Get off the field!
I meant that in the most pleasant, positive way possible, Cowboy Defenders.
It's all about third down today, Metallic Blue Brothers and Sisters. Brees is brilliant on third down. The Saints' offense leads the NFL in third down conversions at a ridiculous 50.4%. The Dallas D--how can I put this politely?--stinks on third down, allowing a conversion rate of over 42%. If both of those stats hold form today, the Cowboys are cooked.
So. Blitz Brees very sparingly. He's better at beating it than we are at doing it. Play zone, especially on first down. Square up and keep everything in front. Swarm. Limit YAC. (The Saints' receivers are stupid good after the catch.) Yes, pressure on Brees is important. I said pressure, not sacks. The key is not putting Brees on his back, it's getting in his face. The Saints don't just keep Brees upright, they keep him clean. Watch the New Orleans protection schemes. How can a short (although admittedly brilliant), average-armed quarterback dominate to the extent that Brees does? Because his field of vision is always clear, his passing lanes always gaping. Watch. It's really a thing of beauty. There's almost never anyone rolling around at Brees' feet, and seldom even a hand in his face. Plus, Brees has what I call "functional mobility," the ability to simply slide-step in the pocket while keeping his eyes ever downfield. Functional Mobility has nothing to do with running around aimlessly, as so many casual fans seem to admire in a quarterback. Functional Mobility is about efficiency and the constant realization by a QB that his job description is to distribute the ball, not dazzle us with his wheels. Brees gets it.
Play zone. Rush four. Don't worry about sacks. We're not going to get them anyway. Just make Brees turn it loose on time. Throw a rope around the entire pattern. Keep everything in front. Swarm. Gang tackle. Get off the field! I mean that in the most pleasant, positive way possible, friends.
You are my friends. Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Cowboyphiles. The Football Life is a good life, and I'm thankful for it.