Connect with us

Player News

Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him

Avatar

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 10

Today's NFL is changing. We continue to see an influx of more speed and more open-field within an offense. Coaching philosophies are becoming focused primarily on how speed and how an offense can beat a defense in the open-field. Speed is the key to success for an offense.

Sometimes, an offense needs a guy who can be a wild card, but also play a pivotal role in an offense. One guy I look at is Tavon Austin. While he isn't the No. 1 option, Austin has the ability to score six whenever he touches the football.

The Dallas Cowboys have lacked this component of their offense for the past few years. Dez Bryant is a true No. 1 receiver and a real good one at that, Jason Witten is a chains-mover and one of the most reliable players in football, and Cole Beasley is a guy who can cause matchup-nightmares. However, it's been a been awhile since the Cowboys have had a player like Lucky Whitehead on their roster.

Despite going undrafted out of FAU and standing at just 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Whitehead is a guy that can cause a defense fits. He's lightning-quick and when he gets the football in his hands, he may just be the most dangerous weapon the Cowboys have on their roster. With a guy like Whitehead, the Cowboys can be extremely creative. Let's take a look at some highlights from Whitehead over the course of the 2015 season.

Week 7 at New York Giants

The Cowboys know that Whitehead is at his best when he has the ball in open space. That said, the Cowboys do an excellent job at scheming up the play to make it seem like they're rushing the opposite way. Because the Cowboys' offensive line is so talented, defenses load the box to follow the line, only to get beaten by Whitehead around the outside. Here's the start of the play:

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 12

After Whitehead is given the football, look at the real estate he has to work with on the outside. From my count, there are currently seven members of the New York Giants already beaten in this screenshot alone. This play is what we know of as an "f-rip reverse". The point of the "f-rip" is to catch the defense off guard and get the ball to your playmaker with speed.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 15

Another way they've utilized Whitehead is by making defenses honest. The next play was run about a quarter after Whitehead's first carry. Because Whitehead burned the defense on the first play, this fake reverse makes the linebackers hesitate. In the meantime, the offensive line is setting up for a screen:

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 1

This touchdown play was brought back due to a bogus offensive pass interference call on Devin Street. Nevertheless, because the defense follows out Whitehead's fake, it leaves a ton of room for Darren McFadden to work with.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 3

The next play is one of my personal favorites from this list. Matt Cassel pitches the football off to McFadden. As McFadden and the offensive line go right, Whitehead comes back around for a pitch-reverse:

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 4

This play is extremely deceptive. Because of the over-pursue from the Giants' defensive end. It allows Cassel to go out and actually block a defensive back. Having athletic linemen like Tyron Smith and La'el Collins is obviously extremely helpful as well, as they have the ability to take out two, if not three men.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 10

Week 9 vs. Philadelphia Eagles


The Cowboys continue to use deception with this play right here. By selling the fake left to McFadden, Whitehead runs behind the offensive line to get out in the flat. Cassel rolls out right and finds Whitehead, whose speed is simply too much for the Philadelphia Eagles' outside linebacker to stick with him.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 13

Perhaps the best thing about this play is that it's an easy pass for a guy like Cassel to make. With Tony Romo back, we won't have to worry about confidence. But Cassel struggled with consistency all season, and a throw like this makes things easier on him.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 16

Week 13 at Washington Redskins

I'd love to see the Cowboys expand their subpackages when utilizing Whitehead. Here's a play that they used against the Giants. Again, we see the "f-rip" reverse where Cassel turns and immediately gives the football to Whitehead. The Cowboys sell out the sweep left to McFadden and it makes the linebackers hesitate.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 17

The Cowboys ran this play twice in this game and it worked both times. Here they ran it the opposite way behind Smith and Collins. As the Whitehead gets the football, Collins takes on that right defensive end, which frees up Smith to take on the right outside linebacker.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 2

We see the blocks of Collins and Smith in the screenshot below. Also notice how Jason Witten pushes the defensive back outside, giving Whitehead a clear field of vision of the endzone to run through. Cole Beasley also pushes his man to the sideline, which further lengthens that gap between the sideline and the middle of the field.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 5

Week 15 vs. New York Jets

It's no secret that the New York Jets have an aggressive defense. To counteract that, the Cowboys used the "pitch-reverse" on the first drive to get Whitehead in space. See No. 77 and No. 71, that's Smith and Collins literally creating a wall for whomever gets in their way.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 11

Again, we see Cassel get downfield and throw a block. The open space spurns Whitehead for a 33-yard gain.

Cowboys Blog - Lucky Whitehead: How the Dallas Cowboys Have Gotten Creative With Him 14

Because of his speed and home-run ability, the Cowboys have added a solid element in both their pass-catching and running game. Whitehead obviously isn't a guy who will catch 80 passes, but he's a player that teams need to gameplan for as well as one that an offense can deploy many wrinkles for.

In 2016, I'm excited to see how the Cowboys can continue to get Whitehead involved in their offense. His explosiveness alone tells me the Cowboys should be feeding him the ball at least six times a game. Whitehead is a real intriguing player. The common mantra is to get the ball in the hands of your playmakers. Whitehead has established himself on offense as just that this season.


An online sports writer for about three years now, Ryan is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He writes about his favorite team on Inside The Star. Ryan also writes for other publications like Roster Watch, Rant Sports, and Cuse Nation. Ryan is a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Information Management and Technology. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL.

Advertisement
Comments

Player News

REPORT: Signs Point to Elliott, Cowboys Finalizing Contract Extension

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Will No Preseason Work Hurt Ezekiel Elliott's Early Season Production?

Our long Cowboys National nightmare may close to ending. According to Kevin Turner of 105.3 The Fan, there's news coming in that points to Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys soon reaching an agreement and ending Zeke's holdout.

The following was just tweeted this morning from Turner's account:

Kevin Turner on Twitter

BREAKING: Hello, talented media personality KT here, same source tells me Zeke is booked to return from Cabo tomorrow. Another source tells @Shippyfunsports the Cowboys and Zeke were in contact late last night, and that a deal could come together over the weekend. @1053thefan https://t.co/hdiGHoaiVb

We had just heard yesterday that Dallas offered Zeke a deal that would make him the second-highest paid RB in football behind Todd Gurley. Was that enough to get Elliott to sign, or perhaps the basis that Zeke's team used to make a final counteroffer which Dallas agreed to?


Hopefully we'll find out all those details very soon. For now, we can just take hope in these signs of light at the end of this contract dispute tunnel.

The Cowboys aren't the same team without Ezekiel Elliott. With so much at stake in this 2019 season, it's time to get this deal done and get ready to win.


Continue Reading

Player News

Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL’s Second Highest-Paid RB

Matthew Lenix

Published

on

Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL's Second Highest-Paid RB

Negotiations are picking up in Dallas. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Dallas Cowboys have offered All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott a new contract that would make him the second-highest-paid running back in the NFL.


Ed Werder on Twitter

Sources: The most recent offer in negotiations between holdout Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys came from the team. Elliott has been offered a contract making him one of the NFL's 2 highest-paid RB. That would suggest team offering more than LeVeon Bell and less than Todd Gurley.

This would put Elliott just below Todd Gurley's four-year 60 million dollar deal and just ahead of Le'Veon Bell's four-year 52.5 million dollar deal. He's currently set to make 3.9 million in 2019 under his current contract. Deadlines make deals and it appears the Cowboys understand this. More to come.


Continue Reading

Player News

Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason

Matthew Lenix

Published

on

Report: Amari Cooper Likely out Until Week 1

Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.

The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.

"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."


The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.

However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.


Continue Reading
Cowboys News App - Sidebar Large Block



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending