TMQB: Some Encourging Signs

Notes from the Washington game

ANPY/A & Adjusted Pass YPA Update

For those following APNY/A and Pass YPA updated calculations can be found here. For comparison, here are the baselines from last year.




Pass YPA (adjusted for sacks)






















Against Washington Dallas produced an outstanding offensive ANPY/A of 8.7 and a better than average adjusted Pass YPA of 7.7. Dallas’s offense continues to be consistently good.

From a defensive perspective Dallas was average. Dave had an excellent point Sunday about the recent games.

That said, with the exception of the Lions game--in which the D notched its lowest adjusted YPA of the Garrett-Pasqualoni era, at 5.7--the Cowboys have been going up against some pretty formidable offensive units.

Dallas really has been facing some very good offenses. Against Washington, Dallas was finally facing an average passing offense and Dallas allowed an ANPY/A of 6.0 and an adjusted Pass YPA of 6.2. That’s slightly above the medians for last year and against a Washington offense that is right in the middle of the NFL in passing efficiency (~18th). An average performance against an average opponent. I’m modestly encouraged.

It’s funny, I’ve been very critical of the defense while the casual opinion has been a little more subdued. It seems that casual opinion has caught up and surpassed me. In a week where I thought the defense was OK most of stories are about how awful the defense is.

Continuing the chart from last week.


Adjusted Pass YPA Allowed





























Season Average


Average Under Garrett



Game Notes


Favorite play call: On 3&6 from the 6 Garrett calls a QB draw. Kitna picks up 5 yards leading to a 4&1. Dallas goes for it on 4&1 and gets stuffed.


Now I know you’re thinking ‘what part of that did you like’? I liked everything. I liked the 3rd down call and the 4th down call.


Let’s do this in order. First, it’s likely that teams don’t run frequently enough inside the 10 (via Advanced NFL Stats)

Runs have a higher payoff only inside final 10 yards before the end zone, so it appears teams are passing too often there.

Teams don’t call runs frequently enough on 3rd down.

For 3rd downs we see the opposite result. Runs are more lucrative in nearly all cases by

And especially not enough draws ..

According to ESPN Stats & Analysis, teams gained 6.4 yards per draw play on third down with eight or more yards to go. (And the type of run matters -- a generic handoff in the same situation generated just 5.6 yards per play.)


In identical situations when teams opted for the pass and the QB actually got rid of the ball, they averaged 7.0 yards per throw. But when you factor in sacks and scrambles (which are likely outcomes against pass-oriented defenses), that number dipped to 5.9 yards per play, and it's even lower when you account for interceptions.

So calling a draw on 3rd down inside the 10 is the trifecta of smart calls. But that’s not all. We’ve looked at expected payoffs for 4&1 from 1 before and found that teams should go for the TD in that situation.


Here are the numbers for a 4&1 from the 1:


-     4th & 1 inside the 10 is converted about 70% of the time

-     A FG from the 1 yard line (i.e. a 19 yard FG) is converted about 97% of the time

-     EPV for a TD (assumes the 4th down is converted) is worth 6.3 points (7 points minus 0.7 for the value of the ensuing KO). EPV for WAS facing a 1 & 10 at their own 1 (assumes the 4th down conversion failed) is worth -0.53 points.

-     Points for a made FG are 2.3 points (3 minus 0.7 for the value of the ensuing KO). EPV for WAS facing a 1 & 10 at the 8 (assumes the FG failed) is worth -0.3 points.

-      With the probabilities and EPVs we can calculate the net payoff for the various choices.


1. Go for it

(0.7 x 6.3) + (1-0.7) x 0.53 = 4.57


2. Attempt a FG

(0.97 x 2.3) + (1-0.97) x 0.3 = 2.24


So Garrett’s play calling and strategy was optimal. He called a run on 3rd & 6. While the run doesn’t get Dallas a TD, it gets Dallas to the 1 yard line. Dallas is now close enough that he goes for the TD. The calls go hand in hand. If a coach is going to for the TD on 4th down then he can call runs on 3rd down knowing that even if they don’t make it they’ve moved into a favorable position for the 4th down attempt. That makes it much harder to defend.  


Of course that’s not the end of the story. Dallas didn’t get the TD, they got stuffed. But remember this part of the equation.

EPV for WAS facing a 1 & 10 at their own 1 (assumes the 4th down conversion failed) is worth -0.53 points.

Even though Dallas got stuffed the EPV for WAS is negative. Which is exactly what happened. WAS didn’t get out of their end of the field. Sensabaugh got an interception at the WAS 34 and Dallas got a second bite of the apple scoring a TD the 2nd time around.


From there Garrett went with more conventional strategy calling an incomplete pass to Hurd on the next 3rd & goal opportunity and then kicking a FG. I guess we can’t have everything.


-Felix is great on screens but he does not know how to go down. He needs to spend some time with a soccer goalie and learn how to fall. He runs so upright that when he gets pulled down he ends up at weird angles (how he hurt his pcl as well). I’ve thought for a long time that Felix looks tight but I didn’t want to write it without some supporting evidence.

One NFC scout said Jones doesn't look as explosive but, "Just a tad tight in the hips though. He is their explosive element but doesn't get enough touches in space."


Another NFC scout had this reaction: "He's getting more carries and is hit more between the tackles. He will struggle to make people miss in a short area because of his tight hips. Brian Westbrook has loose hips, Jamaal Charles has loose hips. Felix makes people miss more with his burst and lateral quickness than swivel hips."

-Igor pancaked, Brent stoned at LOS. Ware saves the day with a sack. It’s really amazing how much of the pass rush comes from Ware and how little comes from anyone else. In 94 career games Ware has 76 sacks. In 390 aggregate games (all the games they’ve played for Dallas) Ratliff, Spears, Olshansky, Hatcher, Bowen, and Spencer have 61 … total .. together! Ware is truly a one-man wrecking crew … he has more sacks than all 6 of them put together.  


-Dallas lines up the wildcat, pitches to Kitna on a reverse, who throws deep to Felix. Awesome play! There are those receiving skills everyone was raving about. I keep getting more and more excited about Felix’s ability as a WR. It was bringing back flashes of Marshall Faulk. I haven’t seen a RB go deep like that in a long time


-Bennett looking downright spry juking defenders on a screen.


-A roughing the passer for hitting Kitna in the shoulder ... this is going a lil overboard. And then the refs even it out with a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty on Spencer.


-Santana drop stops what would have been a 75 yd td


-Holy smokes!!! Butler at DT!!! And a sack! Hallelujah


That made me happy

If anything I want to see Victor Butler and Brandon Williams coming in as DL on passing downs to rush the passer. Get all the best pass rushers on the field (Ware, Spencer, Ratliff, Butler, Williams).

Very happy ...

Philly is putting Dan Te'o-nesheim in at DT on clear passing down Te’o-nesheim is in the same mold as Butler & Williams (6’3 / 265 / OLB).


Might be interesting to play Butler / Williams at DE to see if it generates more pass rush than Hatcher / Bowen.

Dallas showing some creativity to get the best players on the field.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.