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Could Dak Prescott’s Development Cost Another QB a Roster Spot?

Jess Haynie

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Jerry Jones: Carrying 3 QBs "Very Likely" On 53-Man Roster
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys decide their 53-man roster this year, some cuts will be very tough. Right now we assume the team will keep three quarterbacks, but could the growth of starter Dak Prescott lead to one of their other prospects losing his spot?

With Prescott's starting job not being threatened, the need to keep three quarterbacks on the roster is up for debate. Cooper Rush and rookie Mike White are both intriguing, but are they both worth keeping if it means losing talent at another position?

If Dak has a great camp and preseason, that debate heats up even more. Not only are you increasingly confident in your young starter, but so far he's shown himself to be very durable. You'd essentially be stashing that third QB for security only, with little chance of getting anything from him during the season.

The Cowboys have often gone with just two quarterbacks during the Tony Romo era. It was usually Romo, the clear starter, and then a veteran backup such as Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, or Kyle Orton.

Neither Rush or White are experienced vets, of course. That may be good enough reason to keep both.

Mike White

Dallas Cowboys QB Mike White

Even by drafting White this year, considering Rush was already here, Dallas seems to have shifted philosophies about their QB depth. It appears they want to move to having more of a pipeline of talent at the position, similar to what we've seen from the New England Patriots.

But even if that's their intention, tough decisions still lie ahead. They will still have to look at Rush or White, and the prospect of that guy spending all season in street clothes, compared to cutting someone else who might be more useful in 2018.

When that time comes, will the front office stick to their new mentality or get pushed back into old habit?

If that happens, things get sticky for Cooper Rush. Even with the extra season under his belt, he doesn't have a four-year rookie contract like Mike White. He also wasn't a draft pick like White, who Dallas took in the fifth round this year.

This question could come up even without a big surge from Dak Prescott. It may come down to pure roster math and value across all positions.

But if Dak has a strong August, leaving no doubt as to his readiness for 2018 and beyond, then the Cowboys might start rethinking how much QB talent they need on the roster.

It's just another of the many hypotheticals to play with as we move closer to final cuts.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. John McClain

    August 5, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    It’s not about what Dak does it’s all about what Cooper Rush shows in camp and the preseason games. If Rush shows the potential that he showed last year worst case scenario is trading him for future draft picks

    • Jess Haynie

      Jess Haynie

      August 6, 2018 at 7:17 am

      I agree that he could be trade bait with another great preseason. But whether he gets traded or released, it still goes back to the Cowboys only wanting to keep two QBs on the roster. That was the point.

  2. RE2

    August 5, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    @Jess Haynie, this has got to be the most ignorant premise & title for an article that I’ve ever read. Let’s state this in a different way to show how silly the title of your article really sounds.

    Could the development of your starting quarterback (Dak Prescott) who won Rookie of the Year, who posted career numbers and wins in his first season similar to Tony Romo’s best season ever cost an undrafted free agent and a low round draft pick a roster spot because last year his coaches asked him to force the ball to their alleged number one wide receiver who had problems getting open, couldn’t establish separation, and couldn’t run routes?

    Between The star, The Landry Hat, and The Dallas Morning News, you people write some of the most ignorant articles I’ve ever read. I’d love to read other pundits however unfortunately we’re stuck with you guys if we want local information about the Dallas Cowboys which is just flat out sad.

    • Jess Haynie

      Jess Haynie

      August 6, 2018 at 7:15 am

      So other than that, what did you think of the article?

      I just want to make sure I understand you. It’s entirely ridiculous, or ignorant, to wonder if a team which has shown a propensity for only keeping two quarterbacks on its roster might do so again?

      It seems that you’ve misinterpreted what I wrote as a backhanded slam against Dak Prescott. That was not the intent at all. I’m a firm believer in Dak as the QB of the future.

      This was only to look at roster math and what the team might do if presented with similar circumstances to what they’ve had in the past.

  3. Melvin S Edgmand

    August 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    there not trading cooper rush the pats wanted him bad and jerry shut that off quick. cooper rush over the last three practices has taken a lot of first team snaps I know I am here right now. I see it. you all can fool yourselves into believing dak is going to do well. yesterday 7 straight incompletions. not the recievers fault bs, daks fault. while rush is killing it. he was the best qb in preseason in the nfl last year. and he will do it again. when does he get a shot when the seasons gone when these writer keep blaming the recievers which is bull they lie its 100% dak. its way different being here then listening to the bs they put on nfl network thee isn’t nothing wrong with these recievers. iam a huge cowboy fan been here from the beginning. no way we see a playoff ever. with dak as quarterback..

