The Dallas Cowboys have unfortunately been on the losing end of the stick in the past three games and are clearly struggling with both their confidence and on-field performance. No player has been as visibly off their game these last several contests then quarterback Dak Prescott.
Life without Ezekiel Elliott seems to be affecting Prescott's play more than anyone could possibly foreseen. The entire Cowboys offense has just one touchdown in the last three games, which is simply unacceptable for a unit that has so much talent. Something needs to be done, and I think that starts with Dallas' young signal caller.
I personally believe Dak Prescott is capable of putting the offense on his back and carrying the team. I think his confidence is shaken right now and the Cowboys coaching staff hasn't done enough yet to help get him back on track. Luckily, I think there are three simple ways to get Prescott back to the player we are accustomed to seeing on the field.
Continue to read below to find out how I would help Dak Prescott get both he and the Cowboys offense back on track.
Less is More
It's no secret that Dak Prescott had a fantastic rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys. Despite that though, many of us were really looking forward to Scott Linehan opening up the playbook heading into the 2017 season. Cowboys Nation really wanted to see how much more effective Prescott would become with the entire playbook at his disposal. But, I think it might be time to dial things back a little.
Linehan needs to find ways to build Prescott's confidence back up in the passing game. That might mean going back to a more simplistic game plan in order to find easier completions. Sometimes less is more, and I think that's a good start to get Dak back to the player we are accustomed to seeing.
Right now, Prescott's confidence is shot and he is trying to force things too much. Dialing back the playbook and simplifying the game plan is a good place to start for the Cowboys offense and Dak Prescott. They can always open things back up once they get their confidence back and become more consistent as a cohesive unit.
Shrink the Field
One of the things I've noticed over these last three games about Dak Prescott is that it seems as if he's not getting through his progressions fast enough and holding on to the ball too long. This needs to change, and one way of doing that is for Scott Linehan to shrink the field for him to limit the amount of reads he has to go through.
Prescott simply isn't seeing the entire field as well as he typically does. This is causing him to hold onto the ball too long and allow the opposing defenses pass rush to get to him. Cutting the field in half would be another way to build Prescott's confidence back up and allow him to get through his progressions more quickly.
Of course, this also helps the opposing defense a little bit as well. They no longer have to cover the entire field, which means Linehan would have to get creative with his playcalling. But, shrinking the field actually ties into my next way of getting Prescott back on track.
Pocketful Of Sunshine
I'm sure the majority of you have heard the song "Pocketful Of Sunshine" at some point in your lives. Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys pocket in pass protection has been more doom and gloom here lately then sunshine. Fortunately, I think that's an easy fix.
It's time the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff get back to using Prescott's best asset, his legs. With the way Prescott is struggling in the passing game and the protection issues the offensive line is having, it's time to move the pocket and take advantage of #4's mobility. That means much more designed rollouts, bootlegs, and run/pass option plays inserted into the game plan.
It's what worked for him in his rookie season and should work once again. We have seen how dangerous Prescott is when he actually tucks the ball and scrambles. He used his mobility last week for what should have been a touchdown, unfortunately called back due to a holding penalty. Prescott's mobility really puts the opposing defense at a disadvantage, but helps the Cowboys offense immensely.
Do you think these changes will help Dak Prescott?
Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?
February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.
DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.
Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.
After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.
There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?
Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.
For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.
In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys
What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?
First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.
It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.
It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.
Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury
Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.
This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.
It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.
The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.
So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.
He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.
Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats
2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.
But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?
Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.
A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.
According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.
Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.
David Carr 6, Dak Prescott 1 pic.twitter.com/rV532Q3Cob
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) 6 de febrero de 2018
Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.
Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.
It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.
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