Cool play of the Week (5): 12 Front Arc Dak Prescott 11yd TD Cowboys vs Packers – Oh Coacher!

Cool play of the Week (5): 12 Front Arc Dak Prescott 11yd TD Cowboys vs Packers

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m back for the second time this week with another play! This time I will be trying different formatting to rely less on Imgur for people. I will still post the album that has the same content as this post but this will hopefully give you guys a better view at the breakdown. Imgur Album at bottom of post if you prefer to see it in that form.

This play will look at the Pistol touchdown that the Cowboys scored on (although too soon). What makes this play “Cool” to me is that the Cowboys won so cleanly from the semi-unique formation they ran in “Pistol Trips Right Nub” By putting 3 receivers to the field (trips) and the Nub to the boundary (tight end attached opposite) they were able to get a really specific defensive look to nearly guarantee a touchdown. The reason why its called 12 Front Arc is:

  • 1 refers to QB run option
  • 2 refers to gap the play may hit and blocking mind set for the offensive line (2 OFTEN is lead concept vs gap or zone type)
  • Front means there is no tight end front side so fan to pressure on the line (can often push the Mike point as well)
  • Arc tells the TE to Arc block his man, gives more information to the line on their blocking assignments, and indicates the ball handling to the QB and RB

I hope this gives you more information on the anatomy of a play call with the formation. This play is even more weird because it often doesn’t go front side 2 gap (right) but it is easier to call it this way for the offensive line to make their calls.

Great 1st and Goal play to call here knowing you will get Man Coverage near the end zone. When the offense goes trips (3 wide receivers to the field) the defense will set their strength there. This gives clear indication that they are in Cover 1 with the single safety in the middle.

Also you know they have to be in man with the S/S being the only person on the Nub side (Nub indicates the Tight End is attached to the lineman instead of split out wide. Also why in the play call its indicated Nub to go opposite the trips call when normally TE goes with it)

The numbers are great to run the ball because the Qb can account for the End man with the read.

Because of Man coverage on the TE free release, the Strong Safety (S/S) needs to account for him like it was a pass. He is probably responsible for contain on this play and work off the block but is scared of old man Witten near the endzone.

All the linebackers come up and meet their blockers. O Line did a good job of moving the LOS from the 11 to the 9 and put DL into the laps of the backers. By coming up and have the DL in their laps there is no way to utilize the 2nd level (DL is first level of defense, LBs are second, and Safeties are 3rd) to their advantage to run over the top to get Dak.

Because everyone is keyed on Zeke and the run game so much the F/S takes a bad step forward to try and help stop the run. Be more patient and focus on keeping them out the end zone.

Something that is unique about the Pistol (Shotgun snap with RB directly behind, also QB heels at 4 yards from center instead of 5) is that you can run stronger double teams on the offensive line. You can run Iso or gap type combinations against DL instead of lateral which stresses the line backers more. You are more likely to put your DL into the lap of the Backer this way

Also if the RB had been given the ball he is reading the SAM. If the same were to cut inside (he does here, he bounces outside the double team. If he goes outside to take care of the QB action he stays inside.

DT does a good job to take care of double (gets pushed too far) and holds onto both lineman. The SAM comes free and has a chance to make a play. Would have been great had it been given but he should know that if the end crashes he has to replace. In the next slide picture you wills see why he might not have needed to have contain for the QB keeper.

Saw this from watching tactic from watching a video breakdown Belichick did: Belichick Chalk Talk vs Houston

They identified that 2 players from the other team were talking to each other after a specific play. Understand that ALL teams will work on adapting to what the offense has shown in game during that game. This can be why 3rd quarters can feel like they drag on because defense has often adapted to the week long gameplan the offense input. Here i think the Sam is telling the safety that he has contain and the safety is nodding ya ya in response.


I hope you like this bonus one and let me know if this format works better for you all. I know some people hate imgur but I am just getting started right now and it makes pushing out content easy. Let me know any questions and advice or things you want more in depth discussion about. Here is the imgur album if you want to check it out that way 12 Front Arc Album


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