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Cowboys vs Texans Review and Burning Questions for ‘Boys in 2013

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At NBC, I broke down the play of four players from last night’s game against the Texans:

QB Alex Tanney
A couple weeks ago, I published an article called Alex Tanney Isn’t the Answer for Cowboys. At that time, he was completing 55.6 percent of his passes for 5.6 YPA—well below the marks posted by Tony Romo and Matt Moore in their first preseasons. Playing against second and third-team defenses, young backup quarterbacks with promise are typically efficient, and Tanney hasn’t been.

On Thursday, Tanney completed 17 of his 31 passes (54.8 percent) for 177 yards (5.7 YPA), no touchdowns, and one interception. It’s basically a mirror image of the numbers we saw from Tanney to start the preseason. Although he’s reportedly showed talent in practice, Tanney shouldn’t make the 53-man roster.

And at Bleacher Report, I tackled 10 burning questions for Dallas this season:

Will the Cowboys Run More Play-Action Passes?

Last year, Tony Romo managed a 66.2 percent completion rate, 8.6 YPA and a 109.1 passer rating on play-action looks. Despite that, he attempted a play-action pass on just 10.0 percent of his dropbacks—the lowest rate in the NFL, by far, according to Pro Football Focus.

Actually, the difference between Romo and the next-lowest quarterback—Eli Manning—was larger than the gap between Manning and the next 11 quarterbacks.

The Cowboys likely limited their play-action looks because they couldn’t effectively run the ball, but there’s actually no correlation between rushing success and play-action efficiency. Five of the top 10 play-action passers in 2012 played on teams that ranked in the bottom 10 in the NFL in yards per carry.

Defenses tend to play situations, not pass-rushing efficiency, so the Cowboys should increase their play-action usage regardless of their running game.

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