Cowboys Progress Report After 2 Games: A Look at the Numbers

The most important numbers in an NFL football game are the final scores. But the stats do serve a role in showing you how things are going and in helping to identify areas of weakness.  Focus on improving those areas and you have a chance of impacting the bottom line which would be the final score and winning the game.

Think of it as a progress report after 2 games:

DEFENSE:

Excellent: Pass defense– The Cowboys set out to improve here after last season and they have so far allowing just 160 yds./game ranked 3rd in the NFL.

Needs Improving: Sacks– The Cowboys have 5 sacks which puts them pretty much in the middle of the pack in the NFL (10 teams with more than 5 sacks). Not bad at all, but could be better when you consider they have Ware, better corners than last year and blitz quite often.

Needs Improving: Rush defense– The Cowboys defense is allowing 132 yds./game which ranks them 23rd in the NFL. Not good. Last year Dallas was pretty solid here but so far in 2012, it hasn’t been a strength. LB Sean Lee leads the NFL in tackles but where are the other 10 guys?

Needs Improving: Scoring– Most important stat for a defense is points allowed and Dallas has allowed an avg. of 22 points/game. That ranks 13th in the NFL and when you consider that about 13 points were due to turnovers and a blocked punt, it’s not bad. However, the Cowboys allowed 21.7 points a game in 2011 and expectations are to improve on that in 2012 with the additions in the secondary. Needs to get better.

Failing: Takeaways–  The Cowboys have only produced one take away on defense and that was the fumble that Lee forced in the Giants game. And Dallas is one of only 9 teams in the entire NFL without a single interception so far. Given the additions of Carr and Claiborne, that is disappointing. It’s time the Cowboys start making the other team turn the ball over.

OFFENSE:

Excellent: Passing yards– Dallas ranks 6th in the NFL in passing yards with 268.5 yards/game. Like last year, the passing game is productive.

Needs Improving: Rushing yards– The Cowboys are producing 96 yards rushing/game which ranks them 21st in the NFL.  This stat doesn’t mean as much in the NFL as it once did but still, I think the Cowboys improve their chances of winning when they rush for more than 100 yards a game. Murray is the go to guy for this area so the Cowboys need to make sure he gets enough carries.

Failing: Scoring- So far Dallas has averaged a disappointing 15.5 points a game ranking them 29th in the NFL. That is dead last in the NFC and puts them down there with the win-less Jaguars, Titans and Raiders. How is that for company? In 2011, the Cowboys scored an average of 23 points a game. This has got to improve!

Failing: Turnovers: While the defense has failed to produce turnovers, the offense has had a fumble and 2 interceptions leaving the Cowboys at a -2 deficit in the very important takeaway category. To win games, Dallas needs to protect the ball better.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Excellent: FGs– 1 for 1. So far so good.

Excellent: Kickoff coverage– opponents have averaged 20 yards per return.  Dallas ranks in the top 10.

Excellent: Punt Coverage– Opponents have averaged about 6 yards per return.  Dallas ranks in the top 10.

Failing: Kickoff returns– averaging just 21 yards a return and had a fumble Sunday. When you consider that Felix Jones usually fields a KO about 3-5 yards deep in the endzone, it’s clear that Dallas is barely getting to the 20 and maybe not even that far often.

Dwayne Harris may represent a better option but maybe Jerry doesn’t want to remove Felix. STORY  .

This area represents a huge opportunity for improving the Cowboys field position.

Failing: Punt returns– Averaging a pathetic 1 yard per return. That ranks 31 out of 32 teams in the NFL. Last year this was a weak area for Dallas and so far it is again. Like to see Dwayne Harris get an opportunity to contribute to the team in this area that lacks productivity.

Failing: Punt protection– Had a punt blocked for a TD in Seattle. Happened against the Jets last year too. This kind of thing shouldn’t happen and represents a huge momentum changer in a game like it was Sunday.

If Dallas wants to get over that 8-8 hump in 2012, these are some of the areas that they must improve.

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2 thoughts on “Cowboys Progress Report After 2 Games: A Look at the Numbers

  1. I really like the Cowboys, but with few exceptions, these are the same “pros and cons” Dallas has worked with for years. I mean, back in the 1990’s, it was pretty much either the Packers, 49ers, or the Cowboys going to the Super Bowl.

    Today, both the Packers and the 49ers have rebuilt and are a force once again…the Cowboys, not nearly as much. The “D” is improved, Romo is better than most QB’s, but the offensive line still has issues. And they have way too many penalties.

    In a division where a 9-7 record can get you a wild card, even a division win, they struggle to become a consistent 10-12 game winner…

  2. Thanks for your comment!
    As far as penalties go, Dallas had a lot in the Giants game and won then very few against the Seahawks and lost. Go figure. I can’t.

    I noticed after week 2 that there are 20 teams that are 1-1. That’s some kind of NFL record. Six teams are 2-0 and six teams 0-2. Parity has arrived. Or we just have a bunch of mediocre teams?

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