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.