Official Playoffs Game 1: Green Bay vs Dallas Thread

Dallas D scout

Over the past several seasons, the term “Non-Traditional Tampa” has begun to surface quite frequently. Tampa 2 rotations have been around for a long time, but only recently have they become a primary schematic counter to Spread offenses. Below is an example of a familiar blitz to many.

Most coaches will know this pressure as Shake 2-Roll from the Saban system. The image is a diagram from a Dick LeBeau playbook from the early ‘00s. The coverage is technically a Trap 2 five-man pressure, but teams have recently used the overall design to back simulated pressures or pre-snap coverage bluffs.

As more teams in the NFL begin to base from two-high alignments, there is a parallel trend brewing within the coaching systems that are single-high dominant. The Fangio system coaches have run everything from a two-high shell since ‘20 while keeping a Cover 3 dominant scheme. For other coaches who lean into their base Cover 3 alignments, illustrating a single-high contour on most snaps can lend itself to NTTs.

Changing the coverage contour post-snap forces offenses to guess the coverage. Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn likes to run opposite looks on most downs in Dallas. Against the Bengals, Quinn featured two-high looks on early downs, only to snap to Cover 3 post-snap flooding the intermediate passing lanes. Quinn opted for a Cover 3 look on middle downs and snapped to Tampa coverage post-snap.

Changing the Coverage Contour Post-Snap

Changing the Coverage Contour Post-Snap​

MAY 8, 2023
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The constant cat-and-mouse game is needed as most offenses have locked in on “beaters” for most coverages. Using rotations post-snap applies more pressure on the QB, who has to recalibrate his vision post-snap. With premier EDGEs in Dallas, holding the ball can spell disaster for most QBs.

The past two seasons have seen the Cowboys’ defense at the top of Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings. The DVOA metric is a great way to illustrate the overall efficiency of a unit. Quinn came to Dallas in ‘21 following a long stint as the Atlanta Falcons Head Coach, where he got the team to the infamous ‘16 Super Bowl against Tom Brady and the Patriots (Remember, they blew a 21-3 halftime lead).

Quinn’s coaching lineage is heavy on the Cover 3 side—beginning in ‘11. Coach worked under Will Muschamp (Saban disciple) as the Florida Gators DC from ‘11 to ‘12. In ‘13, he started a two-year tenure as the DC for the Seattle Seahawks, where most of his scheme is still based on the Pete Carroll system, which was heavily influenced by Cover 3.

Though Quinn carries more of a zone-match Cover 3 philosophy, he loves to run Cover 1. Until this past season, Quinn has run man-free coverages as a dominant scheme alongside Cover 3. Going from man-match to zone principles helps Quinn keep the playbook simple.

One trend within the past four seasons has been the rise of Cover 2 within the Cowboys’ scheme. Looking at coverage data from the past four years, Quinn has gone from a Cover 2 usage of 10.7% to 20.1% in ‘22. Along with the use of more Tampa rotations, Quarters usage has also grown (which is an overall NFL trend). Below is a look at Quinn’s coverage usage from the past four seasons (PFF).

Because of the single-high dominance, Quinn needs to have a split-field change-up. This is where the post-snap Tampa rotations come in. Regardless of what the offense does, the Cowboys will live in Cover 3 or Cover 1. In Quinn’s first year, Dallas leaned heavily into Cover 1. The past season saw Cover 3 usage rise from 33.5% to 41.3% as he transitioned to more zone.

As Quinn settles into year three with the Cowboys, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a rise in more NTTs. Defensive coaches use the Tampa rotations to bait offenses into running Cover 3 beaters, only for the defense to morph into Cover 2. Quinn likes using a four-down Dime package on #27 Jayron Kearse as a hybrid ‘backer. The usage allows Kearse to be the pole-runner and carry the vertical of #3 or close the post.

Using the pass rush of EDGEs Demarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons to his advantage, Quinn has adapted his scheme to defend some of the most potent offenses in the NFL. The ability to rush four and play coverage gives the Cowboys a one-two punch that most teams dream about.
Today will tell us a lot about just how good the OL and secondary are. Had some players surprise this year. This game will be a good indicator about where their true abilities are and if GB will be able to depend on them come playoff time.
I think last time Watson played was week 13?
i can't predict a score, but feel that in order to win, the Packers need to score in the 30's. I'm kinda thinking the Packers end up on the short end of a score like 31-24. With the way my predictions have gone this year, that means they win a game in the low 20's.
Packers lose by at least 10. Sorry. I think the Cowboys are that much better, though it don't make me happy.