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3 Ways Scott Linehan Can Get Cowboys Offense Back On Track

Brian Martin

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The Dallas Cowboys are coming of one of their worst performances that I have personally witnessed. There is no need to sugarcoat things, the Denver Broncos simply made the Cowboys look like they were the Cleveland Browns. Fortunately, I think we will see a bounce back performance this week against the Arizona Cardinals and I believe offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will have a lot to do with that.

Arguably the most surprising thing last week for the Cowboys was how god-awful the offense performed against the Denver Broncos. It didn't matter if they were trying to run or pass the ball, the Broncos seemed to have the answer for everything. This is simply unacceptable, especially with all the firepower the Cowboys have on offense.

I personally believe the playcalling needs to improve and that's where Scott Linehan comes in. Linehan has far too many weapons at his disposal for any defense in the NFL to shut them down the way the Broncos did last week. Luckily, I  believe there are 3 ways he can get the Cowboys offense back on track this week.

QB Dak Prescott

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Help Dak Prescott Settle In Early

It's no secret that QB Dak Prescott has been uncharacteristically inaccurate in the first two weeks of the 2017 season. It's really nothing to be too alarmed about considering the Dallas Cowboys have played two really good defenses who have Pro Bowl caliber cornerbacks, but it still seems as if his confidence is just a little bit off. Fortunately, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan should be able to help with that.

Dak Prescott seems to struggle the most with his accuracy early in the game, at least these first two games anyway. It seems take him a little while to settle down, so I think Linehan would be wise to help him settle in early. Linehan can do that by designing some easy completions early on to build Prescott's confidence. This is not a new concept/idea, but it means the playcalling needs to improve or the execution, possibly both.

With all of the weapons the Dallas Cowboys currently have on the roster this shouldn't be a problem. It could be a simple dump off pass to Ezekiel Elliott or even a high percentage throw on an intermediate pass to Cole Beasley. Then again, Jason Witten has been the most consistent so far this season and could be the beneficiary. My point is there are endless possibilities, but Scott Linehan definitely needs to do a better job in order to help Prescott get going early.

Find Mismatches For Dez Bryant

This may surprise a lot of you since there are those among you who believe Dez Bryant isn't the player he once was, but I assure you that's inaccurate. I've been hearing far too often that the Dallas Cowboys need to trade or cut Bryant because he's not worth the money he is making. But, OC Scott Linehan has been doing him a disservice with his playcalling.

The way that Dez Bryant has been utilized in these first two games of 2017 season really plays right into the hands of the opposing defenses. He has had to go up against Pro Bowl caliber CBs against both the Giants and Broncos, and has been at a disadvantage from the get-go. Linehan has been lining him up out wide where the CB can get their hands on #88 and be physical/handsy before he can even get into his route.

Dez Bryant would be much better utilized on the move or out of the slot where he can actually use his own physicality to his advantage. If Linehan were able to get the ball to Bryant on the move on crossing routes, it would be a huge advantage to the entire offense. Instead we are seeing a lot of 50/50 contested passes thrown his way or back shoulder fades. There just needs to be more passes thrown his way that have a higher chance of being completed.

RB Ezekiel Elliott

RB Ezekiel Elliott

Create More Opportunities For Ezekiel Elliott

We heard all off-season that the Dallas Cowboys were planning to use Ezekiel Elliott more in both the running and passing game, but that has yet to come to fruition. Now, I understand the Cowboys have gone up against two pretty good defenses, but there have been missed opportunities for Elliott, especially in the passing game.

Personally, I was shocked that Scott Linehan didn't try to get Elliot the ball out in space against the Broncos last week. The Broncos defense completely sold out to shut down the running game for the Cowboys, and it worked. But, with all of the Broncos defenders focusing on the run, there were still opportunities to get Elliott the ball in the passing game.

There were several instances where there was just one defender covering Elliot in the passing game. I don't know about you, but I like the odds of Elliott beating that one defender and picking up a good chunk of yards. They were just simple dump off/swing passes, but it would've helped Elliott get more involved and put the Broncos defense on their heels a little bit more.

Can Scott Linehan turn things around for the Cowboys offense?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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24 Comments
  • dallas1966

    Brian, You’re on fire. It appears that Linehan is in a slump and opposing defensive coordinator have figured the Cowboys offensive tendencies. It’s time for Linehan to mix it up, starting with the Cardinals on Monday Night, to get the Cowboys offense back on track and. Especially, with Dak, bringing him back to his 2016 form.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for the compliment. When you get punched in the mouth you only have two choices. You can either fight back or lay down. The Cowboys got punched in the mouth last week and I’m expecting them to fight back against the Cardinals. Hopefully, Linehan fights back as well.

