The Dallas Cowboys run defense isn’t the only problem to address this offseason
It’s undeniable the Dallas Cowboys are getting butchered against the run this season. Giving up 5.2 yards per attempt and 167.8 yards per game, Dallas is last in the league, and on pace for a historic low as a franchise. As we know, the quickest way from Point A to Point B is a straight line. For opponents, that means a steady dose of runs up the middle.
This strategy has led the way to a 75 percent win percentage against Dallas and opponents have found little reason to deviate from what’s clearly been working. Why attack through the air when the run is so dang easy, after all…
With an average of only 215.8 yards per game surrendered through the air this season, Dallas ranks 6th in the NFL in coverage. But the Dallas Cowboys might have a false sense of security regarding their ability to defend the pass this season. In fact, the Cowboys coverage may actually be in worse shape than their run defense.
Bold words, I know, but for reasons stated earlier, opposing offenses have had little reason to air it out against Dallas when it’s so dang easy to run it. And since Dallas is at the bottom of the league in time of possession when holding a lead, opponents are spending an abnormal amount of time killing the clock and preserving wins.
Opposing quarterbacks have a 105.0 passer rating against the Dallas Cowboys this season. That’s only 1.6 points below the Texans who are statistically the worst in the NFL (Fun Fact: Houston is also hot trash against the run this year and with an average of 4.9 yards allowed per rushing attempt, they are second only to Dallas).
One need only watch the film to see how terrible the Dallas Cowboys are in coverage. Even when Trevon Diggs, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown were fully healthy, receivers were frequently running open through the Cowboys secondary.
We saw as recently as last week, basic mental mistakes leading to blown coverages and some thorough head-scratching by analysts, media and fans alike. The Dallas secondary has offered very little resistance in the way coverage and if it wasn’t for that historically poor run-stopping, they’d very likely be abused to historic levels themselves.
None of this is meant to minimize the issues in the run-stopping department in anyway. Rather, to bring to light how absolutely dreadful Dallas has been in coverage and how we may have a false sense of security regarding their play and what needs to be done this offseason.
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Chances are good, the secondary needs more of an investment than the front seven this offseason. Think about it, the Cowboys will be head and shoulders better against the run if they just add a legitimate run-stopping DT or two this offseason. It would close gaps and occupy blockers, keeping linemen off the linebackers which would fundamentally change the complexion of the run-defense.
The secondary, on the other hand, needs investments across the board. They likely need two new safeties of starting quality and at least one Day 1 starter at CB along with another rotational CB to fill the dime role opening up with Jourdan Lewis’ impending departure.
When you think of what needs to be done this offseason, don’t sleep on all the work the secondary needs. They’re every bit as bad as the run-stoppers are, and have more holes that need to be filled.
- Published on 12/12/2020 at 12:01 PM
- Last updated at 12/12/2020 at 11:59 AM