FanPost

DQD - 11

Below are an amateur’s observations on the Dan Quin Defense as seen in week 11: Dallas 40, Minnesota 3.

It was a dominating performance by the DQD, though they did allow the opposition to score 3 points and could have given up 14 more if the Minnesota tight end had managed to hold on to a couple of balls in the end zone. After the Green Bay game, I heard a lot of noise about how everyone on the team needed to do their job. As an example, last week there was a line stunt at the 12-yard line. Unfortunately, one of the linemen didn’t get the memo that they were all slanting to the right and it "left" a hole in the middle that was big enough to drive the team bus through. Whether it was lack of communication or lack of execution the result was the same—7 points for Green Bay. No such trouble this game as Minnesota was held to no touchdowns and no plays longer than 17 yards.

One of the interesting things about defense is that the better they play, the less they play. Against Minnesota, there were 57 defensive snaps—the lowest of the year so far. How was it accomplished?

The defense remained the same as usual in some respects, with DQ playing with 4 linemen, 2 linebackers, and 5 defensive backs for most of the game. True to form, there were no snaps in which they had less than 5 defensive backs on the field at the same time. Occasionally, particularly in the first half, the Cowboys went with 5 or 6 on the line as part of their blitz package. In the third quarter, once the score was getting out of hand, they went with 6 defensive backs and subbed out a linebacker, on occasion. In the fourth, they began subbing in their backup linebackers and went back to their traditional 4 – 2 alignment. So as far as what was different—the basic defense remained the same.

One change in the defense concerns the players. With Barr and Bohanna out, the line-up got considerably lighter. Golston took most of Bohanna’s snaps, giving up 92 pounds per snap. Clark, at 240 lbs., gave up 15 lbs/snap to Barr, who he essentially replaced. Though the defense gave up mass, they replaced it with speed. Though Golston didn’t particularly catch my eye (1 tackle), Clark was all over the field, though in the end he was credited with only 3 tackles. To my untrained eye he appears to be a player that is going to excel someday.

On the back end, Daron Bland replaced Lewis in the line-up and played well both defending the run and pass. Though Joseph started in place of Lewis, he was only in the game for 3 plays, leaving him with barely enough time to work up a sweat and collect a pass interference penalty.

Even a novice like me, however, can tell that the amount of pressure on the QB was significantly higher than last week. Micah Parsons played fewer snaps against Minnesota, where he was off the field for 1/3 of the defensive snaps. Of the snaps that he played, all but 1 were along the line of scrimmage. The one time he played off-ball linebacker, he rushed the passer anyway. When Parsons primarily rushes, his speed and energy freed up other players to get to the quarterback, resulting in 7 total sacks, including 2 by Parsons. In a change from normal, Trevon Diggs covered Minnesota’s best receiver (Justin Jefferson) almost the entire game. I am not sure it was necessary because the QB didn’t have time to throw the ball downfield to anyone. A good pass rush always makes the secondary look better than they really are.

The DQ Defense is built around stopping the pass. In this game they did a tremendous job, holding Minnesota to 110 yards in the air. Their ability to stop the run, however, didn’t seem to be much different than normal. Cook gained 6.5 yards/carry. What happened was that Minnesota decided to stop running the ball. Maybe Minnesota is just built around throwing the ball and they didn’t know how to adjust. Part of that, I would guess, was due to the fact that they were behind for most of the game. In any case, it was a great showing by the defense to be able to shut down any team, but against one that was 8 – 1 coming into the game? Amazing. It remains to be seen, however, if this tremendous play will continue against a team that is committed to the run. Assuming the Giants saw the same thing I did, expect to see a heavy dose of Saquon Barkley on Thanksgiving day, regardless of the score.

Blue Star Plays

Below is a list of players that did something special: A sack, a pass defensed, a tackle for loss, a fumble or fumble recovery. Interceptions get 2 stars since they just seem to be worth more than hitting the ball with one’s arm. There is an additional column showing the number of star plays divided by the total number of plays that player participated in. You can guess why Sam William’s snap count almost doubled from week 10 to week 11.

Name

Week 11

Week 10

Star

Star %

Star

Star %

Armstrong

5

16.7

0

0

Parsons

4

10.5

1

1.6

Kearse

3

5.3

0

0

Lawrence

2

8.7

2

4.3

Williams

2

7.4

2

11.7

Brown

2

3.7

0

0

Fowler

2

9.1

0

0

Diggs

1

2

0

0

Vander Esch

0

0

1

1.6




Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.