A Look at Some Cowboys’ Trends Through Week 14

A Look at Some Cowboys’ Trends Through Week 14

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Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant (88) celebrates a first-quarter touchdown against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 in Chicago. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)



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Posted on December 10, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 5:11 AM

I’m supposed to write a recap of the Cowboys-Bears game right here, but who really wants to relive that misery?

So instead, I’m going to chart various trends for a few Cowboys players this season to see where they’re improving and where they’re struggling. Let’s jump right in.

Tyron Smith

Left tackle Tyron Smith has really had just two poor games this year.

Those games were against the Lions and Saints. Smith has really come on strong of late, allowing just a single pressure over the past three weeks, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s also yielded only one sack this season.

As good as Smith has been in pass protection, he’s been just as solid as a run blocker. Below, I charted the YPC gained by running backs with each lineman at the point-of-attack.

It’s pretty remarkable that the Cowboys have been so efficient running up the middle. That’s probably because they’ve really changed their running philosophy this year, aiming for the edges a whole lot more. They’ve been a lot better behind Smith and Ronald Leary than Mackenzy Bernadeau and Doug Free. Rookie Travis Frederick has been at the point on only 24.9 percent of runs.

George Selvie

After starting the year on fire in terms of sacks, Selvie doesn’t have a sack over the past month.

His pressure rate has been pretty volatile this year, but he’s been playing okay over the past couple games. One of the main reasons that Selvie hasn’t gotten to the passer quite as much, though, is that he’s just not playing as many snaps. The Cowboys have subbed him out at times; he has only 42 pass-rushing snaps in the past two games, for example—his only two games with fewer than 28 snaps versus the pass.

Dez Bryant

Let’s take a look at Dez Bryant’s workload.

The asterisks represent the Cowboys’ wins. When Bryant sees over 10 targets per game, the Cowboys are 3-1. When he sees 10 or fewer targets, the ‘Boys are 4-5. Since we know that there’s a possible selection bias—Bryant should see more targets in games the Cowboys are losing since they need to throw to catch up—the numbers are perhaps more significant than they appear.

DeMarco Murray

Finally, here’s DeMarco Murray’s YPC by game.

This is a pretty obvious trend. I bring it up because Murray ran all over the Saints and Bears in recent weeks, yet the Cowboys got annihilated. Murray is averaging 5.2 YPC in losses and 5.3 YPC overall.