Versus this two tight end set we went with a Nickel front instead of the usual 3-4. There are five guys playing at linebacker depth and I think it may have screwed with the Cowboys’ zone blocking. Fuller (lined up over the near TE) is playing as a quasi-safety. It was effective but ended up being just a one off.
Defensive Tackles: In the Nickel front McGee and Ion got the start on early downs, while Lanier and Ion got the start on late passing downs. Hood was used later on and finished the game with the second highest snap count behind Ion.
Linebackers: Vigil and Brown on early downs, Harvey-Clemons and Brown on late passing downs. As the game went on Vigil took some snaps from H-C. Spaight came in when Brown had to leave with an injury.
In the first half Offense and Special Teams screwed us. Defense played phenomenal despite the other two-thirds of the team acting as saboteurs.
In the second half, zone double teams wore us down. Ion and Francis struggled some while Hood and Lanier struggled a lot.
(FWIW Anderson needed to stay inside his block.) This half was the sequel to last game with most of the same characters up front.
After they softened us up they went to the air and picked on Breeland.
Inside Zonin’: In the fourth drive Dallas lined up in 13 personnel (1 OL moonlighting as a TE) with a bunch of big uglies to the left of the center and just two guys to the right. They ran it inside and destroyed our nose tackle with a double:
Both Hood and Baker got doubled with Hood getting discarded out the way. One Dallas blocker from each double team was able to climb up to the 2nd level and double Foster. On coaches film you can see our pre-snap alignment had Foster (54) lined up in between Hood and Baker:
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We tried a few different looks versus Dallas’ 11 (1RB, 1TE) personnel, first we tried a 2-4-5 look:
Smith blows a zone coverage, Dez gets an eighteen yard gain. So we scratched that and tried a 3-3-5 look:
They hit Dez for a 17 yard gain–this was more a function of a poor pass rush–so we scratched that formation and stuck with our ol’ reliable Nickel defense. We stayed in Nickel for 39% of all snaps. (I didn’t chart 4 plays because they were run-out-the-clock runs prior to half and end of the game.)
Any formation that had 2 backs or 2+ tight ends we responded with our 3-4 front which puts 5 guys on the line of scrimmage:
Personnel was same as last week except Reyes didn’t play so Francois and Jenkins got a lot of snaps. DHall played a ton of strong safety and matched up on-one-on with the tight end where as last week he was more of a free safety playing deep coverage.
Ricky Jean Francois on lack of adjustments not being a one week issue. #Redskins https://t.co/5Qjwl0Cuu1
“[Zeke] had a few big breaks” I think the drive that is annoying Francois is the 5th one which was the 1st drive of the 2nd half. Throughout the 1st half the Cowboys ran it outside with zone and we slanted our line to get into the backfield and stop it. Here they come out in 12 (1 RB, 2TE) personnel which means we come out in our 5 man line 3-4. They run it at Francois and Smith, Francois penetrates and blows up the play:
That’s Nickel personnel we just moved Kerrigan to LB depth. From this formation we blitzed twice for 2 incompletions, forced Cassel to call a timeout, and gave up a 6 yard PI penalty. So a pretty successful wrinkle.
The Cowboys used 13 personnel (1 RB, 3TE) 9 times. One variation of 13 personnel had them lined up in the following formation with the WR as a tiny H-Back. I called it “Ace 3×1 Twin TE WR H” because what the hell else do you call this, I have no idea: