Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- The Cowboys listed all 53 players on the active roster as full participants on Wednesday’s estimated practice report (held a walkthrough).
- Panthers TE Hayden Hurst missed practice Wednesday while in the concussion protocol – he will likely miss Week 11.
- Panthers WR D.J. Chark returned to full practice on Wednesday after missing Week 10 with an elbow injury.
- CeeDee Lamb has absolutely destroyed man coverage this season but has been more human against zone, which is important considering the Panthers play the third-highest rate of zone coverage this year.
- Adam Thielen holds an elite 33.3 percent TPRR rate against man coverage this season, which is interesting because the Cowboys have run man coverage at the third-highest rate this season.
How dallas Will Try To Win ::
We all know the infamous offseason quotes from Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy by now, three separate times alluding to the fact that he didn’t necessarily want to “light up the scoreboard” with every possession. And that is exactly how he approached the game plans before the team’s Week 7 bye, ranked near the middle of the league in pass rate over expectation and pace of play through the first six weeks. After their bye, however, this team has fully leaned into transforming their offense into something that looks to maximize each possession. Their three highest pass rate over expectation games have all come in the previous three weeks, moving them to the 12th overall in PROE on the season. Two of those games resulted in blowout wins (against the Rams and Giants), during which Dak Prescott played exactly zero fourth-quarter snaps – and the team still had elite PROE values. Furthermore, after failing to throw for more than 300 yards in any game over the first six weeks of the season, Dak had surpassed 300 yards through the air in every game since the bye and has thrown for three or more touchdowns in each contest in that time after just one game of multiple touchdown tosses in the first six weeks (two in Week 2 against the Jets). Dak (and the Cowboys) are cooking, and his head coach (and offensive play caller) is putting him in a position to succeed. Finally, and something that could be viewed as the most important change for this team, the Cowboys have remained aggressive regardless of game script (for at least three quarters) and have become extremely player-focused, with Mike McCarthy going so far as to keep CeeDee Lamb in the game on the first two plays of the fourth quarter after the rest of the starters left the game in Week 10 to feed Lamb two short passes to get him over 150 yards receiving for three straight contests.
Lead back Tony Pollard continues to operate in a pure workhorse role with the starters, seeing near 80 percent of the team’s opportunities with the starters since Week 8. So, while his snap rates appear to be “near lead back status and below workhorse status” over the previous three games, we must remember that the starters played in only one fourth quarter during that span.
The goods with Pollard:
- 44 red zone touches ranks second in the league behind only Christian McCaffrey.
- Averages 15 carries and 3.9 targets per game this year.
- Near 80 percent opportunity share with starters.
The bads with Pollard:
- 4.4 yards per touch ranks 36th, while 3.9 yards per carry ranks 42nd this year.
- Modest 4.4 percent breakaway run rate ranks 22nd in the league.
- Just six goal line carries through nine games played.
- 13.4 percent juke rate ranks 52nd in the league.
- The team is not getting him the ball in space as they did last season; instead, they are utilizing him in a between-the-tackle, straightforward way.
The matchup on the ground is pristine against a Panthers’ defense, allowing 4.3 yards per carry, 15 rushing scores, and 1.39 yards before contact this season, but the efficiency concerns remain rooted in schematic usage. In other words, it is much likelier that Pollard remains a victim of an uninspiring run scheme than that he forgot how to be a running back this offseason. Pollard will be backed up by Rico Dowdle in a strict change-of-pace role, who typically sees around 20 percent of the team’s snaps and opportunities in the absence of a blowout.
It should not be understated just how elite CeeDee Lamb has been during this recent three-game surge. During that time, Lamb has seen a combined 44 targets (14.67 per game) while seeing 14 targets or more in every game. He has surpassed 150 yards receiving in each game while scoring four total touchdowns, three receiving, and one rushing, including two games of multiple touchdowns scored, leading to two games of 42.5 DK points or more in three tries. All of that on an absolutely elite 40 percent team target market share. The team’s second option through the air until last week had been tight end Jake Ferguson, highlighted by a robust 29.8 percent red zone target market share. That was until Brandin Cooks saw only his second game with more than four targets and proceeded to easily set season-highs in targets, receptions, and yards on his way to a tidy 9-173-1 receiving line. What’s most impressive about that performance is that it came on just 41 offensive snaps while splitting snaps with Michael Gallup, Jalen Tolbert, and Jalen Brooks (KaVontae Turpin was inactive). Expect the Dallas to continue to run from an 11-personnel base with Lamb and Ferguson in near-every-down roles while Cooks sees sub-elite snap rates and the tertiary options through the air (Gallup, Tolbert, Turpin, and Brooks) share the remaining snaps. The Panthers enter Week 11 playing the third highest rate of zone coverage (more than 85 percent), against which Lamb’s targets per route run rate drops from 33 percent against man to 22 percent against zone.