In the first two games of the pre season the Dallas Cowboys offense has encountered what I believe will be the standard defense for teams to run until the Boys prove they can consistently beat it.
The Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans stayed true to the “Cover Two” strategy through the entirety of both games. Obviously the Raiders had more success with it than the Titans.
The general premise of the “Cover Two” is to simply force the offense to settle for short passing gains, thus putting an enormous amount of pressure on so teams running attack. If the offensive team is unable to rush the ball effectively, the defense has control of the game, simply because they can force the offense to have to try to connect on longer pass plays, and the numbers are way more in favor of this defense when that happens.
While yes it is “just pre season” Jason Garrett and the Cowboys offense should be a little concerned with what they have seen from the running game thus far.
Through the first two pre season games the Cowboys offensive starters are averaging 3.3 yards per carry. This will not get it done against the “Cover Two” in the regular season!
The Cowboys offensive line and running backs have got to step up the pace come game one in Tampa Bay.
Jason Garrett probably has a number in mind that he needs this offense to be at as far as YPC is concerned for this offense to work, and I will promise you that number is not 3.3! I would guess that the number in question is probably in the 4 to 4.5 YPC range.
While I will agree that the starters have played less than three quarters of football so far this pre season that is no excuse for disregarding the necessity of needing this group to step up.
I have heard a lot of the Cowboy fandom saying things like “we cannot get the ball down field” and “why are we not taking shots deep” there is a very basic answer to these questions, they are taking what the defense is giving them. Tony Romo should be applauded for the things we are seeing from him so far.
I can only remember one time so far that Romo has tried to do more than he should and it was almost intercepted! The rest of the time he has been extremely diligent in just sticking to the plan and taking what is there.
This offense will only be able to take shots down field if the running game can produce enough to force the defense to change its strategy, which would force them to no longer drop their Linebackers into zone coverage, but rather keep them near the line to help out with run defense.
The Cowboy offense has not accomplished this feat yet, notice I said yet! This team is a work in process, and so far each week they have grown stronger.
The success of this offense now rest in the hands of six people. Andre Gerard, Kyle Kosier, Leonard Davis, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice. The damage they do in between the tackles could vault this team to greatness or send it spiraling out of control.