Breaking Down Terence Newman in Cincinnati
At Dallas News, I took a look at how Terence Newman is performing for the Bengals this season and how the Cowboys can attack Newman this week.
Terence Newman vs Slant
Newman has always been successful when he can keep things in front of him. He has quick feet and can make a break on the ball with the best of them if he sees plays unfold. Thus, even though Newman excels at mirroring receivers, I think he’s currently playing best with off-technique because he doesn’t need to turn his back to the quarterback.
Below, you can see Newman lined up to the field on the left side of Cincinnati’s defense—where he almost always plays.
Matched up on Eric Decker, Newman was about four yards off of the ball at the snap. As Decker got into his route, Newman astutely let the receiver eat up his cushion. Newman’s technique was made easier because the Bengals were backed up near their end zone, and thus Newman wasn’t threatened by the deep route.
When Decker broke at 10 yards, Newman was in great position. He could see Manning get rid of the football, and the cornerback made a break on it. He actually fought through Decker to secure the interception—his first of two on the day.
Even though he’s undersized, Newman plays slants and other in-breaking routes very well because he recognizes and reacts as opposed to getting in a position in which his below-average ball skills come into play.
Terence Newman vs Screen
So how can the Cowboys attack Newman? Well, one way is to screen him. Newman has a very tough time fighting off of blocks and doesn’t have much toughness to his game when asked to do things outside of coverage.
However, the ‘Boys might be well-served to run tunnel screens or other quick throws that force Newman to fight off of a block. A simple quick screen that allows Newman to fly up unabated to the intended receiver isn’t going to work.
The Chargers did this wonderfully, hitting Danario Alexander right off the snap and allowing big Kevin Haslam to come set a block on Newman. Newman retreated and no one touched Alexander until 10 yards downfield.
Remember, the Cowboys haven’t run many screens this year—nine to receivers and eight to running backs, and most of those have been simple sight adjustments. Thus, if you see a designed screen or two to Newman’s side, it wasn’t an accident.