It’s the half way point of the season for the Cowboys and they are at a surprising and respectable 6-2. A nice start for sure but an objective analysis of their performance reveals they are strong in some areas but have plenty areas that could use improvement and will need to get better for them to make the post season.
One of the Cowboys six wins came against a team with a winning record that being the Seahawks who moved to 4-3 by beating the Panthers last week. It was their best win so far this season without a doubt.
OFFENSE: Grade B+
Rushing game – EXCELLENT
DeMarco Murray has rushed for 100 yards in a record breaking eight straight games behind an offensive line whose strength is run blocking. This area is working and how they have won six games. It has helped dominate TOP minutes in most games and kept their defense off the field. Dallas ranks first in rushing in the NFL at 161 yards per game.
Passing game- Above Average
In passing yards the Cowboys rank 16 in the NFL but have an impressive 68 percent completion percentage. Establishing the run has helped make the passing game very efficient.
The Cowboys offense has scored 26 points a game which ranks 8th in the NFL.
Areas to improve on offense:
Pass Blocking: While the offensive line has been great in run blocking, their pass blocking could be better and must improve against blitzes as the Redskins exploited. Like to see the Cowboys run more screen passes to negate the pass rush. The Cowboys have allowed 17 sacks in 8 games.
Turnovers: The Cowboys offense has 6 interceptions and 7 fumbles for a total of 13 turnovers which puts them in the top 10 in the NFL in number of turnovers. Murray trying to fight for extra yards has led to fumbles and would appear to be an issue that seems simple enough to correct. Turnovers threaten to limit their success this season. Must get better.
DEFENSE: GRADE B-
Pass Defense: Average
The Cowboys rank 18th in the NFL for yards passing allowed. On the other hand they have done a good job of coming up with interceptions with 8 for the season. They are allowing a generous completion percentage of 66%. At times the secondary has made plays but over all, too many yards allowed for teams though the air.
Run Defense: Average
The Cowboys defense has allowed 114 yards rushing a game which ranks a respectable 14th in the NFL. However the defense allows an average of 4.8 yards per carry which is at the top of the NFL in yards allowed per run. It represents an area that could use improvement.
Takeaways: Above Average
The Cowboys have 13 takeaways for the season with 8 INTs and 5 fumbles recovered. That ranks above average in the NFL and it is helped make the defense look a little better than they probably are in reality.
The Dallas defense allows 20 points a game which is above average in the NFL.
Areas to Improve on defense:
Pass Rush: Dallas only has 10 sacks this season which ranks only 26th in the NFL. At times they have pressured with blitzes but this is an area that has a lot of room to improve. Down the stretch of the season, Dallas will need to get to opposing QBs more often to win games and with the return of rookie pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence, maybe help is on the way.
What can you say? Bailey is probably the best kicker in the NFL. MONEY.
Kick Returns: Average
The Cowboys are in the top 10 in KO returns but rank low in punt returns with just a 7 yard average. They will need a big play from kick returns to win a game or two down the stretch.
OVERALL Mid term GRADE: B
A very good start and the run game has been a difference maker. But entering a tougher part of the schedule, the offense must reduce turnovers while the defense needs to get to the QB more. Dwayne Harris is over due for a big return to help win a game.