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Tale of the tape: Improvement on offense for the Cowboys

in Rainbowbase
17.11.2018 03:38
von panxing18 | 267 Beiträge | 1596 Punkte

all starts with the offensive line We’re going to do this a little bit different this week. Instead of going through every position group and breaking down the good and the bad , were going to zone in on the offensive line. There has been mixed reviews going around the internet on whether or not this offensive line is playing as bad as the statistics say. Let’s take a look at the tape and see if we can find some answers with the Paul Alexander-led group.Failing to read the read-optionOn the first drive of the game the Cowboys received a bit of help from the Seattle defense when they literally walked their “12th man” on the field for a five-yard penalty. This took the Cowboys from a 3rd-and-6, to a 3rd-and-1. In recent years, 3rd-and-short was almost a gimmie for the Cowboys offense, that is not the case anymore. The Cowboys line up in shotgun with Zeke lined up to the right of Dak Prescott. The read-option had worked wonders for the Cowboys the week before so if you guessed that the read-option was coming you were exactly right. The Seahawks also guessed right and forced the Cowboys to punt after losing a yard on 3rd-and-1. The Seahawks blitz Bradley McDougald, and center Joe Looney decides to block him leaving Bobby Wagner free in the middle. Prescott needs to see that Wagner is moving to the front side of the play pre-snap, and with McDougald also pressed up to the line, that there is an overload on that side. If he pulls the ball he has tight end Geoff Swaim crossing to block on the back side, and he has Allen Hurns coming in for a seal block to give Prescott the edge. On that side of the ball he has three blockers and there are three defenders, he needs to read that and keep the ball. It doesn’t help that on the front-side Connor Williams gets bullied into the backfield and Tyron Smith is unable to hold his block for any length of time. Pressure from all anglesThe Seahawks send a slot-blitz on this play and Zeke Elliott does a nice job of picking it up. Elliott runs the blitzing DB all the way up the field and completely out of the play. Awesome right? Wrong. Zack Martin gets walked all the way back into Dak Prescott’s lap forcing him to step up in the pocket, avoiding the defender’s arm (that should have been a penalty for hitting the QB in the helmet), and throw off balance while avoiding the DE, and running into the side of Tyron Smith. It also looks as if Bobby Wagner was spying Dak Prescott on this play taking his legs out of the equation on third down. Even when the receivers do run some nice routes to create some separation, the offensive line can’t allow the pocket to break down so soon.Bad CommunicationThis looks to be a misdirection run called by Scott Linehan that could have been very successful if executed the right way. The Seahawks are showing an overloaded blitz to the left side of the offense and the run if supposed to be going right. One problem, no one blocks Frank Clark, and he gets into the backfield before Elliott even touches the football. Tyron Smith is letting him go expecting Connor Williams to pick him up, but Williams gets engaged in a combo block and only realizes there’s a free man running by after it’s too late. The refs missed a hold here on Connor Williams, and Ezekiel Elliott trips over his own feet trying to cut right. A chance for a big play was ruined, due to the offensive line miscommunication. Poor technique is causing issues for multiple linemanFirst off, let me comment on how good of a get jump Frank Clark got on this play. But the truth is, if Tyron Smith gains more depth with his initial kick step he could have handled this speed rush with ease. Instead, Tyron takes almost a chop step here with his first step, and that completely took away all of his chances of making a play against the talented pass rusher. From the looks of it, Smith did not anticipate Clark rushing him to the outside with a speed rush, so he didn’t get his weight moving to his outside foot, and this was an easy sack for Frank Clark. Smith needs to improve his play, this is sloppy for an All-Pro left tackle and one of the better ones in the game.Elliott, and TE’s have struggled in pass protectionIf you’re familiar with the Cowboys coaching staff, you know how much they love having their running backs, tight ends, and receivers block both in the run game, and in the passing game. Unfortunately for the team Womens Antwaun Woods Jersey , they have been atrocious at doing so, so far this year. This will be the second time in three games that Ezekiel Elliott has decided to “cut” a blitzing linebacker in attempts to block them. On the first occasion, the play ended in a sack, on the second occasion, the play ended in an erratic pass to an open receiver. Zeke as to do a better job than this. If Elliott squares the blitzing linebacker up here, it gives Prescott a chance to complete a pass on 2nd-and-7, instead, this ball is thrown inaccurately due to a Prescott having a 250-lb linebacker being catapulted into his face.The Cowboys offensive issues are not with one player, one unit, or one coach. It is a combination of all three, but if the offensive line can pick up their play just a little bit, that should give the quarterback, running back, receivers, and coaches more chances to make plays. Until then, we will likely see a lot of the same due to the inability to run deep routes, run the ball with consistency, and give a quarterback who isn’t playing with much poise, the ability to bounce back and pick up his play. The Cowboys brought in Paul Alexander to coach up this offensive line, and so far the results have been far from positive. With the team already at 1-2 on the young season, they do not have much time to figure it out.Crunching stats: Eight things that show us the Cowboys are on the right trajectory My, things feel so much better after the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants by a 