Why first down plays were huge for Kellen Moore Sunday

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Bobhaze, Sep 13, 2019 at 8:32 PM.

  1. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Well-Known Member

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    The best modern NFL offenses run a good first down play about 40% of the time. A successful first down play of 5 yards or more makes it much easier for an OC to become a “great play caller”. It’s much tougher to be a genius with a 2nd and 10 or more to work with. But a 2nd and 5 or less makes the playbook so much bigger.

    Last year, probably to no one’s surprise, the Cowboys were in the league’s bottom third with successful first down plays. I swear it seemed like Scott Linehan called the same straight dive running play on almost every first down we had.

    This little truth nugget about the importance of first down success was borne out in Sunday’s blowout against the midgets. So I was curious...how did we do on first down Sunday? Here’s what I found:
    • The Cowboys ran 28 first down plays, and 13 of them were for 5 yards or better. 7 of those 13 good plays were for more than 10 yards. That’s fantastic. If nearly half your first down plays are for 5 yards or more, your going to have some great drives.
    • Two of our first down plays were at the end of each half and were kneel downs which means we actually had 13 of 26 good FD plays. Again, that’s great offense.
    • This resulted in very few 2nd and long situations which makes play calling so much easier. (I read somewhere this summer that last year we only averaged 5-6 successful first down plays a game) Last year, it seemed like we were constantly “behind the chains” too often.
    This will be one key way to follow the success of this offense this year. If we continue to have excellent execution on first down, Kellen Moore will continue his “boy genius” start. It’s just one game, and it will certainly get tougher as more DCs get more film on Moore’s offense. But certainly a great start.


     
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  2. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    Dallas avg 3rd down play
    2018 games 1-7

    7.4 yards to go (22nd)
    31.9% conversion rate (30th)

    2018 games 8-18

    7.5 yards to go (24th)
    44.8% conversion rate (5th)

    After the trade for Cooper, Dallas converted many more of its 3rd down opportunities. But the average distance to go on those plays was actually longer with Cooper than before Cooper.
     
  3. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Well-Known Member

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    A first down play of 5 yards or more makes every other down easier. I would love to see what the drive conversion rate is when you get a couple of good first down plays in a drive.
     
  4. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    When we went up 28-10 in the 3rd quarter, our 1st- and 2nd-down plays had consisted of 23 passes and 13 runs. That's a 2018 Chiefs-like distribution.

    I did a thread on our successful plays.
     
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  5. CF74

    CF74 Vet Min Plus

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    Moore had us passing a great deal on first down, it was a nice change up...
     
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  6. ThemDangMartians

    ThemDangMartians Well-Known Member

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    ...Hmmmm...not to shabby for a "Pizza Boy" eh?.......lol
     
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  7. JD_KaPow

    JD_KaPow jimnabby

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    The average 3rd down distance on Sunday was...7.4 yards, same as last year.
     
  8. armadillooutlaw

    armadillooutlaw Well-Known Member

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    Mixing it up on first down helps a ton. Throwing early worked nicely.
     
  9. Pantone282C

    Pantone282C Zone Supporter

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    That's for sure. It was depressing.
     
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  10. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Well-Known Member

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    They didn’t have as many third downs though because they made a lot of first downs on first and second down.
     
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  11. Pantone282C

    Pantone282C Zone Supporter

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    Huge difference.
     
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  12. JD_KaPow

    JD_KaPow jimnabby

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    And third down: they converted 60% of those. But yes, the best way to avoid 3rd-and-long is not to have 3rd downs at all.
     
  13. CowboyRoy

    CowboyRoy Well-Known Member

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    Of course because Zeke was sooo great last year. LOL
     
  14. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    Yes, technically that was the average for the entire game. When we built the big lead, we stopped passing.

    3rd down Avg Distance to go
    First 3 quarters 5.9 yd
    4th quarter 11.0 yd

    1st- or 2nd-down play selection
    first 36 plays

    23 passes
    13 runs

    last 14 plays
    2 passes
    12 runs
     
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  15. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    86% in the first three quarters, 0% in the 4th.
     
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  16. Runwildboys

    Runwildboys Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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