Under Furter Review – Defense Edition – Marinelli is mixing things up

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The most interesting thing to observe in the performance of the defense this week, is the change of scheme used by Marinelli. It’s good to admit that one year can never be the same as another, there are too many variables involved to be able to think of repeating exactly the same things of 2014 with the same success, injuries, new players, Offenses adaptation etc. So here’s a brief summary of the evolution of this defense by the arrival of Kiffin and Marinelli.

At first it was the “Tampa 2” and they tried, with little success it should be remembered. 2014 was the year in which the zone cover was the majority, speaking technically was a “Cover 3”. For 2015 it was decided to make this a defense that covers primarily man to man, the so-called “Cover 1”. I say mostly because it’s obvious that coverages are often different within a game, and it’s good to remember that the zone –coverages, with the defenders facing QB, are those that generally generate more turnovers. I don’t want to go into technicalities, but I think I still gave a pretty clear idea of the intentions with which Marinelli did evolve this defense until today.

This until Sunday, because against the Bucs we saw a lot more zone, maybe occasionally mixed with some man to man covers, but we often saw two deep Safeties, and it’s in these personnel that they had the two interceptions and the almost interception by Patmon. Another thing that the Cowboys have tried more often is the blitz, with mixed results, it must be said, but the important thing to note is the attempt to do something different. Will it be the same for future games? We’ll see.

Once again the game was lost by conceding a few points, and this is frustrating, but still missing the stop when it was needed most. They did nothing with the two interceptions and the two sacks, regardless, that still hopefully bodes well for the future. 4 plays from 20+ yds conceded, one of these, the screen on the last Tampa drive, on a blitz, they blitzed 12 times on 42 opportunities, a season-high.

With Romo coming back, the hope is that the defense can also be positively influenced, perhaps playing with the lead, or having to stay on the field for less time, I wouldn’t know. Surely in this unit the coaching staff cannot be accused of inaction, and we have seen some results of the adjustments. Sunday there’ll be a further test of appeal, and we’ll know whether the collapse of the last quarter were contingent effects or if they are part of the DNA of this 2015 Cowboys Defense.

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