2 Reasons Greg Zuerlein’s issues are a blessing for the Dallas Cowboys

(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
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: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys Blessing: Fourth downs

An inconsistent kicker makes coaches want to avoid tough fourth down decsions altogether. It makes early downs more aggressive which means avoiding 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust type calls.  It also impacts late-down play-calling.

Distrust in a kicker leads to more aggressive play-calling on those inevitable late downs. This means more 4th down conversion attempts and less 4th down field goal attempts. Think about it:

If you’re 4th-and-3 on the opponent’s 35-yard-line, how confident do you feel with Greg “the leg” back there? Not very, I assume. Now, pretend you’re the Ravens and you have all-world kicker Justin Tucker back there. Feeling a lot better, I imagine. If I’m the Ravens I’m probably taking my three-points. If I’m the Cowboys I’m going for the conversation.

It’s this aggressive mentality that could be this offense’s saving grace. It impacts early downs and it impacts fourth down aggressiveness.

Some may think the Dallas Cowboys are too aggressive already but that’s not really true. The Cowboys’ current aggressive nature ranks them fifth in the NFL in fourth-down decision making this year. They can stand to be a little more aggressive in that 30-40 yard line zone.

Another fun fact is the Dallas Cowboys are converting 55.5% of their fourth down attempts. Not too shabby, right?

In a league that kicks field goals more often than it probably should (based on improving win probabilities), going for the conversion more often could be a good thing for this Dallas Cowboys team.

They aren’t all going to work but if Greg is shanking half of his long kicks anyway, the offense only really needs to convert half of these conversion attempts to pay off for them.

Speaking of long kicks…