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    4 Dallas Cowboys that Need More Playing Time

    There isn't much need for wholesale changes for the Dallas Cowboys who have played reasonably well throughout the . Some of their issues are correctable and some of them require getting different personnel on the field at different times. Much of who plays on this team is based on some preconceived notions based on things they've done in the past or their size. The Dallas Cowboys need to take advantage of the depth they have and deploy players that can help them better in certain situations.

    Here are four players who need more playing time.

    Blake Jarwin, Tight End

    So much for future Hall of Famer playing just 25 snaps a game in his return from . At least that was the story they tried to sell us when he came back. Unfortunately for Blake Jarwin, he hasn't been able to get on the field because of Witten's presence.

    How the Dallas Cowboys have decided not to use him has been one of the more confusing things that have gone on in the first five games of the season. At the end of the game, when the Dallas Cowboys needed to get down the field in a hurry, it was Jason Witten that was on the field. Similarly, when the Dallas Cowboys were attempting to come back from 31-3, Jarwin only played 22 snaps (31%).

    Blake Jarwin has an ability to get down the field and specifically up the seem and is able to make plays in the for the Dallas Cowboys. Jason Witten's playing well, but he's averaging four yards per reception less than Jarwin.

    Witten will stay the starter but in two-minute drills and other obvious passing situations, the Cowboys need to get Jarwin on the field more. With Randall Cobb potentially sitting out this week with a back , the Cowboys may have to deploy more 12 personnel, which could get Jarwin more playing time.

    5 Dallas Cowboys Players Who Could Become Trade Assets 3
    Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (27) celebrates his interception of a pass by New Orleans Saints Drew Brees during the second half of an NFL football game, in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

    Jourdan Lewis, Cornerback

    It remains a mystery why Jourdan Lewis can't get on the field. He's averaging just 16.8 snaps a game in 2019 (24.78%). The Dallas has played fairly well, but Lewis is one of their better cover players and has a difficult time getting playing time.

    Per , on Lewis' 60 coverage snaps, he's allowed two receptions on four targets for 14 yards and just a 58.3 passer rating against. His passer rating allowed is the 13th best in the NFL and the lowest allowed on the Dallas Cowboys.

    He's a playmaker and could help the Dallas Cowboys start creating more turnovers with his aggressive style in coverage.

    Tony Pollard, Running Back

    In Kellen Moore's first as an NFL , Tony Pollard was the first skill position player that the Cowboys selected on his watch. When Pollard was selected, the Cowboys talked about him as an -like type of player. For the Dallas Cowboys to take advantage of Pollard's skill set, Moore and the Cowboys staff has to get him on the field.

    They've shown a couple of formations with Pollard and starting on the field at the same time. Pollard is getting some snaps, but they're still not using him enough. On , Pollard's only played 13.6 snaps a game this season. In particular, his playing time has really dropped off over the last couple of weeks.

    Against the New Orleans Saints Pollard played just two offensive snaps per Pro Football Reference and against the , he played only five offensive snaps. For a player with Pollard's ability to only get two snaps in a game where the Cowboys struggled to score points against the Saints and five in a game they were trying to come back in, is pretty ridiculous.

    I know that is generally reluctant to rely upon rookies, but Pollard can really help this team as a running back and as a receiver. Like Jarwin, if Cobb sits out, it may mean more playing time for Tony Pollard this week as the Cowboys look to get back in the winning swing of things.

    Christian Covington, Defensive Tackle

    One of the issues that stood out from last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers was that the interior was getting bullied around by the Packers. Their inability to get penetration or hold their ground at the point of attack contributed to the linebackers and defensive backs getting caught at the second level by the .

    One way to potentially fix their issues in the middle is to play Christian Covington more at 3-technique defensive in place of starter . At least early in the game and in running situations. Maliek Collins has been one of the better pass-rushing interior defensive linemen in the NFL as he ranks ninth in the NFL in total pressures per Pro . As a run defender, however, he's getting pushed around in the middle and struggling to make plays.

    With coming back from an injury and likely to play this week against the , they could really solidify their run by playing Covington alongside Woods on the interior and saving Collins for pass-rushing situations.

    Per Pro Football Focus, Covington has been the Dallas Cowboys best run defender along the offensive line. Covington also has the highest run-stop percentage of any Cowboys at 9.5%. Meaning that he makes the stop on one out of every 10 running plays for the Dallas Cowboys. No player is close to Covington in run-stop percentage in 2019. For comparison, Maliek Collins is the only other defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys to have played on 70 or more run snaps for the Cowboys and his run-stop percentage is just 1.4%.

    ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

    In the next two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys have a great opportunity to re-establish themselves as contenders in the . A win this week against the New York Jets gets them to 4-2 and if they can pull out a win against the in week seven, they'll be at 5-2 and in the lead in the . They got to get more creative with their personnel deployment and not necessarily rely upon their preconceived notions of what they think this team is.

    John Williams
    John Williamshttps://anchor.fm/inside-the-cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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    4 COMMENTS

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    darren gassman

    Great article John. I never bought into Witten playing 25% of the snaps. There so scared to tell Witten he’s not playing a bulk of the snaps because he’s Jason Witten. Same with Sean Lee. Anyone can see that Lee is on his last legs but of course Jerry came out and said he would be the starter at strong side linebacker well before the season started because he’s Sean Lee. I’m also so sick of Richard not playing Lewis because of his arm length, height, etc.. The guy is a playmaker and can cover as well as anyone in that secondary. As far as Pollard we heard the same thing about Tavon when we signed him. That he would touch the ball about around 20 times a game. This coaching staff has NO CLUE how to incorporate guys who don’t start but can bring a lot of explosiveness and play making to the field. Can you imagine if we had a guy like Sean Payton who finds ways for a guy like Taysom Hill to make a difference every week. Olawale is a weapon as a fullback and just like last year NEVER touches the ball. If he did it would give the defense something else to think about and not just key in on Zeke every time. When we were struggling to run the ball against the Saints how about sending Olawale on a wheel route. Their is just no imagination on the part of this coaching staff. None. It’s frustrating to watch.

    Lous8

    This article is 100% on point, I’ve been screaming about this same thing and these same players, especially T.E.

    James Shelly

    Yep. Yup. Uh huh. Totally agree.

    I liked the Covington signing – but that run-stopping stat blew my mind. (Good work on the research).

    Your suggestion is really good: play Covington early. If Dallas can stop the run, they’ll give the offense a couple of extra possessions to get rolling. Once the Cowboys have grabbed a lead (forcing their opponents to abandon the run) bring in Maliek Collins to blow up the QB.

    IMO, you’ve come up with a really good plan. Hope they listen to you, man.

    Ethan Chazin

    John, great points on all 4 players. I am MOST surprised (DISAPPOINTED) by the limited use of Pollard. The guy is a game changer, why would you NOT put him in and use the hell out of him, he’s a high impact guy every time he touches the ball, did it all throughout college at Memphis. I hate to think this but if Antuan Woods not playing has so greatly affected our run D, we are really in trouble.I think the Saints and Packers games presented a LOT of challenges for our coaching staff and they had to make tough decisions about match ups, player personnel, coming from behind and with the Saints dealing with the fact that our O line was being sodomized. I would love to see our coaching staff “Air it out” and throw everything we can do personnel wise at the Jets. Let’s take the training wheels off.


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