Cosell’s Coaching Tape: Week Nine 11/10/09 Notes


  • Colts personnel approach on the first series was 3 WR, with Collie in the slot and Clark aligned on the LOS in a conventional TE position – Texans matched up with their nickel personnel, with rookie CB Quin over the slot on Collie
  • In the 3 WR package, with Clark on the LOS, he worked inside on LB Cushing; While Cushing didn’t necessarily play Clark man-to-man, he had to match up based on matchup zone concepts
  • Colts a fast no huddle in this game to maintain the matchup of Clark on Cushing, Manning did not want the Texans to have time to substitute
  • Colts a very controlled pass game; Texans played predominantly zone coverage and Manning attacked the short voids in the zones, including taking advantage of the check downs that were there
  • Texans on first play of 3rd series went with “fire x” inside blitz, It was a 3-4 blitz from a 4-3 front with the focus on inside pressure – Garcon 26 yds: Addai excellent block on LB Cushing, RG DeVan pulled out to block DE Williams
  • Colts clearly went after LB Cushing in the pass game, with both Clark and Addai
  • Colts 3×1 sets with Clark on the 2 WR slot side dictated a match up against LB Cushing; Colts exploited that on a number of third downs
  • SS Pollard interception came with Manning trying to exploit the Addai-Cushing matchup; Manning did not account for Pollard on the back side of the coverage
  • CB Robinson aligned over Wayne on every snap, He did not always play man-to-man
  • Colts first half play breakdown: 40 called passes, 10 called run: 80% pass, 20% run – A lot of quick drop passes to minimize pressure on Manning, A very efficient and controlled pass game that did not attack down the field
  • Colts clearly utilized the short passing game as a substitute for the running game
  • Colts clearly game planned to play with 3 WR personnel, with Clark the LOS TE; Texans played nickel on every first half snap
  • Manning first sack came when both LT Johnson and RG DeVan were beaten immediately
  • Addai shifty and elusive in a confined area, Lacks any vertical explosiveness to his running style
  • LT Johnson a liability as a one-on-one pass protector, Manning and the Colts pass game concept helps compensate for that
  • Rookie Barwin a long way to go as a pass rusher, A lot of energy and movement but a very limited skill set at this point; He was easily blocked


  • Colts in their nickel package align Jennings on the outside, and Powers over the slot
  • Colts matched up at times to Texans 4 WR personnel with dime personnel: Jennings the third safety, and Francisco the third safety
  • Powers interception showed a great understanding of the pre snap phase, Receiver location and distribution; Johnson was the “x”, Powers understood there could be no combination route to Johnson’s side since the offset FB was the next receiver to that side; Powers hugged Johnson and took away Schaub’s throw
  • Colts “Tampa 2” on 3rd + 10 behind a 4 man rush on Texans second series; Texans 4 WR personnel, 2×2 set, Colts played nickel personnel – Schaub 2 yd scramble
  • Freeney second quarter sack came on a bull rush, He drove LT Brown right back into Schaub, He won the leverage battle
  • Colts a much more versatile defense under Coyer than they were under Meeks: More “cover 4” and more man coverage concepts
  • LB Session very active, Not an explosive athlete but instinctive and quick reacting
  • Texans a lot of base personnel sets in normal down and distance situations as opposed to 3 WR personnel
  • Rookie CB Lacey a willing tackler, Closes to the ball well
  • When the Colts matched up to the Texans 4 WR personnel with their nickel package, their strong tendency was to play zone coverage
  • Colts defended the Texans zone run game very well, They did not get into a track meet with the blockers and run laterally – Colts front seven played with excellent gap discipline, and they effectively got the back side safety involved in the run front
  • Texans very patient and methodical approach, Predominantly stayed with base personnel and were committed to their zone run game
  • Texans did not run for a lot of yards, but their run game controlled the pace and tempo of the game, especially in the second half – They dictated that the Colts stay in conventional defenses
  • Freeney dominated LT Brown both mentally and physically; He beat him with both power and leverage, and with speed and quickness
  • Colts played zone coverage on almost every snap in the game, Also not a high percentage blitz defense although Session interception in the fourth quarter came out of a 5 man rush with an inside stunt by LB Brackett
  • Schaub did not make many downfield throws in this game, Got the sense the Texans wanted to generate long drives that controlled the clock and limited the Colts possessions – The idea of taking longer to score as opposed to quick strikes


