Improving upon these 5 weaknesses-success for this season

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Cowboyny, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. Cowboyny

    Cowboyny Well-Known Member

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    Throughout the summer, I created several, original posts that detailed what I thought the team's weaknesses were. Last year's team was 1-6 in games decided by one score. Their point differential ranked 3rd in the NFC at +113. Point is, 6 out of the 8 losses could of come down to making 1 more play.

    Any improvement in these 5 areas (in no .particular order), could determine success for this upcoming season. Win a few more close games and that record could easily go from 8-8 to 11-5 if not more:

    Brief detail:

    1) Improved Special Teams-how many times did the offense have to drive the length of the field and if they failed to score a TD came away with zero points as they had the most inconsistent PK in the entire league.

    2) Offense's inability to start fast-the Cowboy Offense ranked #1 in yards last season, but were #18 in 1st quarter points. Playing always behind had a snowball affect for their entire team. In Dak's rookie season, the Cowboy Offense dominated the time of possession, forced opposing offenses to play catch up and become more one dimensional. With a more fresh defense and only needing to play the pass, it was far easier for them to have sustained success. Zeke is considered one of the best closers in the entire league, but rarely was given the chance as the Cowboy Offense was always playing from behind late in these close ball games.

    3) Red Zone Offense Efficiency-ever since Dez Bryant was released by the team, their red zone offense left with him. This offense used to be ranked in the top 10 in red zone efficiency but now are more average then anything else, last year they were ranked 16th. It's not just his absence, but it's a combination of poor play-calling, poor execution and mental self-induced mistakes.

    4) Defense Inability to create turnovers-the Cowboy Defense had an embarrassing interception total of a mere 7 interceptions, that was tied for the league worst. They ranked 20th in the league in turnover differential. No team can have success if they force their offense to drive an entire football field on a consistent basis. This has been an ongoing problem throughout Marinelli's tenture with the team. It was a combination of his coaching and not having any sort of playmakers within the defense.

    5) Lack of Depth throughout the roster-we have seen it time after time with this franchise when a starter goes down, success usually goes down with him. This team under the Jones Family has always been built around stars, with questionable depth behind them. We see other teams maintain success with the next man up mantra, but rarely here. This has to change.

    Certainly there are some other areas of concern. I do believe this team can compete for a championship now, but they need to get better in the little things to have a chance.
  2. RodeoJake

    RodeoJake Well-Known Member

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    Another area I'd like to see improved is our defense forcing more 3 and outs. That's another way to win the field position battle.
  3. jazzcat22

    jazzcat22 Well-Known Member

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    Not having numerous people in Moore's ear telling them what to do, and bogus info.
    Such as Ray Brown was last year in the Vikings game. He was probably like that all the time last year. As you know he was not that way with Linehan.
  4. Bullflop

    Bullflop Well-Known Member

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    There's a new staff in charge this year on both sides of the ball. That, in itself, holds a fair measure of hope for some much needed change. It will take time for their new methods to jell as necessary but surely, it'll improve as familiarity allows. Hopefully, it'll all progress at a timely pace.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
    Fastpitch Dad and Cowboyny like this.
  5. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Moderator

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    Good post. The points you list here were always consistent with Jason Garrett coached teams. His basic philosophy was Uber conservative usually at the wrong times. He never seemed to learn much from his own mistakes and consistent patterns of coaching.

    Watching Cowboys games under Garrett were like watching the same movie over and over each week. The plot was predictable.
  6. CowboyFrog

    CowboyFrog Well-Known Member

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    I know it gets said over and over ..... number speaks of coaching its almost like they don't get the backups ready to play. I don't care what level NFL player you are when you go in and look lost thats a coaching issue to me.
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  7. quickccc

    quickccc Well-Known Member

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    Several Great points, cowboyNY - thanks for sharing; :thumbup:

    Despite it's problems with notorious slow starts, red zone issues and lack of splash runs on Offense, they still have numerous
    posing elements going for them to help them overcome them.
    We are gonna move the ball,.. we are gonna eventually score big points,..we 're gonna create issues for opposing defenses

    - My main issue still clearly relies upon the Defense.
    If your Offense has problems with being stagnant and stalling, your defense should be able to help you out until the wrinkles can be
    ironed out, and the offense motor begins to warm up better.

    And you know what's always been said about Defense down the road in championship stretches to SB.
    Defense should change field position, per turnovers, sacks and quick 3 and outs
    - What is Mike Nolan's new Defense gonna give us that Rod Marinelli's defense had not ?

    1) COACHING- From HC to assistants - this is gonna vastly effect all areas of the team offense/defense/special teams
    as well as Game Management, Critical In -Game Adjustment game decisions.

    We were among if not top when it comes to adjusting halftime.
    That simply will play HUGE in games and especially down the stretch.

