Running the Numbers: Offensive Game Plan for Cowboys
My latest Running the Numbers piece is an offensive game plan for the Cowboys against the Eagles.
This week, I’ve teamed up with PhiladelphiaEagles.com writer Mike Clay to bring you a mini-game plan for the Cowboys. Mike analyzes the Eagles from a perspective similar to my own in Running the Numbers, so he’ll provide some insights on how Philadelphia might attack Dallas in Week 10.
Cowboys’ Pass Offense (By Jonathan Bales)
Heading into Philadelphia, the name of the game is tempo. The Cowboys have excelled in recent weeks with an aggressive, up-tempo offensive attack. Whether that’s due to the speed with which the offense moves, a simplistic approach, or utilizing more spread looks doesn’t really matter. Look for the Cowboys to spread out Philadelphia whether they utilize “11” or “12” personnel, moving at a pace that we’ve generally witnessed only when the team has been losing.
Using spread formations gives the Cowboys a particularly good advantage against the Eagles. Remember, the Cowboys move Austin into the slot in such looks; 69.6 percent of his passing snaps have come in the slot, a rate higher than even Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. In the slot, Austin will likely be matched up with Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin quite a bit. As compared to Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie outside, that’s a matchup that favors Dallas.
Although the Eagles have just 11 sacks on the season, their defense has really underachieved. Defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole are both outstanding players who could pose potential problems for Romo. Plus, I expect the Eagles to bring a lot of heat to try to force Romo to hand over the football. Thus, the ’Boys might want to look into taking a page from the Eagles’ playbook, throwing a few screens to beat the blitz. Dallas has run only 12 screens all year, seven of which have been to running backs. We’ve seen head coach Jason Garrett attack the Eagles with smoke and bubble screens to receivers in the past, especially on third down.
Check out the rest at DallasCowboys.com.