  • Hobbes49

    Totally agree with you Brian. I also think it would be wise for them not to target Dez so much early. Let the other guys carry the weight early, so the defense has to make adjustments to stop it, then set Dez loose later.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t have a problem with them targeting Bryant early. I have a problem with the kind of targets he’s seeing. Most of the targets he’s receiving are low percentage completions. I would like to see him targeted early with high percentage passes. i.e. slants, crossing routes, comebacks, etc.

      • Hobbes49

        I definitely agree with that. It just feels like if we got Beasley and Williams more involved earlier, it wold better open up the offense for Dez and Zeke.

        • Brian Martin

          The same can be said for getting Dez and Zeke started earlier. I think Linehan and Prescott just need to do a better job of spreading the ball around so that defenses can’t focus in on one specific player/area.

  • Steve Johnson

    Felt they trying to force the ball to Dez.

    • Brian Martin

      I think it kinda feels that way because of the kind of passes thrown to him. So far this season the majority of the passes have a low percentage chance of being completed. 50/50 passes and back shoulder fades. I think they need to simplify things and try and get him more easily completed passes. Slants and crossing routes would be a good place to start.

      • Don

        Keep in mind too, every time Dez comes to the huddle he’s saying I’m open get me the ball..That probably screws with Daks head. I know he did that to Tony as well

  • John Horn

    I agree with the above statement, but there is one thing that I see is a problem. Over 50% of offensive plays are in spread, empty or shot gun formation with the focus on the shot gun formation. Prescott to me is better when he is under center. Defense want be able to read so early.

    • Brian Martin

      I partially agree. I do believe Prescott is better under center, but I think that’s because opposing defenses have to respect the run/play action passes more. Prescott is really good with his ball fakes, which is why play action is so effective. It’s more difficult to do when in shotgun, but that will continue to be a big part of their offense.

  • Cellphone Chris

    Is it just me, or have we not seen many plays with a FB lead blocking for Elliott?

    • Brian Martin

      It’s not just you. The Cowboys have seemed to believe it has been best to try to spread out the defenses they have faced so far. It is kind of a surprise, because I believed Keith Smith would be involved more on offense this season. Maybe we see more of him this week.

      • Cellphone Chris

        We did see more I formation!

        • Brian Martin

          I’m pretty sure it will be a game by game decision. I think Elliott is probably best as a single back, but I think we could see more I formation in short yardage situations.

  • Jonathan Young

    Ryan Switzer, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten,
    Run double slots. You can have Cole and Ryan on the same side and put Dez in the slot and Jason on the other side.
    Would love to see Ryan play on offense some/more!!!

    • Brian Martin

      There are endless possibilities of how creative Linehan can get with all of the offensive weapons at his disposal. Hopefully we start to see that soon, because something needs to change.

  • Tim Rafferty

    Brien , so glad I refound this site , absolutely love your articles and honest assessment of issues facing our team . Keep up the great work !! Thanks again for all you do man . As a Rabbit Cowboys fan and living outside of Boston , it’s refreshing to to have this site to help my obsession… Everything COWBOYS!!!

    • Brian Martin

      Tim, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you found our site again also. Even though I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan, I try not to sugarcoat things too much. It’s a little difficult sometimes not to be biased, but I think my readers appreciated. Thanks again and please continue to read our articles.

  • Spoonydawg

    Maybe Dak is not as Good as we all thought.. after all he was a 4th round pick..

    • Brian Martin

      Prescott is going to be just fine. He’s had to face two really good defensive teams to start out the 2017 season. Both secondaries of the Giants and Broncos have Pro Bowl caliber CBs, but that won’t be the case for the rest of the season. You have to remember, Prescott is still developing/learning. He didn’t have the benefit of sitting behind a vet QB for a year or two like Tony Romo. He was thrust into action almost immediately with very little time to prepare. I think he will be just fine.

  • Spoonydawg

    Maybe the game has passed scott by, he’s not creative enough. its pretty obvious he has no clue as to maximize dez talents, he will probably let #10 go to waste as well…look what Carolina is doing with their little rookie RB… swing passes eat…. won’t happen but maybe a time for a change,,,
    .. but i think Scott needs to step up…

    • Brian Martin

      I keep hearing everyone want to blame Jason Garrett. A lot of people keep telling me that it’s Jason Garrett’s offensive system and Scott Linehan is just calling the plays. So, it’s refreshing to hear from someone else that Linehan might just be the problem. And by the way, I agree with you. Linehan either needs to step up or ship out. I would personally like to see a new OC.

      • Spoonydawg

        Agreed

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys en Español: ¿Es Tavon Austin Más Importante de lo que Creemos?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Tavon Austin, Cowboys Best Playmaker Not Named Ezekiel Elliott?

