The Dallas Cowboys running game has been one of the most closely watched stories about the team, starting from the moment DeMarco Murray left for Philadelphia. The Cowboys storybook running success of 2014 was now going to be about the offensive line, or the running back, as dictated by what happened in 2015. So far, the picture is a bit muddled.
If you look at the Cowboys rushing attack this season, using traditional stats from ESPN, they are decidedly middle of the pack. On a 105 attempts they have put up 431 yards for a 4.1 yards average. 431 yards is 15th in the league, and 4.1 YPA is 17th. That is truly the definition of average. As fans of Dallas have observed this season, the Cowboys success on the ground tends to come in bunches, followed by too many no gains or 1-yard gains.
Much of the discussion has centered around the offensive line. By almost all accounts of Cowboys observers, the offensive line is just not playing as well as it is capable of doing. Last year the Cowboys running game was a machine that just mowed down opponents. This year it's a machine that starts and stops, works then breaks.
So imagine the surprise when Pro Football Focus put out there rankings of all 32 offensive lines and had the Cowboys line ranked 4th overall, and that's just for performance in 2015. But not only did they rank 4th overall, they ranked 1st in run blocking.
4. Dallas Cowboys (1st in 2014)
Pass blocking rank: 7th
Run blocking rank: 1st
Penalties rank: 11th
Stud: A true franchise left tackle, Tyron Smith (+8.0) has allowed fewer than one hurry per game.
Dud: The team missed Ronald Leary early in the year, and probably learned that starting Mackenzy Bernadeau (-7.2) wasn't something they want to do again.
Summary: It's been good, but not 2014-good. The injury to Leary hurt, but they haven't quite found their stride running the ball yet. Still very impressive, though.
So, the logical conclusion from that would be that the Cowboys running backs are to blame. If you have the number one ranked run blocking in the league, yet only average 4.1 YPA to rank 17th in the league, then it must be that the running backs are leaving a lot of meat on the bone.
Now, the eye test tells me this isn't the case. There has been a lot of penetration on running plays that I've seen, but admittedly I don't track every play and I don't track the other 31 offensive lines in the NFL, so it's hard to make a comparison.
I leave it to you good folks, do you buy that offensive line ranking, or do you think they're missing the truth?
|Don’t forget to resister for our Blogging the Boys meet-up!
Oct 24-25, 2015
Cowboys-Giants in the beautiful Poconos
|Three awesome Cowboys-centric events!|
|Saturday, October 24
(8:00-10:00 PM): Dinner the night before the game
|Sunday, October 25
(9:00 AM - 1:00 PM): Pre-game brunch
|Sunday, October 25
(4:30-8:30 PM) Cowboys-Giants game, with free buffet
|Click Here to RSVP||Click here for more information on pricing, lodging, etc.|