  • Benson has patience, vision and he’s quick laterally, plus he finishes runs
  • Palmer looks down the gun barrel as well as any QB in the NFL, Tough and firm in the pocket
  • Bengals a very patient, methodical offensive approach; They play the same way every week, They do not deviate from their belief that balance is the key
  • Ochocinco looked quick and explosive getting in and out of breaks, Palmer clearly was targeting him in critical down and distance situations
  • Bengals scored TDs on their first 2 series: A lot of hard earned yards against a Ravens defense that was aggressive and challenging – Palmer a number of big time throws under duress
  • Rookie Webb was the nickel corner, He played in the slot
  • Bengals utilized both the unbalanced line and 6 OL personnel, and they threw from those personnel packages
  • Ravens defense about deception and disruption and energy; The Bengals, with their base offensive personnel and approach, minimize that energy and force them to play assignment-based defense
  • Bengals offense the antithesis of all the spread shotgun that’s prevalent in the NFL
  • Bengals offensive approach got the Ravens defense playing reactively and defensively, They were catching rather than delivering
  • Palmer was the reason the Bengals scored on their first 3 possessions, He made some incredible throws under pressure
  • Ravens increased their blitz frequency as the game progressed, They needed to find a way to increase their energy and become more proactive
  • Coles 32 yds on 3rd + 2 in the third quarter came against “cover zero” behind a full blitz; S Reed too far off Coles to make a play
  • Bengals did a lot with their OL mechanics: Unbalanced line, 6 OL personnel, OL in wing TE positions – What all this did was cause problems of identification for the Ravens defensive front, and force them to play reactively, not proactively the way they like to
  • Bengals did not utilize 3 WR personnel unless down and distance dictated it, They did not do it proactively – I believe it was a function of the specific matchup versus the Ravens defense, and not an overall philosophy


  • Samuel not a press corner, He’s at his best as an off coverage reader of both routes and the QB
  • “A” gap pressure continued to give the Cowboys problems in pass protection
  • Romo has very poor pocket footwork, Always has the look of a player who does not work at the fundamentals of his craft – He has not improved his drop and his footwork in his years as a starting QB
  • Witten aligned all over the formation, He’s utilized as a “Joker”
  • Cowboys offense did not look sharp through the first quarter, Very helter- skelter feel to it
  • Romo does not consistently process information in its proper sequence, He has a tendency to be more of a reactive QB than a proactive QB – He’s not very good in the pre snap phase
  • Cowboys used Choice in the “Wildcat” 3 times in the first half
  • Williams still looked lazy running routes, Not a lot of snap to his movement
  • Cowboys OL not very good versus blitz both in terms of identification and reaction
  • Cowboys offense made one mistake after another, Had the look of an offense that was not well coached
  • Romo showed a tendency to read the rush as opposed to feeling the rush, That’s a main reason the Cowboys are blitzed so much; Defenses will always give Romo something to look at since he ‘s so overreactive
  • Cowboys had success in the first half against the Eagles blitz with 2 WR screens to Ogletree (21 and 17 yds)
  • Eagles defense very aggressive and challenging, A high percentage of blitz; It was very effective disrupting the Cowboys offense, which had no rhythm and no sense of flow
  • Overall, the Eagles defense was not as sharp and disciplined as usual; Players ran into each other a number of times on blitzes, and they looked out of sync
  • Austin 49 yd TD was a “Sluggo” on 3rd + 14 against a 5 man DL, and “man free” coverage concept; Mikell was responsible for TE Witten, but Witten stayed in to block against the 5 man DL, so Mikell was freed up to drop into the underneath slant area – Brown inexplicably jumped the slant, which made no sense for 2 reasons: Mikell’s drop into the slant area, and the fact that it was 3rd + 14
  • Eagles made a mental mistake on Witten’s 5 yd catch on 3rd + 3 that sealed the game; Mikell was misaligned and out of position at the snap of the ball – This was the kind of mistake the Eagles defense normally does not make
  • Cowboys offense has a random feel to it, No precision or rhythm

Category: Fantasy Guru Daily


5 Responses

  1. Sy says:


    First off, let me say that I thouroughly enjoy these posts. However, you make it seem like the Cowboys win was more a result of the Eagles mistakes on defense as opposed to adjustements in play calling offensively, as well as biding their time and striking appropiately. Your the expert, not me. Just an observation.

  2. Sein says:

    Biding their time??!?!?

    WTF is that?

    You think the team’s coaches were actually thinking, “Let’s just wait with the plays that will work until the time is right.”


  3. jason says:

    Yeah, I agree with Sy. If I wold have read the post blindly with no scoring references, I would have thought the Cowboys got the tails kicked. Listen, we all know that they have a coaching problem, and Romo is definitely relying on instincts rather than skill, but the bottom line is they found a way to win in Philly against a great D. They ground it out and played conservatively until they had the right time to strike, and it worked. They are in 1st remember, so they must be doing something right.

  4. Brian says:

    you guys are posting from emotion, while cosell is posting/writing from observation. Thats what happens when you put your emotions into it, you can’t see things from others perspectives or how they really are.

  5. Joe says:


    Got a chance to re-watch this game. Romo is a lot like Jeff Garcia. Doesn’t make reads properly and must take extra time, which causes chaos in every facet of the offense…blocking, routes, and timing. While it’s good if he can make plays, it’s pure hell for an offensive coordinator. Cosell is dead on with his points. It shouldn’t be any sort of stretch to think that Andy Reid’s defense was better coached than Wade Phillips’ offense. And you can’t argue that “players running into each other” is a defensive mistake that even you or I can see and react correctly too.

    If not for Miles Austin making giant plays, this would be the same Cowboys team we saw the first 4 weeks of the season. How does everyone miss this fact?

Leave a Reply