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

  • boysteamusa

    According to the NFL: The New York Giants had the 7th ranked offensive line in the NFL in 2011. The Dallas Cowboys came in at 19th. You can see the totals here.
    boysteamusa says: From the time Tony Romo first took the reigns of the Cowboys it was clear he made the offense look good. But it was also clear that he would be running for his life AND that he could be gotten to. The Giants simply reloaded and got stronger up front. Dallas has to answer this with more firepower on the O-Line. Magician or not, Tony cannot continue to escape the inevitable if he is not given better protection.
    What JJ does to the O-Line next season will tell me whether he has finally come to see the obvious. Everyone now knows our O-Line is our weakness, so Dallas either will finally make the sound investment here, or they will prove themselves incapable of seizing this opportunity.
    The Giants will improve their secondary and LB corp soon enough and be entirely solid, the question is will Dallas be quicker on the draw and solidify this team immediately. No amount of wishful thinking will make our O-Line play like the probowlers they are not. We need to be able to move the pile.

  • boysteamusa

    And to think we could have gotten Nicks or Grubbs not to mention some choice linemen in this draft. Nothing we did this offseason concerning the O-Line has PROVEN a good move, except perhaps Cook as a replacement C, but even that is still remains to be seen. We knew our secondary would be better and we knew the LB corp would be better, AND we knew the WR corp would be better coming into our 1st game of the season, so WHY did we not know whether or not the O-Line would be better? I enjoy hope as much as the next guy but cmon put the right piece on the field to begin with. No Way this O-Line is the best we could do.

  • boysteamusa

    Listening to Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith argue about whether the New England Patriots are better than the Cowboys, Giants, and San Francisco. These guys are comical at times. Power ranking nonsense. NE has a weak schedule this year.

  • osnappp

    blah blah blah.. blah, the big test will be this week againt one the the best interior defensive lines. if they handle the job this week i really hope to quit hearing about this big weakness. The skill players, in my opinion were needed more… scheme makes an offense go, not 40 million dollar interior lineman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/directortom Tom Salagaj

    Naturally, I could not agree with you more. Even a blind man could see easily that after a few drives, Tony decided to take the remainder of the game (with the Giants) on his back and just make things happen. His skill and talent carried the 2nd half offense. Watching that 2nd half, especially the drive finishing with Mile’s TD, how in the world did they ever get down the field with so many O line penalites??? And even at 3rd and 30, Tony made it happen with a great pass and catch with Miles! I can only hope that the O line can improve enough to take a little pressure off Tony this week. But if he has to repeat his effort, he will. As far as I’m concerned, his elite status should never be debated again. Tony Romo knows who he is and what he can do. If the remainder of the team can dial up some superior effort like Tony Romo, the Cowboys can and should be competitive in every game this season.
    I DO agree that JJ needs to get smart or get out of the game. There are enough WR’s and defensive studs on this roster to carry us a few years, maybe three or four. It’s high past time to strengthen our lines.

  • http://twitter.com/Dboyz62 David Perez

    The Cowboys true test will come against the Ravens.

    • http://yourdailycowboysfootballfix.com/author/cowgirlcas/ Cowgirlcas22

      don’t forget Phi, Chi, Pitt, and Wash all have solid front 7′s

  • californy

    There a couple of saying that come to mind. The first one goes something like this, it never about what you say that matter it what you do that distinguishes you from others. The second is seeing is believing. Stats and number can always show you part of the picture, but in no way does it show all the picture. I guess if you believe in number, then a team like NE and NY Giants would of never been playing in last year SB base on the poor ranking of the defense.
    It my belief the only number JJ is looking at is the number that are going into his pocket book at the end of the year. In this year draft, within an hour of being selected MO Claiborne had his jersey being sold on the Cowboys site months before even signing a contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Those are the number JJ understand.
    In an ideal system competition is a great thing. We are not in an ideal situation here in Dallas. The boys have a back up player in Scandrick making more than last year starter in Jenkins. We also have Jenkins in no man land, unable to compete for a starting spot. If Mo is a better player let him prove that and earn the position fair and squarely. But when this team management say he will not be allow to compete with Mo, you created a system of bias, and unfair system of competition.
    There has been talk about the boys needing a better center. JJ responce was never to draft one or even pick one up as a FA. The boys knew of Kowalski situation months ago and ignore the fact of getting a new Center. In fact the boys address the center situation by making someone with out any NFL experience into a center, when he has yet to prove himself as a guard the position he was drafted for. The boys also did the same with Parnell, a guy who has zero NFL experience starting as a tackle, as our swing tackle. Why extend the person during the offseason? Why shouldnt someone earn the swing tackle position not just give him the postion

  • californy

    The number dont tell you the whole story. I remember the boys drafting a player who many said, was to small, too slow and not strong enough. I guess this player defied his critics because this player in now the all time leader in rushing yards by a RB of all time

    • boysteamusa

      Moveover Sweetness, make a place for Emmitt.

  • californy

    Sometime it the moment that defines who we are. What do we do when we have the time to break away and define who we are in that critical moment in life. I dont know about the ranking, I rarely pay attention to those things. But good team and players take advantage of the opportunities they are given to show they are the best at what they do when the moment arises. I give credit to the Giants for taking advantage of their moments in time, that defines them as SB champions last year. They may not of been the best team during the regular season, but they were the best team when the moment ask them to be.

    • boysteamusa

      well said!

    • http://yourdailycowboysfootballfix.com/author/cowgirlcas/ Cowgirlcas22

      the Cowboys can’t take advantage of those moments because the GM and the HC are too boneheaded to protect their QB.

  • californy

    Nice Article Cowgirl, I like your passion and honesty in you as a Cowboy fan. You never been shy to express your feeling about it and that what I like. It true JJ doesnt hear the Cowboys fans nor do we see his long term plan for the boys. I really doubt he has one. There are many who give JJ the benefit of the doubt blindly. There are other who question his daily decision. I already know which one I am. I too am not afraid to express it either
    Last week it was our time, this team was good enough to over come our poor blocking, bad play calling, and all our team mistakes with penalties. The boys wanted it more last week. Dont be surprise if the Seahawks want it more this week. I all come down to execution and adjustment made during game situation. My only hope lies with RR defense, and the legs of Tony Romo and Demarco Murray. It really about the small things and the detail to which the boys execute these plays. I saw the Seattle game against The Cards. They will come ready to play. I just hope the boys want it more than they do.

  • Dallas3026

    I seem to remember you saying after the draft that the Giants front 7 would destroy the Cowboys o-line. They held up fairly well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/napolean.allen Patrick Napolean

    love your passion, and your points well there on point,but I think after this year it will be time to give Jerry his due. This team is shaping up to be a beast, and I never say that. Im a realist like yourself…ive always said the opposite…give tony a DEFENSE and he would have had 3 rings already and we wouldnt be talking about brady and the mannings’s. ’06, ’07 and ’09
    Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, M.Claibourne, B.Carr, Barry Church, Wilber….Jones is gonna take credit for all these guys, and these guys are going to win multiple titles with out Dware…thats a promise and thats scary!