Breaking Down the Cowboys’ 2010 Air Attack: More Balls to Austin and Jones?
I spent the morning breaking down the Cowboys’ passing attack through the first 12 weeks of the 2010 season. Check out the chart below, along with some of my thoughts.
- There’s nothing really surprising about the target counts. Witten once again leads the pack, and I think that needs to change. His 7.86 yards-per-attempt is solid, but it’s trumped by all three receivers. I realize Witten catches a higher percentage of passes (which means less difficult ‘down-and-distances’), but it’s not that much greater that it makes up for the lack of big plays. Despite 84 targets, Witten’s longest catch all season is only 31 yards. Less emphasis on Witten in the passing game will equate to even better efficiency.
- The catch rates for all three receivers are outstanding. Williams is the low-man on offense with a 60.4 percent reception rate, and that’s still really good for a wide receiver.
- Felix Jones’ reception rate is absolutely unbelievable. I knew he improved in the passing game, but I had no idea he has hauled in 37 of the 40 passes which have come his way this season. His 8.65 yards-per-attempt and 11.78 yards-after-catch/reception are jaw-dropping. With the limited upside that comes with catching passes out of the backfield, Jones’ numbers tell you he needs to become an even bigger focus in the passing game.
- The running game isn’t the only place Marion Barber has lost explosion. His 3.06 YPA is unacceptable, even for a running back. The offense as a whole does benefit from his pass protection ability, however.
- Miles Austin’s gaudy YPA (9.12) is to be expected, but who knew Williams (8.85) was just behind? And despite frequent rumblings to the contrary, Williams is a big play threat. 17 percent of his receptions have gone for 20+ yards–by far the highest rate on the team.
- Dez Bryant’s numbers aren’t as impressive as I thought they might be, but it could be due to the frequency with which he is thrown screen passes. They limit his YPA and big play ability. Despite that, he still leads the team with three receptions of 40+ yards.