The Dallas Cowboys are 2-7 going into the bye week. They are tied for last in the NFC East and currently hold the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
With the Cowboys playoff chances dwindling in the wrong direction, their season is just about over. The rest of the season could benefit backup players trying to prove their worth for next year’s team.
According to CBS, the Cowboys have just a 5.3 percent chance of making the playoffs this season. What can the Cowboys do to still make the playoffs or help this team in the future?
Here are three bye-week adjustments the Dallas Cowboys should consider.
[Related: Dallas Cowboys: Takeaways from Week 9]
Get Tony Pollard More Involved
The second-year running back from Memphis, Tony Pollard, needs to get more touches in the Cowboys’ offense.
Although he is the second-string running back behind Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard has been the far better runner than him.
Even last week against the tough Pittsburgh defense, Pollard carried the ball better than Elliott. Pollard finished the game with nine carries for 57 yards while Elliott had 18 carries for 51 yards.
In that game, Pollard averaged 6.3 yards per carry while Elliott only averaged 2.8 yards.
Nonetheless, don’t get it twisted, Elliott is unquestionably the better running back, but Pollard should be involved more in the game plan.
On the season, Pollard has averaged more yards per carry, more 20+ yard runs and fewer fumbles than Elliott.
Pollard’s explosive play style can’t go unnoticed. Even though he clocked in at 4.52 during his 40 time, he is much faster than that on the field.
Keep Expanding the Playbook
Especially in the next couple of weeks, the Cowboys will be underdogs in the majority if not all their games. As a result, they have to be more creative with their play-calling moving forward.
In the past couple of weeks, the Cowboys have been doing just that. They have run a successful double reverse and a lateral trick play on a punt that resulted in a near touchdown.
Dallas’ new special teams’ coordinator, John Fassal, is a mastermind when it comes to special team fakes. He has been a long-time special teams coach for the Rams, Ravens and the Raiders.
This addition is proving to be a remarkable one for the future.
Additionally, the Cowboys have to keep delivering creative plays not only for this season but in the future with Dak Prescott under center. With Prescott being so dominant, being able to expand the playbook, can relieve pressure off of him.
In week 5 against the Giants, before Prescott’s injury, the Cowboys ran a fake that no one saw coming. Prescott pitched the ball to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson who then threw the pass to Prescott for a touchdown.
Opening up the playbook can help the Cowboys be efficient in the future.
Changes to the Defense
Although the Cowboys defense has played better as of late, only giving up 24 points per game in their last three games, there are still major changes that need to happen.
For starters, the Cowboys need to blitz more. As a result, it would help the secondary immensely.
Since the Cowboys allow so many big plays, blitzing can help prevent the big plays over the top. It would also allow Dallas’ cornerbacks for more opportunities for interceptions as well.
Mike Nolan (the Cowboys defensive coordinator) needs to create more blitz packages.
However, Nolan’s defenses have never been known to be a successful blitzing one. In 2013, Nolan had a heavy blitzing defense with the Atlanta Falcons that was one of the worst in the league. In that season, they averaged just two sacks per game which ranked 29th in the league.
Nonetheless, the Cowboys have the talent to incorporate many blitzes in their playbook and is something that needs to happen more often.
Another big defensive change that the Cowboys need to make moving forward is to search for other defensive coordinators.
Nolan just hasn’t been the answer for Dallas this season. Other viable options would be more than happy to take the job as the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.
Although the defense has been better, the Cowboys should be testing the market for other defensive coordinators for next season.
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