Why the Dallas Cowboys offense will regress
A big reason the Dallas Cowboys declined so steeply in 2021 is their offensive line. Tyron Smith was rarely healthy, Terence Steele’s strength was a liability, center play was at or below replacement level, and the left guard position was penalty producing disaster.
Last season the offensive line couldn’t keep Dak Prescott alive in the pocket. All too often he was scrambling for his life before any of his star receivers even made their breaks. The first six weeks, Dak had 13 plays of 20 yards or more (second in the NFL) when blitzed. Over the rest of the season Dak had just four plays of that magnitude under those conditions. The same number as Colt McCoy. Colt. McCoy.
Teams were pressuring Dak without blitzing and it was killing the offense.
While it’s true the offensive line impacted the running game as well, Ezekiel Elliott’s injury likely had more to do with that. Tony Pollard rushed behind the same offensive line and he put up some pretty tasty numbers. It was pass protecting that led to such a drop in offensive output.
This is likely the driving force behind why the Dallas Cowboys are expected to be more run-heavy than they have in the past. At every point this summer, one of them Jones boys mentions an emphasis on the run. It’s a fascination that has followed this front office for decades, much to the dismay of people who understand the numbers.
This brings us to our next cause for slippage….