3 Reasons the Dallas Cowboys offense will regress in 2022

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Penalties and the Dallas Cowboys running game fascination.

Take a quick SWOT analysis on the offensive line personnel and you’ll probably walk away coming to the same conclusion as me: Run blocking is a strength and pass protecting is a weakness/opportunity in four of the five Dallas Cowboys linemen.

I know it. You know it. And the Dallas Cowboys seem to know it.

This has led to a not entirely surprising conclusion that they should play to their strengths and avoid their weaknesses more in 2022. I.e. run the ball more. While this would certainly help keep Dak healthy and cut back on the number of 3rd and 10s, it’s not exactly a recipe for success.

Keep in mind, the most successful running game in the NFL only puts up the numbers (EPA and success rate) of an average passing team.

the most successful running game in the NFL only puts up the numbers (EPA and success rate) of an average passing team. Passing is king

While the 49ers and Ravens are ball-running gods, the Dallas Cowboys are nowhere close to that level and with a stud QB like Dak under center, they’d be foolish to even try. At no point in the Dak/Zeke era has Zeke ever surpassed Dak in success rate (the rate at which they make a positive EPA play) or in expected points added (the value of the play).

As a whole, Dak has been roughly four times as successful as the Dallas running game (which includes Tony Pollard’s consistently big numbers).

With Kellen Moore and Mike McCarthy designing the offense, I don’t think we have to worry about a shift to be run-heavy. I don’t even expect a balanced attack. But I do think there will be pressure from the front office to feed Zeke and I do believe we will see more early down runs than previously seen in the McCarthy regime.

With less passes, the Cowboys will slow the game, limit the number of plays, and limited their success rate on each drive. Drives will stall naturally when the Cowboys start seeing more third downs. Historically speaking, it’s an inevitable result.

Throw in the Cowboys propensity for penalties and you have plenty of reasons for this Dallas Cowboys offense to regress offensively.

Keep in mind, Dallas led the NFL in penalties last season and they didn’t look much better this year in the preseason. One penalty every 12 plays is bad enough when you average 10 plays per drive. When you average 15 plays per drive, it’s crippling.