    2) DEFENSE - I want to see all of the Defensive elements into a Dominant overall unit
    - Be Bigger and more Physical, more Disruptive and be a disciplined tackling team.
    -Need a top 3-5 unit in Stop The Run, Pass Rush, and + plus in Turnovers.
    - This begins with changing how we play defense; especially up front
    -Marinelli's D' based on " quick twitch" -movement type with no ball hawks and a unit that eventually got exposed... and wore down
    - If we stuffed run, that makes more long yd.3rd downs and plays into more obvious pass rush moments.
    - DRE, starting CBs, tackling issues at safety and jaylon at OLB remain my biggest worries player personnel wise

    3) SPECIAL TEAMS - Easily worst coached unit in NFL. and at bottom in grades -affected and lost games for us.with
    poor coaching decisions, lack of discipline,
    with killer penalties, poor field position, broken coverage, poor decisions in return game,
    subpar punting and a sporadic FG kicker
    that HC stuck with cuz he had a powerful leg.

    4) OFFENSE - you're right about notorious slow starts, red zone efficency, but i also want to see our potent offense vs
    toughest defenses too.Keep a big key look at our new OL coach, revamped run game/sustain top pass block unit,

    5) RDE and Jaylon Smith - new regime going with Crawford at DRE, average edge rusher with hip issues not impact help we need.
    Alden Smith ? Been out of football for 4 years and zero OTAs, preseason and limited training camp not helping his return to form.
    Very weird NFL biz with Gregory's reinstatement in deep limbo. and its' rotation guys afterwards (ala armstrong, Bradley)
    Vastly need bookend impact DEs on both ends. With jaylon, i worry about a non-instinctive guy that has to be "schemed"
    has to be going forward vs turning in being in reverse
    in coverage. Limited player short term,imo

    DEPTH - frankly on paper, i'm only concern about a lack of Depth with the LB unit. i'm not as big on Joe thomas as his
    arrival preseason series outing. A fine SP whose always hurt, plays best in space than vs traffic.
    And all else a total of unknowns and subpar after that with the likes of oft- injured Luke Gifford, undrafted rookie Bernard Francis
    and special team only Justin March. i think we'll eventually be scrambling for off street help before long.
    Otherwise look at our QB, RB, OL, WR, CB, DT, S situation and we may be among tops when it comes to overall team depth
  8. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    1. Situational run defense.
    2. Situational run defense.
    3. Situational run defense.

    By situational, I mean that they stop the run when it's important regardless of the total rushing yards allowed.

    They need to force offenses into 3rd and 6 or more yards as often as possible.

    They need to do it with "7 men in the box".
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  9. Rockport

    Rockport AmberBeer Zone Supporter

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    The entire team was mistake prone last year which led to the weaknesses you mentioned. Offensive play calling and a bend but don’t break defensive philosophy doomed us from the beginning. Superb QB play is the only reason we won the games we did.
  10. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Mike Nolan will run as much 3-4 as 4-3 if not more.

    Crawford's best fit is as a 3-4 type DE.

    Jaylon will have role similar to Strong Side OLB in a 3-4 (i.e. Similar to Anthony Spencer back in the Wade Phillips days).
    - Spencer played about 4x more coverage snaps than Ware and Spencer's other primary job was stopping the run. His 3rd priority was rushing the passer.

    In 2018 the Cowboys played Crawford as the base RDE with Gregory as the pass rushing RDE. That was a decent combination.

    They need 1 of either Poe or Woods to be near 100% healthy for each game. If one if gimpy, then make him inactive and play the other one. The key is to get to the end of the season with 1 or both reasonably healthy.

    Joe Thomas has been the best 4th LB they had since switching back to the 4-3.

    Teams rarely go to the Super Bowl in the 1st year with a new coaching staff; however, it has happened often in the 2nd year.
    - Considering that and the Covid issues, they just need to get through the season while improving their foundation (schemes, core roster players, etc.).
    - They need to get better as a team regardless of the 2020 win/loss record.
    - Find the players that fit with the new coaches and move on from the ones that don't.
    - If they win on the way to improving their longer term outlook, that's great. If they lose some close games then the new coaches will know what they need to improve for 2021.
  11. Cowboyny

    Cowboyny Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, starting off slow took the team totally out of their game plans. Our defense just wasn't good enough to keep teams down for too long and wore down in the 2nd half of games.
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  12. Cowboyny

    Cowboyny Well-Known Member

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    We all are aware of what Marinelli mantra was, defend the run on their way to rush the QB. Teams took advantage of their aggressiveness off the snap. What we discussed over the summer regarding Nolan's scheme has me more confident they will be able to defend the run better, along with better interior personnel signed in the off-season.
    xwalker likes this.
  13. Cowboyny

    Cowboyny Well-Known Member

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    -I believe our depth is much better this year then we have seen in years. Like the depth within the OL, secondary and finally have a vet #2 QB.
    -If coaching is indeed better, it should show up in winning more of these close games. Wins/Losses can come down to smallest of margins.
    -I believe our defense will dicate to the offense far more then we have seen under Marinelli's conservative system. Force teams doing things faster.
    -No doubt, this offense has to show up against the better defenses in the league, not just beat the hell out of bad teams. I believe this offense has to return to that unit that controls the clock, plays ahead of the scoreboard and wears down their opponent.
    -I have my doubts about the RE position since the draft concluded. There are just too many unknowns at the position. Would like to see a veteran signing to the group prior to opening day.
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  14. Cowboyny

    Cowboyny Well-Known Member

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    Some good points

    -The run defense fell off the cliff when Woods missed games last season. Hopefully, with him & Poe that doesn't happen this year. Having Crawford back also will help the team against the run.

