Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Film Room: Yes, The Cowboys O-Line Is That Good

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Offensive Line, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith
AP Photo / Scott Boehm

The Cowboys offensive line has received a lot of praise over the last couple of years. Starting in 2014, when their rushing attack first busted onto the scene, they have been regarded as the best unit in all of football.

Sometimes, I think that the boatloads of credit this offensive line gets for the team success can be overstated. But then, I watch the tape, and am reminded of just how dominant each one of these five guys can be.

Monday night against the Detroit Lions, I was once again reminded of how good this offensive line is. As a linemen myself for all of my life, I love watching o-line play. It gets me into football more than any other positions or players in the game. And watching the Cowboys o-line work on Monday night was an absolute delight.

While Ezekiel Elliott only rushed for 80 yards, he did so on just 12 carries. That is absolutely insane. Sure, his long touchdown run early in the game is the reason for the inflation, but that play was just yet another example of how great both the o-line and Zeke are, and of how well they compliment one another.

https://twitter.com/VeteranScout/status/813787213301366784

Doug Free has his rough moments, but he really is one of the top-notch right tackles in the NFL. No, he isn't Tyron Smith and he probably is just the 5th best starting offensive linemen on his own team, but he still makes key blocks like this one in almost every game.

While the other four linemen execute their zone steps on this play to create a cut back line backside, Free stays on the defensive end to seal the edge. His block proves key, as Elliott cuts between he and Martin for a long touchdown run.

Travis Frederick also does a great job here of getting some movement on the nose tackle, something that many centers struggle with.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

Incredible pull from Zack Martin here. Defender tries to go inside, so he controls him and logs him down https://t.co/jJJ41A2E2I

The blocking on this play might have been my favorite of the night. Yes, it only goes for a modest gain, but the way that Zack Martin and Jason Witten execute when pulling is fantastic.

Martin comes around and meets the defensive end right on the line of scrimmage. While they stalemate at first, Martin never stops running his feet, allowing himself to log the defender down the line of scrimmage and open up a huge lane.

Witten pulls as well, and does an excellent job of kicking out the incoming linebacker to compliment Martin's block.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

No better G/C combo in the league than these two https://t.co/ERC5Xo0aZK

I believe I can say with confidence that Zack Martin and Travis Frederick execute combo blocks better that any other center/guard combination in football. This play is just yet another example of it.

The key to executing the combo block in a zone-scheme is for the front side blocker to take half the man, allowing the backside lineman to overtake the defender, before releasing to the next level.

Martin and Frederick do a picture-perfect job of this on the play, as Frederick gets up to the linebacker after he and Martin get solid movement on the down lineman. Their blocks spring Darren McFadden for a nice gain.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

Ridiculous cut-back lane for DMC on inside zone. Full review of Cowboys OL play Monday coming on @InsideTheStarDC tomorrow

The Cowboys offensive line is perfect for zone blocking. Like we saw earlier in the game on Zeke's first touchdown run, they do a great job of allowing for cut back lanes and two-way go's for the running back.

I took this snapshot of a McFadden run to emphasize just how big a hole they have the ability to open up. Had the middle linebacker filled the backside gap immediately to overcompensate for the hole, McFadden would have also had a nice lane on the right side to run through.

With all of the praise which the Cowboys offensive line receives, I am sure that other fan bases, and even some in this fan base, may get sick of hearing about it. But the bottom line is, this unit is the best at what they do. And with the way this team has run the ball all season long, they deserve to be given credit.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Though it's still early in the 2018 season, the lead in the NFC East is up for grabs when the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins meet this Sunday. Both teams would like their full roster available for the game, but the Week 7 injury reports indicate that won't be the case.

Here are the players either confirmed to be out of action tomorrow or are otherwise listed by Dallas and Washington:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - OUT
  • CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle) - Questionable

The Cowboys are getting healthier, with Sean Lee finally off the injury report and set to return to action. Not only will Dallas get their elite linebacker back, but it means a deeper rotation while the team remains without Joe Thomas.

Tavon Austin elected to skip season-ending surgery on his injured groin, but his should be out a few weeks. That will put Cole Beasley on punt returns and perhaps create more offensive opportunities for Deonte Thompson and Brice Butler.

Awuzie remains limited in practice but has played the last few weeks despite the ankle injury. There is no reason to think he won't suit up in Washington.

