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As Preseason Begins, Does Prescott Have a “Go-To” Receiver After All?

Sean Martin

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As Preseason Begins, Does Prescott Have a "Go-To" Receiver After All?
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys play their first preseason game tonight, and although most starters aren't expected to see a lot of snaps, we should still get a feel for this team's new-look offense. Regardless of who is on the field, I'll be looking at the formations and looks the Cowboys have for all of their running backs and wide receivers.

One receiver that's taken on a noticeably larger role in training camp is veteran Cole Beasley. A favorite target of Quarterback Dak Prescott in his rookie season of 2016, Beasley's decline in production last season led to frustration on offense for a team that finished outside the playoffs at 9-7.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Dak Prescott on @nflnetwork asked about his go-to receiver: "It's Cole Beasley. ... He can stretch the defense, so it's about moving him around, making the defense respect that he can beat you over the top. Once we open that up, he's hard to cover underneath. That's his game.

There were a number of factors that led to Beasley being less effective in 2017, and even more ways the Cowboys are looking to change this for 2018.

Even with Dez Bryant on the field, opposing defenses were scheming to take Beasley away as Prescott's first option. Now without Bryant, the Cowboys are hoping their rotation of pass catchers can keep defenses honest and allow Beasley to be featured again.

So far in Oxnard, we've seen Cole regain his status as one of the hardest covers in one-on-one drills. New WR Coach Sanjay Lal has used Beasley on the outside and in the slot.

Establishing Beasley as an "over the top" target, as Prescott calls him, would be a huge step for the Cowboys offense. Prescott has struggled to find his touch on deep passes in training camp. With receivers capable of stretching the field in Deonte Thompson, Lance Lenoir, and Michael Gallup, big plays from Beasley feel like the most certain way for the Cowboys to balance their passing offense.

In tonight's preseason game, look for the depth behind Beasley to fill in his role. Tavon Austin, Ricky Jeune, and Lenoir are all capable of replicating his route running ability to uncover all over the field. If they're able to get going with Cooper Rush and Mike White at quarterback, it will be a great sign for Prescott and Beasley.

It took up until the Cowboys first real game of 2018 for Prescott to admit that he does have a top receiver, though the answer should surprise nobody. After tonight, the team will return to Oxnard and continue working in their other young receivers - all imperative to the success that Beasley finds in his seventh season.

Tell us what you think about "As Preseason Begins, Does Prescott Have a “Go-To” Receiver After All?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Game Notes

Brett Maher’s 62-yard FG Gives Cowboys 6-0 Halftime Lead over Eagles

Jess Haynie

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Brett Maher
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Brett Maher drilled a 62-yard field goal, a new Dallas Cowboys record, to give his team a 6-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.

A holding penalty by Tyron Smith seemingly took the team out of field goal range, but Maher bailed him out with the monster kick.

The lead could be bigger it not for some Dallas mistakes. Dak Prescott threw an interception on an otherwise strong drive, and Maher ended another drive with a missed field goal.

However, the Eagles have also struggled. A strip sack by Tyrone Crawford ended their last drive of the half. Randy Gregory also got a sack on Carson Wentz earlier in the game.

Overall, though, Philadelphia just isn't converting downs and being stifled by this exceptional Cowboys defense. They only have 70 total offensive yards at the half.

Ezekiel Elliott is putting together a big day, already with 72 rushing yards and another 20 yards receiving. Rod Smith also has 24 yards of offense, adding to the major production from the RB position.

Speaking of position production, the Cowboys tight ends have already accounted for six catches for 37 yards. Blake Jarwin has four of those receptions, which is a new career high.

The Eagles will get the ball to start the second half.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Leaning on Elliott, Young Defense Earns Cowboys Win in Philly

The Dallas Cowboys are certainly playing like a playoff team as of late, but aren't in the clear yet when it comes to holding off Sunday's opponent -- nor the Washington Redskins -- in the NFC East. At 7-5, the Eagles and Redskins sit a game behind the Cowboys with identical 6-6 records.

The Cowboys going 5-0 from their first win at the Eagles in week 10 to their third divisional game of this stretch would go a very long way in cementing the Cowboys mid-season turnaround. As has always seemingly been the case in this division though, the same is said of the defending Super Bowl champs.

