Film breakdown: Cowboys safety Brodney Pool is going to have trouble sticking with the speedy NFC East receivers

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:

He was so slow on that play that I even went back and checked to see if he appeared on the injury report for this game or the following game. He did not.

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.


  1. […] being an effective starter opposite Gerald Sensabaugh on the back end.  I sure as hell know that I’m not sold on Pool.  It was probably a long shot for Matt Johnson to make the jump from a Division I-AA school to an […]

  2. slandog says:

    Nice blocks by Maclin, slowing down 3 guys there. Good downfield hussle!!!

  3. ProtoTyler says:

    Also Sensabaugh just had some kind of surgery recently.

    1. DerfDiggy says:

      Just a scope…all indications is he’ll be there for training camp.

    2. Yeah, they cleaned out his knee a little. In the 80’s that would have been a big deal, but he should be good to go in a couple weeks.

  4. JonS says:

    Also, notice that Revis almost ran Celek down from behind.

  5. Not Brodney says:

    Nobody’s posted this yet? Some NSFW, but entirely appropriate language included.

    1. Not Brodney says:

      Here’s the link.

      1. Free Plax says:

        I can’t wait to play the Cowboys, you can sign all the CB’s you want but if your safety’s stink your still going to give up big plays!

  6. DerfDiggy says:

    Looks like he took a bad angle, realized it, then gave up on the play.

    I can forgive him for taking a bad happens.

    Him quitting and letting slow ass celek blow by him is worrisome.

    1. ProtoTyler says:

      Letting Celek who was playing with a sports hernia and partially torn hip labrum run away from anyone that is in an NFL Defensive backfield is pretty sad.

      1. DerfDiggy says:


        Although I think Church beats him out as the starter anyways….and they use more 4CB 1 Safety packages.

  7. Ben says:

    Wow that’s extremely alarming, I was under the impression that Pool was a ‘coverage” safety. He doesn’t even look like he’s trying.

  8. Archie "Chia" says:

    wow, it doesn’t even look like he is running lol

    1. No wonder that team fell apart when they lost Jim Leonhard. Pool and Eric Smith had to have been the slowest safety combo in the league.

      1. ct17 says:

        As someone who watches the Jets regularly, it has been years since they had a safety that could cover. Leonhard is not great in coverage. Elam couldn’t cover for them either. Guess Dallas did not learn their lesson with their first ex-Jet safety.

        Pool was their best safety since Rhodes had talent. I’m not sure that is a compliment.

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