This will be a pretty long post. I apologize in advance.
Since Simi Fehoko and McCarthy both talked about how the team asked Fehoko to add weight to be a hybrid TE, I’ve been contemplating just how the Cowboys might be planning on using him. The team called it a tight end hybrid or pseudo TE. I also think the team might also use Noah Brown in a similar fashion because he is really big for a WR and might be the best blocking WR in the league.
Below is a video that illustrates what I’m thinking. It is done by Brett Kollmann, who is one of my favorite guys on YouTube to watch. He is excellent and really knows football inside and out.
In the video, Kollmann goes over how the Rams use Cooper Kupp and how the Vikings (with their new head coach being McVay’s offensive coordinator) will likely use Justin Jefferson (who was asked to block a lot at LSU, and did it very well).
Now, I know the exact way that the Rams use their 3 receiver sets won’t necessarily be the same way the Cowboys will, but I think it will be very similar in the way both will run the ball out of that formation.
Dallas has really liked using the 3 WR set (11 personnel) in the past, but they have used it more in a conventional manner. Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup running their routes, just like offenses usually do.
However, when McVay does it, he has Cooper Kupp, who is also one of the best blocking WR’s in the league. So for McVay, it is almost like a 2 TE set (12 personnel) because along with his TE he has Kupp who blocks his butt off.
So what you have is a 3 receiver set, that actually functions similar to a 2 TE set in the run game. This creates big issues for the defense because they typically counter 11 personnel with a nickel (or even dime) sub package, which obviously isn’t as strong against the run as a base defense.
In the video, Kollmann gives a stat that almost 25% of all the plays run by the Rams offense was a run out of 11 personnel. Not 25% of all running plays… it is 25% of all plays. It was very successful for McVay because obviously, they can pass out of that set just as easily. They ran it a huge part of the time.
So if defenses played the run, Stafford could pass. If defenses countered with a passing sub package, the Rams could hurt you on the ground
Clearly one of the big differences for Dallas is that Kupp (and Jefferson) are better receivers than Brown or Fehoko. However, if the Rams did throw out of a 3 WR set, it didn’t have to be Kupp getting the ball. He just got it a lot because he’s the best WR in the league and was often open. If Dak throws to Lamb or Gallup (or whoever) instead of Fehoko/Brown, the principles are still the same. The defense is still at a disadvantage if they have run-stop personnel on the field on a pass play, and vice versa.
On run plays for Dallas, Fehoko or Brown would have a clear advantage blocking a DB. Brown blocks almost like a TE anyway, and Fehoko will be big enough to be a very good blocker as well.
We know that Dallas wants to run the ball a lot this season, and in asking Fehoko to bulk up to be a TE Hybrid, I think Dallas is planning on running a lot more out of 3 WR sets. I think Brown’s sudden improvement (along with his great blocking) also gives a nice option to use as the 3rd receiver if they want to run out of that formation.
And if they try to use a LB on Fehoko… he’ll be going deep a lot, I think. He has improved by leaps and bounds and with his size and speed, he definitely can cause some problems for defenses.
It could be very effective for Dallas… particularly before Gallup is back.
I know none of this is groundbreaking or anything, but it is how I expect Dallas to use Fehoko (and possibly Brown) as a pseudo TE. This video gives some very good examples of what I’m talking about. And Kollmann is just so good. If you have 15 minutes to spare, it is well worth it.
I will tell you that the video is sponsored, so from about 7:53 to 9:00 he talks about the sponsor. When you get to the part where he starts talking about it, just fast forward to the 9:00 mark to skip it if you wish.
Anyway, here is the video. I hope you enjoy.