Formerly an email newsletter about all things NFL, it's now a blog about all things NFL, but mostly all things Dallas Cowboys. Probably with a dose of politics, food, and college football.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Zimmer the mad genius

It's easy to say right now, but I've never cared for Mike Zimmer.

I was re-watching the Oakland game and twice in the first half DeMarcus Ware, at the snap, took one step over the line and then retreated. Who is he faking?

Number one, this is just wasted motion. Pre-snap, you may give a look, then at the snap do something else in an effort to deceive, but this step over the line is just nonsense. And number two, both plays were running plays. Ware's actions had nothing to do with attacking, or read-and-reacting. He was going through some designed machination that was neither deceptive to the offensive play, nor helpful to stopping it.

The running plays were to the other side, but still, Ware should be crashing down the line or pursuing from the backside. My point isn't that Ware should have made the play, but that it's an example of something else going on besides just stopping a simple play.

I don't have a ready example, but it wouldn't be hard to find one of Greg Ellis being an absolute slave to design, at the expense of actually stopping the play. Tell me you haven't seen this: Ellis rushes upfield and a blitzer or a DT looping or stunting comes through on his inside. The blitzer is invariably picked up, but that's not what I notice about this play. It's that Ellis seems to go upfield and engage the blocker simply because the play is designed "for" the blitzer.

Ellis's action is designed to open the hole for the blitzer. Fair enough. But then Ellis just... stops! It's like it's been drilled into him that he is to engage the tackle while (whatever else) happens. But, shouldn't he pursue too? It seems to be treated like an isolation play.

Since we've got the Eagles coming up, who can forget the Sunday night when they didn't rush McNabb? The pass rush may not have been any good, but this was clearly by design -- Zimmer's design. Perhaps the players weren't smart enough to understand the concept of keeping him contained, but I don't think so. I think Zimmer had this bright idea to make McNabb throw because at the time he wasn't that accurate. Only thing is, he had 5, 6, 7 seconds to do it, and nobody can cover that long, and you don't have to be that accurate to be successful against that kind of scheme.

We certainly seem to be the only team incapable of having a blitzer come in freely (and quickly). I think it's at least in part because Zimmer has 4-5 guys who have some cockamamie "responsibility" or technique they have to maintain, while 1-2 isolated guys are supposed to be coming free. But they aren't.

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