4. Home Run Threats
For any offense, not just RPO, you need speed on the field forcing a defense to play honestly. Whether it’s running back or a receiver, you need someone with homerun potential to force defenders back and off the line of scrimmage.
When Zeke was suspended in 2017, we saw firsthand what happens when there’s no home run threat on the field. The Cowboys plugged Alfred Morris into the starting role, and while he did an admirable job in Zeke’s stead, his weaknesses were quickly exposed. Defenses knew Dallas lacked top-end speed and they adjusted accordingly.
Thompson (4.31 40-time) immediately improves the deep speed on this roster and his ability to beat both press and off coverage makes him someone the defense must account for.
They did so by jamming receivers at the line, packing the line of scrimmage with would-be tacklers, and generally leaving the second and third level exposed. There was no one to really fear anymore. Had Zeke been there, defenders still would have packed the box to try and stop the run, but they wouldn’t have had everyone up on the line, pressing (that is extremely difficult to read for a QB).
Thompson (4.31 40-time) immediately improves the deep speed on this roster and his ability to beat both press and off coverage makes him someone the defense must account for. Tavon Austin (4.34 40-time) brings that same home run ability to both the running and passing game.
Suddenly Ezekiel Elliott is no longer the only homerun threat on this offense and teams will have to defend Dallas more honestly. All of this helps Dak Prescott considerably because the defense will be easier to read, more spread out, and progressions will be easier to follow. Add in the extra time in the pocket from better pass-protection and you have a great situation for the third-year signal caller.