Playbook Confidential - Cowboys @ Chargers: Part I

Playbook Confidential makes Norv happy...it should make you happy too. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

So, what can we takeaway from preseason games? Not much, except for injuries, apparently.

However, I'll consider this a preseason warmup for me to get back in gear on running these numbers and coming up with something to say about them, and a nice warmup for you to pretend that you are reading this stuff. Today I'll just give you a quick glance at what I saw in the game on Saturday and Orz is going to swoop in tomorrow with a super in-depth breakdown.

I'll start off with a couple quick hitters and get into the nitty gritty after the jump:

  • Seeing less of the FB nowadays
  • Seeing a lot more 3 WR sets
  • Pass-heavy first half, run focused second half

Confused? Read this first.


First half breakdown
(all with Rivers at QB):

Personnel Run Pass
00
01
02
10
11 3 11
12 2 3
13
20
21 2 2
22 1 1
23

The first thing that stands out to me in the first half was the trend away from utilizing a fullback. Only 6 snaps with a fullback in the game, and it's not due to depth with both McClain and Hester healthy. I saw several occasions where two players were lined up in the backfield initially, with a RB and a TE, then the TE would motion out of the backfield.

The second thing that stands out is the increased use of 11 personnel: 56% of the snaps in the first half. Part of that could be due to only having 4 drives, and the two minute drill at the end of the half was 6 straight snaps out of 11 personnel. However, even before that drive, we were seeing more use out of 11 personnel which had been so successful last year, yet had previously been mostly limited to 3rd downs and 2 minute drill situations. 11 personnel continues to be pass heavy.

I attribute the 70% pass playcalling in the first half for Norv trying to get that passing game going, since it seems to be stumbling.

Second half numbers (all with Whitehurst):

Personnel Run Pass
00
01
02
10
11 1 6
12 8 3
13
20
21 3 1
22 3 1
23 1 1

We saw a little more FB use, but not nearly as much as we are used to. We got some 23 personnel down at the goalline after Wright ran back the INT, and this half leaned more toward the running game with 57% of the plays being runs.

Game totals:

Personnel Run Pass
00 0 0
01 0 0
02 0 0
10 0 0
11 4 17
12 10 6
13 0 0
20 0 0
21 5 3
22 4 2
23 1 1

Overall a pretty balanced game with a 45/55 Run/Pass Ratio.

11 and 12 personnel dominated the game, resulting in 70% of the playcalls. This apparent increase in use of 11 personnel will definitely be something to keep an eye on going into the regular season, seeing as how it was the most successful package last season.

11 personnel continues to be pass-focused, with 81% of the snaps resulting in a pass.

Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Offense doesn't seem to have the typical deep strike capability...and not because of the new receivers, but because of the OLine. It's going to be hard for PR17 to cut down on the INT's if he doesn't get more time in the pocket.
  • Passing game needs to pick it up, the running game does not look good. Heck, the passing game doesn't look great either. This whole offense needs to pick it up.
  • Still issues with the Rivers-Meachem connection. I'll say this INT was Rivers' fault, although Meachem could have made a better attempt for it too. This stuff takes time.
  • All-in-all, a very underwhelming game on both sides of the ball when the starters were in the game, the depth on this team looks very good when playing against the backups of other teams though, is there a JV Superbowl?

That's all for today, Orz will be following up tomorrow with a much more in-depth post. Feel free to chime in below in the comments if you noticed anything else.

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