The Dallas Cowboys face their first true test of the season when they travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints Sunday night, but how good are the Bridgewater-led Saints?
At first thought, it seemed the Dallas Cowboys dodged a bullet when we learned Drew Brees’ injury was going to keep him from participating in the Week 4 Sunday Night Football match-up against the Saints. But that relief was soon replaced with concern when the Bridgewater-led Saints dismantled the previously unbeaten Seahawks to the tune of 33-27.
What does this mean for the Dallas Cowboys who travel to New Orleans Sundays night? We dive into that today…
If you watched the game you know the points the Saints laid on the ‘Hawks are a little deceiving. The first 14 points came off special teams and defense. Playing with a lead required very little of Teddy Bridgewater. And very little he provided.
Granted, Teddy put up a respectable 177 yards and 2 TDs. But even those modest numbers are widely misleading. Bridgewater rarely threw the ball downfield and his two TDs came off YAC (yards after the catch) where he offered up negative air yards (threw ball behind the line of scrimmage).
Without Brees, the New Orleans Saints rely almost completely on Alvin Kamara. If you haven’t seen much of Kamara the past season+, you may not fully appreciate how great he truly is. If Saquon Barkley is the best RB in the NFL (and he is), Kamara is a close second (with Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley a distant 3rd and 4th).
Kamara has always been one of the most elusive runners in the NFL but he’s added plus power to his game as of late and now is a legitimate every-down RB. What really separates AK from the rest is his ability to line up as a WR and catch balls running routes downfield. In the age of “RBs Don’t Matter”, Kamara has found a way to matter.
Most importantly, the Saints know how to deploy him. While the Cowboys average target depth for Zeke was zero yards last season, Kamara’s was over a yard. That difference matters a lot and the EPA difference between Kamara and the rest of the NFL RBs prove it.
Against the ‘Hawks, Kamara 68 yards rushing and 92 yards receiving and 2 total TDs. Playing against the only LB unit in the NFL better than Dallas’, he made the Seattle ‘backers look foolish. He broke tackles, dodged contact, and repeatedly turned something into nothing.
Dallas will need to shadow him tightly because he makes even the best LBs miss in the open field and runs over DBs with ease if he has momentum. He’s there offense.
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
Maybe Teddy Bridgewater calms down and gains control this week, but last Sunday, he looked mechanically terrible. He was never comfortable in the pocket and often threw off one leg or just tossed it up blindly. Michael Thomas was running open often (easily a top-3 WR in the NFL) but Teddy rarely found him.
If Dallas can apply pressure up the middle they can keep Teddy from getting comfortable and force him into mistakes. There were at least four passes against the ‘Hawks that could have been intercepted.
Deonte Harris is a blast to watch as long as you’re not playing against him. He goes from 0-60 faster than a Ferrari and has elusiveness and contact balance to boot. Sunday he took a punt to the house with ease.
It’s probably wise if Dallas just avoids him altogether.
The New Orleans Saints are no joke and easily represent Dallas’ biggest challenge of the season, but they are a far cry from contenders without Drew Brees under center. The biggest concern is the time and location. New Orleans is a notoriously difficult place to play and Dak Prescott is going to have to rely on nonverbal communication in order to run this offense.
The Saints are very beatable as long as the Dallas Cowboys keep pressure up the middle on Teddy Bridgewater and shadow Alvin Kamara every moment he’s on the field.
- Published on 09/25/2019 at 12:30 PM
- Last updated at 09/25/2019 at 12:16 PM