    -This year is be more of an evaluation one and trying to win at the same time. The new staff has to determine which pieces are apart of the long-term plan, which need to go. Figure out the weaknesses and start building the roster to fix them.
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  15. CowboyRoy

    CowboyRoy Well-Known Member

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    All you had to do was sum that all up by saying...…………."Coaching". Could have saved yourself some time.
  16. BigTimeBlues

    BigTimeBlues Well-Known Member

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    Besides the (hopeful) Special Teams upgrade that was desperately needed, I feel this falls in line as priority #2. I do not feel comfortable, even if Randy was reinstated, with "hope" in regards to output. Fingers crossed!!
    Cowboyny likes this.
  17. quickccc

    quickccc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing;
    i like most of your points and inputs though i'm in disagreement with a couple.

    - If that's the case with Anthony Spencer, then that makes him all the more
    a grave disappointment and mistake that we drafted him
    in the 1st round,
    as very much the case with first round 3-4 OLBs they impact
    as pass rusher
    first. and other areas of their game falling in place afterwards.

    - Let's be frank, when you're drafting an edge guy as a 4-3 or 3-4, you're putting stock in him as a pass rush impact first.
    i don't believe you draft an Alden Smith, Shawn Merriman, DWare , Terrell Suggs, Von Miller, ..or even B-tier
    like Clay Matthews Jr., Lamar Lathon, Peter bouldware, ,
    Tamba Hali, the first round, to be 3-4 coverage guys first,
    Its not the very rare days of Giants Carl Banks.

    - Aside from his one lone 2012 break out season where he surprisingly had 11 sacks and named a pro bowl replacement ,for
    most of his career he average just 4.8 sacks per season. mainly because he could never beat the OT and finish at the QB.

    And why was he actually chosen as a pro bowl replacement ? his 11 sacks in 14 games.
    Otherwise most of his career before the 2012 season- he was averaging just a mere 4.8 sacks per season., mainly because he
    could not beat the RT, and finish to the QB.

    - If they plan to use Jaylon Smth as a 3-4 OLB as an edge rusher vs a OT, then i hope he can deliver that role
    but i just don't expect very much from him in a 3-4 role " this year' since without an off season of much time to mold/prepare himself to
    in that role.

    - But as a 4-3 OLB , i had envision him more as a forward mover like ex-Bears Otis Wilson or ex-Cardinal karlos Dansby
    where he is blitzing often, matched up often vs a blocking RB (from the outside) playing the run and dropping in zones
    in short area coverage.
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  18. plasticman

    plasticman Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I think the Cowboys did rather well on depth, an extremely elusive goal.

    Offensive line's backups are 2nd and 3rd draft picks. The D-line has an abundance of players that can contribute. The DB's are young but plentiful. RB, no problem, QB, taken care of. WR, please!

    The greatest issue will always be maintaining that depth each season. If you have good depth then you have a team that is deep in talent. That means not being able to pay them all when when it's contract time and so they leave. Also, the more talented your starters, the more you must pay to keep them, the less you can pay the backups.

    Depth is always going to be a neverending issue for every team.

    Turnovers is the absolute key. When you analyze the similarities between the majority of Super Bowl champions, their ability to create turnovers stick out like a sore thumb. This has been the Cowboys achilles heal for decades.
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  19. fivetwos

    fivetwos Well-Known Member

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    So much to say, no time to do it today.

    For now I'll say that in as much as I despise Elliott off the field, I really wish the offense would be more about him and Pollard and the offensive line controlling the LOS, time clock, and therefore the game.

    The 2016 model if you will.

    The best place for a suspect defense is on the sidelines.

    But no, its more about making Prescott into a prolific passer (I dont want to go down this road, but the less they depend on him to win on his own, the better off they will be overall). I'm not sure why he seemed to stop moving chains w his legs.

    Scoring quickly with a pass happy offense is not what this team ought to strive to be, but it seems like that's where we are.
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  20. fivetwos

    fivetwos Well-Known Member

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    I think you're right in a certain regard.

    The depth at certain positions is excellent, but LB and DB (as of last season) were a bit thin.

    This touches on another point the OP rewatching some games from last year and those dreadful coverage units, there were simply a bunch of bad football players on the field.

    March, Heath, 20 dudes named Covington, and the rest of the culprits.

    I'm hoping to see those big DB types and UDFA guys on coverage this year, and them to play with more of a passion, and just flat out be better because of better talent at those spots.
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