Cada vez más cerca de la verdadera acción en la NFL, tuvimos una oportunidad de ver a los Dallas Cowboys en el campo contra los San Francisco 49ers hace una semana. Francamente, a pesar de perder la ventaja en los últimos segundos del partido, la actuación del equipo dio una muy buena señal a los aficionados de la Estrella Solitaria.

Todavía quedan tres partidos por jugar, empezando por el enfrentamiento contra los Cincinnati Bengals este sábado. Hay muchas cosas que ver de parte de los Dallas Cowboys y quizá algunas de ellas las veamos este mismo fin de semana.

Una de las cosas más interesantes esta semana fue la conversación de los wide receivers (receptores abiertos). Lance Lenoir se ha mostrado como un candidato real al roster de 53 jugadores, pero esa es sólo una pequeña fracción de la conversación de receptores.

Hay muchos receptores de que hablar, y el día de hoy, eso haremos en Cowboys en Español.

¿Cole Beasley es realmente el receptor #1?

A lo largo de todo el offseason, se ha manejado la narrativa de que "los Cowboys no tienen un buen WR." A pesar de que Dez Bryant es un nombre difícil de olvidar, esta aseveración sobre los receptores en Dallas me parece errónea.

Si bien es cierto que Bryant es uno de los mejores WRs en la historia de los Cowboys, también es cierto que Jason Garrett y compañía tienen un mejor grupo de lo que la afición considera. Si somos sinceros, un trío titular de Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley y Michael Gallup no suena mal.

La pregunta será: ¿quién es el #1? Comentarios de Dak Prescott han hecho referencia a Cole Beasley como el dueño de dicho rol. ¿Realmente puede fungir como el receptor líder del equipo siendo un jugador de 1.73 metros?

Se ha hablado mucho de Beasley jugando fuera de los números e intentando vencer a los defensivos por fuera. Es intrigante, pero sin duda un poco difícil de creer.

Tavon Austin: ¿Es un arma más importante de lo que creemos?

Los Cowboys dejaron ir a Ryan Switzer y obtuvieron a su aparente remplazo con el ex-WR de los Rams por una selección de sexta ronda. Tavon Austin ha tenido un viaje extraño con el equipo. Fue listado en el roster como un corredor pero utilizado como un receptor.

Lleva poco tiempo en Dallas pero ha sorprendido en training camp y ha sido utilizado como más de lo que esperábamos. Desde que llegó al equipo, empezamos a compararlo con Lucky Whitehead y Ryan Switzer. Ambos talentosos, pero destinados a ser un jugador "gadget" que fueron utilizados casi exclusivamente en jugadas "en movimiento" o los famosos "jet sweeps."

Pero Austin puede ser más que eso y lo ha demostrado en training camp. No parece que Tavon vaya a tener el mismo destino que Switzer, sino que tendrá un rol mucho más involucrado en la ofensiva constantemente. Bien puede ser un factor sorpresa para la ofensiva en Dallas.

¿Puede Terrance Williams perder su trabajo?

A pesar de que el coraje puede llevar a los aficionados a criticar a Terrance Williams un poco más de lo que merece, la verdad es que Williams está en riesgo de ser cortado por los Cowboys antes de que inicie la temporada en septiembre.

Es uno de los WRs con más experiencia, sí. Pero durante su estadía en Dallas, cada vez que Dez Bryant ha caído lesionado, Williams ha tenido la oportunidad de surgir como un receptor #1 capaz y preparado. Y nunca lo ha logrado.

Con un roster lleno de talentos jóvenes como el de Lance Lenoir y Noah Brown, es probable que la administración y los coaches opten por el potencial joven en vez de Williams, quien ha tenido problemas para demostrar que puede ser un jugador constante.

✭✭✭

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen que conseguir que su ofensiva sobreviva las pérdidas de Jason Witten y Dez Bryant y tendrán que comenzar en la posición de WR. A pesar de que Williams esté en el equipo, Cole Beasley será el único en repetir titularidad del año pasado en Dallas esta temporada.

Dak Prescott tendrá un rol enorme cuando la ofensiva trate de emprender su marcha y definitivamente será responsable del éxito de esta. Es ahora o nunca para Dak.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Es Tavon Austin Más Importante de lo que Creemos?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Game Notes

#DALvsCIN: Bengals DL Gives Cowboys OL Formidable Test

Kevin Brady

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The Star News - Bengals At Cowboys: ITS Staff Picks And Notes
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

During their preseason opener, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line faced its first test of the season. The young, athletic, and downright talented defensive line of the 49ers gave the Cowboys starting five a chance to gauge their offseason progress thus far.

I'd say the starting group passed the test, while the backups and depth players looked a bit more shaky. The good thing about football, though, is that they get a shot to do it all again this Saturday.

