We are three games into the 2010-11 NFL regular season and the Dallas Cowboys hold a disappointing 1-2 record. While the record may not be exactly what us Dallas fans would have liked at this point in the season, there are some statistical categories that the Cowboys lead the league in which should bring comfort to the fan base.
It may not be a number one rated offense or a number one rated defense, but the Cowboys lead the league in three highly underrated categories — fewest sacks allowed, punt return average, and net punting average.
It is obvious why protecting the passer is a key statistic, but what about punt return average and net punting average?
These statistics were brought to my attention on the Footballs Future message boards and one of the members, plan9misfit.
Here is what he wrote:
Leading the league in both punt return average and punting average yards is a very positive thing, because we are capturing those “hidden yards” that many of us find important. Shorter fields for our offense, longer fields for opposing offenses, and the potential for the Dez Bryant [touchdown] could actually be the catalyst for a few wins down the road.
We all know how bad it’s been over the years when our special teams units were atrocious, and boy did we suffer because of it. If our special teams unit continues to lead the league in hidden yards, it could actually be one of the keys to making the playoffs. Special teams is the most often overlooked aspect of football, but Devin Hester and the Bears special teams unit nearly single-handedly took that team to the Super Bowl a few years ago despite Rex Grossman’s erratic QB play.
Those statements couldn’t be more true.
Football is a game of field position, and the Cowboys are doing everything the right way to ensure they have the shortest field and opponents have to string together the longer drives. If this trend continues, it is only a matter of time until the Cowboys turn their season around.
One final note: What makes the Cowboys one sack allowed in three games even more impressive is the fact that they have faced some of the top pass-rushers in the league — Brian Orakpo (Washington), Julius Peppers (Chicago), and Mario Williams (Houston).
So, perhaps our offensive line should get some credit after all — just not Alex Barron… he still deserves all the criticism possible.