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3 Ways the Cowboys Offense Could Be Better in 2018

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Zeke Elliott

Truth be told, Dallas Cowboys fans have plenty of reasons to be upset about the very disappointing 2017 season. But one of the things that undoubtedly made it even a tougher campaign to get through was the offensive performance. After Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the league by storm in their rookie seasons, everyone (including non-Cowboys fans) had big-time expectations for America's Team.

Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Now, let's not try to find who is to blame, we could spend all the offseason arguing whether it was Dez or Dak's fault, coaching, Zeke's suspension or other key injuries like Tyron Smith's.

Don't forget for a second how talented this offense actually is. Sure, last season the wide receivers had anything but an impressive year and Dak could've played better at times, but that doesn't mean he's a bad quarterback at all.

If struggles continue to be there next season, then let's have a conversation about Prescott. Not now, though. He's still the guy this franchise should be betting on, without a single doubt. Add to that what still is among the NFL's finest offensive lines with a top running back in Ezekiel Elliott.

This is an offense that'll win games next season, despite having a rough year in 2017. Here are three ways it could be even more dominant.

Unleash 10 Personnel

We've wanted this for a long time now. Dak Prescott is a guy who can pass the ball or tuck and run with it when needed. Ezekiel Elliott is one of the NFL's best runners and a true three-down back.  Cole Beasley is one of the best slot receivers in the sport. Dez Bryant, though unproductive the last few years, is still a very talented player. Allen Hurns will be a big upgrade at WR2. And hey, maybe put Ryan Switzer in the mix.

It's hard to imagine defenses stopping such a loaded offense in the red zone or anywhere on the field for that matter. The Cowboys should seriously consider playing from 10 personnel a lot more than they do.

Feed Zeke in the Passing Game

Cowboys en Español: 3

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

This is one of the things I fail to understand from the Cowboys' coaching staff. Ezekiel Elliott has reliable hands and as a very dangerous player in the open field, I don't comprehend why he isn't used a lot when it comes to the passing game.

He might not be able to make the damage that Le'Veon Bell is able to as a receiving RB, but I'm sure Elliott would thrive if given more opportunities. We've seen some explosive screen plays from him, let's hope Dallas looks to turn him into an even more dangerous offensive piece.

Use a Younger Tight End

Fellow writer Brian Martin wrote about how the Cowboys should follow the Charger's blueprints when handling Antonio Gate's situation. I love Jason Witten, he's my favorite Cowboy of all time. But we simply can't (or at least, shouldn't) pretend he's the same guy as before.

The Cowboys should be looking for a future tight end in this Draft, even if we're talking about the later rounds.

Is Jason Witten Looking At A Lesser Role In 2017?

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

I would love to see them taking someone (or who knows, maybe the Rico Gathers fantasy comes true) who could harm opponent defenses by doing stuff Gold Jacket Witt can't. I don't want to see Witten gone by any means, simply because I'm not sure anyone can fill his shoes for the moment.

But adding a younger tight end to split the playing time and try some new stuff with the TE position would be huge for Dak's offense.

✭✭✭✭✭

I can't wait to see this offense back at it next season. It's easy to get pessimism get to you after a disappointing season, but the team has talent. Now, don't get me wrong, this team has a lot of issues it should solve. The team needs are plenty.

But I do believe this team will be winning football games this year.

 

Tell me what you think about "3 Ways the Cowboys Offense Could Be Better in 2018" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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9 Comments
  • Earl Young

    Get rid of Garrett and the offense coach Linahan

    • Derek Robinson

      Hey Earl, are you a Philly fan?

  • Derek Robinson

    The offence just needs a little tune up. They’ve always been able to score. “when all the pieces where in place” Look everybody wants to blame Dez. I know you’re going to have haters. It comes with being a cowboy fan. But some of the articles I’m reading on line about D. Bryant are just hateful BS. I’m confident that the cowboys offence will be one of the best in the NFC this season. Dak will have his boy back, “Zeke” a few new toys to play with. And a brand new coaching staff. “ALL OR NOTHING”

  • Raheem Tld

    I concur!

