Preseason Week Two, Cowboys vs. Raiders: Final Film Study Observations
- The Cowboys lined up in “Double Tight Strong” (or a slight variation of it) four times, running a strong side dive on two of those plays. The ability to use the formation was obviously limited by the lack of depth at tight end. In the first two preseason games, the Cowboys have now lined up in the formation seven times and run five strong side dives. That rate of 71.4 percent is nearly identical to the 71.6 percent clip at which the team ran a strong side dive out of the formation last season.
- The Cowboys lined up in “Gun Spread” or “Gun Tight End Spread” on 28 total plays. Again, this was likely due to the lack of tight ends (and being behind at the end of the game).
- As I noted in my article on what we learned from the Raiders game, the Cowboys ran just seven two-tight end sets of a possible 67 plays (10.5 percent), compared to 44 plays with three or more receivers on the field (65.7 percent)–including 23 plays with four receivers. In comparison, the Cowboys ran a two-tight end set 15.9 percent of the time against the Bengals and just 39.1 percent of plays implemented three receivers (and none with four).
- The Cowboys’ offensive line obviously need to perform better. The first-teamers allowed four sacks in limited action, which is simply unacceptable. Marc Colombo in particular really struggled. He gave up two of the sacks and was beat on a few other plays. I also credited Doug Free, Robert Brewster, and Travis Bright with sacks (and one I put on Romo for holding the ball too long).
- The Cowboys are clearly running a very “vanilla” offense. They motioned on just 10 plays (14.9 percent) against Oakland. Last year, they motioned on 42.8 percent of regular season plays.
- Five of the Cowboys 19 called runs (26.3 percent) were to the weak side. They ran weak side on 19.5 percent of all runs last season.
- Dallas ran nine draws for 23 yards (2.56 yards-per-carry) against Oakland. That brings their preseason draw total to 47 yards on 15 carries (3.13 yards-per-carry). In my Ultimate Guide to Dallas Cowboys Draws, I explained why they should use the draw less often.
- The Raiders blitzed just five times on Thursday night. The Cowboys completed three of five passes for 35 yards and an interception in these situations. Dallas has struggled mightily against the blitz in the first two games, throwing for just 48 yards on 12 passes and rushing for 15 yards on five carries.
- Roy Williams looked sharp in limited action on Sunday night, but he was blanketed by the Raiders’ cornerbacks. He did a nice job of breaking up a would-be interception by Nnamdi Asomugha, but that wouldn’t be a necessity if Asomugha wasn’t in better position to catch the football than Williams.
- Jon Kitna checked out of a play and hit Sam Hurd down the sideline for a 32-yard gain. I’ve watched the play multiple times and still can’t figure out what he saw in the defense, but I guess that’s why he’s in the NFL and I’m spending my time writing about him. Boo ya.
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