Nov 24, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) scrambles away from Miami Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks (94) on Thanksgiving day at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Was the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Better than the Giants' in 2011?

As good as the Dallas Cowboys looked beating the New York Giants, the team still has weaknesses. Cowboys’ Owner and GM Jerry Jones has been signing big name players at the skill positions for years, rather than focusing on the linemen. Jerry Jones doesn’t seem to understand, like the average fan, that most football games are won in the trenches. So I wasn’t that surprised when I read the following tweet from Blogging The Boys:

“Bad O-lines don’t keep teams from going to SBs anymore. Hell, Giants O-Line sucked last year except against DAL”

 

I replied by explaining that “it all starts upfront” and that the Giants offensive line was far superior to Dallas’ last season.

Throughout my conversation with BTB, they relied mainly on ProFootballFocus’ rating of the Giants O-Line as being 32nd in pass blocking and 27th in run blocking. What many football enthusiasts don’t quite understand, is the guys who publish these web sites are not professional scouts, coaches, or even former professional players. They are every day people like you and me. Opinion and lack of training in properly evaluating players plays a major role in how they (mis)grade them. The guys at PFF do interesting stuff, but some of their grades and ranking are shocking – last season TE Martellus Bennett had a higher overall rating than Jason Witten.

The question is: how do they arrive at these totals?  In order to determine how accurate these rankings are, we need to examine the raw data. Keep in mind, the debate was that the NYG didn’t have a better offensive line than the Dallas Cowboys last year. I will include the data from the 2011 season. All Stats are courtesy of the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys

Team Statistics
Cowboys Opponents
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 327 305
FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-passing-by penalty) 91 – 219 – 17 78 – 199 – 28
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS 78/198 81/204
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS 5/10 4/11
TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS 6008 5491
OFFENSE (Plays-Average Yards) 1017 – 5.9 972 – 5.6
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS 1807 1585
RUSHING (Plays-Average Yards) 408 – 4.4 385 – 4.1
TOTAL PASSING YARDS 4201 3906
PASSING (Comp-Att-Int-Avg) 376 – 570 – 12 – 7.8 336 – 545 – 15 – 7.6
SACKS/HITS-Tony Romo 36 – 81 39
FIELD GOALS 32/37 26/33
TOUCHDOWNS 39 38
(Rushing-Passing-Returns-Defensive) 5 – 33 – 0 – 1 10 – 24 – 0 – 4
TIME OF POSSESSION 31:24 29:33
TURNOVER RATIO +4

New York Giants

Team Statistics
Giants Opponents
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 331 338
FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-passing-by penalty) 84 – 216 – 31 103 – 210 – 25
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS 77/206 84/220
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS 4/13 10/18
TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS 6161 6022
OFFENSE (Plays-Average Yards) 1028 – 6.0 1072 – 5.6
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS 1427 1940
RUSHING (Plays-Average Yards) 411 – 3.5 435 – 4.5
TOTAL PASSING YARDS 4734 4082
PASSING (Comp-Att-Int-Avg) 359 – 589 – 16 – 8.4 361 – 589 – 20 – 7.5
SACKS/HITS-Eli Manning 28 – 72 28
FIELD GOALS 19/24 25/31
TOUCHDOWNS 47 46
(Rushing-Passing-Returns-Defensive) 17 – 29 – 0 – 1 15 – 28 – 0 – 3
TIME OF POSSESSION 29:29 30:30
TURNOVER RATIO +7

According to the NFL:  The New York Giants had the 7th ranked offensive line in the NFL in 2011. The Dallas Cowboys offensive line came in at 19th. You can see the totals here. The fact remains that Tony Romo is much better at avoiding the sack than Eli Manning is. He actually makes his offensive line appear better than it really is(which makes the ranking of 19th higher than it should be). If Romo was sacked 8 more times and hit 9 more times being more mobile, and the Cowboys only managed 5 rushing TDs compared to 17 rushing TDs by the Giants: how is it possible that the Giants didn’t have a better offensive line?

Thanks to BTB for giving me the idea of comparing the two O-Lines, I am always happy to find new reasons to show how bad this Cowboys offensive line was and is. It allows me the chance to highlight the obvious, that Jerry Jones has neglected the O-line for years, and the only reason they don’t look terrible on game day is because Tony Romo, the Magician, makes them look way better than they are. Romo has made this a good offense despite an anemic running game and a sub-par line for years.  If Romo ever gets a solid offensive Line with even an average defense, they would win Super Bowls. With a solid O-Line, Romo could probably win a Super Bowl with Drew Pearson as his #1 WR.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones New York Giants

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