20-13 score that made things look a lot closer than they actually were. It is a lot more fun to dive into the stats from the game to pull out some things that we can learn from. Stat sheet scouting is fraught with peril, but with a little judicious interpretation, we can still gather things to inform us going forward.6 for 6The Cowboys had six sacks of a shell shocked Eli Manning. (Isn’t it amazing how expressive his face is when things go awry?)Anyhow, as great as the game was for the pass rush (now second in the league in sacks), what is even better is how the sacks came about. Six different players got home on Manning, two defensive ends (Taco Charlton, DeMarcus Lawrence), two players from the interior of the line (Antwaun Woods, Tyrone Crawford), a linebacker (Damien Wilson) Womens Jaylon Smith Jersey , and a safety (Kavon Frazier). Having the sacks spread around is always good, much like getting the ball to a variety of receivers: The other team can’t focus on stopping your one big threat, because the threat comes from everywhere. And five of those sacks came when Dallas brought a blitz, which seems like a real departure from the way the team went about things before Kris Richard came to town. We may have seen the future, and it looks good.6 to 0In the loss to the Carolina Panthers, Dak Prescott took an Eli-level of abuse. Against the Giants, he was almost untouched unless he was running the ball for good yardage. New York could only get three hits on him the entire game when he was throwing. That was influenced a bit by the fact that the Giants don’t have near the front seven that the Panthers do, but it also shows that the Cowboys offensive line got a lot cleaned up in their week of prep for the second game. That will give Prescott a lot more confidence when he’s passing, and that is extremely helpful.64As in how many yards the deep throw to Tavon Austin covered for the touchdown just three plays into the game. It proved that Prescott could throw the ball deep, which affected the Giants’ defense for the rest of the game and opened up things for the team to amass 138 yards rushing. Once they got that big strike, the Cowboys were pretty much in control of things, even though the offense would regress until the final scoring drive to put things pretty much out of reach.6As in yards per play offensively for Dallas. (You may notice a theme to start things here.) As Bob Sturm noticed in his morning after piece at The Athletic:You may want to argue that the one long score pushed that average up, but that just means that it doesn’t matter how you get the yards. It is the efficiency that matters, and the Cowboys were much more efficient than New York, who only managed 3.8 yards per play, with much of their production coming after the Cowboys went into a prevent approach after building the lead to 20-3.2 for 2 twiceThat is from Brett Maher’s stat line, two field goals on two attempts and the same for extra points. After the miss in the season opener, it is no exaggeration that the fans breathed a collective sigh of relief at some real evidence that things will be OK without Dan Bailey (he is now going to play for the Minnesota Vikings in their indoor stadium, which should be good for him.)The new shape of the linebacking corpsHere are the key stats for the linebackers who saw action with the defense.Jaylon Smith: 10 tackles, one TFL, 84% of the defensive playsLeighton Vander Esch: 7 tackles, 41%Sean Lee: 5 tackles, 60%Damien Wilson: 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 25%Joe Thomas: 1 tackle, 21%There’s a lot to unpack here. First, while Lee had a bit of a bounce back after his rather poor showing in the first game, he was not the workhorse we have become used to. Part of that was due to what he describes as a cramp in his hamstring Womens Deonte Thompson Jersey , which may be a conditioning issue after he had so little work in preseason, but it also may be an early signal that Smith is becoming the new standard bearer for the group - and that is still such a remarkable story after so many thought Dallas had wasted that second-round pick on him. Vander Esch is starting to show he was not a wasted pick in the first, either, with good production on fairly limited snaps. It can still be argued that he was still a bit too costly in terms of draft capital, but he now has a definite “future starter” look to him. And Wilson, who also performed poorly in Carolina, had the biggest rebound of all, with a ridiculously productive day while only being on the field a quarter of the time. The defense is looking very solid from front to back.Speaking of the defense’s other unitsThe secondary may be a bit shallow, but they have come through big. After keeping Cam Newton from any long completions, they largely shut down Odell Beckham Jr. and didn’t let Saquon Barkley or Evan Engram do any significant damage either. Chidobe Awuzie and Kavon Frazier were on the field for all the defensive play, Byron Jones and Jeff Heath each only missed one after each was shaken up a bit, and Anthony Brown saw the field for 74% of the plays as the nickle corner. These guys are balling.And the defensive line is, as well. In addition to the three sacks, they amassed 11 tackles, 6 TFLs, 6 QB hits, and Charlton’s fumble recovery. But not all is perfectThere is still room for improvement. Dallas only converted 3 of 10 third downs. They had six penalties for 47 yards, which wiped out a couple of third down conversions. And Barkley evaded the first man to get to him on almost every play, which is partly a testament to his elusiveness with his perfectly timed spin moves, but also something that needs improvement. After the first couple of series, Prescott made very few attempts to go deep with his passes. And Elliott, while effective, only had 78 yards rushing, something the team really needs him to improve.Still, overall, the stats bear out that this was a convincing and badly-needed win. And it brings us to the most important stat of all:1-1, and tied for the NFC East lead.

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