According to Rams guard Austin Blythe a similar thing happened on Saturday night. Los Angeles knew what the Cowboys defensive line was going to do “Plus-90 percent” of the time. That’s likely part of the reason why the Rams had so much success on the ground. From The Ringer:
Depending on the alignment of the Cowboys defensive tackles, particularly whether Maliek Collins was shaded closer to the tackle instead of the guard, the Rams figured a stunt may be coming. If the Rams saw Collins lined up slightly wider than usual, they looked for a second tell. If a certain Cowboys lineman had a specific hand on the ground—right or left—or if a player was tilted one way or the other, it confirmed what the Cowboys defensive line was going to do.
“They have good players, but we just felt scheme-wise we were able to—we had a lot of tips and tells on what they were going to do in front of us,” said Rams center John Sullivan.
This is pretty humiliating for the Cowboys to be quite honest. The defense has been their calling card all season long and the fact that the Rams were able to dissect something so essential says a great deal about how loosely it was put together.
Los Angeles is a very good and extremely well-coached team, but this is a self-induced error from the Cowboys. It’s more than the fact that they were getting beat, it’s that they were so predictable with their schemes and design that they had no chance from the jump.
The Rams knew exactly what the Cowboys were going to do on defense. Exactly. More from Austin Blythe:
“Usually they like to play a 3-technique but if he got a little wider, and looked like he was going to play the [left or right] tackle, he was going to slant out and we were going to get another movement from the other side too,” Blythe said. “If [the defensive tackle] is going to come in, the tell is going to come in from the other side.”
Rod Marinelli got quite defensive (no pun intended) when asked about whether or not he would return as the team’s defensive coordinator next season. While swatting away those questions from the media he specifically said he would answer every question about run defense. How about you answer how you were so predictable that the Rams read you like a book?
The offseason is a long and unforgiving process. It gets even longer when things like this happen. How do things like this happen?