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Are the Cowboys a More Aggressive Team in 2012?

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Over at NBC, I drew up an article on the Cowboys’ deep passing from Wednesday night’s game. Tony Romo was remarkably 4-for-5 for 132 yards and two touchdowns on throws of 20 or more yards against the Giants. That represents 17.2 percent of his passes from the contest, way up from 6.6 percent in 2011. I know it’s only one game, but I think that’s a trend you’ll see continue into the season. . .

The Cowboys possess one of the premiere deep ball threats in the NFL in Dez Bryant. Bryant’s skill set is tailored toward the deep pass, yet he hasn’t ranked better than 51st in the NFL in deep target percentage in his first two seasons. Simply put, the Cowboys haven’t thrown the ball downfield to Bryant or anyone else as much as they should.

Read it all at NBC.

And at Dallas Morning News, I broke down Romo’s interception.

In a scoreless game, the Cowboys faced a 3rd and 8 at their own 40-yard line. Jason Garrett called for “11” personnel—one running back and one tight end. They split everyone out as a receiver in a “Shotgun 5 Wide” look.

Prior to the snap, the Giants showed a base Cover 2 alignment. They didn’t show blitz and the cornerbacks played with off-technique, suggesting they were in a true Cover 2 defense. Had they called Cover 2 Man-Under (two safeties deep and the rest of the back seven in man coverage), the cornerbacks may have been in a press position.

Check out the full analysis.

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2 Responses to Are the Cowboys a More Aggressive Team in 2012?

  1. Derek says:

    I’m not sure if Romo misread the coverage on the interception, as the coverage seemed obvious (but he could have). I see a bigger problem, though, in Witten’s route. Whether he ran the wrong route or the play was actually designed for his pre-sticks hitch, he was in the worst spot he could be.

    If he had taken his route inside, he certainly would either have been open for the first down, or (more likely) he would have drawn both linebackers to the middle of the field, leaving Ogletree’s route open.

    Romo definitely couldn’t target Bryant, because the pass rush completely took away that option. He couldn’t hope to run the 8 yards for the first either… He’s too slow. And, because a rusher was right behind him, he couldn’t try to buy more time either. He should have thrown the ball away or zinged it to Witten, hoping for one of Witten’s strange, slow turn-falls that are amazingly effective at barely crossing the first-down line.

    Of course, I’d have preferred Witten to have run the inside route, giving Romo two viable options (Witten inside or Ogletree on the post) rather the options he ended with, which were all bad.

  2. Derek says:

    I’m not sure if Romo misread the coverage on the interception, as the coverage seemed obvious (but he could have). I see a bigger problem, though, in Witten’s route. Whether he ran the wrong route or the play was actually designed for his pre-sticks hitch, he was in the worst spot he could be.

    If he had taken his route inside, he certainly would either have been open for the first down, or (more likely) he would have drawn both linebackers to the middle of the field, leaving Ogletree’s route open.

    Romo definitely couldn’t target Bryant, because the pass rush completely took away that option. He couldn’t hope to run the 8 yards for the first either… He’s too slow. And, because a rusher was right behind him, he couldn’t try to buy more time either. He should have thrown the ball away or zinged it to Witten, hoping for one of Witten’s strange, slow turn-falls that are amazingly effective at barely crossing the first-down line.

    Of course, I’d have preferred Witten to have run the inside route, giving Romo two viable options (Witten inside or Ogletree on the post) rather the options he ended with, which were all bad.

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