  • Dominique Lewis

    Great article. I can’t agree with you anymore. My buddy always talk about cowboys going 10 personnel (4 we split) all the time. I also do feel that Dallas can more vertical in their passing game with an athletic TE. No slight on Witten, but I don’t expect a 15-30 yard play out of him.

  • William Pep Hatcher

    Witten needs to get cut or retire. If they can release Ware and Emmitt then Witten must go. Rico will shut up all the haters.

  • Russ_Te

    The Cowboys are a run-first offense and for good reasons. So while I like the spread sets the Cowboys would need to run out of those at times if they want to use it as a staple formation & still keep defenses guessing. I don’t think they practice it enough, and there are some games where it makes sense with the defensive matchups to just get in it and stay in it. And be able to go no-huddle from it also.

    They may decide to use it more this year due to Witten slowing down and Gathers being a project to work in gradually, especially due to his blocking curve.

    I still believe it’s a big chip handed to defenses, if the Cowboys do not value WR’s who can stretch coverages and get behind secondaries down field. You can add Hurns and still have most of the same problems as last year, particularly with regard to not opening up space for Dez to work. I don’t see much upgrade yet in the unit.

    There are 2 WR’s down this draft with 4.3 speed (and none up the draft with it). Project guys, obviously. Take one of those, or both if possible.

  • Gbear

    Garrett doesn’t know how to utilize talent but he knows how to clap.

  • John Williams

    So with you on using more 10 personnel. I know they like to keep Witten on the field so they can run more, but they can run out of 10 too. Witten is Mr. Cowboy at this point for me, but his effectiveness is dropping off year by year. Give me a lineup with Dez and Switz on the outside. Hurns and Bease in the slot and Zeke in the backfield and you are going to be moving the chains.

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The Cowboys Blueprint for Success has been Set

Shane Carter

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Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense 1

The Cowboys victory against the Jaguars was a reminder to everyone just how good Dak Prescott & Co. can be. They ran and threw all over the Jaguars defense like they were high school level. It was a one-sided, lambs to the slaughter type of game.

At the end of the game, it left all of us wondering, "where has this team been all year?"

Throughout the season, the Cowboys showed both dominance and incompetence on the offensive side of the football. One game the team moves the ball up and down the field with ease, the next game the offense looks inept. Last Sunday’s game versus Jacksonville shows that Dallas can be successful the rest of the season, if they continue to play as such.

Run the ball

This team was built to run the football. Look at the offensive line, their type of tight ends, their quarterback, and of course Ezekiel Elliott.

The line is full of first round talent, the tight ends are block-first types (sans Rico Gathers), Dak Prescott gives them another dimension with the mobile ability in and out of the pocket, and Elliott is one of if not the best running back in the league.

The concept of running the football should not be lost on this team.

If they let Elliott run 20 or more times per game, allow Prescott to run outside of the pocket and not just be a stand-still passer, and mix in some of Rod Smith and Tavon Austin (when healthy) to give their main runner a break, they can run on anyone.

Let Dak Move Around

What makes Dak Prescott so special to this team isn’t just his leadership, but also his ability to extend plays. He stays in the pocket if he has to but he’s so skilled outside with his legs. Zone read, play action, tuck and run, throw on the run, etc., any excuse to get Dak Prescott on the move is a plus. Defenses respect his ability to move so much that the Cowboys receivers get open more as a result.

The worst thing a coaching staff can do to a mobile quarterback is to keep him standing still when he can do so much more with his feet. Don’t buy a Corvette and keep it locked up in the garage. The best way for Dak Prescott to stay consistent and succeed as a passer is to let Dak be Dak.

Keep Blitzing

The Cowboys have found a serious advantage that they’ve lacked in years past. Led by DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have 18 sacks through the first six games of the season.

Throw in the contributions of players like Taco Charlton, Tyrone Crawford, and Randy Gregory, among others, and you’ve got the deepest pass rush the Cowboys have had in years.