    • Jess Haynie

      Jess Haynie

      August 8, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      But…. we’ve already seen a playoff with Dak as the QB.

      Thanks for all of your clearly unbiased and objective analysis.

      • Melvin S Edgmand

        August 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

        no we seen one with zeke dak just happen to be on the team what about the 7 plus games last year under 200 yds passing your argument holds no water you can ride that band wagon til the tires fall off dak will be siiting the pines by week 4

        • kabob

          August 9, 2018 at 5:54 am

          So your solution is to start a less athletic, less mobile, weaker-armed UDFA in place of the QB that won 22 games as a starter in two season despite serious struggles last year? You think Cooper Rush is a unique talent amongst NFL QBs? You’re looking at a right-handed Kellen Moore here. He has yet to prove himself among 1st-string talent and those lollipop rainbows he throws in practice (yes, we’ve all been watching) don’t cut it come game time.

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            August 11, 2018 at 9:34 am

            just your first sentence told me you no little about football and to walk away this is me walking

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            August 11, 2018 at 9:38 am

            oh fuck it ok dumb ass you need to know football. cooper is way faster smarter stronger throws the fall farther then Dak ever dreamed of he is 6 ft 5 235 how the fuck is heslower your just fucking idiot jesus I mean stupid do you even k own who cooper rush is wow read a stat watch a game you make no sense what a joke

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            August 11, 2018 at 9:48 am

            sorry Iwas gone they way you described cooper rush made me laugh so hard I had to tweet it and send it to my friends your to funny

          • kabob

            August 13, 2018 at 4:17 am

            Go ahead and walk away, Melvin. The game tape proves who’s the better QB.

          • Melvin S Edgmand

            August 13, 2018 at 5:58 am

            your arguing just to have conflict. you’ve commented 289 times on this site. oh didnt know they kept count.they do if you were smart you’d learn how and erase them. your a pathetic troll who basically insults everyone comments that dont align with yours. problem is your not football smart. I see it a lot in your crowd. your a beer swilling douchebag probably from the fucked up state of texas that goes around jerking off to anything cowboys. your football knowledge comes from your fading memories of being a second string jr varsity back up tight end or some shit who peaked in 7th grade so this will be my last comment on this matter for you. so now you have all the time in the world for that cowboys circle jerk and bbq you have coming up next weekend. your pathetic

          • kabob

            August 21, 2018 at 2:22 am

            Get back on your meds, Melvin. I didn’t even read that delusional rant. Come back at us with some facts and maybe learn some grammar, vocabulary and syntax while you’re at it.

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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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Dallas Cowboys

5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

Brian Martin

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5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season 2

I know we are all still little disappointed with the way the Dallas Cowboys 2018 season ended, but if we are completely honest with ourselves it ended a lot better than we initially thought it would. With the season officially over, it's time to start the evaluation process to see what went wrong and what right this past year.

I don't know about you, but I started the evaluation process a lot earlier this year than I have in years past. That is why today I want to share with you five of the Dallas Cowboys players who I believe had a fantastic 2018 season and five that unfortunately didn't quite live up to expectations.

Before we get started, I want to let you know that I tried to stray from pointing out the obvious, especially in the stud category. Instead I went with players who kind of came out of nowhere to have a really good season. I thought that would make it a little more enjoyable instead of pointing out the obvious. I hope you enjoy.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Studs ✭

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

CB, Byron Jones

Byron Jones completely turned around his career this season with the Dallas Cowboys after being moved from safety to cornerback, his more natural position. Many had him pegged as a first-round bust, but he definitely quieted his critics by making his first Pro Bowl and becoming a Second-team All-Pro. I would say that qualifies as stud status.

The Predator and Wolf Hunter

You can't really mention one and leave out the other, which is why you're getting a two-for-one special here with Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. This dynamic duo arguably played like the best LBs in the league, although it's Vander Esch who has received the majority of the attention and got the Pro Bowl not as a replacement. Both definitely had Pro Bowl caliber seasons and that alone speaks volumes to how they played in 2018.

C, Joe Looney

No one could've possibly predicted the kind of season Dallas Cowboys backup Guard/Center Joe Looney would have in 2018 after replacing Travis Frederick in the starting lineup. He became somewhat of an afterthought this past season, which is pretty impressive in itself considering he was replacing one of the best centers in the league. What's even more impressive is the fact he played every single snap on offense. No other Cowboys player accomplished that feat on either side of the ball.

DE, Randy Gregory

You may disagree with me here, but the way Randy Gregory played in the second half of the 2018 season earned him stud status in my opinion. If he would've played that way for the entire year he would've joined DeMarcus Lawrence with double digit quarterback sacks. His ability to turn his speed into power gave opposing left tackles fits. He ended up being among the best at pressuring the QB in the latter part of the season.

