2014 Play of the Week – WK6

As I did last year, I will once again be selecting one play each week through the 2014 season where I felt as though special movement was displayed. In the post I will then breakdown some things that I felt contributed to the movement performance. In my normal fashion, I will also be very likely to make note of things that maybe could’ve been done differently, as well.

Game: Cowboys at Seahawks

Play: Big-time presence, kinesthetic sense & balance from both a QB & a WR

Wk 6 play pic 2

What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

This week I had a rather difficult decision to make as I felt as though there were two plays stood neck & neck with one another but I felt did rein far supreme compared to the rest of the bunch. The first was a dazzling dash by one of my favorite current movers in the league, Gio Bernard, RB of the Cincinnati Bengals. The second came on a pocket escape act by Dallas Cowboys QB, Tony Romo, to throw a frozen rope up for grabs to Terrance Williams.

No matter which way I went, I felt confident either could be deemed well-worthy of it and both plays actually represented a bit of déjà vu as last year Bernard captured three (yes, 3!) Movement Play of the Week nods and Romo played Houdini once last season against the Broncos to grab my attention, as well (that time the ball actually did go to Witten though).

I am often accused of having a running back bias. That is an acquisition I admit I am guilty of and proud of it. However, after much deliberation (OK; that’s just a figure of speech I won’t lose any sleep here or anything), I decided it was only appropriate to give credit where credit is due. And as much as I enjoy artistic and efficient on-field movement from a running back, I also appreciate big time players making big time plays (yes; even more so in big time games).

That all said then, this week’s Movement Play of the Week goes to Tony Romo and Terrance Williams. This play couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for this trademark win for the 5-1 Cowboys in an early season showdown with the immovable force in their home stadium. Note: It was 3rd down and 20 with less than 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter.

What happened movement-wise on the play?

With the way that DeMarco Murray has been playing over the first 6 weeks of the season (literally only one RB has ever in the history of the game has played as well over the beginning stretch) I thought for sure that if any Cowboy was gonna be the first to nab a Play of the Week that it would be him.

However, I have now seen three Dallas Cowboy’s games and in each one, Tony Romo has not only played at a very high quarterbacking level but also has been moving exceptionally well and doing things that very few at the position can do. In addition, I have also been very impressed by young Cowboys WR, Terrance Williams, as it looks like he has done a fantastic job stepping into the complimentary role next to superstar, Dez Bryant. Well, on this play, the two combined to solidify those feelings from the previous games even further.

On the play, Tony Romo lines up in the shotgun at around his own 26 yard line. His counterpart on the play of the week is split out wide right to the top of your screen. Now, because it was 3rd and long, most of Romo’s looks in his progression were going to take some time to develop. However, this is/was against the arguably the best defensive secondary in the League…thus, holes in space especially in longer developing plays downfield are typically not usually there. And it wasn’t on this play either…

Thus, Romo was going to quickly have to decide to make a whole lot of something out of what appeared to be a lot of nothing. The Seahawks only brought 4 guys to pressure Romo…and in most cases this is what they usually do b/c they truly are that stout in coverage on the backend. And initially as Romo appears to have plenty of time and could’ve hit his All-Everything Tight End, Jason Witten, on the underneath route but this wasn’t going to do to move the chains in this down, distance, & situation.

Because #9 elects not to go to his crossing TE, the pressure gets to him from the LB (#51) on his backside between his own 20 & 21 yard line where he ended up on his drop. The thing that sticks out to make an exceptional mover at this level is anticipation and awareness of not only one’s own body (as we will see with Williams in a bit) but also of the surroundings in the environment. This is one of the things that is rarely discussed in training and movement development circles but the good ones do it so exceptionally well.

Wk 6 play pic 5

You can see Romo sense the pressure & elect to turn to try and get himself out of the pressure to try & make something happen. When he makes this move, one thing I want you to pay attention to is how he uses his left foot to plant hard & away at an angle from his vertical line of force. Many QBs (and others not accustomed to moving well in tight spaces) would keep this base of support of their stance too tight in attempts to move with speed but this is counterproductive. However, Romo is one of the better in the biz at doing this and this slight nuance is enough to get him out & away in the pocket.

Wk 6 play pic 7

Even with that movement proficiency, Irvin (#51) gets a piece of Romo’s jersey which was just enough to slow him down slightly so when he completes his turn and looks up field and see 2 more guys in navy & green ready to attack. Thus, he knows something has to happen quickly or he is going to take a significant loss of yards that he already couldn’t afford to.

Check his decceleration to stop position at the 17 yard line here. For a QB, this is truly a thing of beauty that will go underappreciated. He coils on his inside (right) leg just enough to get a sharp eccentric stretch to store energy for his reacceleration back to his right. Sequentially, his left leg attacks down in the group rapidly to drive him back into that opposite direction. This movement execution is what allowed him to stop on a dime and get up and out to look back up field to make a play.

Wk 6 play pic 6

When he does this, you can see his head get up and start scanning the field as quickly as possible (being that he is against one of the fastest defensive units in the League). This is a skill in movement training & development circles that again most won’t try to implement into their drills but rather will only allow to chance in practice/game settings (which I think is a mistake). This kinesiological pattern aspect (the cognition & perception) of the display of movement for most positions (QB being one of them) is as important as the actual biomechanics a player moves with. This level of movement mastery is also what allowed him to stay controlled & comfortable under all the chaos going on around him and do his part to not only make a throw downfield…to make ONE HELLUVA THROW where only his guy could come down with it.

That guy (though some may say that they think that Romo was initially throwing the ball to Witten or maybe even throwing it away out of bounds) happened to be Terrance Williams who was crossing the field to help bail out his QB by making a play worthy of what Romo just did to escape where others wouldn’t have.

Once he knew that there was no chance that Witten was going to be able to track the throw down (as it was thrown on a line) Williams attacks the spot of the ball with aggression. And again, this is where another brilliant control of one’s body in movement comes into play as Williams shoes the kinesthetic sense & awareness to tip toe the sideline with the amount of traffic that was crashing down around him AND with the amount of linear velocity that he had built up just to get to the spot. This kinesthetic sense (i.e. the awareness of where one’s body and its units are positioned in space during movement) is also something that is trainable but has to be practiced in variable conditions and circumstances in both closed & open drills to become applicable and raise the athlete’s level of mastery.

Wk 6 play pic 3

To see the fantastic play in its entirety, click this link below.

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