry) against Oakland.  That brings their preseason draw total to 47 yards on 15 carries (3.13 yards-per-carry).  In my Ultimate Guide to Dallas Cowboys Draws, I explained why they should use the draw less often.
  • The Raiders blitzed just five times on Thursday night.  The Cowboys completed three of five passes for 35 yards and an interception in these situations.  Dallas has struggled mightily against the blitz in the first two games, throwing for just 48 yards on 12 passes and rushing for 15 yards on five carries.
  • Roy Williams looked sharp in limited action on Sunday night, but he was blanketed by the Raiders’ cornerbacks.  He did a nice job of breaking up a would-be interception by Nnamdi Asomugha, but that wouldn’t be a necessity if Asomugha wasn’t in better position to catch the football than Williams.
  • Jon Kitna checked out of a play and hit Sam Hurd down the sideline for a 32-yard gain.  I’ve watched the play multiple times and still can’t figure out what he saw in the defense, but I guess that’s why he’s in the NFL and I’m spending my time writing about him.  Boo ya.
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8 Responses to Preseason Week Two, Cowboys vs. Raiders: Final Film Study Observations

  1. john coleman says:

    We desperately need to make teams pay for blitzing us. We need a speed guy to hit underneath or on a fly route. I’m thinking Miles in the slot, Felix out of the backfield, Dez wherever, or KO. Witten is probably the only consistent thing we have now and sometimes he is not in route. Let me give a shout to your boy Anderson. Man he was wide open. I could see that being clutch about a half dozen to a dozen times this year. Sometimes teams and the way they play just make you look bad too. With Oakland there is no rhyme or reason.

  2. Tom says:

    Appreciate the film study thoughts, JB. On that sack of Kitna near the end zone, that was 90% on Kitna for not getting the ball out much quicker. Plus, even worse he actually pulled the ball down and looked as if he was going to scramble backwards into the endzone (big no-no). Free’s man got the sack with an assist from Kitna, IMO. A vet QB shouldn’t make that mistake.

    Leon Williams is going to be very tough to cut. I was anxious to see how he would fare ever since Dallas picked him up. He put up a statistically great rookie season with CLE and then fell out of favor with the ManginI group. He was one of the reasons I didn’t think ILB was as big a draft need as some fans.
    If only he had caught that INT (probably would have preserved the Dallas win), and for a team trying to emphasize turnovers that wasn’t good.

    The guy who really impressed me in the game (aside from Buehler) was McCann. He seemed to be all over the field. I think he’s going to win the #4 CB spot, and Wall may be forced to sit on the PS or get picked up off waivers like Mickens last year. I’d rather see the team keep Teddy Williams and work with him for another year (hopefully he can sneak through waivers). Gordon is still a possibility, he needs to recover quickly and get back out there, because McCann is stealing his job.

  3. Ogletree is really struggling. I think the next game will be VITAL for him…does he continue to struggle, or does he rebound and show he can overcome a little adversity?

  4. No problem Tom. I gave the sack to Free (and didn’t place it on Kitna) because Free did get beat on the play. Not terribly, but certainly not good pass pro. Kitna should have stepped up if he didn’t get the ball out sooner, and Romo wouldn’t have gotten sacked there, but Free still deserves a lot of it.

    I like your comparison of Wall to Mickens…similar players and I think similar outcomes. No way (IMO) he should make the team over McCann, Gordon, or even Teddy Williams at this point.

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