The team is 7th in the league in sacks and there seems to be no sign of stopping and no shortage of players who can get to the quarterback. These numbers look like they’ll only go up from here and with the amount of players the Cowboys have to do so, Jacksonville looks like it was only a taste of what’s to come.

Creative Play Calling

A little more than a week ago Jerry Jones stated that the Cowboys offense looked similar to the L.A. Rams - a hilarious notion by most accounts, right?

The Cowboys offensive scheme had been mocked all season for being both predictable and out of date. I’m not sure how many times you can run a three tight end set and expect success when it hadn't happened yet.

The team would run then throw on first and second downs, and depending on yardage, would set up a predictable third down attempt.

Against Jacksonville, we saw more read option than we’ve seen all year. Dak Prescott was vintage. His ability to move the ball with his legs made the secondary shaky against the Cowboys receivers - especially Cole Beasley - and that opened up the playbook.

Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t be stopped and just about every receiver got in on the action. Even rookie receiver Michael Gallup got in and showed some of what Cowboy fans had been waiting for.

Hopefully, that game showed just how dangerous the Cowboys can be when they are unpredictable and let their quarterback be himself. If they game planned for today the same as they did against the Jaguars, the rest of the season will be much more winnable.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars

El mejor juego de los Dallas Cowboys en 2018 vino la semana pasada, cuando recibieron a los Jacksonville Jaguars y los vencieron 40-7. Un resultado que tomó a todos por sorpresa demostró la mejor cara en el año de este equipo que apenas tiene un récord de 3-3.

Por más dominantes que se vieron en el emparrillado el domingo pasado, esa actuación no termina de reflejar lo que realmente son los Cowboys. Son un equipo con potencial en la ofensiva y con una defensiva bastante fuerte, pero ¿pueden ganar constantemente como lo hicieron contra Jaguars?

De entrada, la respuesta a esta pregunta parece ser no. Aún en esa victoria, se vieron problemas evidentes en la ofensiva. Para empezar, la falta de ejecución en la segunda mitad en series ofensivas que incluso llegaron a iniciar en territorio enemigo. De gol de campo en gol de campo se juntan puntos, sin duda, pero en partidos cerrados eso termina costando victorias. Hace falta que Dak Prescott y compañía puedan mover el balón una vez en rango de gol de campo y convertir esas oportunidades a touchdowns.

Otra preocupación que no podemos subestimar es que el juego aéreo sigue sin funcionar apropiadamente. Cole Beasley dominó con nueve atrapadas para 101 yardas y dos touchdowns, pero el resto de los receptores se fueron sin  más de una recepción por cabeza. El único jugador que logró más de una fue el TE Geoff Swaim, quien se llevo dos en todo el juego.

Si bien Beasley tuvo uno de los mejores juegos en su carrera, más receptores tienen que involucrarse para llevar la ofensiva al siguiente nivel. La buena noticia es que en esta ocasión se enfrentaron contra una de las mejores secundarias en la NFL. Los números son malos, pero tienen la oportunidad de demostrar mucho más contra otras defensivas.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen que repartir más la bola y seguir buscando maneras creativas de utilizar a su RB Ezekiel Elliott. Pases pantallas en tercera y largo no es ser creativo. Lo vemos funcionar dos o tres veces al año pero mandan esta jugada semanalmente. En cuanto a Dak Prescott, hay mucho donde mejorar. Deberíamos estar viendo pases más arriesgados, al centro del campo y mucho mejor posicionados.

Sean's Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory's Potential Impact on Cowboys Defense

Para la defensiva, las cosas se ven muy bien. Puede que veamos la mejor versión de esta unidad esta semana, cuando viajen a Washington. Maliek Collins, Sean Lee, David Irving, y Randy Gregory estarán jugando mucho más sanos y preparados. Este es un frente defensivo lleno de talento que intimidará constantemente a Alex Smith este domingo.

