2012 NFL Draft: How the Cowboys Can Create a Top 5 Offense This Week
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images
Lost in all the offseason finger-pointing at the Cowboys' secondary and defensive line is the fact that the Cowboys finished the 2011 ranked 11th in total yards.
In 2009 they finished second and in 2010 they finished seventh. Clearly the offense is trending in the wrong direction.
Another item that hasn’t received enough attention is the loss of Laurent Robinson. Robinson accounted for 11 touchdowns and 858 yards.
That’s a ton of offensive production that walked away from this team.
So, even though Cowboys fans are expecting a draft that focuses on defense, it would be wise to keep in mind that Dallas has no shot of winning the division if its offense can’t keep up with New York or Philadelphia, ranked eighth and fourth, respectively.
It is also important to keep in mind that the last three Super Bowl winners had top ten offenses: In 2009, the Saints were ranked first offensively; in 2010, the Packers were ranked ninth; and in 2011 the Giants were ranked eighth.
Given these facts, it is imperative that the Cowboys solidify their offensive line and allow their play-makers the time and space to make plays.
But in addition to that, the Cowboys need to add at least two more receivers: A second, pass-catching tight end and a third wide receiver.
This isn’t news to fans who have followed Dallas closely this offseason. But what may be news is that the tight end should be a much higher priority than the third receiver.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
To understand why, take a look at this menu of the different offensive personnel packages that Garrett uses. These packages are named based upon the number of backs and tight ends on the field. So, if you hear a Coach talking about their 2-1 Package, he is referring to having two backs and one tight end out there.
- 1-1 (one back, one tight end)
- 2-1 (two backs, one tight end)
- 2-2 (two backs, two tight ends)
- 1-2 (one back, two tight ends)
- 1-3 (one back, three tight ends)
- 0-1 (no backs, one tight end)
- 2-0 (two backs, no tight ends)
Garrett originally designed his offense to utilize two pass-catching tight ends and many 1-2 and 2-2 formations. These give him the opportunity to keep defenses guessing run or pass, on first and second down and on three and three or less.
He also likes to throw in the 1-3 formation, which is jumbo run package, and then play-action pass out of that and hit Witten or the back rolling out into the flat.
Yet for his entire tenure with Dallas, Garrett has never had that second, true pass-catching tight end. Very few people realize how much that has hampered his offense.
Now, take a look at that menu of packages again, and understand that only the 1-1, 2-0 and 0-1 packages are three wide receiver packages. Add to that the fact that we know Garrett wants to utilize two tight ends a great deal of the time and you can see how little the third wide receiver is on the field.
The reason Robinson had such great production is that Miles Austin and Dez Bryant both missed a significant amount of playing time last year. Robinson became the second receiver by default.
Clearly, the most important offensive priority for the Cowboys in this draft is to find another lineman to compete in camp, preferably a center. If DeCastro is there, they may very well take him and consider converting him.
But the very next priority, is finding a serious receiving threat in a second tight end.
If the Cowboys do this, their offense takes on many of the benefits of the New England Patriots' second-ranked offense.
Yes, it’s true that Gronkowski is the best tight end in football and Aaron Hernandez is also a special talent. But New England’s second wide receiver was ranked 116th in receptions last year, tied with the Cowboys' fourth receiver, Kevin Ogletree.
That isn't a vote of confidence for Ogletree, who should be replaced; it's an indication of how much the Patriots accomplished with two dangerous tight ends, one dangerous receiver and almost no production from the rest of their wideouts.
Once Dallas has found their second tight end, finding a third wide receiver shouldn't be difficult in the later rounds. Expect them to select a kick returner/slot receiver type who runs very good routes. He may possibly be from a small school so that he's available on Friday or Saturday.
Shocking though it may be, Dallas could accomplish all they need to become a top five offense with three picks in this draft, leaving the rest for defense—and Lord knows it needs it.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?