Pick your poison. The Dallas Cowboys are equally dangerous whether it’s on the ground or through the air and it has a lot to do with the selflessness of their players. Thanks to their “no ego” play, opposing defensive coordinators are likely at a loss as to how they should best go about game-planning for arguably the most well-balanced offense in the NFL.
Unlike certain players of the past, the Cowboys don’t have players that have a “diva” persona, players they feel they have to get involved early and often to keep happy. Instead, what they have is a group of players equally committed to the success of the team as opposed to the success of the individual. Because of that, they have become a force to be reckoned with.
Through the first four weeks of the 2021 season we’ve already seen the Cowboys offense attack their foe differently each week. They’ve proven they can rely solely on the passing game like they did in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or ground-and-pound with the best of them. This offensive balance makes them extremely difficult to stop.
Try to think like a defensive coordinator for second. How would you slow down the Cowboys high-octane offense? Load the box with an extra defender to hopefully neutralize Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard? Play more nickel to help cover the numerous weapons they have in the passing game? No matter what you do there is likely a matchup that favors Dak Prescott and Company.
This is a good problem to have if you’re the Cowboys. Their ability to attack defenses in just about any way they choose makes them a dangerous unit regardless of who they’re playing each week. They can afford to take what opposing defenses are giving them and right now that’s exactly what they’ve been doing, and it’s all because of selfless play.
In order to make it back to the promised land players have set aside their egos this year and not worry about individual numbers. The only numbers they seem to be worried about are those in the win/loss column and so far it’s been paying off for them. They are tailoring their game plans for the best chance of success regardless of who the beneficiary may be.
The last couple of weeks Dalton Schultz has had the hot hand in the passing game, but next week it might be CeeDee Lamb or Amari Cooper. So far this season, Lamb leads the Cowboys with 32 targets, followed by Cooper with 29 and Schultz with 23. That’s a pretty even distribution pattern from Dak Prescott. Similarly, the touchdown pass distribution is just as tough for defenses as Schultz and Cooper have three, Cedrick Wilson has two, and Lamb and Blake Jarwin each have one. Even the running backs, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, have eight targets apiece in the passing game. Dak is using all his weapons at any time.
Speaking of Elliott and Pollard, they are sharing the rock out of the backfield, too. Elliott has 64 rushing attempts on the year while Pollard has 37. Elliott is not causing any issue around some of his touches going to Pollard, and he’s been doing the dirty work of pass blocking when required. Selfless.
This level of selflessness can be a rarity in the NFL. The Cowboys have so many star players who are equally as excited for their teammates success as they are their own. Obviously winning matters a lot, it’s when teams start to lose that things can turn, but this team, and especially this offense, where able to form this “no ego” offense on their way to winning, showing a solid foundation born in the offseason.
This kind of selfless play may very well end up being the reason the Cowboys play well into the postseason, quite possibly as far as a Super Bowl.