The Dallas Cowboys called the second-most runs in the NFL last year, but their rushing attack was not remarkably effective or efficient. The team was ranked 21st in Success Rate, indicating that they lacked consistency. The majority of their runs were on first down, where they were 27th in total EPA and 25th in Success Rate. Despite knowing how bad they were at it, the Cowboys remained stubborn in their insistence on running the ball on first down. The lack of success on first down put the team in unfavorable positions for second and third down, making it difficult to extend drives.
Ted Nguyen, an expert with the X's and O's at The Athletic, provided further insight into the team's running game. Nguyen pointed out that the Cowboys' offensive line was not as dominant as it had been in previous years, and their running backs were not as effective at breaking tackles. He also noted that the team's tendency to run the ball on first down was predictable and made it easier for opposing defenses to stop them.
Moving forward, the Cowboys need to focus on improving their rushing attack on first down to avoid putting themselves in unfavorable positions. They may need to incorporate more play-action passes on first down to keep opposing defenses on their toes. Additionally, they need to find ways to get their running backs in space and allow them to make plays.
In conclusion, the Dallas Cowboys' rushing attack lacked consistency on first down, which put the team in unfavorable positions for second and third down. They need to focus on improving their rushing attack on first down to avoid predictability and extend drives.