FanPost

DQD - 13

Below are an amateur’s observations on the Dan Quin Defense as seen in week 13: Dallas 54, Indianapolis 19.

The game on Sunday night showed that Jeff Saturday is still learning the subtleties of the head coaching position. When you have an older, immobile, quarterback that has been performing poorly under pressure, why not run some time off the clock at the end of the first half? Wouldn’t that be better than giving a potent offense another opportunity by throwing two incomplete passes after the two-minute warning and burning off a grand total of 9 seconds? At least try to make the Cowboys use a couple of time-outs. Maybe having some post high school coaching experience is a valuable commodity before becoming an NFL head coach. In my mind, the start of the beat down began right there, at the end of the first half. Saturday may become a very good coach, but he had a rocky performance last Sunday.

However, this post is not about the Indy team; it is about the DQ defense. The above was free.

It was a tremendous showing by the defense: They scored 7 points and created numerous other short field opportunities for the offense by forcing 5 turnovers. It was an impressive showing that got more impressive as the game wore on, culminating in the ‘Boys scoring 33 points in the fourth quarter. How did it happen?

The DQ defense remained true to form in most respects: The base defense utilized 4 linemen, 2 linebackers, and 5 defensive backs throughout the game, and though there were a few snaps in which they had more than 5 defensive backs, I couldn’t find any with less than 5.

One of the effective formations was what I call the amoeba formation. In this formation, 5 or more linemen stand around the line of scrimmage, and they are sometimes joined by safety. Sometimes they send 5 or 6 towards the quarterback. Sometimes only 4. The formation worked to perfection on the play where Wilson got his sack on a play where he was completely unblocked on his way to his meeting with Matty Ice.

I counted 13 plays (out of 72) where 5 or more linemen were used, though not all of these were the amoeba. Short yardage situations also generally had more than 4 linemen.

From the secondary perspective, DQ uses primarily a single high safety, though about 25 – 30% of the time he will have two safeties deep. To input some uncertainty into things, about 15% of the time one of the safeties will either drop deep at the snap (if they were in cover 1) or move up closer to the line (if they were in cover 2) .

Again, the experiment of using Parsons as a linebacker as in the Green Bay game (the position he was actually drafted for) appears to be over. Against Indy virtually all of his snaps were along the line of scrimmage, though there were a few plays where he bounced off the line and into coverage. Most of his plays were from the right side of the defense, though for any given play he could line up at almost any position along the line.

Snap Counts

Anthony Barr made his re-entry onto the playing field after having not played since week 8 due to a hamstring injury. In his absence, rookie Damon Clark filled in and performed quite capably. I was interested to see if Clark would dominate the snap count based on how well he was picking up the system, and indeed he did have ~ 50% more snaps than Barr. Both, however, played very well. It is difficult to figure out whether the coaches wanted to work Barr back into play shape slowly and thus limited his snaps or whether other factors came into play. Whatever the reason, it worked out well for both played very well.

Another player that caught my eye was Hankins, who had 5 tackles while playing 40% of the defensive snaps. He was a run-stopping force in the middle of the defense.

Week



13

Name

Position

Weight

Snaps

lbs

%

Lawrence

DE

265

68

Williams

DE

261

29

Fowler

DE

261

19

Armstrong

DE

255

49

Vander Esch

LB

256

85

Barr

LB

255

33

Parsons

LB

245

71

Clark

LB

240

49

Gifford

LB

243

6

Cox

LB

233

0



Watkins

DT

305

31

Odighizuwa

DT

280

46

Bohanna

DT

360

0

Gallimore

DT

302

32

Hankins

DT

340

40

Golston

DT

268

19

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.

Name

Week 13

Star

Star %

Bland

6

9.7

Hooker

4

7.1

Kearse

3

4.9

Williams

2

9.3

Odighizuwa

2

6.1

Barr

2

8.3

Wilson

2

4

Parsons

1

2

Brown

1

2.3

Clark

1

2.9

Hankins

1

3.4

Joseph

1

3.4

There were 6 new players earning Blue Stars this week. Six! Keep in mind that this is only showing the second half of the year, starting after the bye, but still it shows the depth of the defense. I mean there are only 11 on the field at a time, and 6 new players made the list:

Bland, Hooker, Odighizuwa, Barr, Hankins, Joseph.

Parsons only got 1 star, but the reason that so many other got stars was that he was making those around him better. It looked like Indy wanted to prevent him from taking over the game—and they did, sort of. However, they sort of didn’t as well. It wasn’t him having the Blue Star plays, it was him (and a few others like Lawrence and Armstrong) that opened the door for so many others to show up in the stats.

If we take a look at the cumulative total of Blue Star plays (cumulative for the last 4 weeks, which is when I started counting) we see a couple of interesting factoids. Parsons is at the top of the list, to no one’s surprise, followed by Armstrong, followed by Bland? Wow! This rookie is making a name for himself.

I am convinced that when the Indy team gathers around the campfire they tell Daron Bland stories, rather than ghost stories. Him ripping the ball out of the receiver’s hand has got to be one of the highlights of the game.

Name

Weeks 10 - 13

Star

Star %

Parsons

10

5.2

Armstrong

8

6.5

Bland

6

3

Kearse

6

2.6

Williams

6

6.6

Lawrence

6

3.8

Hooker

4

2.1

Brown

4

2.2

Wilson

3

1.5

Odighizuwa

2

1.4

Barr

2

8.3

Clark

2

1.1

Vander Esch

2

0.5

Fowler

2

3.3

Hankins

1

2.1

Joseph

1

1.4

Golston

1

2..4

Diggs

1

0.4

If we look at the cumulative % Star plays, there is another surprising factoid. The person on top is Barr, but considering his total represents only one game (he didn’t play the other 3) we will throw it out. The next highest is Sam Williams? Interesting. 6.6% of his time on the field results in highlight plays.

Big Plays

The DQD wasn’t the only group to have big plays. The Indy offense had a few as well. The first was a 45 yard pass to Pierce on a slightly underthrown ball. While it is almost impossible for a defense to break up a perfectly thrown pass, there was opportunity on this one. Unfortunately, Anthony Brown didn’t have the athleticism required to do it. To me, it looked almost exactly like a play from the week before. He spun his head around, looked at the ball, got in position, but just couldn’t twist around and make a play at the ball. My conclusion is that AB played up to the limit of his ability and this is what the team is going to get from him. He has the speed to keep up with receivers and quickness to stay close, but he is limited in his ability to make plays on the ball. It is unfortunate that he got injured, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

The second big play was a 14-yard scoring strike where Matt Ryan pump faked Diggs out of his cleats as he tried to jump a slant route. There is probably something Diggs can learn from this, and he will get better as a result.

The third big play was 15-yard strike to Alec Pierce. It was one of those times where Ryan threw a perfect ball and there was very little Joseph could have done about it. One must remember that the other team comes to play as well.

Overall

When the DQD is at its best it is not giving quarterbacks much time to think and as a result they make poor decisions. The cumulative effect of the pressure is sometimes too much for teams, and as a result it can allow for 33 points to be scored in the fourth quarter. There is some concern that the DQD didn’t look so dominant for three quarters of the game. However, one must remember that the fourth quarter didn’t happen by itself—it cannot be separated from the three quarters of pressure that went before it. Kudos to everyone on the defense that made this happen.



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