The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Cowboys Playbook: A Reanalysis of Gun Trips Left/Right in 2010

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Jonathan Bales

Last season, I published a study detailing Jason Garrett’s play-calling out of a formation called “Gun Trips.”  I noted that the Cowboys passed the ball on an astounding 63 of 64 plays from the formation in 2009.  Even more incredibly, 38 of those 64 plays (59.4 percent) came in situations during which the Cowboys could have easily run the ball (which I defined as 1st or 2nd and 10 or less or 3rd and 5 or less).

As you might imagine, opposing defensive coordinators caught on to this trend, evidenced by the Cowboys’ ever-decreasing production from the formation as the season progressed.  Below, you can see the Cowboys went from averaging nearly 15 yards-per-attempt during the first four games of the season down to below five yards-per-attempt in the final quarter of the season.

So, has Garrett learned from his mistakes?  Not even close.  Through Week 16 of the 2010 season, Dallas has lined up in the formation 50 times, and passed the ball ALL 50 TIMES!  24 of those 50 plays have come in situations which match the “run possibility” criteria listed above, meaning the ‘Boys have needlessly given away their play-call 24 times on the year from just one formation.

Overall, the team is averaging 7.14 yards-per-attempt on passes from “Gun Trips” this season–about the same efficiency as all passes in general.  If opposing defenses haven’t been aware of Garrett’s play-calling trend from the formation, however, their future knowledge should affect the Cowboys’ productivity from it.

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5 Responses to Cowboys Playbook: A Reanalysis of Gun Trips Left/Right in 2010

  1. Pingback: More on Gun Trips Play-Calling | Dallas Cowboys Times

  2. Ben says:

    I must admit I’ve been skeptical of your concern regarding being too predictable out of certain formations, but that graph above proves defensive coordinators do in fact do their research.

  3. Ben–Even if that alone isn’t conclusive evidence, the combination of many stats like it should do the job. What are the chances that the above stats are due to chance? 20 percent? What about if we have seven similar scenarios? The likelihood that all of them are “just a coincidence” would be 0.00128 percent. It’s just a numbers game.

  4. Pingback: Breaking Down the ‘Boys: Cowboys pass 100 percent of the time from this formation | Dallas Cowboys Blog

  5. Pingback: Cowboys’ Gun Trips Play-Calling Hasn’t Changed | The DC Times

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