This post is also available in: Italian
Should be official now the Cowboys decided to put in Matt Cassel hands the fortunes of the team, at least until Tony Romo will be back. As we said yesterday, cannot be the solution to all the problems, but this team is in desperate need of generating offense, and Weeden has largely proved to be unable to do so, continuing to dump off the ball ignoring the few opportunities presented during the games. In a comment on yesterday article in the Italian section, Giampiero asked about this subject, here’s some images of the first drive against New England and from the last play of the game, which give you an idea of the opportunities Weeden left behind.
On the first occasion Weeden rolls and Street is free for NFL standards, but the QB continues to run, delaying the throw and unload the ball on the sideline. On the second Williams beats his man and create space for a throw on the outside shoulder, but Weeden goes completely out of range. In the last action you can see how many space has Weeden to place the ball but again made a long throw. Hopefully Cassel will be able to exploit at least the few opportunities that will present to him.
Offense shown other problems, including not being able to run consistently. Some long runs, especially against Atlanta, inflated the statistics, but the average remains low, and if last year often they started from 2nd and 6 situations, this year running on the first down have never brought results. The loss of our playmakers, Dunbar and Bryant, deprived the offense of the only players able to create a big play at any time, defenses can now quietly scheming around our running game, filling the box without any fear.
When you look to Sunday numbers, there are two statistics to take in good consideration. Field position: on average drives started from our 18 yds, defense still not been able to generate takeaways and on six occasions offense goes “three and out”. Third down conversion: only 29% (4 of 14). Those numbers, and 264 yds of total offense, give the measure of offensive ineptitude. Interestingly, 2 TE Personal was widely used by the Cowboys, Sunday 20 plays, but with poor results, only 45 yds earned. This is really frustrating when you consider they still didn’t find a way to make produce the combo Witten-Escobar, after investing a second round of 2013 Draft on the San Diego St. TE. You can see how opponents are game planning with Weeden as starting QB, looking at the number of blitz NE decided to send… 1, one time, it was enough to use 3/4 rushing linemen and keep other players stopping the run and patrol the underneath doubling Witten and Beasley.
Now it’s Cassel turn, but will not be enough, the coaching staff need to prepare games in a better way. They need to take risks, it often seems that we are the team to beat, there is no need to take risks, the victory will come anyway. No, it’s time to understand that they’ll always be underdogs for a while, and to win games they need bravery and imagination, not to kick a 5 yds FG in a game where hardly managed to get to midfield. Coaches must prove to the players they’re trying everything they can to win. I’m not saying that we should use many trick plays, but isn’t enough lay on their strength to score points, they have to somehow create it without fear. Offense, Defense, Special teams, Coaches, are all called to give their contribution, to win as a team, to keep hopes alive.