A look at three offensive weapons that appear to be way under used by the Dallas offense through three games this season.
1. Lance Dunbar
With new offensive play caller Scott Linehan taking over the Cowboys offense this year, it was expected that he may use RB Lance Dunbar similar to the way Reggie Bush was used with the Lions. I didn’t look for Dunbar to get a great deal of carries as it figured Murray would be the work horse but I did think Dunbar could be a very effective offensive weapon as a receiver out of the back field.
In three games Dunbar only has 3 catches for 21 yards and all those receptions came in the first game with the 49ers. He has had no targets at all in the last two games. On the ground, Dunbar has 11 carries for 27 yards for the year and all those attempts came in the Titans game.
With above average quickness, Dunbar has proven to be a very explosive player in the past and hopefully he will figure into the offensive attack more in the future. Against the Rams, the Dallas offense was just 5 of 10 at converting 3rd downs. Passing to Dunbar more out of the backfield could help move the chains a little more on 3rd down.
2. Gavin Escobar
Last season the Cowboys were criticized for rarely using their 2nd round TE Gavin Escobar as he only had 9 catches for the season. Talk has been that Dallas wants to use more multiple TE sets in 2014 but so far, Escobar only has 2 catches for a modest 12 yards. And the other TE James Hanna has been so absent that I’m surprised an Amber alert hasn’t been issued for him. Hanna has 0 catches and 0 targets this season. Last season Hanna had 12 receptions and he had a nice preseason but so far he has been forgotten.
With the Cowboys having success running the ball, it would seem that getting the TEs involved in the offense would be a natural development but so far it hasn’t. Escobar has demonstrated excellent hands and he has good height at 6-6 which can create mismatches with smaller defensive backs.
3. Dwayne Harris
It seems every season I’m disappointed in how the Dallas offense fails to get Dwayne Harris involved as a wide receiver and in 2014, I am again. On special teams Harris is a big contributor and in the past he has proven that he can make big plays that are game changers.
In the first game Harris ran the ball one time for 9 yards and he had one long catch for 56 yards. All his productivity came against the 49ers because in the past two games, Harris hasn’t even touched the ball at all on offense. This seems like a waste to me. It really appears to be a case of not using an explosive weapon.
Linehan should make it a point to get the ball to Harris at least a few times each game. Running a reverse to Harris could be an effective way to take the defense’s focus off Murray and throwing those bubble screen passes to a good runner like Harris would certainly test the open field tackling ability of defenders. Getting Harris the ball in open space will put a great deal of pressure on defenders and seems like a no brainer. Let’s hope it happens more going forward.