|OL coach Bill Callahan and new|
LG Mackenzy Bernadeau (73)
New Cowboys left guard Mackenzy Bernadeau had a solid debut against the Chargers.
While we wait for the ”dress rehearsal in two days, it’s a good time to review the Chargers’ video and get an early read on some of the new guys.
Today, I want to look at new right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, the subject of so much spring angst, all because of a dubious rating he received from a major site last year. The Bernadeau I saw at Oxnard was quick and steady in pass protection. He accurately handled stunts and set a tight pocket for Tony Romo.
With fellow free agent guard Nate Livings out with an injury, Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan called for an early game plan that ran behind the new money, Bernardeau and free agent fullback Lawrence Vickers. Here are several cut ups from Dallas’ first two series which offer a positive view of Bernadeau’s game.
The situation: 1st and 10. This is Dallas’ first offensive play from scrimmage. The Chargers know the Cowboys’ line struggled badly against the Raiders and want to test them immediately. Dallas opens in a vanilla set, two backs, two receivers and one tight end, and line up in queen right, and off-set I with the FB Vickers opposite the tight end. The Chargers are in their base 3-4, but take a look at the strong safety in still one. He’s walked up to the line of scrimmage and is flanking the strong-side outside backer at the snap:
The next play. It’s 2nd and short, and Dallas calls a simple isolation run to the weak-side, behind Bernadeau, Free and Vickers. It’s man-on-man, and notice how each Cowboys blocker gets his man. At the point, Free and Bernadeau immediately turn their men outside, while David Arkin is riding the NT down onto his knees. Vickers has the ILB to the play side and it’s DeMarco Murray’s responsibility to win the duel with the weak-side inside backer crashing down.
This isn’t the blow-em-out, rock-’em, sock-’em push the old ’90s Cowboys generated, but this is nonetheless much better point of attack, short-yardage blocking than we’ve seen in recent seasons.
The sprint draw. It’s 2nd and 10 near mid-field on Dallas’ second possession. Felix Jones has replaced Murray as the lead back and the Cowboys have spread the field with an ace set — three wideouts, a tight end and Jones as the lone back:
The call is a sprint draw to the weakside, again behind Bernadeau and Free. Watch Bernadeau sell the draw in still two. When Romo drops, Bernadeau drops backwards, feigning that he’s pass blocking. This causes the inside linebacker on the play side to dither in space; he’s not sure whether to drive on a draw play or drop into coverage:
After taking two steps back, Bernadeau plants and charges hard at the linebacker. Bernadeau had an angle and momentum. Note how the ‘backer reacts in still three. He’s trying to absorb and fall off the block. He’s not interested in a major collision: