The Dallas Cowboys have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL, however, one thing that has plagued the Cowboys has been red-zone issues. If they want postseason success this season, the Cowboys (and Kellen Moore more specifically) need to figure out how to remedy their issues.
There are multiple reasons for their red-zone troubles, but before we get there, let’s look at the current success or lack thereof for the Dallas Cowboys. Going into Monday Night Football this week, the Cowboys ranked 24th. While they had a better game against the Chargers they were still middle of the league for week two. To be an offense that is truly feared, they must fix the red zone.
The Dallas Cowboys have some issues in the red zone, and in order to fix them, a few steps need to be taken.
To understand how to fix the problems, there are a few things to look at, and the first we will point to is play design.
Dallas Cowboys Play Design
The play design actually encompasses two things and the first is the lack of disguising the same way they do as they move down the field. The closer the Cowboys get to the goal line, the less movement and design to get guys open occurs. When watching the Cowboys move down the field, there is pre-snap movement occurring to disguise the routes and blocking scheme.
The second part of the play design is the routes themselves. The routes are overlapping often leaving two players in close proximity. While it is well known the closer you get to the end zone the smaller space is available, stacking receivers as they have is causing even smaller windows and double coverage. The playcalling tends to be more straightforward and the stacking makes the defense have an easier time.
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Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends
The other part that seems to be less used for the Cowboys is the tight end. Too often we see the tight ends either stay in to block or run simple curls or in routes along the back of the end zone. There are rarely releases to the flats or rub routes using the tight ends. This along with the other routes is making defending the Cowboys easier.
So, the question is what can the Cowboys do? Well, if they are going to run it, the use of a fullback might help get the gaps open down on the goalline. If they want to pass, they will have to scheme ways to get guys open and be creative to free up players, back-shoulder throws and fades are not cutting it. Finding ways to rub receivers could help and disguising the pre-snap look should go a long way.
As Kellen Moore continues to figure it out, the Cowboys still have one of the best offenses. They will need to get better in the red zone as the season wears on, and luckily they have the players to get it right.
With a few weeks of the Eagles, Giants, and Panthers before facing Kansas City, they need to use those games to get it right.