Five Productive Plays The Dallas Cowboys Used In '08

Brandon KippContributor IMay 18, 2009

IRVING, TX - NOVEMBER 23:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers at Texas Stadium on November 23, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

These are some plays with which Dallas found success in '08.

  1. Quick Slant—It's no secret that the NFC East likes to blitz. When Jason Garett anticipated the blitz in '08, it was not uncommon for the Cowboys to line up single-back with a receiver in the slot and one tight end. The receivers would run a 1-3 step slant and the tight end would run straight to the flat, while the running back would take on the first defender to make it past the line. Romo would simply throw the ball where the blitzing linebacker used to be.
  2. RB Toss—Not to be redundant, but the NFC East is all about blitzing. On blitzing downs, linebackers are often so eager to get to the QB, by the time they see the pulling guard, they're already sealed off and can no longer pursue the ball carrier to the outside. This usually becomes either a foot-race, giving Felix Jones the advantage, or a one-on-one matchup between the RB and the corner; Marion Barber makes lunch meat out of corners!
  3. RB Hitch—Another way in which the Cowboys were successful against the blitz was for the RB to run a five yard hitch, while all other receivers ran fades, posts, flags, or other various deep routes. The linebackers would run right past the RB on their way to the QB, and Romo gets a wide open, easy dump off, and the RB has space to run. This was run out of just about every formation. It does really help when your RB can do things like this.
  4. Draw—The Cowboys had success running the draw in '08, thanks mostly to Tony Romo's sleight of hand. They would line up in the gun to get the defense looking for the pass, and Romo would drop back and the ball would magically disappear. By the time the defense figures out it's not a pass, the running back is ten yards down the field with his eyes on the gold.
  5. TE Post—The Cowboys have, arguably, the most talented tight end in football, Jason Witten. They love lining up in a shotgun spread, and having Witten run a post. It depends on the defensive formation, but at least half of the time this forces a linebacker to cover Witten. There's only a handful of linebackers in the league that can even compete in this scenario.

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