The Dallas Cowboys had one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2019, but in some of their games, they didn’t find the consistency they needed to win enough games to make the playoffs. In their wins, they scored more than 30 points and won by an average of 20 points per game. In their losses, they averaged just 17 points per game.
It’s clear how good they were in 2019, but they needed to be better on the road and against some of their tougher opponents. While the frustration of the 2019 season still lingers, there’s a lot to be optimistic about moving forward.
1. Mike McCarthy Working with Dak Prescott
There were several reasons for the Dallas Cowboys to have an interest in bringing in Head Coach Mike McCarthy. His resume includes four NFC Championships and a Super Bowl victory. One other factor that made McCarthy an attractive head coach for the Dallas Cowboys is the success he’s had with quarterbacks throughout his coaching career.
While Aaron Rodgers was a highly thought of quarterback coming out of college and had very refined technique, you can’t undersell the idea that McCarthy was a part of developing Rodgers into one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Before his stint in Green Bay, McCarthy was able to get excellent performances out of quarterbacks that weren’t highly thought of, such as Elvis Grbac and Steve Bono in Green Bay.
Mike McCarthy is widely regarded as one of the best quarterback coaches in the NFL. That, combined with his experience as an offensive coordinator and play-caller, will help him have a positive impact on Dak Prescott.
Prescott made great strides with his footwork and decisiveness in 2019 under Jon Kitna. Prescott has a strong foundation for which Mike McCarthy can build on. After a career year in 2019, Prescott is poised for another big year and has a chance to surpass his 2019 totals in 2020.
McCarthy’s aggressiveness will help unleash this offense a bit more moving forward as well. When they’re in big games or on the road, they won’t play as conservatively as they did under Jason Garrett.
2. Best Wide Receiver Trio in the NFL
In 2019, the Dallas Cowboys had two wide receivers with more than 1,000 yards receiving, and three wide receivers average more than 15 yards per reception. As good as Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb were in 2019, their top wide receiver trio has a chance to be even better in 2020.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers boast perhaps a better starting duo in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but there isn’t a team in the NFL with a better wide receiver trio than what the Dallas Cowboys will take into 2020. Cooper, Gallup, and 2020 first-round pick CeeDee Lamb will provide an incredible trio of weapons for Dak Prescott to take advantage of in his fifth year in the NFL.
Another year of development for Michael Gallup, who broke out in 2019, will help to take some of the pressure off of Amari Cooper, who played almost all of 2019 with nagging injuries. If the Cowboys get a healthy Amari Cooper in 2020, like the player we saw in 2018, Dallas will be a better offense.
Teams are going to have an incredibly difficult time figuring out how to cover Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb. Dak Prescott does a nice job of attacking the weakness in the coverage and finding the open man. Include Ezekiel Elliott and the running game, and opposing defenses are going to struggle with how to defend the Dallas Cowboys offense.
3. Blake Jarwin takes over at Tight End
Jason Witten will one day be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That shouldn’t excuse the way the Dallas Cowboys deployed their tight ends in 2019. For the good that Jason Witten accomplished at times last year, there’s no way he should have received a 70% share of the snaps when his backup, Blake Jarwin, was a far more dynamic player.
Jason Witten had about twice as many snaps as Jarwin did in 2019, and yet Jarwin provided more than 66% of the production in the passing game that Jason Witten recorded. Jarwin had a better drop rate and yards after the catch per reception than Witten. Per Pro Football Focus, Blake Jarwin averaged 1.82 yards per route run, and Jason Witten just 1.19 yards per route run.
Now, I get that Jason Witten was the better blocker last year, but he wasn’t so much better than Jarwin that he deserved twice as many snaps. In two-minute and hurry-up offensive situations, Witten was still getting more opportunities than Jarwin. Still, it’s clear Jarwin was the better player when the Cowboys threw the football.
Now, Witten is in Las Vegas, and the Dallas Cowboys haven’t added anyone that could take front-line snaps from Blake Jarwin. Blake Jarwin has the opportunity to take a massive step in his career as the presumed starter for a Dallas Cowboys offense that boasts some of the best personnel in the NFL.
Jarwin will find a lot of running room in the passing game, and his ability to get down the field will help open up the middle of the field for the rest of the Cowboys offense. His athleticism and ability to make things happen after the catch makes the Dallas Cowboys much more dynamic on offense than they were in 2019.
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The Dallas Cowboys offense is going to be dynamic in 2020. Though they were good in 2019, they have room for improvement. Their failures in big games in 2019 is the reason that Jason Garrett wasn’t retained as head coach and why Mike McCarthy was brought in to take this young team to the next level.
Though they need to prove it on the field, there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about the Dallas Cowboys offensive output this season.