Monday, September 30, 2019

The Morning After: Cowboys offense emerges from New Orleans with work to do


Week 4 vs. NO
Date published: Sept. 30, 2019

New Orleans defense was the story in this one: held Zeke to only 1.9 yards, and the DAL offense lost the turnover and third-down battle.

NO's front five were outstanding: Malcolm Brown (big run-stuffing addition), Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, AJ Klein, Demario Davis.

NO's plan: Stack the secondary and make the Dallas defense march the ball down the field slowly. However, they were also able to control the running game with their front five, so the DAL offense struggled mightily. Will this be a blueprint for other teams going forward?

DAL defense was good, but couldn't get the ball back when it mattered - struggled on third down and couldn't get a takeaway.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Cowboys Weekend Riffing: Previewing Week 4 vs. New Orleans, and return of the mighty mailbag!


Week 4 vs. NO
Date published: Sept. 27, 2019

This is Dallas' 67th all-time Sunday Night Football appearance - second place is NYG at 54. Specifically, since 2006, Dallas is 24-18 on SNF. 

However, NO has the highest winning percentage on SNF: 11-2, with one of those losses coming against Dallas.

Dallas put on a defensive masterpiece vs. NO last time they played; can they do it again against Teddy Bridgewater?

Matchup to watch: Cam Jordan vs. La'El Collins
Matchup to watch: Alvin Kamara vs. everyone

No Drew Brees means an expected high-dose of Kamara.

Bob's Pick: Cowboys 27, Saints 23

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Richard Report: Week 3 – Miami’s offense causes headaches, but Cowboys defense keeps endzone clean


Week 3 vs. MIA
Date published: Sept. 25, 2019

First half was not great on defense: four drives of over 45 yards, three drives of at least 8 plays and two of at least 10. 

In the second half we saw almost nothing from Miami, which recorded five total drives for 65 yards. 30 plays for 65 yards amounts to a delightful 2.16 yards per play for the defense. So we can complain about the first-half cosmetics, but the response was decent. Overall, the Cowboys did not concede a single touchdown in a game for the first time since 2017.

Robert Quinn debut!

Defensive stats:
283 yards
17 first downs
3-15 third down
3 sacks
1 takeaway
0-3 redzone
20 splashes

Josh Rosen was stifled.
18/39, 200 yards, 0 TD

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Decoding Kellen Moore, Week 3: Cowboys’ early frustration turns into late dominance


Week 3 vs. MIA
Date published: Sept. 24, 2019

What a difference Amari Cooper is making for this offense as a whole:

Through three weeks in 2018, Cowboys had scored 41 points. Through three weeks in 2019, Cowboys have scored 97! 13 touchdowns in 2019, 8 in 2018! Dak is a year better too, and they have Randall Cobb, but adding a big play receiver has completly opened up the offense through three weeks. 

Since Dak's big day in 2017 against San Francisco, he has statistically been the best QB in Dallas history.

Two 100-yard rushers today in Pollard and Zeke.

31 points
476 yards
28 first downs
30:56 time of posession
7.1 yards per play
7.3 yards per attempt
5-10 third down
4-5 red zone

Offensive rankings after first three weeks:

  • 3rd in Total offense
  • 3rd in Rushing yards
  • 4th in Passing yards
  • 1st in sacks/attempt
  • 2nd in 1st downs per game
  • 1st in 3rd downs
  • 4th in Red zone TD%
  • 4th in total points
  • 4th in giveaways

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Morning After: Cowboys dominate third straight opponent, prepare for battles ahead


Week 3 vs. MIA
Date published: Sept. 23, 2019

Cowboys ended up dominating this game, but there was some real "playing with their food" about them in the first half before they got down to business and put away the Dolphins in the second half.

Dak threw a bunch of yolo-balls in the first half that should have been picked off. 

Poor officiating in this game.

Dallas offense had three 30-yard-plus passes, including one to Jason Witten on third-and-20. 

Jaylon Smith forced a Kenyan Drake fumble right before halftime; that pretty much killed any momentum MIA had; they had been playing pretty well up to that point!

"In the second half, however, Dallas outscored the Dolphins 21-0. They out-gained them 272-65 in the final 30 minutes. By the afternoon, the Cowboys had another day that graded well on both offense and defense, along with a 25-point victory that appeased even those who predicted they could handle that huge point spread."

