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Film Room: How Eagles Gashed Cowboys With Trap Scheme

Kevin Brady

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The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Dallas Cowboys in just about all areas Sunday night, but the place it might've been most evident was in their rushing attack.

The Eagles ran the ball for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns en route to a 37-9 win, and anyone watching that game knew from the opening possession the Cowboys had no chance at consistently stopping the Eagles run game.

The play which plagued Dallas the most, however, was the classic trap play.

When running trap, the offense is looking for a quick hitting run play. They are trying to use your three technique's get-off and tendency to rush up field against him by leaving him unblocked and getting their playside linemen to the second level.

The blocking scheme is pretty simple, as they leave the two playside defensive linemen unblocked, and then pull the backside guard to kick out the 3-tech. On the backside, the center is responsible for back-blocking on the one-technique, and the tackle simply hinges and seals potential trailing defenders.

dalvsphi trap - Streamable

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On the opening possession, Philadelphia ran trap to perfection and got running back LaGarrette Blount some easy yards. David Irving is the 3-technique here, and as you can tell from his get-off, he is doomed from the start.

Irving is known for his ferocious first step and burst through the line of scrimmage, but when you come off the ball undisciplined and unbalanced against a trap play, you're toast. Irving stumbled across the line of scrimmage and the pulling guard barely even had to account for him.

Playside tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai does an excellent job here. He not only avoids Irving, getting a clean release to the second level and executing a nice block on the linebacker, but he also swipes at Irving and uses his momentum against him to knock him to the ground.


The result, a strong gain for the Philadelphia Eagles on their first touchdown drive.

dalvsphi trap 2 - Streamable

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Later in the game the Eagles go back to trap and score themselves an easy touchdown.

This time Philadelphia comes out in shotgun formation and 11 personnel. They are actually a blocker short in the box pre-snap, as safety Byron Jones is lined up right over the playside tight end. But, when your plan is to literally leave men unblocked this becomes less of a problem.

At the snap, Zach Ertz widens Jones and essentially takes him out of the play. Vaitai once again releases inside of the defensive end, and the playside guard releases inside to the backside linebacker.

This time, David Irving is a bit more disciplined and doesn't simply blow through the line of scrimmage. He attempts to hip-pocket the guard, and stay tight to his backside as he releases to the second level. Initially, Irving does a nice job and keeps himself within two yards of the line of scrimmage.

The problem is that the pulling guard gets into him before he has a chance to wrong-arm him, or put any type of move on at all. He allows the blocker into his body and gets kicked out with ease. At the very least you'd like to see Irving stone the blocker and shed at the point of contact.

Instead, he and the linebackers get blocked pretty easily and the Eagles are off the races. It also doesn't help that the 1-technique, Maliek Collins, gets absolutely blown off the ball by center Jason Kelce. All in all, it was a bad day for the Cowboys interior defensive linemen.

The Dallas Cowboys run defense was plain bad on Sunday night, and if they want to have any chance at salvaging their season and getting a Wild Card spot they will have to find some way to slow down the run. This front seven will have to transform in a big way over the next few weeks in order for that to happen, however.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Rookie Report: Which Cowboys Draft Picks Stood Out Against the 49ers?

In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.

Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot

Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.

If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.

Can WR Devin Smith Sneak Onto the Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Smith (AP Photo / Josie Lepe)

Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting

The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.


His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.

Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again

Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.

While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.

Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer

Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.

But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Game Notes

DL Kerry Hyder Impressive In Cowboys Week 2 Preseason Win

Kevin Brady

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Kerry Hyder

Kerry Hyder joined the Cowboys this offseason on a one year deal, and while the four-year NFL veteran has put up some solid tape in his time around the league, it was hard to project just what he could bring to the Cowboys defense.

Listed at 6'2" 270 pounds, Hyder is a bit of a tweener on the defensive line. Though the answer to "will he play tackle or end" seems to be "both" to this point in the preseason.

As he fights for his life on this deep defensive line, Kerry Hyder had himself a day in the Cowboys 14-10 victory over the Rams last weekend.

Hyder made an excellent play defending a screen pass in the first quarter, reading the play perfectly and reacting quickly to running back Darrell Henderson coming out of the backfield. Hyder also created some pressure on the quarterback, and finished with 3 combined tackles in very limited playing time.

Hyder's versatility is working well for him as he looks to make the final roster. Like a Tyrone Crawford type player, Hyder will be able to move inside and out depending on the situation. This allows the Cowboys to be flexible in how they structure their depth chart on defense, and in how they decide to rush the passer on third down.


A pass rushing package involving Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence on the edge with the combination of Hyder and Maliek Collins on the inside could turn out to be a very dangerous one for opposing offenses to deal with.

Rod Marinelli spoke to this versatility a couple of months ago, showing just how much he values what Kerry Hyder can bring to this team.

"Maybe you adjust him sometime, once in a while – in a one-on-one pass rush situation, stick him over a guard and start to get a feel for it.” - Rod Marinelli

Earlier this offseason, I wrote that Kerry Hyder could end up being Rod Marinelli's next great under-the-radar find on the defensive line. And if he continues to play with the hustle and awareness that he had on Saturday, he's going to make Rod look very smart in his evaluation.

Kerry Hyder is making it very difficult for the front office to let him go. And, at the end of the preseason, I do expect Kerry Hyder to find himself on the Cowboys' active roster. Especially considering how Mike White is playing at quarterback, and how his release could open up an extra spot at a different position group.


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#DALvsRAMS: Tony Pollard Proves he’s no Longer Darrell Henderson’s Backup

Brian Martin

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#DALvsRAMS: Tony Pollard Proves he's no Longer Darrell Henderson's Backup

For the better part of three years Tony Pollard was forced to play second fiddle to Darrell Henderson during their time with the Memphis Tigers. But, Saturday night in the second week of preseason Pollard emerged from the shadows and proved he's no longer Henderson's backup.

Tony Pollard put on an impressive show Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams. He touched the ball a total of six times and turned it into 51 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 42 yards on the ground, averaging 8.4 yards per carry, and had one reception for 9 yards. All in all it was an impressive performance and one that arguably outdid his former teammate, Darrell Henderson.

Tony Pollard is starting to look like a real weapon for the Dallas Cowboys. It's still a small sample size, but in the first two preseason games he's proven the jump up in competition isn't too big for him. As a runner he's been decisive, picking up what yardage is given and not dancing around. He hasn't been utilized much in the passing game yet, but that time will come.

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't be happier with the way their rookie RB has performed thus far. He's everything they've said he was, and quite possibly much more. Maybe those Alvin Kamara comparisons weren't that far off after all.


We all know Ezekiel Elliott will return to the Dallas Cowboys at some point, but for now Tony Pollard doesn't look completely out of place as their lead back. He still needs to work on his pass protection, but everything else he's been asked to do he's excelled at.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited about seeing what No. 36 can do when these games start to matter in 2019. He will once again have to accept a backup role like he did behind Darrell Henderson in college, but you can bet the Cowboys coaching staff will reward him based on his play so far in preseason.

Pollard's versatility to be a weapon as both a runner and receiver in the passing game should make him a unique chess piece in the offensive game plan each and every week. He's been exciting to watch so far and we haven't even seen him in the return game yet, which was a big part of his game in college. I'm personally expecting big things from him this season. What about you?

What do you think of Tony Pollard's preseason performance so far?


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