DT, Antwaun Woods

Antwaun Woods was viewed as nothing more than a camp body when the Dallas Cowboys picked him up in the offseason after being released by the Tennessee Titans, but it's not always where you start it's where you finish. He went on to earn the starting gig at the 1-tech or nose tackle this past season and was largely responsible for the success Dallas had at shutting down opposing offenses rushing attacks. Unfortunately, as well as he played all season it will probably be forgotten after the way the LA Rams completely dominated Woods and the rest of the Cowboys DL in the playoffs.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Duds ✭

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

LB, Sean Lee

The Dallas Cowboys wisely drafted Leighton Vander Esch as insurance if Sean Lee couldn't remain healthy in 2018, and thank the heavens they did. Vander Esch was supposed to be Lee's backup this season, but it ended up being the other way around after #50 once again missed quite a bit of the year with injuries. It looks like the torch has already been passed, making Sean Lee's future in Dallas a mystery moving forward.

DT, David Irving

Remember last offseason when the Dallas Cowboys decided to place just a second-round tender on David Irving and we were worried some other team would snatch him up? Yeah, well it looks as if the Cowboys are the ones who paid too much to keep him around because did basically nothing in 2018 despite all the high expectations we all had for him. After he sustained a high ankle sprain he pretty much went M.I.A. and no one really knows what the heck is going on or what his future holds.

WR, Allen Hurns

The Dallas Cowboys signed Allen Hurns this past offseason to help replace some of the lost production in the passing game after they decided to release Dez Bryant. Unfortunately, he never found his footing in Dallas and finished the year with an unimpressive stat line of 20 receptions for 295 receiving yards and two touchdowns. To add insult to injury (pun intended), his gruesome leg injury might be the only thing we remember about his 2018 season.

S, Jeff Heath

I'm actually a fan of Jeff Heath's, but he didn't particularly play very well this season. He ended up grading out as one of the worst tackling safeties in the NFL this past season. I don't know if it was some kind of fluke or what, but the Dallas Cowboys will surely be looking to upgrade the safety position this offseason either through free agency or the draft, perhaps both. Regardless, his days in the starting lineup may be all but over.

RB/WR, Tavon Austin

There were a lot of high expectations for Tavon Austin when the Dallas Cowboys added him via trade with the Los Angeles Rams. Austin was supposed to provide a different dynamic to the Cowboys offense and help improve their return game as well. Unfortunately a groin injury pretty much wiped out the majority of his season, but even when he was on the field he wasn't as impactful as we'd all hoped. He did show a few flashes of his talent, but for me it wasn't enough.



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Dallas Cowboys

Report: Antwaun Woods Played with Torn Labrum in Loss to Rams

John Williams

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HOU 19, DAL 16: Cowboys Lose Tough Defensive Battle in Overtime

Late last night, Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network reported yesterday that Antwaun Woods suffered a torn labrum in the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams and proceeded to play with the injury for the rest of the game.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DT Antwaun Woods tore his labrum during the second quarter of the #Rams game and had surgery today to repair it, source said. He played the rest of the game with the ailment. One of Dallas' young talents on the mend.

Woods is a tough player, but there's no way that it didn't affect his play. The labrum is the cartilage in the socket of your shoulder joint. It acts to protect the bones from rubbing together and allows a smooth surface for the shoulder to rotate and extend. The labrum also serves as the location where the tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff attach.

A torn labrum will effect the range of motion and will be painful to use when attempting to perform range of motion. Also, any blows to the shoulder, which is always for a defensive tackle will be painful as well, and it will limit his play strength.

https://twitter.com/AntwaunWoods_/status/1086089237785653248

Antwaun Woods responded to Rapoport's report with confirmation of the injury and surgery.

Woods was a highlight of training camp and a standout this season. His play at the 1-technique defensive tackle position helped the Dallas Cowboys become a top 10 rushing defense and gave the Cowboys something they've struggled to find for years; a penetrating 1-technique defensive tackle.

Woods finished the season with 34 total tackles (15 solo), two tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits according to Pro Football Reference. He also had 16 stops, which Pro Football Focus defines as a play that resulted in a loss for the offense, which was second on the team at defensive tackle to Tyrone Crawford.

Things are looking up for Woods as he'll likely be back with the Cowboys in 2019 and manning the nose tackle position for a defense that is on the rise in the NFL. Injuries are never a good thing, but the Cowboys and Cowboys Nation just learned how tough Antwaun Woods is and how much he's willing to give for his teammates.



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