Friday, September 20, 2019

Cowboys Weekend Riffing: Previewing Week 3 versus Miami and sorting through your questions


Week 3 vs. MIA
Date published: Sept. 20, 2019

Fun stat: Heading into this game, Cowboys are the winningest team in NFL history, percentage wise. From 1960 to 2019, the franchise is 514 - 380 - 6, for 57.4 percent. Steelers have the most win with 601, but they've been around since 1940 so they have a lower percentage. 

If they beat MIA, DAL will have a losing record all-time against only four franchises. 

Cowboys favored by 23.5 points.

Former first-round pick Taco Charlton now plays for Miami. Remember when Dallas took him over TJ Watt?

Matchup to watch: Demarcus Lawrence vs. J'Marcus Webb
The Pick: Dallas 38, Miami 17

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Richard Report, Week 2: A much-improved performance still leave Dallas seeking takeaways


Week 2 vs. WAS
Date published: Sept. 18, 2019

Would have liked to see DAL defense grab some turnovers in this game - they were definitely there for the taking, and with a big lead, unleash the ball hawks!

Target rate of takeaways should be 30 for this unit. 0 against Washington.

Defensive stats:
255 yards
19 first downs
1 sack
2-9 third down
3-3 redzone
17 splashes

Great red zone numbers, great third down numbers. This usually results in a win; if defense can get takeaways, sky is the limit. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Decoding Kellen Moore, Week 2: Cowboys offense scoring at record pace, making it easy to believe


Week 2 vs. WAS
Date published: Sept. 17, 2019

Offense has been the story through two weeks for Dallas. Let's look at how they finished the 2018 season, collectively.

  • 22nd in total offense
  • 23rd in passing offense
  • 29th in red zone efficiency
  • 27th in explosives
  • 28th in sacks/attempt
  • 22nd in points

“Cowboys offense has scored 9 TDs this season. The Dallas offense didn’t score its 9th TD until the second quarter of Week 6 last season against Jacksonville.”

Offensive stats:
31 points
474 yards
25 first downs
33:22 TOP
1 giveaway
7.4 yards per play
8.4 yards per attempt
7-11 third down
3-4 red zone

Big day for Cowboys receivers: Devin Smith 3-74-1; Amari Cooper 4-44-1; Michael Gallup 6-68

Dak numbers: 26/30 (!!), 269 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

Michael Gallup out for a month following this game. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Morning After: Cowboys’ new-look offensive machine faces minimal resistance in Washington


Week 2 vs. WAS
Date published: Sept. 16, 2019

Another great week by the DAL offense - 474 yards, 31 points

  • It was the second straight game with well over 450 yards. We consider anything over 360 a passable grade in the NFL, and any total over 400 amounts to an excellent day. They are already at 968 yards of offense through two weeks and are averaging an NFC-best 484 per game.
  • The Cowboys scored over 30 points, rolled up 400+ yards and won by double-digits. That may sound rather commonplace in other locales, but we can assure you that it is a rarity with this team. In fact, it did not happen a single time all last season. It transpired just twice in 2017, three times each in the 2014 and 2016 “glory years” and never happened once in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Oh, and it happened last week. So in two games with Kellen Moore’s offense, the Cowboys have already hit this threshold both times. If they can do it twice more this entire season (with Miami waiting next), they can become the most prolific offense (in this regard) that the Cowboys have had since 2007.
  • Dallas won a game while losing the turnover margin. Again, this may be a rather pedestrian accomplishment in other cities, but the Dallas offense in the “21-4” era has as strong a correlation between the turnover battle and winning as pretty much any team in the business. Since 2016, the Cowboys are 20-1 when win the turnover battle. Their one loss was the first game of 2016. They had lost nine of ten games in which they lose the turnovers, but now have won three straight between the 2018 late-season victories over the Saints and the Eagles and now this game on Sunday, which moved their record to 6-9. But they almost never win away from home if they don’t at least break even. Yesterday, they were a “minus-1,” and that was the first road win where they overcame a negative differential since Oakland in 2017. Basically, the takeaway is that this offense now seems to have the ability to act as an eraser from time to time. Last week, they proved they could overcome drive-killing penalties. This week, an interception didn’t sink their ship.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Cowboys Weekend Riffing: Previewing Week 2 at Washington, credit for Dak and more


Week 2 vs. WAS
Date published: Sept. 13, 2019

Entering this game, the Cowboys have won five of six vs. WAS

A look at three loses: 

2010: That was the fateful pass to Tashard Choice before halftime which was run back for a Redskins defensive touchdown to put the Cowboys in a hole at halftime. It was also the time that the Cowboys thought they had stormed back to win the game with a touchdown on the final play of the game, only to be called for a holding penalty on right tackle Alex Barron and have their victory ripped away in defeat.

