The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive struggles have been well documented through the first three weeks of this season, specifically the problems they’ve had in the passing game.
Dak Prescott is yet to throw for 200 yards this season, a mark it seems like most quarterbacks are guaranteed to hit weekly in the modern day NFL. The receivers haven’t been good enough either, and the offensive line has not played up to the standard it set the past few seasons.
Despite reports that the Cowboys want to “sling it” this Sunday against the Lions, their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own, should dictate the opposite. Detroit comes into this game with the top passing defense in the NFL. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but this is a talented secondary with a shutdown cornerback in Darius Slay.
The Lions also have two talented safeties, each probably better than what the Cowboys have to offer, in Quandre Diggs and Glover Quinn. On top of this all, Detroit possesses some strong depth in their secondary, meaning that even when the Cowboys go wth 3-4 wide receiver sets, they’ll probably be at a disadvantage.
So how should Dallas attack the Detroit Lions defense? Exactly how they said they would all offseason.
Run the ball.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@KevinBrady88, by the way) knows that I feel the Cowboys are built to play an antiquated style of football which most likely won’t lead to high level success in 2018’s NFL. But this week, that style of run first power football is exactly what the Cowboys should look to do.
In short, Detroit’s front seven is bad. Their best defensive lineman, Ezekiel Ansah, has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game in Dallas. Behind him are some lesser-known players, and while I liked both Da’Shawn Hand and A’Shawn Robinson as run defenders coming out of college, neither have lived up to the hype thus far.
Then there’s the linebackers. Detroit spent a first round pick on middle linebacker Jarrad Davis in 2017, and so far the results haven’t been great. Christian Jones and Devon Kennard on the outside shouldn’t strike much fear in the Cowboys’ running attack either.
While the fanbase consistently wants to see the Cowboys go with spread sets on offense, utilizing extra tight ends to dictate the Lions’ defensive personnel will be the best move this Sunday. Dallas can keep some of those talented defensive backs off the field, and put them in tougher positions by running the ball effectively this week.
By utilizing bigger formations and forcing players like Glover Quinn to be physical in the box against the run, the Cowboys can be successful on offense this Sunday.