Stats don't often tell the whole story, but most are relevant when put into context. Here are four stats related to the Dallas Cowboys that help explain why they stand where they do heading into Week 7 of the 2012 NFL regular season.
0.86: That, according to Football Outsiders, is how many yards opposing backs are gaining each time they hit the "second level" of the defense, which is 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage.
Only three defenses have kept opposing running backs to a lower average in that area, which explains how good inside linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter have been in run defense.
They haven't been as good in power situations (ranked 24th) and in terms of stuffing backs (ranked 29th) which means the defensive line isn't pulling its weight. Still, their 3.8 yards per carry against number is terrific.
5.53: That, also per Football Outsiders, is how many adjusted line yards the Cowboys are averaging when running outside of the left tackle, which ranks fourth in football.
That number when running behind the left tackle is 5.46, which also ranks fourth. This is a testament to how good the left side of the line has been at run blocking. Tyron Smith and Nate Livings have both done a great job. But Dallas has only run left 29 percent of the time and right 28 percent of the time. The rest have gone up the middle. With Mackenzy Bernadeau struggling in the right guard spot, they might want to consider running left more often.
-3.8: That's Brandon Carr's overall rating from Pro Football Focus thus far, which ranks dead last among defensive players on the roster.
He's been beaten on eight of the 10 passes thrown his way in those games. Sure, he's faced some tough receivers, but it's pretty ridiculous that he's ranked 81st among 100 qualifying cornerbacks by PFF.
-1.6: That's the Cowboys' per-game turnover ratio, which ranks second-last in the NFL.
The offense has already turned it over 12 times in five games while the defense is one of only three teams averaging less than one takeaway per game. If this number doesn't improve dramatically, they'll won't come close to competing in 2012.
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