How an obvious move saved the Dallas Cowboys’ season in 2020
The Dallas Cowboys are now back in the spotlight with an opportunity to take the Division lead and host a playoff game. The win over the Minnesota Vikings was one that many people did not think could happen.
The defense turning it around and playing inspired football is a big reason why the team is now in contention. Addition by subtraction has seemed to have lit a fire under a few underachieving players. The biggest and most overlooked change that I believe has saved the season was kicking Zack Martin to right tackle.
Okay. Okay. Hear me out. On the surface, it looks to be an obvious move that the Cowboys did not want to do for unknown reasons but the move had a ripple effect that resulted in a win. Rookie tackle Terence Steele was simply overmatched and the offense had to account for his liabilities when game planning.
Because they had to keep extra blockers to help against the pass rush, any quarterback back there had to adjust what he does well and try and get the ball out as fast as he could. With Martin solidifying the right side and Cameron Erving playing the blind side better than most thought, the offense got back on track.
If you think it wasn’t a big deal, think about this. The Dallas Cowboys scored as many points against the Vikings (31) as they had in the last three games (31). Quite a turnaround for a team that was left for dead just a week ago.
How can a single move change the direction of an entire franchise?
With Martin moving to the outside, it is now going to force teams to try and get pressure by bringing extra rushers. The issue with that is quarterback Andy Dalton is good enough to take advantage of single coverage against one of the big three receivers.
All season long, the edges are where most teams have gotten pressure on this offense but teams will now have to try and generate a push up the middle which is easier said than done. The interior of the line has done a good job so far this season.
The Martin move also allowed Connor McGovern to be inserted into the starting lineup and the upfront push from this makeshift line allowed the Dallas Cowboys to control the ball longer than they have and paved the way for running back Ezekiel Elliott to have his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
Ball control also allowed the defense to take longer breaks than they have been accustomed to which kept them fresh towards the end of the game.
The overlooked move gave the defense an edge by keeping them off the field and gave the offense time to run their regular plays which can be dynamic if given the time. If a single move gave this team life, I can only imagine what other moves could have such a positive effect on this team.