This week's opponent, the Cincinatti Bengals, feature some serious talent upfront. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of the best interior defenders in all of football, terrorizing centers and guards since he entered the league.Carl Lawson, Auburn

On the edge is one of my 2017 draft favorites, Carl Lawson. Lawson was a draft target of mine for the Cowboys, but it appears the entire league missed on the stud edge rusher during that draft. During his rookie season a year ago, Lawson racked up 8.5 sacks and looked like the best rookie rusher in all of football. It's rare that a rookie defensive end tallies the sack total that Lawson did in 2017, but then again, Lawson is a rare type of player.

Opposite of Carl Lawson is veteran pass rusher Carlos Dunlap. Together, Atkins and Dunlap have been one of the more dangerous pass rush duos for quite some time, but the additions of Lawson and Jordan Willis make them an incredibly impressive group.

During the Bengals' preseason opener against the Chicago Bears, their defensive line looked to be in midseason form.

Though Geno Atkins had the team's only sack, the trio of Atkins, Lawson, and Dunlap looked as prolific as ever.

This deep and talented defensive line is a more-than worthy test for the Cowboys this Saturday. Rookie Connor Williams will likely have to block Geno Atkins at some point, and though he looked promising against the 49ers, this week presents a whole different challenge.

Many now expect veteran center Travis Frederick to miss Saturday's game as well, due to his shoulder troubles during training camp. If Frederick were to miss the start, Joe Looney would be thrown into the first against this first team defensive front of the Bengals.

A rookie at left guard and Looney at center might not be the best ingredients against Geno Atkins and company, but it'll be what they have to roll with.

Still, Saturday will give us another chance to see what the 2018 Dallas Cowboys offensive line is all about.



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Has Breakout Day in Camp

Jess Haynie

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Randy Gregory

The return of Defensive End Randy Gregory is already one of the best stories of the Dallas Cowboys 2018 training camp. If nothing else, his efforts to get to a better place in life and earn reinstatement from the NFL are a huge success. But if yesterday's practice was any indication, Gregory may be about to achieve even more.

According to the staff writers at DallasCowboys.com, Gregory was the standout performer during Wednesday's activities in Oxnard. Here is just a sampling of the praise heaped on the 25-year-old pass rusher:

"He was a beast. Didn’t matter if he was going up against Pro Bowl tackle Tyron Smith or his backups. Nor did it matter which side he was rushing from." (Mickey Spagnola)

"It doesn’t happen often, but tip of the cap to Randy Gregory getting around Tyron Smith twice in a span of three plays during team period. Smith’s pass set wasn’t poor it was just Gregory’s first step that gave him problems." (Bryan Broaddus)

"He’s so explosive off the line of scrimmage. It’s really something to see. But the thing that keeps impressing me is how he’s developed his upper body and added weight while away from the team." (Rob Phillips)

"In the blink of an eye, Randy Gregory had turned the corner and “downed” Dak Prescott for a sack. It happened so fast that Prescott didn’t even bother to throw the ball. To be perfectly frank, I did a double-take and assumed Gregory had beaten Cam Fleming on the rep. Nope — it was Tyron Smith." (David Helman)

That Randy was beating Tyron Smith out there is noteworthy. Aside from just Tyron's usual reputation and yearly trips to the Pro Bowl, he was recently praised by teammate Travis Frederick for having his best camp in several years.

We've waited three years to see Gregory finally realize his potential. The Cowboys spent a second-round pick on Gregory in 2015, despite huge red flags about his drug issues, because of that upside. On talent alone, Randy likely would've been a first-round pick that year.

It's still August, of course, and Gregory will have to keep it up in the regular season to truly arrive on the NFL scene. But reports like these out of camp are so encouraging, and particularly when you know the story of this kid and what he's had to do to even make it this far.

Randy Gregory, Eagles

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

With DeMarcus Lawrence now a franchise star on one end of the defensive line, Randy Gregory's ascension could give the Cowboys the best pass-rushing duo they've had since at least DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, or perhaps even the 1990s.

As good as the flashes now against Tyron Smith and others in practice are, perhaps the best news from those reports were Rob Phillips' comments about Gregory's physical development.

With so much time away from football, Randy's conditioning and body composition were an initial concern when he came back. Clearly, Gregory was putting in the work even while away from the team to be physically ready to resume his career. It will also help him to keep performing through the year, and not wearing down as he has in the past.

Hopefully we'll see Randy Gregory make his preseason debut this Saturday evening when the Cowboys host the Cincinnati Bengals. Again, that will be a wonderful achievement for him on its own merit.

But if he can put on a show for long-waiting Cowboys fans, even in the preseason, then it could be a very special night.



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