Cowboys 2010 Initial Drive Statistics
In a previous post, I detailed why a major problem with the ’09 Cowboys was their inability to come out of the gates on fire (whether it was to start the game or the second half). The Cowboys averaged significantly less yards-per-play and points-per-drive to start the game and second half than on “non-initial” drives.
I believe initial drives are a tremendous indicator of the strength of an offensive coordinator. It is during these drives that he has more control and influence over the game than any others. On the opening drive, his plays are scripted, meaning he had all week to determine which ones were most suitable to attack the defense. The opening drive in the second half is the first during which an offense can implement its halftime adjustments.
Jason Garrett does a lot of things well, but I think he sometimes struggles with adaptability. We’ve certainly seen him improve with his abundance of weak side runs, play-calling alterations with particular personnel, and 3rd down runs this season. However, I’ve always felt he has such confidence in himself and his players that he believes the 11 men on offense will always execute. But being an offensive coordinator is about maximizing the likelihood of success for an offense, not stubbornly calling the same plays until they work.
Below are the Cowboys’ 2010 stats on initial and “non-initial” drives.
A few points of interest. . .
- You can see Garrett improved in his initial drive play-calling, at least statistically. Overall, the Cowboys averaged 5.42 yards-per-play on all initial drives (both first and second half) in 2009. That number jumped to 5.78 this season.
- More importantly, the points-per-drive increased. In 2009, the points-per-drive on initial drives was significantly lower than the overall points-per-drive rate. In 2010, however, the Cowboys scored more points-per-drive on both first and second half initial drives (2.13) than on all other drives (1.90).
- It’s still possible the sample size is too small to draw meaningful conclusions. This season alone, the ‘Boys had a three-play 75-yard drive, a three-play 71-yard drive, and a two-play 68-yard drive coming out of the half that skewed results. Overall in 2009 and 2010, Dallas averaged 5.60 yards-per-play on initial drives–lower than the 6.02 yards-per-play on all other drives.
Do you think Garrett has improved in his adjustments and his overall ability as a play-caller?