With a loss, the Cowboys stand just over a 50% chance at the postseason. A win would add 42 percentage points to this figure, setting up the Cowboys favorably through a December schedule that features the Colts, Buccaneers, and Giants.

Brian Burke on Twitter

NFL playoff leverage week 14

The only team with more at stake today is the visitors of AT&T Stadium. The Eagles gain 47 percentage points on their playoff hopes with a win, though even this marginally moves the needle over 50% for them. An Eagles loss all but ends their chances of repeating as NFC East winners.

Though the Redskins are reduced to their third quarterback in Mark Sanchez, their early kickoff at the 4-8 Giants provides hope that they'll remain in contention through the regular season. In a division that will be dictated by the moves made at the trade deadline, it sure feels like the Cowboys and Eagles are pulling away however - with Dallas in prime position to lap the competition starting Sunday.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

If the Cowboys and the Giants win today, Dallas would have to lose out, and the Redskins or Eagles would have to win out in order for the Cowboys to lose the division. In other words, Dallas and NYG winning today would mean one more victory and the Cowboys clinch the NFC East.

Wide Receiver Amari Cooper has made a bigger difference than Dallas could have ever hoped for. With the Eagles secondary banged up again for their meeting with the Cowboys, a home team with sights set on playoff football could begin to fine tune their offense to match a defense that set the tone against Philadelphia last time out.

National pundits may be forecasting a "classic" late season collapse for the Cowboys, but fans know better than this. It was in fact early season losses that dug the hole the Cowboys are viciously fighting out of. Asking for this opportunity against the Eagles is as good as it gets for Jason Garrett's young team, once 3-5 after eight weeks that feel like ages ago.

So does any dominant stretch of football from the Eagles, though the Cowboys shouldn't be quick to find out just how much Philly wants to play spoiler.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys "Dak-Friendly" Offense

It's rivalry weekend for the Dallas Cowboys as they get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles. It will undoubtedly be a special game since the Eagles are practically playing to save their season this time around. Tables have turned for these two teams with now the Cowboys as home favorites for this fun matchup.

As always, here's this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist. Enjoy!

Wish #1: Get Jourdan Lewis Playing Time

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis did a fantastic job versus the New Orleans Saints last week and I'm intrigued to see if the Cowboys will continue to find a job for him and get him on the field. Lewis had an interception and some other key plays in just eight snaps. Lewis has been an interesting narrative this year.

He's a good player and getting him more involved could result in good things for this team. We'll see if the Cowboys use him in this important divisional game.

2018 Rushing Title: Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley in Neck-and-Neck Race

Wish #2: Get The Early Big Lead, Rest Elliott

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has done an amazing job for the Cowboys over the past four weeks. Both in the passing and running game, Zeke has been able to consistently move the chains as he's received a huge workload to carry the offense and control the time of possession. He currently leads the league in touches per game.

If the Cowboys are able to get a big lead early, I wish we get to see a lot of backup RB Rod Smith. As much as we all love to watch Zeke be fed, this time Cowboys Nation should appreciate seeing him on the sideline a bit more than usual. For that to happen, though, an early considerable lead is required.

Wish #3: Improve on Red Zone

So far, the Dallas Cowboys have been able to efficiently move the ball and get first downs. What they have struggled with though, is the red zone. Many times, we've seen the offense settle for three instead of getting seven.

This Saturday I argued why, if the Cowboys are able to improve on red zone, this could be a playoff caliber unit. This team shouldn't struggle as much in this area. With Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, Amari Cooper lined up and a mobile QB, Scott Linehan's squad simply needs to do better.

Wish #4: Dak Prescott Gets 300 Yards

The Philadelphia Eagles have placed CB Jalen Mills on IR. With Ronald Darby out already, the Cowboys are about to face a very injured secondary. Philadelphia ranks 26th in passing defense. Dak Prescott's stats have greatly improved since week 7.

However, a big 300-yard performance has yet to occur. I wish he gets just that against the Eagles. For this, he'll certainly need help from his receivers, including Amari Cooper, who has been outstanding with a Star on his helmet.

What are your wishes for this week's matchup versus the Eagles?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary" 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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