3 ways the Dallas Cowboys can hide their O-line problems

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

How the Dallas Cowboys hide their O-line: Solution 1

Spend less time in the pocket

This may sound glaringly obvious but based on last week, clearly it’s not. On Sunday Mike McCarthy did his best Jason Garrett impression by failing to adjust to the conditions of the game. The Dallas Cowboys offensive line was clearly struggling in their pass protection (something they should have seen coming, frankly), yet the Cowboys did nothing to help the situation.

The Rams, fearing the boatload of edge rushers the Cowboys were rostering, came out with a plan of avoidance. If Jared Goff doesn’t stand in the pocket, the pass rushers can’t get him. Sean McVay had Goff live and die on short passes and screens.

Goff didn’t even complete a pass past the sticks until just 3:30 was remaining in the first half, for goodness sake. It didn’t matter how easily the Dallas rushers were beating their blocks – the ball was out before they could get home.

What did Dallas do?

Dallas had Dak Prescott standing stoically in the pocket like everything was normal. His average time spent in the pocket on Sunday was 2.8 seconds (7th longest in the league). He was basically a sitting duck.

The point to make here is this was all avoidable. Sure, eventually you’re going to have situations where you’re trying to convert a 3rd-and-long and need time to let things develop. But the majority of the time you can do what LA did. You can call quick passes on slants and screens. You can play-action wide zone on a roll out the opposite direction. You stay moving and deliver passes as quickly as possible.

If the Dallas Cowboys would have done this we’d be singing a much different tune right now.

That’s because the Cowboys pass-block win rate was 70%. That’s 7th in the NFL. PBWR measures the offensive line’s ability to protect within the first 2.5 seconds. It’s safe to say just about everything that bad happened, happened after that 2.5 seconds.

If Dak hadn’t have been asked to camp out in the pocket so much, the Cowboys could have avoided almost all of their issues in pass-protection.