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Ramblings Post #204
You win a few, you lose a few. And then you lose a few more. And when you've lost a few, you go back, study the tape, figure out what you did wrong and then try and figure out why did that and what you can do to not do that again. It's kinda of a convoluted type of self torture. It is also a great way to effectuate self improvement away from the game. Might be kinda hard to get tape of yourself, but hey, you do what you can.
I know you read the title and immediately assumed that my plan works like a Oceans 11 casino heist, involving split second timing, precision teamwork, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, a drop shipment from the ACME corporation and all of the Raven defensive players come down with the 24-hour flu on Saturday. This is not the case. I actually have.... a plan.
On any Given Sunday.
The full saying is that "on any given Sunday, any NFL team can beat any other NFL team". It's why we play the games. Surprises happen, people step up, it is a game of inches. Again, no, my plan does not call for any of the Raven defensive players to suddenly be moved by the spirit of good health and pacifism, renounce football and all it's violence for the less contact intensive croquet. This is an actual game plan, well, game strategy, that if followed improves the Cowboys chances to say....maybe 50%. Which against the Ravens is way higher than it was.
1. Don't put it all on Tony Romo.
My Boys rank almost dead last in league rushing right now. The idea of smash mouth football or even grinding out the clock when leading seems to have been completely lost if not intentionally knocked out, bound hand to foot and tucked away in the trunk of someone's car. But the truth of the matter it is nearly impossible to win if you don't have an effective running game. So I don't care of they come out in a Wishbone, Wildcat or a Wing-T, they need to stop throwing the ball so much. Hell, take Tony off the field, direct snap and just 11 go on 11 for a while.
I blame this on Jerry Jones, who seems to have a fascination with big name receivers. The Cowboy teams of lore were built on a concept lost to the football ages - the good offensive line. It's a simple progression : Good offensive line means the team can run, which slows down the linebackers who have to read for the run first, which frees up the quarterback from immediate pressure, which gives him time to go through his progressions and if necessary check down and throw it to the open receiver who is a little bit freer... because the defense has had to be careful of the run. A average QB with time can make mediocre receivers into great players. But we haven't had a coach who focuses on the O-line in ages.
Tony may not be the greatest passer, but he's better than he's playing, because he's playing a system that seems singularly focused. I mean, you throw it 70% of the time and....well, here we are.
2. Go back to basics.
The old playbook of your old southern type university: Sweep left. Sweep right. Same play, different player. Repeat.
Wishbone people, wishbone!
Maybe that's an oversimplification, but you get my point. Let the offensive line hit some people. Wear the linebackers out by the middle of the second quarter. They need average only three and half yards per attempt. When the Ravens put eight in the box run a quick out or a hitch and go. March down the field. Go deep once or twice to keep them honest, but don't over do it.
3. Limit the blitzing to a minimum.
If a blitz is picked up, then the QB has the luxury of one on one coverage. Playing the percentages, blitzing is statiscally a bad play. Better to drop six into coverage and rush five pretty much every time. Decent coverage will make the QB hold the ball for six seconds, more than enough time for a sack. But don't tell a NFL defensive coordinator that. It's too vanilla.
Well I happen to like vanilla. And with six in coverage, you can run splits (zone with particular man coverage) and increase the time needed for a player to get open. Which results in coverage sacks...unless you have a scrambling QB, which the Ravens do not possess. I wouldn't run this against a Cam Newton or Mike Vick, but most of your pocket passers it would be most effective, even covering the check down reciever. Now the occasional blitz to slow down the double teams, and stunt or two to keep the back in worrying about a late comer rather than floating out into the flat. So no more than 10 blitz packages per game. AND especially not late or in two minute drills! And don't rush three and drop back eight. Run the basic package...offenses in two minute runs are looking for soft coverage and aren't ready for that.
4. Use the Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator!
Okay, not really. But the 'Boys do need a spark. When you've been down for a minute, or have had troubling times, a little something unexpected can be a quick pick me up. Five yards when there shouldn't have been. A tipped passed for an interception. It's the idea in the player's mind that things are suddenly going their way. It can be a great motivating factor.
Unless of course you actually happen to have a Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator?
Barkeep. This is gonna be a long Sunday. Make that drink a double.