The Real Reason Why The Cowboys are Moving Away From the “12 Personnel Package”

In an article by Rainer Sabin, he attempts to explain why the Cowboys haven’t been running near as much 12 package (1 back and 2 TEs) as we were once led to believe.

In fact, that’s why Jerry Jones told us he surprisingly drafted TE Gavin Escobar in the 2nd round of the draft. My reaction was, “hey we have Witten and Hanna to throw to.” Why another pass catching TE who really can’t block much?

Jerry explained that he wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on Escobar that early if he didn’t have big plans to use him in the offense. Just trust Jerry, it’s a good move. So far this season, Escobar has just 4 catches in 8 games. Couldn’t we have used a guard or defensive tackle with that 2nd pick instead?

That’s not to knock Escobar who has displayed outstanding hands and ability to catch the football. It’s just to point out that he isn’t being used as much as advertised or enough to justify a 2nd round pick.

In Sabin’s article, he takes a stab at why the 12 package has been put on the shelf. When he asked Romo, he said, “I don’t know. That’s a great question”. Well you’re the QB and you should know.

The Cowboys have gone to more of a package that features just 1 TE and 3 WRs and Beasley explains it creates more mismatches. Beasley is on the right path but I’m going to tell you the real reason why the 12 package ain’t happening for Dallas.

Lack of run game. 27th rush yards/game. 29th rush attempts/game.

For a multiple TE formation (12 package) to be effective, you must be able to effectively run the ball in that formation. A commitment to the run forces defenses to bring in LBs and safeties to stuff the run. Then your pass catching TEs can get in favorable pass matchups in play action pass.

But the Cowboys have not made a serious commitment to run the ball and Escobar simply can’t block. So defenses aren’t worried about Dallas running, therefore they bring in DBs that can cover well.

Think about it. If you know a team lives by the pass, are you putting in run stoppers or guys that can cover receivers?

And to Beasley’s point, if you are facing good cover DBs, the offense goes with their best receivers which are WRs instead of TEs. The WRs tend to be faster and quicker. In fact if Dallas isn’t going to run the ball, then they should just go with 4 or 5 WRs and heck with a RB or TE in the game. Naturally a CB would prefer covering a lumbering TE than a speedy WR man to man.

When Jerry was spewing all this stuff about multiple TE formations and drafting Escobar blah blah blah, I knew for it to work they would need to run the ball which they haven’t done effectively in years.

Until Dallas commits to the run, no defense needs to worry about loading up the box with guys who stop the run but can’t cover. And that means if your 2nd rd. TE can’t block, you actually drafted a tall slow WR in the 2nd round who isn’t involved in the offense.
Welcome to Jerry’s World…..