The DC Times

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

By Jonathan Bales

Cowboys’ 2012 Injury Rates Historic, More Two-Tight Sets in 2013

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At DMN, I broke down just how bad the Cowboys’ injuries were in 2012.

Thirty-eight. The number seems innocent enough, until you think about the scope of what it represents. The Dallas Cowboys had 38 individual games missed by defensive starters while they were on Injured Reserve.

13 from safety Barry Church.

15 combined from linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.

Three from cornerback Orlando Scandrick.

Thirty-eight. And that number doesn’t include the games missed by players like safety Matt Johnson, defensive end Ben Bass, and linebacker Orie Lemon—all of whom weren’t starters but were still placed on IR—or the games missed by key players who didn’t make it to IR, such as nose tackle Jay Ratliff, outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, inside linebacker Dan Connor, and defensive end Sean Lissemore.

All told, the Cowboys lost an average of 11.2 individual games per week to injury—the majority by the defense. An incredible 91 total games were lost by players on IR. Since 2009, the ‘Boys never had more than 47 games missed by players on IR. Their poor 2012 luck is really historic.

Check out the whole breakdown.

And at NBC, I took a look at Jason Garrett’s usage of two-tight end packages in 2012.

While the Cowboys used three or more receivers on an incredible 56.3 percent of their offensive snaps in 2012, it was really only out of necessity. Down late in so many games, Dallas was forced to use pass-oriented personnel packages and Shotgun formations. Actually, they lined up in Shotgun on a ridiculous 544 snaps—52.1 percent of all plays.

There are times when using a three-receiver, Shotgun formation is beneficial. The Cowboys and most NFL teams actually have more success running from spread formations than tight ones, for example, especially on third down. Such personnel groupings aren’t ideal for Jason Garrett, however, whose scheme is really based around two-tight end packages.

Due to unfavorable game situations, the ‘Boys couldn’t use two tight ends as often as they would have liked this season. Still, Dallas ran nearly one-quarter of their offensive plays—24.0 percent—with exactly two tight ends on the field, the majority of them with “12” personnel (one running back, two tight ends, and two receivers).

See why the rate will jump in 2013.

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