We all witnessed how the run game disappeared in the 2nd half of the season. Teams started to used extra men in coverage and dared the Cowboys to beat them on the ground against light boxes, which they couldn't do. Without a run game and balanced attack, our offense went from being elite to being more of a middle of the pack threat.
There are many things we can point to, Zeke playing hurt and the coaches refusing to sit him down. Reshuffling the OL due to injuries, especially to Tyron Smith. League high penalties committed, Dak not fully healthy and refusal of taking off due to it. Moore playcalling was also a big part of the problem.
In my opinion, fixing the ground attack and becoming more balance was the team's #1 offseason priority. Question is, have they done enough to fix this weakness?
-Both Zeke/Pollard should be more healthy this season. Zeke has been one of the most durable backs since he was drafted. He may not be a homerun back no longer, but still should have plenty of juice to hurt teams on the ground.
-The draft additions of both Tyler Smith and Jake Ferguson were made to help the run game out. Smith is a legitimate power guard who has the ability to move players in the run game and is athletic enough to reach block on the move. The hope with Ferguson is that he is a better inline blocker then Shultz was last season, which will allow more 12 personnel and Shultz to play more to his strengths as a pass catcher.
-Is Terrence Steele a downgrade over Collins at RT? What we do know is that the team was undefeated when he filled in for Collins due to the suspension. Our run game was at it's peak during that stretch.
-What about the penalties? Tyler Smith was a penalty machine on the college level. The hope is that his move from Tackle inside he will do less reaching in space. He needs to work on better hand placement, but his character suggests he won't be mentally weak like Connor Williams. Him next to Biaz, should help alleviate the lack of strength with our center position.
-Tyron's Smith health. To the team's credit they have drafted tackles in back to back years to develop for the future. Question is, will one of them be ready to spot start when Tyron goes down again. Think the wise decision would be find a stop gap, bridge veteran swing tackle.
-Will MM have more influence with the playcalling this season? Reportedly he is going to get more involved. They must do a better job with what type of runs they call and sticking with it.