Tag:Bill Nagy
Posted on: October 17, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Felix Jones to miss time, Jerry Jones questions O

The Cowboys' running game is in shambles and losing Jones doesn't help. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

In addition to concerns about the Cowboys' ultra-conservative play-calling late in the game against the Patriots Sunday, there's more bad news for an offense that has received plenty of criticism this season: the high-ankle sprain running back Felix Jones suffered in Foxboro will keep him out for a considerable time, which means he'll be sidelined for Week 7 and likely beyond.

Jones left in the first half with just 14 rushing yards on eight attempts. And his backups didn't fare much better. Tashard Choice rushed five times for 14 yards, and DeMarco Murray rushed 10 times for 32 yards. This came against the NFL's 25th-ranked run defense, according to Football Outsiders. Unfortunately, the Cowboys' run offense is dead last.

And we saw why Sunday. Inexplicably, the Cowboys decided to run the ball late in the game and, predictably, it cost them. Even Dallas owner Jerry Jones knew that. "You'll always second-guess whether or not we should have tried to run a little offense down there instead of running it three times. We went conservative rather than try to get some points and it bit us." 

Jones, according to Yahoo.com's Michael Silver, had some additional thoughts on the drive in question. “When you get in a situation like that, you’ve got to go for the kill,” Jones said. “I felt like we could’ve been more aggressive. Our defense had been good all day, but you knew Brady had a length-of-the-field drive in him -- so it didn’t surprise me at all when he took them down at the end.”

Even with Felix Jones out, NBC reported Sunday night that Choice was on the trading block.

Whoever's in the backfield, the Cowboys have to be able to run the ball.

"We've got to be more consistent with it," tight end Jason Witten said of the running game, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "[The Patriots] are big up front. We knew that. But we have to be better at it. There are no excuses. You have to find ways to run."

Whatever fate awaits Choice, Murray, a rookie and former third-round pick, says he's ready for a bigger workload with Jones out.

"When I get an opportunity when I'm in there, I'm just going to try to make plays and continue to work hard," he said. "I think Felix is going to make a full recovery. I think he'll be fine. He's tough. He's a fighter."

In other injury-related goings-on, there's more bad news for Dallas. Starting guard Bill Nagy will likely miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle suffered during the Patriots game. CBS Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman writes that veteran Derrick Dockery has been out for three weeks with a broken tibia/sprained knee. If he's not ready to return, outside help at guard could be on the way.

UPDATED 8:44 p.m. ET: Garrett said today that he and Jones had a good conversation today about Sunday's game.

"I think everyone is well intended," Garrett said. "Everybody is passionate about it, and when you lose a ballgame like that sometimes things are said and you've just got to kind of understand what the environment is, process it and move on. We all went up there and we swung the bat hard against New England. ... We came out on the short end of it. We've got to somehow process that and go forward. We have a great challenge this week against St. Louis."

And though he might not have intended for it to sound this way, some of his comments made it appear that he wasn't really blaming the coaches for Dallas' inadequacies.

"We work these situations over and over and over again, in hopes that when we get in those situations, we can execute ball plays to allow us to win," Garrett said. "At the end of this thing it comes down to execution, and we have to be able to block them, we have to be able to run, we have to be able to throw and catch, we have to be able to tackle, we have to be able to catch the ball on defense, make a play. And as coaches, what we're trying to do is put our players in a position to do that as well as we can."

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Posted on: September 7, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Film Room: Jets vs. Cowboys preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



The Ryan Brothers are about more than oversized mouths and midsections. They’re two of the craftiest defensive scientists in today’s NFL.

Rob, in his first season as Dallas’ defensive coordinator, is hoping to build the same type of confounding defense that his brother has constructed in New York.

That’s a tall order.

The Jets have had two full years of experience in The Ryan System; the Cowboys, thanks to the lockout, have not quite had two months. The Jets also have the luxury of designing coverages around Darrelle Revis, the best shutdown corner since Deion Sanders.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, are just hoping that Terence Newman, who showed signs of decline last season, can recover from a groin injury in time to play. Whether he does or not, the Cowboy corners figure to need safety help Sunday night.

