This offseason, the Cowboys decided to let Abram Elam walk in free agency, and they brought in Brodney Pool from the Jets. Pool is player I don’t know a lot about, so I wanted to take a closer look at him on film.
Against the Eagles, Pool was forced to play a lot of center field, with the extremely slow-footed SS Eric Smith (#33 in the video below) drawing more in-the-box responsibility. Brodney Pool does not have the speed to play center field with any regularity at the pro level, however, I thought he actually had a decent game. He made a nice hit on Jeremy Maclin over the middle getting himself a PBU, and he found himself in the right place to recover a LeSean McCoy fumble and return it for about 30 yards.
But the one play that stood out, and in a very alarming way, was Brent Celek’s 73 yard catch and run. In this still frame, note that Celek is hauling in the pass and is about to head upfield. Pool is circled at the top right of the screen. It is not as if Celek is some sort of lumbering TE with cement shoes. He has sneaky-good speed, but at the same time, he’s never going to be mistaken for Usain Bolt. Pool has an angle and should easily be able to run down Celek and limit the damage on what is going to be a good gain:
But that doesn’t happen. Celek outruns Smith (33) and Pool (22), and is eventually brought down by Pool… at the 1 yard line. Let’s watch it play out:
In Dallas, the more athletic Gerald Sensabaugh is going to draw most of the deep responsibility, but Pool is going to have more than his share of situations where he’s going to have to cover. If Pool can’t outrun Brent Celek, you can bet that opposing offensive coordinators are going to look to create schemes in which they can exploit his lack of speed.