The season started with a stinker of a game against the Bucs. One of the worst games the Cowboys have played in a long time. I mean MM said after the fact that they knew this was going to be a defensive led team yet against the Bucs they played pass first and never tried to establish the run. The Bucs defense is good but they shouldn’t have had the success they had. KM played the same game plan he played last year and the Bucs were ready. Dak had a terrible game. The OL had a terrible game. The coaches had an absolutely terrible game.
Then Dak got hurt.
This was the beginning of a new era. The coaches new that they had to be a run first offense because Rush just wasn’t good enough to run a pass happy offense. His weak arm prevented them from calling many plays. So they focused on establishing the run. I mean really focused. Not sure why KM and MM took so long to realize that you have to run the ball in the NFL no matter who you have at QB but they were finally forced into this realization. While the offense didn’t flourish, it was able to score enough points to win. This happened because the defense flourished. They stepped it up big time and allowed the offense to depend on the run. Dallas is 31st in time of possession. This defense has been carrying the team on it’s back this whole season including the last game against the Lions.
The elephant in the room as far as the defense is concerned has been stopping the run. They’’re 14th in the league in run defense. Not bad but for a defensive oriented team it needs to get better. It would probably be worse but the Cowboys have been in the lead a lot so teams have had to pass. Which plays right into the Cowboys hands. But if teams can get ahead on the Cowboys and rely on the run game they will have success.
Enter todays HUGE trade for 6’3” 340 lbs Jonathan Hankins. I think this is a tremendous signing. He’s not a flashy guy. He’s not going to get sacks. But he does all the dirty work clogging up the middle. Something the Cowboys haven’t had in years. Many, many years. Baring injury, I think we’re going to look back at this signing as one of the defining moments of the season.
The other defining moments? We’ve been watching one since game 1. Zeke Elliot. He’s faced so much criticism from so many fans of late. Zoners calling for his outright release. Calling him soft and useless playing through most of last season with a PCL issue. He’s been carrying this offense so far this year. The team loves him. He gives it his all.
The last defining moment? The return of Dak. His 1st game back he played a solid game. Rusty in the first quarter as expected. But he got better and better and after watching the All 22 he played better than I thought. He’s the leader on this team. Teammates love him as well. He’ll continue to get better and flourish in this run first offense. He had success on play action 50% of the plays where previously it was 25%. I think MM will make sure KM continues to be a run first team which opens up the play action for big chunk plays.
Honorable mention for first 7 game trends is the improvement of the coaching staff. MM has been fantastic. He’s got this team playing their ***** off. Quinn is like a kid in a candy store with all these outstanding players he has to move around and destroy offenses. KM, whether forced or not, has stuck with establishing the run and staying with it.
So the first 7 game trends are like a bull market. Steadily up. Baring any significant injuries I have no doubt that the trend will continue on the upswing for the rest of the season.