FanPost

DQ Defense - Week 13


Below are an amateur’s observations on the Dan Quin Defense as seen during week 13 of the 2023 season: Dallas Cowboys 41, Seattle Seahawks 35.

It’s in the books. With nine wins, Dallas officially has a winning season!

Question of the week: How do you completely forget to block Parsons on a 4th down with just over a minute to go and your team down by 6 points?

Second question of the week: Was it the right call to throw a pass into the end zone with 1:49 left in the game, with the Cowboys leading by 3, when a running play would have run the clock down by another 40ish seconds? Apparently the answer was yes. Net result: An incomplete pass was thrown, but no harm done due to Micah Parsons breaking through the line on the last meaningful play of the game and forcing an incompletion on fourth down. Micah, incidentally, got a bonus star for the play—surprisingly his only star play of the game given that he was continually harassing Geno Smith for the entire game and officially getting credit for 7 pressures.

Defensive Overview

The DQD was totally shredded by Geno Smith and his group of pass catchers but the Cowboys "break, but don’t break completely," defense came up with three absolutely critical fourth down stops in the last half of the fourth quarter, allowing the team to eke out a hard-fought victory. Kudos go to so many for the critical plays that were made in the fourth quarter: Tackles for loss by Lawrence; maniacal play by Parsons; pass break-ups by Lewis. Tremendous play during crunch time. This is what good teams do.

Penalties once again reared their ugly head, with Dallas earning 9 accepted penalties for 127 yards (vs 10 for 130 by the Seahawks). Pass interference calls accounted for most of the damage, but even more annoying were the off-sides calls (c’mon, can’t you line up right?). Unfortunately (unbelievably?) there were more penalties to be had that the refs either missed or decided not to call. Some may have the urge to rant about the refs after a game like this, but the real culprit was sloppy play. Hopefully the team understands this; otherwise, it will be doomed to repeat the performance.

Time will tell if the Seahawks produced a blueprint for other to use to attack the man heavy defense that DQ favors. Their formula was: get the ball out quickly and go after Daron Bland. At first glance it seemed that putting Bland, a tall, athletic, and long-armed cornerback on the tall, speedy, long armed Metcalf was the right thing to do. It took about a half of a football game for DQ and the other coaches to realize it wasn’t working and changed their coverage so that Gilmore was usually covering Metcalf in the second half.

In fairness, not all of the long catches by Metcalf lie completely at Bland’s feet. Assigning responsibility for defensive lapses is always fraught with uncertainty since an amateur like myself doesn’t know all the intricacies of the sport, but it certainly looked like both Bland and safety Donovon Wilson could have played the 73 yard touchdown catch by Metcalf a bit better.

This game showed both the good and bad of Bland. The good is that he reads the routes and sometimes runs the routes better than the receiver. The bad is that he occasionally misreads the routes puts himself in a position where he cannot make the tackle or allows an unnecessary completion.

Snap Counts

We’re far enough along in the season that we can pretty much tell, by looking at the snap counts, who DQ trusts and who gets put in to give the others a rest. Lawrence, Odighizuwa, Armstrong, Parsons, and Hankins are trusted. Parsons, it seems, is trusted most of all. Pretty much all the other defensive linemen get put in the game to bring new energy and to keep the guys he trusts fresh. Some of the ‘relief’ guys are actually pretty good players; however, some of them are prone to penalties due to mental lapses (Fowler and Williams come to mind here).

For this game, DQ went a bit safety heavy, averaging 3.5 safeties on the field at any given time.

Week 13 Defensive Snap Counts

Name

Position

% Plays

Bland

CB

96

Diggs

CB

0

Gilmore

CB

100

Goodwin

CB

0

Igbinoghene

CB

0

Lewis

CB

74

Redwine

CB

0

Wright

CB

0

Armstrong

DL

51

Gallimore

DL

16

Golston

DL

16

Hankins

DL

39

Lawrence

DL

68

Odighizuwa

DL

62

Smith

DL

16

Williams

DL

28

Fowler

DL

22

Clark

LB

71

Harper

LB

0

Parsons

LB

91

Vander Esch

LB

0

Jefferson

LB

0

Wheat

LB

0

Evans

LB

4

Bell

S

84

Hooker

S

99

Kearse

S

71

Mukuamu

S

0

Thomas

S

4

Wilson

S

88

Star Plays

Star plays are those plays that can make a difference in a game: Things like a pass defended, a sack or a tackle for loss, an interception (two stars), a fumble or fumble recovery, or in some cases, a bonus star for something that is exceptional. In this game, Parsons got a bonus star, primarily for the last meaningful snap of the game when he put heavy pressure on Geno and forced an incompletion on fourth down.

This week 11 stars were awarded, which is down a bit from previous weeks. Given that the Seahawks slapped 35 hard earned points on the DQD, one can easily understand why the number of star worthy plays were down. What is troubling about this is that all 35 points were absolutely earned by the offense. There were no short fields due to offensive or special teams’ mistakes. These were points from the Seahawks driving all the way down the field and scoring touchdowns.

In a bit of a lapse, given the good performance over the past two weeks, safeties and linebackers (other than Parsons) didn’t earn any stars. In a defense that averages having 3.5 safeties on the field, this is a bit troubling. Is this due to the high percentage of man coverage run by DQ, which tends to put cornerbacks in a better position for PBUs and interceptions or is there a deeper problem here?

Star

Star %

Bland

3

Bland

4.5

Lewis

2

Lewis

3.9

Armstrong

1

Armstrong

2.9

Gilmore

1

Gilmore

1.4

Hankins

1

Hankins

3.7

Lawrence

1

Lawrence

2.1

Odighizuwa

1

Odighizuwa

2.3

Parsons

1

Parsons

1.6

Cumulative Stars

Cum Stars

Cum Star %

Bland

31

4.4

Parsons

29.5

4.6

Gilmore

15

2.0

Lawrence

14

3.3

Armstrong

12

3.6

Odighizuwa

11

2.5

Fowler

9.5

4.3

Kearse

9.5

1.7

Williams

9

3.5

Hankins

7

2.1

Lewis

6

1.2

Clark

6

1.1

Diggs

6

5.9

Hooker

5

0.7

Bell

4

0.9

Gallimore

4

1.9

Thomas

4

2.7

Wilson

4

0.8

Golston

2.5

1.2

Mukuamu

2

3.1

Smith

2

0.9

Vander Esch

2

0.7

Igbinoghene

1

4.0

Jefferson

1

16.7

Wright

1

2.4

The same info, placed in graphical format, is given below.

Both Bland and Parsons have twice as many stars as the next highest player. Outstanding performance by both of them.

Final thought:

Did you catch Cowboys alum Jason Garret doing the analysis during the Sunday night game? He wasn’t half bad. Hope he does more.

Who do you think is the best announcer amongst the Cowboy alumni?

A. Troy Aikman

B. Daryl "Moose" Johnston

C. Tony Romo

D. Jason Garret



Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.