A pesar de que los Redskins no tienen una ofensiva muy explosiva, el área de oportunidad principal para la defensiva de Cowboys está en la profundidad defensiva. Tanto Jeff Heath como Xavier Woods han hecho un trabajo decente, pero tienen sus momentos en los que no logran asegurar una tackleada y permiten jugadas largas.

Hace unos meses no esperábamos que fuera la defensiva y no la ofensiva la que cargaría a este equipo a muchas victorias, pero ese ha sido el caso en las tres victorias de esta temporada. Y en las tres derrotas, la defensiva fue la que mantuvo a los Cowboys en el juego.

Sin duda alguna, lo que tiene que mejorar es la ofensiva. Los receptores tienen que desmarcarse, Prescott debe ser más preciso y tener una mejor conciencia en la bolsa de protección.

Pero sobre todo, es la inconsistencia del equipo. Esto se comienza a sentir como la temporada del año pasado, cuando los Cowboys se fueron 9-7 y nunca terminaron de establecerse como contendientes a los playoffs. Aún en una NFC East donde todos los equipos tienen récords similares y débiles, no pueden continuar perdiendo una semana y  ganando a la otra.

Ganarle a los Redskins sería la primera victoria de Dallas jugando de visita. También sería la primera vez en el año en la que tendrían victorias consecutivas. Por esto y muchas otras razones, incluyendo el potencial liderato de la división, este juego es de suma importancia.

Si ganan, podría ser el momento en el que los Cowboys terminen de darle la vuelta a la página y si pierden, podría ser un indicador de que esta temporada será igual que la del 2017.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

Brian Martin

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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off arguably their best and most complete offensive performance of the season after playing the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but there is still quite a bit of improvement that can be made. The need to get more playmakers involved is apparent, which is why I think it's time to utilize Fullback Jamize Olawale's unique skill set.

I know many of you will argue that getting Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup going is a higher priority, and you wouldn't be wrong, but Jamize Olawale's playmaking ability could be a huge asset for Quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. I know it sounds a little strange, but hang in there with me for little bit.

As things stand right now, Olawale has only played 38 offensive snaps (10%) in 2018. That's the exact amount of offensive plays Wide Receiver Terrance Williams has played this year and he's missed the majority of the season. It's not exactly the kind of production I was expecting when the Cowboys decided to bring him aboard via trade with the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason.

I don't know about you, but I was expecting Olawale to be more involved in the offensive game plan. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and isn't too shabby as a runner either. But, we haven't seen him utilized in either fashion this season and I think that's an injustice that needs to be corrected.

Now, I fully understand there are other offensive weapons ahead of him in the pecking order who need to see more targets, but I also really think he can make a difference maker, especially in the passing game. That is where his strengths lie, not as a lead blocking fullback.

Jamize Olawale

Dallas Cowboys FB Jamize Olawale

Olawale was a bit of a Swiss Army knife during his time with the Oakland Raiders. He played a little running back, fullback, tight end, and even a little slot receiver. I really thought the Cowboys would take advantage of his versatility in the passing game, but as of yet they have failed to do so.

I'd like to see the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan utilize Jamize Olawale's unique playmaking ability a little bit more on offense. I think they should try to utilize him like the San Francisco 49ers use their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. He's much more involved and has played a total of 263 offensive snaps (63.68%) this year.

Juszczyk is a better lead blocking FB then Olawale, but that's not where he makes the most difference in the 49ers offense. He does it as a receiver and has already caught 17 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. That's some pretty solid production from a position that is being phased out in the NFL.

Now, just imagine the Cowboys offense getting similar production from Olawale and how that would help open up things for everybody else. It's not out of the realm of possibility because the 49ers offense and the Cowboys isn't all that dissimilar.

Unfortunately, I think Jamize Olawale is pretty much an afterthought in the Cowboys offense right now. It's truly unfortunate because I think he can be a difference maker if given the opportunity. And with a division foe like the Washington Redskins next on the schedule, what better time to unleash a new and unseen element of the offense?

Do you think Jamize Olawale needs to be more involved offensively?



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