The Cowboys defense will improve under Rob Ryan, but it’s a question of when. The Jets defense, we already know, is ready to go. For this reason, we’ll focus our five key points on Cowboys O vs. Jets D – a matchup that, as you’ll see, drastically favors Gang Green.

1. Selling Out
What Rex Ryan does as well as any coach in football is attack tendencies. In other words, for simplicity sake, say that on second-and-10, data shows that the opposing offense uses play action 75 percent of the time. The Jets, on second-and-10, will employ a defensive tactic that goes all-out towards stopping play action.

This might seem like an obvious move. But a majority of NFL coaches are hindered by fear about that 25 percent chance of getting burned by a non-play action call. Not Ryan. He always looks to feast on an offense’s predictability. That’s one reason his players love him. Worth noting is that last season, the Cowboys often clang to basic personnel formations and had a tendency to be predictable.



2. The Disguise
While it’s true the Jets are one of football’s blitz-happiest teams (especially on third down), it’s a myth that their playbook is thick with myriad blitz designs. In actuality, the Jets use a relatively modest collection of blitz packages. The difference is that they execute these blitzes with a wide variety of personnel. Insiders call this "cross training", when a team has multiple players from multiple positions performing the same techniques. The Jets have nearly mastered it. This versatility is why defenders can roam around before the snap and disguise their looks.

3. The Execution
A lot of Ryan’s pass-rush designs look like blitzes but actually involve only four pass-rushers. Often, the pass-rushers are overloaded to one side. For example, the Jets might place seven defenders on the line of scrimmage (say four to left and three to right).

But when the ball is snapped, three of the four defenders on the left side drop into coverage, while all three defenders on the right side rush. This creates confusion for offenses in pass protection, which results in pass-rushers getting a clear path to the quarterback or being blocked by an overwhelmed running back.

The Jets make great use of a variety of zone exchanges. As our illustration shows, much of the work is done simply with the presnap alignment.

In this alignment, even if three of the four defenders on the left side of the line retreat back into coverage, they still create a pass-rushing advantage for the defense. The very nature of the pre-snap configuration forces the offense to waste blockers on the left side and also creates one-on-one matchups on the right.

Those one-on-one matchups dictate that the running back pick up the outside linebacker, which is a mismatch favoring the defense. On a related note, the running back also has reason to first look left (1. above) immediately after the snap, which makes him a half-beat slower in identifying his actual assignment on the right (2. above).

4. Cowboys Achilles Heal
Pass protection recognition figures to be a bugaboo for the Cowboys – at least early in the season. Two of Dallas’ starting linemen are rookies: first round right tackle Tyron Smith, who, at 20, is the youngest player in the league, and seventh-round left guard Bill Nagy.

What’s more, new center Phil Costa might not be overweight and overpaid like predecessor Andre Gurode, but he’s also not battle-tested. The undrafted second-year pro has played in four games, with just one start that came at left guard. Front line questions are ominous considering Tony Romo has always had some trouble diagnosing blitzes.

The only saving grace in Week 1 is that with Rob Ryan running the Cowboys D, this callow offensive line has had a chance to practice against some of Rex Ryan’s defensive concepts. But we’re still talking about an untested group coming off a shortened offseason and facing one of the most confounding defenses in all of football.

5. A Scintillating Raw Matchup
The ever-fluid Miles Austin figures to be blanketed by Darrelle Revis Sunday night. Thus, the Dez Bryant-Antonio Cromartie matchup takes center stage.

This will be like watching football’s version of a great impromptu dance-off or pickup street ball game. Both players are unrefined but dripping with natural talent and confidence. Bryant’s inexperience figures to limit his route tree; Cromartie’s refusal to use his hands in press coverage drives Jets coaches crazy. But both players have natural game-changing abilities.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
 
 
 
 
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