Cowboys vs Browns: Josh Gordon Film Study
At DMN, I took a look at how Josh Gordon could potentially cause problems for the Cowboys.
On a 2nd and 5 at their own 38-yard line, the Browns called for “12” personnel—one running back, two tight ends, and two receivers. Although it appears run-heavy, Cleveland has actually passed the ball from this package 58.0 percent of the time thus far in 2012. They lined up in a formation the Cowboys have utilized on 18 occasions this season—Double Tight Twins Ace. On this occasion, Gordon was lined up in the slot to the field.
Since the Browns used base personnel in a 2nd and medium situation, the Giants matched up with their base defense—four linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs. The Giants showed a two-high safety alignment prior to the snap, and they were indeed in Cover 2. The cornerbacks sank into their curl-to-flat responsibilities and both safeties played their deep halves. It was really an easy read even for a rookie passer.
The Browns actually called for a playaction pass on the play—something they’ve done on 22.7 percentof their attempts this year—more than twice as many as Dallas. The Browns love to go deep off of playaction, and Gordon is the primary target on most of those plays. Of Gordon’s 41 targets, 31.7 percent have been thrown at least 20 yards downfield.
Above, you can see safety Antrel Rolle circled. Playing in his deep half, Rolle had two receivers threatening him—Gordon down the seam and Greg Little on the outside. Because of this, Rolle wasn’t able to play strictly over top of Gordon, even with the receiver matched up on linebacker Chase Blackburn.
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