5 reasons the Dallas Cowboys aren’t playing in Super Bowl LIV

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 10: Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings pulls down the pass over Chidobe Awuzie #24 of the Dallas Cowboys for a two point conversion in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Predictable Defense

Defensive performance is an unstable stat so something we’ll dive into more this offseason is how much time and effort the Dallas Cowboys should devote to building up their defense.

While sustaining success on defense year-to-year isn’t always possible, avoiding predictability is well within a defensive coach’s grasp. Disguising coverages, mixing in new pass-rushing schemes, and altering tendencies all can make an outmatched defense a headache for opposing offenses.

Instead, the 2019 Dallas D served as a “safe space” for otherwise pedestrian quarterbacks.

If a QB knows what the defense is doing in coverage, more often than not, he’s going to win the battle. That’s the level of accuracy and timing in today’s NFL. It’s when the defense becomes unpredictable QBs offense’s start making mistakes.

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You see, receivers alter routes based on coverage shown. QBs must recognize these route changes or he’ll deliver a ball one place while his target runs to a different place. Mixing up coverages between man, zone, and a combo of both make it harder for passing attacks. Dallas may have switched from time to time but they telegraphed their intentions pre-snap. It was easy for opposing attacks to see what they were doing.

About the only thing Dallas did unpredictably was their use of somewhat creative stunts/games. Rod Marinelli has always been a master of stunting and last season was no different. But data shows us winning in coverage is a greater indicator of success than winning in the pass-rush. So if the Cowboys want to improve their performance without improving personnel, they need to disguise their coverage.

And some good old fashioned bad luck

No one likes to admit it but luck always plays a pretty significant role in determining winners and losers in the NFL. One play, one half step, one bounce of the ball, one official’s call, etc… can make all the difference.

Dallas Cowboys can take solace in the fact teams tend to regress to the mean and no one sees continued luck or continued bad luck for long. Things have a way of equaling out in the end.

There we go – five reasons the Dallas Cowboys didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this season. Sure, we can get in the weeds and break it all down further (and we have all offseason to do so), but for now let’s just focus on the biggies.

Next. The Cowboys should bid farewell to these five free agents. dark

I firmly believe if Dallas avoided the above stated issues, they’d be playing in the Super Bowl this year. The good news is this is all extremely correctable.