The red zone numbers for the Dallas Cowboys are ugly.
They know it, and so does everyone else.
Ranking 30th in the league in red-zone touchdowns with an efficiency rate 36.8%, that lack of production has been the wart on what has been a beautiful start to the season.
The shocking 28-16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals has prevented the Cowboys from painting their Mona Lisa in the first month of the season.
But outscoring their opponents by a combined 110-13 in their three wins looks pretty good. The Cowboys beat the New York Giants 40-0 and the New York Jets 30-10 before last Sunday’s 38-3 blowout of the New England Patriots, which was aided by two defensive touchdowns.
What would those numbers be if the Cowboys could actually score touchdowns in the red zone?
So it’s a issue that the Cowboys know they must fix, possibly starting as early as Sunday if they want to beat the undefeated San Francisco 49ers and certainly soon if they hope to realize their dreams of reaching the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
It a blinking light that the Cowboys are addressing.
And owner Jerry Jones all but guaranteed that it will be handled on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday.
“We are going to get better in the red zone. I’ll assure you we will be better,” Jones said. “The skeptic says that doesn’t take much but facts are we can get better. This week would be a good place to start.”
Jones said it’s an execution issue not a scheme problem is slowing the Cowboys down.
The biggest reason why the Cowboys are not overly concerned is because of they way they are moving ball.
The Cowboys have had 16 drives of 10 or more plays this season to lead the NFL. They also lead the league in third-down conversions with a success rate of 51.6%.
When you move the ball like that and you get down there as often as the Cowboys through the first month of the season, odd are that the dam is going to break in the red zone.
“No. 1, we feel like we’re playing really well between the 20s,’’ offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “There’s no question about that . . . The struggles in the red zone, you look, man, we’re struggling there but we’re doing great on third down. So now the emphasis is red zone but you don’t want to take away from third down.“
That’s a little bit of a balancing act. That would be the first thing. The control and the command that Dak (Prescott) has of our third down attack is pretty cool. The ball is getting spread around to different people.’’
Prescott has shown total control and command of the new offense that Cowboys installed in the offseason. It’s rhythmic-oriented offense, according to Schottenheimer, and there no doubt the Cowboys mind that the offense will continue to get better as the season goes along.
The Cowboys rank 11th in yards and 7th in rushing in what has been a balanced attack.
“We’re proud of how well we’ve been doing it,” Schottenheimer said. “Of course, we know we have to do a better job in the red zone.’’