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Mailbag: Stick With Up-Tempo Offense?


As that final game-winning drive against the Texans showed, the Cowboys offense appears to be much more efficient when operating up-tempo. Dak Prescott seems to get in sync better and defenses are unable to stop the quick plays. Why don't we use it more instead of the conventional huddling up before running the play? – Warren Freeman/Chesapeake, VA

Patrik: It's definitely true that Prescott is more effective in moving the offense downfield when they go no-huddle, but I think that's also because no-huddle, in general, applies a ton of pressure to the opposing defense to get set quickly and it keeps them from substituting. The latter is why you can't run it all of the time, because you need to substitute players in as well (and give guys a breather even if they're not being subbed out at the moment), especially skill guys, and if you substitute then you have to allow the other team to do so as well. That answers the question as to why you can't do it all the time, but the good news is that when the Cowboys deploy it, they're more effective than most. Wouldn't mind seeing it more, but there's a line there.

Kyle: I love the thought process. I'm a fan of big offensive and up-tempo drives. But there's a couple factors that have to be added in. Firstly, defenses in a two-minute situation don't normally bring a confusing look. It's more conservative in order to limit the big play and attempt to keep plays underneath. Dak thrives against those defensive looks and will pick it apart play after play until it leads to points. Additionally, that's where the up-tempo limits defenses from making changes and potentially repeat looks. This all works inside the vacuum of the final drives and last minutes of a game or half. However, when put over the course of an entire game, fatigue becomes a factor, more opportunities for mistakes, and less time for the defense to rest will turn games into a track meet.

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