In week 2 of the 2012 NFL preseason, the Dallas Cowboys faced off against the San Diego Chargers in a game in which the starters saw a reasonable amount of playing time. What can we glean from their performance? Let’s have a look at Bruce Carter (whom I looked at last week here and was less than impressed), and the much maligned David Arkin.
First up, David Arkin. A little background for those not familiar with him : Arkin was a 4th round pick by the Cowboys in the 2011 draft. He made the roster (which says little as almost every 4th round pick makes the roster) to start the season, but he was inactive for every game. The other interior offensive linemen on the team last year were Nagy(starter), Kowalski(backup, active for most games), Dockery (backup, active for a lot of games), Loper (never active, only on team for a few games), and Holland (started when Nagy went down). He is currently listed as the backup RG on the Cowboys website, with Derrick Dockery the backup LG. With how the o-line performed against the Raiders, Arkin has been getting his fair share of criticism. It’s worth noting Arkin had never played center before Costa, Nagy, and Kowalski seemingly went down in the blink of an eye. Remember that if a center gives up pressure on a passing play, he probably really screwed up, as they often have no one to block or are helping with a block, or at worst a d-linemen with nowhere to go but through them really, so don’t get too excited about him pass blocking well.
P1: run up the gut, Arkin blocks his man slightly back from where he was originally.
P2: quick throw, just rides the linemen to the side.
P3: successfully double teams the NT.
P4: pass-play, rides d-linemen away from touble.
P5: run at him, just allows d-linemen to shoot himself out of the play.
P6: pass, NT initially pushes him back a step or two, recovers to hold ground.
P7: just allows NT to go right on a play going left, easy block.
P8: pass, not really anyone to block.
P9: pass, no one to block.
P10: run left of center, driven back by NT, forcing RB to hopstep round him. Called for somewhat dubious hold. Play fails because Dockery misses double team block with Tyron Smith allowing DE inside angle.
P11: pass, no one to block.
P12: run right, nice block on NT.
P13: pass, no one to block.
P14: pass, driven back on quick pass.
P15: pass, initially blocks a man, then moseys about as Romo has held the ball for roughly 5 minutes and gets called for illegal man downfield.
P16: run up gut, nice block on DT to spring Felix Jones.
P17: pass, NT drives him back causing pressure on Romo forcing checkdown pass.
P18: run right of center, decent block on NT.
P19: pass, NT initially drives him back, but recovers to hold ground this time. Gets called for phantom hold, wrong number called for penalty?
P20: pass, no one to block.
P21: pass, no one to block.
P22: short pass right.
P23: short pass left.
P24: run right, nice block on DT.
P25: short pass left.
P26: no one to block on pass.
P27: run up middle, tbh turns into a scrum so fast I can’t really see what happened.
P28: nice block, somehow appears to even get a piece of a LB, this on a run up gut from 2 yard line in scrum of people.
I covered Bruce Carter last week as well, but as he was subpar I wanted to give him a chance to redeem himself. The notation is formatted as such – [P = play, 11 = offensive personnel (the first number being the number of running backs on the field, the second being tight ends), 34 = defensive personnel (first number = defensive linemen, second is linebackers), no personnel indicated means same as last snap.
P1: 22 vs 34 LILB, run to offense’s left. Blocked by C on play he probably couldn’t have affected much.
P2: 21, drops into coverage, sack.
P3: 20 vs 33, lined up over LWR close to hashes, covers flat.
P4: RILB, quick pass right, NIIP (not involved in play).
P5: RILB, drops, NIIP.
(subbed for a couple plays)
P6: RILB, drops middle, makes solid tackle on player in left flat after short pass and broken tackle.
P7: LILB, drops, NIIP.
P8: LILB, fights off block, NIIP anyway.
P9: LILB, drops somewhat lazily, ignoring only player near him who makes catch.
P10: RILB, drops, NIIP.
P11: 11 vs 24. LILB, fights off block, NIIP.
P12: RILB, drops, NIIP.
P13: LILB, run left, shows nice pursuit to make good tackle.
P14: RILB, drops, NIIP.
Overall, a somewhat uneventful night for both positions. Arkin definitely looked better run-blocking than pass-blocking where he was able to be pushed back a couple times, but overall I think if he started the whole season the Cowboys OL would be fine, much like we are with Costa. Bruce Carter showed signs of life in the run game, and although he does seem to lack awareness in coverage on occasion, he does enough to not get targeted a huge amount, which in itself could be an upgrade from last year. He somehow seems to be on the field, but never be involved in the play negatively or positively.