Under the new direction of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the Dallas Cowboys underwent a targeted effort to aggressively revamp the run defense. Precise additions occurred by identifying player strengths and scheme fit needed to excel.
Many significant benefits come from having a suffocating run defense in the NFL. One, it greatly limits defensive confusion on play-action calls. Second-level defenders are far less likely to bite on fake handoffs when the front is corralling the run.
More advantageous down and distance is another benefit. Defending a versatile offense facing 2nd and 5 is much more difficult than 2nd and 9.
In the modern game, offensive coaches are less likely to run again on second down with a long-distance needed to convert. One passing attempt at a first down completion is not preferred.
Lastly, making teams one-dimensional beyond the first quarter is a sizable defensive advantage. It’s rare to see a team keep plugging away at the run once the opening quarter showed few benefits and increased limitations through wasted downs.