Washington Redskins

  • WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) - Doubtful
  • S Troy Apke (hamstring) - Doubtful
  • RB Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) - Questionable
  • RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) - Questionable
  • G Shawn Lauvao (calf) - Questionable
  • CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) - Questionable
  • CB Danny Johnson (forearm) - Questionable

It's a rough time for Washington's offensive weapons. They will definitely be without slot receiver Jamison Crowder and likely starter Paul Richardson, who current lead all WRs in receptions. Josh Doctson will put into a major role, as will veteran Brian Quick off the bench.

Peterson and Thompson both practiced this week and should play, but have nagging injuries that could slow them down. Washington is already missing Rob Kelley and rookie Derrius Guice, who are both on injured reserve.

Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao is also nursing a lower leg injury, but practiced in a limited capacity all week. His backup is undrafted rookie Casey Dunn out of Auburn.

In the defensive backfield, starting CB Quinton Dunbar was a Friday addition to the injury report with a shin injury. He did practice with it, though, so will likely play. Backup safety Troy Apke is doubtful with a hamstring issue.



Continue Reading

Game Notes

Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

Sean Martin

Published

on

Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. Not only do you already know this, but they do as well, needing to build off a 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6 at AT&T Stadium to claim first place in the NFC East at the Washington Redskins.

Although the Cowboys were given Monday and Tuesday off, they are focused on addressing one alarming reason why the team has struggled so much on the road -- particularly on offense.

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott pointed out the Cowboys lack of communication in early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, and Houston. "Seeing the same thing," was the issue Elliott addressed when discussing the Cowboys knowing their assignments in hostile territory.

Yesterday, Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media of a meeting between players and coaches that addressed this specifically.

David Moore on Twitter

Dak Prescott said players & coaches held a meeting before today's practice to "address the elephant in the room," which is poor communication among the offense on the road. "I know we'll take a lot from that conversation," The QB said.

Unlike Prescott's remarks about new "wrinkles" in the Cowboys offense prior to a 26-24 home win over the Lions, this has a tangible sign of progress for an offense that made scoring 40 on the Jaguars look impossibly easy. The Cowboys season high in total yards remains the 414 amassed against Detroit, after which Prescott confessed that he simply tells the media "things" that aren't necessarily true.

The Cowboys didn't necessarily do anything new against the Lions, but they most assuredly will this week against the Redskins, at least by way of signaling and remaining in sync on offense.

Prescott and Elliott's leadership is on full display here, and their on-field impact can be attributed as closely to the Cowboys successes or failures as any duo in the NFL.

Missing is a similar impact from Center Travis Frederick, who remains sidelined as he deals with GSB.

Joe Looney's play at center has been good enough to pave the way for Elliott's 586 rushing yards so far, second to Todd Gurley at 623 yards, but his ability to call checks for the offense is understandably much more limited.

Looney deserves all the credit in the world for his strong play in place of Frederick. The Cowboys have never asked for him to be anything he isn't, a reliable depth option that earned a second contract and with it the starting center job for the time being in Dallas.

He has the full support of his teammates, Frederick included. All of this is lovely to put down in writing until Looney and the Cowboys have been forced to step on the field with the crowd against them and attempt to sustain a drive, something Frederick will unfortunately not be a part of for a long while.

If the Cowboys offense isn't going to unveil new wrinkles in the scheme, there is one wrinkle worth mentioning that's new to the team's communication on offense this season. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan up in the box, his play calls are sent down to first-year Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, who has been in the ear of Prescott ever since playing with him from 2016-17.

Sure, these are things that could've been addressed before the Cowboys managed only eight points in week one, turned the ball over three times in week three, or punted away their best chance at victory in week five. The best teams in the league likely already have these things down to routine, and few would consider the Cowboys anywhere near the upper echelon of the NFL.

Following sixty minutes of football at a division rival they've won four in a row against, with an even more impressive five game win streak at the Redskins, the Cowboys could control their own path atop the NFC East.

That feels truly incredible for such a young team faced with a steep learning curve early in the season, adjusting to it on the fly as they prepare to leave everything on the field before a bye week.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Game Notes

#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Cowboys Pass Rush Better than They're Given Credit For
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.

But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.

According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.

Brian Burke on Twitter

Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.

What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.

For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.

As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.

Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.

Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).

Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending