One thing that has to improve, no matter who plays QB, is the Cowboys conversion rate on 3rd down.
Offensively, the Cowboys are 30th in the NFL at converting on third down (30.2%). How does that compare to the top teams? Three teams are over 50%. Two are not surprising – Buffalo and Kansas City – while the third is surprising (Seattle). Nine other teams convert at over 40%.
Even during the three game winning streak, the Cowboys are only 24th in 3rd down conversion rate (34.2%). Fourteen teams have converted at 40% or better during that stretch, with Seattle being the only one over 50%. Go figure.
Defensively, the Cowboys are 10th best at stopping teams on 3rd down (33.3%). During the three game winning streak, they're 11th best despite actually having a better rate of only 32.6%. This is obviously good enough, but it's going to be harder to sustain if the offense doesn't get better at converting third downs. As a result of the low conversion rate, offensively, Dallas only possesses the ball 47.2% of the game. These extra snaps will catch up to the defense over 17 games.
Winning is always fun, but the way the Cowboys are doing it is tough to do over an entire season. With Gallup's return, and getting some continuity at left guard, hopefully the running game will improve and make the distance needed on third down lesser. Avoiding penalties on offense would help, too.