Jason Garrett on Dallas Cowboys need for first and second down success

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett against the New Orleans Saints prior to a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have been absolutely abysmal on third downs this season, as they have been among the worst five teams in the NFL this season at converting third downs. Although it isn’t a predictive stat, it’s a sign that an offense is stalling on key plays or simply putting themselves in deep holes early on. That latter fact cannot be ignored as it pertains to third down conversions, and it’s something Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made sure to address when explaining the Cowboys struggles on third downs.

He said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “I don’t know that there were any great revelations. I think the biggest thing that we have to understand is third down is really oftentimes a product of first and second down. The better you are on first and second down, the more manageable those third-down situations are.”

The Cowboys have an extremely important game this week against the New York Giants, and it has huge bearing on their chances of winning the division. If an NFC East team wants to win the playoffs, then they will have to emerge as the best team in their weak division in order to do it. The Cowboys have as good of a chance at doing that, but doing the little things like converting third downs will be crucial. This offense should do better with Miles Austin set to return, but the focus will be on the Cowboys execution on offense, coverage on defense (particularly deep coverage), and third downs.



Topics: Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett

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  • Juanito Juanito

    its hard to be succesful in third down if you dont like to run, a team who allways quit to run never will be a winner, look seattle fan fransisco, carolina and some

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      And New England. I’ve written on this site many times this season that the Patriots are a whole lot better when they commit to Ridley as their starting running back. Some people have fabricated “missed tackle” concerns regarding DeMarco Murray to the point where he is a tad undervalued by some. Most people, however, recognize Murray’s importance to the Cowboys offense. The injuries are frustrating, but the talent is clearly there. Beyond that, the Cowboys are a team that have to remain balanced on the ground. I’m not sure how much running correlates with success on third downs, specifically as it relates to the Cowboys, but what I am sure of is that offenses are much better when they are balanced. Again, look at teams like NE and even Denver, because even the Broncos don’t chuck it out there with Peyton all the time.

  • SmartThinking

    If this story is accurate, Garrett is thinking small again. It goes, or should go without saying that Dallas needs early down success to keep the ball with the offense and extend their drives, thus keeping the ball out of Manning’s hands.

    The gist of this story should have been that Garrett and his coaches are drafting a unique game plan, one that will throw New York off balance and keep them guessing what Romo will do. Then execute that plan effectively.

    If this team comes out with another three downs and a cloud of dust offensive strategy, the game will be over by halftime, just like last week in New Orleans.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      I really want to see what this team does on defense. I have to think that they put Scandrick on Cruz, Carr on Nicks, and then hope those guys can win their matchups. The safeties need to step up. Barry Church was amazing to start the season, but his play has slipped; hope the bye does him some good. I’m not a fan of Kiffin’s gameplan with the CBs, since he doesn’t put them in a position to succeed. He has to do a better job of using the safeties to bracket star receivers. The Giants passing attack has a lot of potential, because they will be scary once Eli finds himself and cuts down on the INTs. Cruz, Nicks, and Randle are three very explosive weapons and will cause major headaches if the Cowboys don’t have a good gameplan going in.

      • SmartThinking

        No one can cover Cruz all night. Expect him and Manning to carve up the Dallas secondary for another 400+ yards.

        Where’s Claiborne? This is too big and important a game for him to play dead another week, especially with Lee out.

        This game has all the makings of another embarrassment for Dallas and a telling indictment of Jerry Jones and his poor personnel choices.