Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles Week 17 Film Study Observations
Before I get into my film study observations, I want to remind all of the DC Times regulars to submit ideas for studies you’d like me to complete. The Cowboys surely need to move forward in 2011, but you can’t adequately progress as a team until you properly understand your weaknesses. You can submit ideas in the contact form or in the comments of any post.
- I noticed the Cowboys got to the line-of-scrimmage a lot quicker than normal this week. Stephen McGee issued just one “Kill” call (indicating the team called two plays in the huddle), so I think Jason Garrett made a concerned effort to call just one play and allow McGee to have plenty of time at the line to assess the defense. Nice job.
- I wanted to see a lot of screens, but the ‘Boys ran just four. Three of them were unsuccessful (an incomplete pass, a loss of a yard, and, inexplicably, a sack). I think the sack was the result of predictability, as the Cowboys lined up in “Strong Right” and ran their typical “flare screen.” The cornerback recognized it and jumped all over Felix Jones, however, so McGee couldn’t even make the throw. The one successful screen was the 32-yard gain to Miles Austin on 3rd and 13 during the first drive.
- Dallas also ran just two draws for five total yards.
- Garrett clearly made an effort to use “big” personnel packages. Of the Cowboys’ 61 “real” offensive plays (disregarding a spike and a kneel down), there was a fullback or two tight ends–or more often both–on the field on 48 of them (78.7 percent).
- The Cowboys ran to the weak side with great success in this game, particularly out of regular “I-Formation.” Actually, the Cowboys only ran to the strong side seven times, gaining just 16 total yards on those plays (2.29 yards-per-carry). They ran to the weak side four times for 43 yards (10.75 yards-per-carry). The rest of the designed runs were out of balanced formations due to the abundance of two tight end sets.
- For the first time in his career as a play-caller, Garrett called more motions in the second half (10) than in the first half (five). This strategy was likely an attempt to simplify the game plan for McGee.
- Running back snap breakdown: Felix Jones: 31; Tashard Choice: 19; Marion Barber: 12
- The Cowboys used playaction six times, gaining 63 total yards. Only one of those six passes was thrown past the line-of-scrimmage (the 31-yard gain to Miles Austin).
- I counted 10 of McGee’s passes as being off-target. He only attempted 27, so that number is really poor. As I mentioned in my post-game notes, McGee seems superior when throwing on the run.
- I predicted the Eagles would blitz more than in the teams’ first matchup, and they nearly doubled that total with 20 blitzes on Sunday. The Cowboys gained just 67 total yards on those 20 plays. With the success Philly found early when pressuring McGee, I’m not sure why they held back. Actually, McGee was just 4/15 for 70 yards on Philly’s blitzes. He finished ahead of Tamba Hali (14.5) and Cameron Wake (14).
- DeMarcus Ware finished the season as the league’s sack king with 15.5 of them.