Nick Eatman to the rescue again. In a time where little news is coming out of Valley Ranch, Eatman gets some details on the secondary. The article is about Anthony Henry and his non-move to free safety. With Ken Hamlin on board, the Cowboys can do away with that trial balloon that was floated by Jerry Jones earlier this year. All good and well, but the interesting part of the article is about the techniques and the philosophies the corners will use in the Phillips 34. The corners will now line up outside the receiver and try to flush the traffic to the middle. This is a reverse of what Parcells did, and what a lot of football coaches do. It’s an old saying that corners use the sidelines as another defender. But Wade Phillips and Brian Stewart have a different view.
Instead of taking an inside position, where the corners try to flush the receivers to the outside to take away the crossing and slant routes, the Cowboys are turning their cornerbacks to the other side of the receivers.
Now, instead of cutting off the middle, the corners will do more shading on the outside, trying to funnel the receivers towards the inside of the field.
The biggest difference, other than eliminating the receivers from an easy path for a deep route, is that the cornerbacks will not have their backs turned from the quarterback, allowing them to keep their eyes more on the ball.
"What we're trying to do is keep vision on the football," new Cowboys defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said. "If you have vision on the football, you have a chance to make an interception, you have a chance to make a big tackle. When you don't have vision on the football, what you're doing is eliminating some of the quick throws, so they won't nickel and dime you, but you have the opportunity to get beat deep."
Boy, getting beat deep is sure something we heard a lot about last year. I’m not sold that by just adjusting the initial stance you can automatically solve that problem, but maybe it will help. This is the point where the Tuna haters will say that it was all Bill’s fault; he had the cornerbacks lined up wrong! Again, as I’ve said before, that kind of thinking is just people trying to push an agenda. Instead of assigning some of the blame to the same roster of players we plan to roll-out again this year, they fault the scheme. This makes it easier to say the defense will be better without changing much of the personnel. Now, I’m not discounting that changing some things up can help us play better on defense, but don’t act like shading guy’s on the outside is suddenly the cure for all our troubles. The players still have to perform. Basically, I’m saying that teams and coordinators change things all the time, and it doesn’t always work. There is no magic bullet.
But, given all that, I do believe that changes in philosophy can be beneficial, and Brian Stewart is pushing this philosophy.
"Now, we're saying we're going to keep everything in front of you. If we want to stop the quick throws we can get into those types of defenses. But our base is to have vision, plant downhill, make clean tackles and make plays on the ball."
OK, sounds solid. Now just execute. Here’s one more nugget from the article from Anthony Henry.
"We'll be playing a little more of a soft zone and we can get a good read on the quarterback. And then when the play goes away from my side, I turn into the free safety, so I've got to run back. But then you're back there and if we can get the pressure that we think we will this year, that could open it up for us to go get the football."
Thanks for clearing that up. I was having trouble understanding how we were going to move Roy Williams up to the line without compensating somehow in the deep thirds. The back-side corner will have deep responsibility on his side like a second safety.
Do you think Tony Romo will get a new contract before the season starts? Which side do you think has more incentive to get a contract done now: Romo or the Cowboys?
Tim Cowlishaw: I don't think it makes sense for Cowboys to give him a new contract yet. I like the idea of his playing for the big contract. That's a great incentive. And I don't really think it makes sense for him to low-ball himself and sign something now when we don't know how he's going to develop. With the players they have on offense, there's a chance for Romo to put up some really nice numbers if everyone gets a quick handle on this new offense.
I kind of agree, let Romo set the market for his contract. If he has a good year, he could make himself a bundle of money and get long-term security. If he struggles like in the latter-part of last season, then the Cowboys need to determine where he fits into their long-range plans. Either way, let’s see him play some more before handing over the keys to the kingdom. But, I’m not advocating waiting until free agency next year to get something done. Later on in the season will be just fine.