The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Running the Numbers: Cowboys’ Initial Drives

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Jonathan Bales

Every year, I do an article on the Cowboys’ initial drives: those to start the game and the second half. Here’s this year’s article on initial drives at DallasCowboys.com. A preview:

The first drives to start the second half were even worse for the Cowboys in 2009. The team racked up only 4.94 yards-per-play and 1.06 points-per-drive–less than half of their points-per-drive on all other drives.

One of the things I’ve admired about Garrett has been his ability to improve as a coach and play-caller. He’s really evolved in his short time as the Cowboys’ head coach, and I think that improvement will continue into the future.

Garrett’s adaptability is reflected in the team’s 2010 initial drive stats. After averaging only 1.38 points-per-drive on initial drives (to start both the game and second half) the previous season, Garrett led the team to 2.13 points-per-drive on initial drives in 2010. The team scored 34 total points on their possessions to begin games, and 34 more points on the initial drives coming out of halftime. Those numbers were superior to the team’s average of 1.90 points-per-drive on all other drives.

The trend continued in 2011. The Cowboys averaged a robust 2.35 points-per-drive to start the game and second half—that’s way up from the 1.95 points-per-drive the team totaled on all other drives. On first drives alone, the ‘Boys managed 2.56 points-per-drive.

A recent comment here argued that Jason Garrett isn’t really getting the job done as head coach. The comment, as almost all written here, was well-reasoned. You all know there are areas in which I think Garrett can improve, but I also think he’s made great strides in a number of areas. This is one of them, and it’s further proof Garrett is evolving as a head coach.

Tell me your thoughts.

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2 Responses to Running the Numbers: Cowboys’ Initial Drives

  1. Roger Light says:

    I agree that Garrett is growing as a coach. He is a very sharp, rational individual. In that manner, he reminds me more of Tom Landry than any other Cowboys coach since Jerry bought the team.

    I think the addition of Bill Callahan was very positive for Garrett. In years past, when Garrett looked around, there was no one on staff who new more about offensive football than him. He had no one to turn to.

    Now he has Callahan, who will not only get the most out of the o-line, but will help inject some fresh play calling and blocking schemes. I’m predicting Murray will have near 2000 combined yards this season. Callahan is a west-coast guy and he knows he needs to help get the ball out of Romo’s hands faster to help out his young o-line.

  2. Agree with every point very strongly except for your projection on Murray. I don’t think he’ll see the touches necessary to put up close to 2,000 yards. I think he maxes out at about 250 carries and 50 catches, which would put him at around (at best) 1,300 rush yds and 400 rec yds). Those are ceiling estimates, IMO, and I think a good total yd projection probably falls around 1400 yards.

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