2012: This was possibly the worst Tony Romo performance of his career, in the worst possible situation, as this was a win-and-you’re-in game against a hobbled rookie QB in Robert Griffin. Romo threw three interceptions, including the back-breaker on a swing pass to DeMarco Murray which was picked off by some guy named Rob Jackson, and I seem to recall the Cowboys scoring just 18 points despite having seven drives inside the Washington 30. It was the low point of the Jason Garrett era, and I was ready to start coach shopping again after that.

2018: This was as frustrating a game as the Cowboys played last season, as Washington had almost no available skill position players yet Dallas could not pull away because their offense could not get anything going. Then, they handed Washington a free touchdown late when Prescott held the ball too long, was sacked at the goal line and coughed up the ball to Preston Smith with under five minutes to play. This was probably the game that inspired the Amari Cooper trade more than any other, and the trade puzzled so many because, at this point in time, the 2018 season already seemed lost.

The Washington defensive front line has had its way against the Cowboys offensive line recently.

Matchup to watch: Dallas receivers vs. Washington corners
Matchup to watch: Cowboys DE vs. Washington tackles

Bob pick: Dallas 23, Washington 20

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Richard Report, Week 1: Disappointing start for Cowboys defense & what they can clean up


Week 1 vs. NYG
Date published: Sept. 11, 2019

Great offensive game for Dallas, but the defense could have been much better.

The Cowboys allowed 470 yards of total offense, 25 first downs, 7.2 yards per play and were unable to get a single three-and-out in their 2019 debut. That won’t cut it for a defense with a bar as high as they set last season.

Giants averaged 7.1 yards per play!!!

Eli Manning: 30/44, 306 yards, 1 TD

Barkley had a 59-yard explosive run that led to Giants first TD and lead in the first quarter.

LVE - 3.5 splashes
Xavier Woods - 1.5 splashes
DLaw - 4.5 splashes
Jeff Heath - 2.5 splashes

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Decoding Kellen Moore, Week 1: Cowboys coordinator’s near-perfect debut against the Giants


Week 1 vs. NYG
Date published: Sept. 10, 2019

This game was over by the fourth quarter. Super impressive debut for Kellen Moore.

More than 450 yards of offense and a 9 yard per play average - by the end of the third quarter.

Another example of Dak playing really well against NFC East.

Offensive numbers:
35 points
489 yards
23 first downs
32:18 TOP
0 giveaways
8 yards per play
6-10 third down
2-2 red zone

Cowboys averaged 12.7 yards per attempt, in a league where 7.4 is the average.

Dak: 25/32, 405 yards, 4 TD

Something Cowboy fans had to love (if they survived the Garrett era): Even with a lead, Kellen Moore continued to attack.

Monday, September 09, 2019

The Morning After: Cowboys trounce Giants with a symphony of offensive brilliance


Week 1 vs. NYG
Date published: Sept. 9, 2019

Kellen Moore's debut!

Saquon Barkley gave the Giants a 7-0 lead, including a fantastic run. But Dallas responded with a 11 play, 75-yard drive. A holding penalty had a chance to be a drive-killer; instead, Moore had Dak attack, and a wide-open pass to Blake Jarwin in the endzone started the season's scoring. 

Cowboys never looked back. 

Cobb looked good in his debut with Dallas. 

Friday, September 06, 2019

Cowboys Weekend Riffing: Previewing Week 1 vs the Giants and examining the Dallas salary cap dance

Cowboys Weekend Riffing: Previewing Week 1 vs the Giants and examining the Dallas salary cap dance


Week 1 vs. NYG
Date published: Sept. 6, 2019

Prior to this game: Cowboys made two big salary cap moves, signing Zeke and La'el Collins.
Zeke: 6/90mil
La'el: 5/50 mil

"The modern Cowboys seem to have learned that the best way to retain your best talent rarely involves restructuring deals. Pay the piper when they are great and get the guaranteed money accounted for while they’re worth it. Then, if the player diminishes, the contract is no longer guaranteed on the back half. I believe we will see the Cowboys say goodbye to some familiar names if they are no longer worth their annual number without suffering dead-money ramifications."

NFL LOVES putting Dallas and NYG on opening night, it really sets the table for their ratings.

Matchup to watch: Travis Frederick vs. young Giants DL studs
Matchup to watch: Demarcus Lawrence vs. Mike Remmers

Bob pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 17