DMAB: Murray Film Analysis

Well this certainly has been a fun week. We beat the Seahawks; the Eagles lost; The Giants proved once again to be the luckiest team on the face of the planet. Personally I was expecting a slightly more elated reaction from Cowboys Nation- the fans not Raf's site- this week.

Think of it this way guys: Let's say it actually was mistake-prone. Were still 4-4, we could be in the Eagles shoes today, 3-5 and barely any chance of making the playoffs barring a very fortunate Giants collapse, which usually occurs in December right around when we play them... But I digress

I wanted to share some positives I took away from the game today. That's why in this week's version of Demarco Murray is a Boss: I appropriately titled my article: Murray Film Analysis.

Ambiance: Running Through the Fire by Silent Force

Demarco Murray Film Analysis:

Sorry Front Page Guys, I love film analysis, and you know what? The more the merrier. Here's something to consider: we are, and always have been, a pass first team. The running game was running on all cylinders on Sunday and guess what? The Offensive Net YPA was the second-highest it has been all season long. What does this mean? It means our offense is working like it should. 

Personally my favorite part of a Running Back, i.e. his "Big-Play Ability," comes not from 93-yard TD runs, those are really nice, but from his ability to catch passes out of the Back Field.

I want to tell you guys a little story about another Texas football team. No, not the Texans, but the Longhorns, their 2010 incarnation, widely hailed as one of the worst seasons in team history. A team that had just been to the NC a year ago, couldn't even qualify for a bowl bid, just 6 wins in a season, in an 11 game schedule. 

Well much of that season was blamed on a now, unfortunately, much maligned QB who was entering his first full season as a Starter. Coincidentally the same year that he became the starting QB, Texas decided it wanted to become much more of a Pro-Style offense, and Pass-Catching TEs and RBs became a big thing. 

But here's the thing, because Texas couldn't run, teams were basically playing back, and covering all the deep threats. They would let our QB take checkdowns but the TEs and RBs couldn't get a First Down off of these dinky passes. Texas constantly went Three-and-Out that year.

There's another way to make a defense give you favorable match-ups in the deep passing game, besides running the ball. That was is to have checkdowns and screens that can get first down yardage, or close to first down yardage on single-coverage.

Well that's where a fast, pass-catching RB comes in, as evidenced by the play I'm about to analyze. Let's recap. It's 1st and 19, The Cowboys were just called for holding and they're backed up to the 9 yard line. The Boys decide to line up in a 3-Wide Receiver Power I Formation Dem1_medium

Bryant and Austin are lined up wide, and Witten is lined up as the slot reciever. Murray is in the backfield with the H-Back, lined up left of center. The Seahawks have 4 down-linemen with a Linebacker in a standup position on the LOS presumably to rush the passer, or to cover Murray. Both Bryant and Austin are being covered in Man with presumably deep safety help.


Romo takes his drop back, and has a really nice pocket, also a key to an offenses success. As you can see Bryant and Austin are both being covered 1 on 1, daring Romo to throw underneath to one of the two of them. Witten is running what seems to be a slant across the slot.


By this point in the play the Offensive Line has completely neutralized the 4 man rush, I should hope they did, they put 6 guys on the four of them. Presumably Austin, Witten, and Bryant are all being well covered. There's a Linebacker and Safety on Witten and a safety roaming the backfield in Zone. So what's Tony to do? Well notice that guy completely open near the 10? Yeah...


Nothing really much to add here besides maybe it was a bad idea to have only 1 linebacker within 20 yards of Romo on the left side of the field


Man Murray just makes making the first guy miss look so easy. Linebackers? No problem for this guy. Murray deftly sprints ahead 17 yards for a 2nd and 2.

2 Plays Later the Seahawks decide to keep an 8th man in the box, you know to stop Murray from happening again, leaving Dez Bryant, streaking down the sideline, open. 39 yards and a 1st down later and my only impression is when this offense is clicking they make it look too easy. Just remember it takes great checkdowns to keep a defense from cheating.

I really hope Felix Jones becomes the Change-of-Pace back, when he comes back from injury. If each of these guys gets 2-3 checkdowns/screens per game, only good things can happen for this offense.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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