Film Room: How Packers Exploited Cowboys On The Ground ⋆
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Film Room: How Packers Exploited Cowboys On The Ground

Film Room: How Packers Exploited Cowboys On The Ground

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Film Room: How Packers Exploited Cowboys On The Ground

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Film Room: How Packers Exploited Cowboys On The Ground

Going into the 2017 season, we all knew what the Dallas Cowboys were. They were (and are) a team which must rely on an efficient, ball control offense in order to win games and keep their sub-par defense off the field as much as possible.

Simple enough, right?

Largely due to the lack of offensive efficiency, and some injuries on the defensive side of the ball, the 2017 Cowboys have underachieved. They haven’t underachieved where we thought they would, though.

Last season the Cowboys were near the top of the league in terms of rush yards against. Of course, this isn’t the best way to truly measure a defense’s effectiveness, but it was a fact nonetheless. So far this season the Cowboys have allowed 590 rushing yards through five games, ranking 20th in the league.

There are a lot of reasons for these defensive struggles against the run. Up the middle, the loss of defensive tackle Terrell McClain has proved vital, as Stephen Paea has been getting driven off the ball a ton, clouding the linebackers’ reads.

Those same linebackers have also been, well, bad. Jaylon Smith doesn’t look himself, Kyle Wilber and Justin Durant haven’t really impressed, and without Anthony Hitchens or Sean Lee the past two weeks, this unit has really struggled.

Last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers gashed the Cowboys off tackle on more than one occasion. So, I decided to break down the film to see why this defense is giving up so many long runs off the edge.

dalvsgb run d – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

On the opening drive of the game, the Packers came out and immediately tested the right side of the Cowboys’ defense. Using a pin and pull technique, the tight end down blocks on Tyrone Crawford as the left tackle pulls around.

Kyle Wilber operates as the SAM on this play. Taking a false read, Wilber undercuts the down block and allows Aaron Jones a clear path to the outside. When your SAM and your defensive end both lose contain, the play is going to look a lot like this.

Crawford has struggled a lot this year in these situations. He simply cannot get blocked so cleanly by tight ends if he is going to be an effective run defender. Crawford is primarily out there to play the run, but if teams are going to continue to abuse the edge like this, a change will need to be made.

dalvsgb run d 2 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Here is an example of Aaron Jones utilizing his vision to beat the Cowboys defense. But, still, the Cowboys are at fault here as well.

The Packers are trying to run right between the left guard and tackle. This is a pretty basic “Power” play, with the tackle and tight end doubling to the second level, the playside guard blocking down, and the backside guard pulling through.

Reading the offensive line, all three linebackers try to fill the hole which has been created. Also trying to close the hole is Crawford, who attempts to rip down a gap later on in the play.

With Kyle Wilber and Tyrone Crawford committing inside to the b-gap so early, Jones is able to cut outside and find clear running room. Then, Byron Jones takes a poor angle, and Aaron Jones is off to a big gain.

dalvsgb run d 4 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Let’s watch an example of the Cowboys correctly defending the edge against the run.

Once again the Packers go with a pin and pull technique on the playside. They also pull the playside guard. Taco Charlton is at right defensive end here, and he does a nice job of shedding the tight end and keeping his outside shoulder clean.

Because he wins against the tight end, the pulling guard must work back inside and seal Charlton. Kyle Wilber also scrapes to the outside instead of getting caught inside the tight end. Although the other blocks are made, the Cowboys are now left with Orlando Scandrick one-on-one with the running back.

This just comes down to making a great individual effort, which is exactly what Scandrick does on this particular play.

The Cowboys defense has not been good enough against the run or the pass, but after watching the film, I’m convinced some of it can be fixed by current personnel. By getting Sean Lee back, and hopefully seeing less of Tyrone Crawford at RDE, the Cowboys can get their defense back in the right direction.

Kevin Brady

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 am currently a college student. Lets get going.

1 Comment
  • http://www.dallascowboyschat.com Cowboysdude

    Seriously? Like it was hard to expose that team? They have a puppet for a HC and the GM is a joke…. it’s not a team….. it’s a punchline.

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