Typically during the offseason we all tend to focus on the incoming and out going players and we often times overlook the changes that are made to the coaching staff, if any. Well, that's what I want to do today because I believe there are three new Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coaches who could have a big say in how the 2018 season turns out.
After the disappointing end to the 2017 season, the Dallas Cowboys decided it was time to make some changes to their coaching staff. They now have several new faces who will be coaching up this year's roster and running the meeting rooms, but there's no way of knowing right now if they can make the difference expected.
I don't know where you stand, but I actually like the new assistant coaches the Dallas Cowboys hired and I expect big things from them this season. In fact, Head Coach Jason Garrett's job could depend on them making an immediate impact. But, some of these new hires should be more impactful than others. Below are the three who I believe will be difference makers this year.
Kris Richard, DB Coach & Passing Game Coordinator
Out of all of the moves the Dallas Cowboys made this offseason, the hiring of Kris Richard, the Seattle Seahawks former defensive coordinator, might be the most important/impactful. He has already received high praise from several of the Cowboys players and has been spoken highly of by Rod Marinelli and several other of the coaches as well.
Richard may be a Dallas Cowboys Assisting Coach right now, but it is expected that he will become the next DC once Marinelli retires, possibly as soon as next season. In fact, you can already see his fingerprints all over the defense.
Kris Richard's main task this offseason is getting the best out of the Cowboys young secondary. He has already decided he wants Byron Jones playing as a CB, and with Chidobe Awuzie starting on the opposite side, Richard has a starting tandem with the height/length he prefers in his defensive backs. But, how he decides to deploy Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, and the starting safeties could impact the outcome of the 2018 season.
Sanjay Lal, WR Coach
No other new Dallas Cowboys Assisting Coach may have more pressure to succeed this season as Sanjay Lal, who was brought into get more production out of the wide receivers. He has the tough task of working with a position that was pretty much overhauled this season and he needs to turn them into players who are more "Dak-friendly".
Working with an almost completely unproven group of wide receivers could be a blessing and a curse for Lal. Ideally, he probably would have preferred to come in and work with a more established group of WRs. That way he has a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in order to know what needs to be worked on. But, he's getting a lot of young receivers who have little to no playing time in the NFL.
Fortunately, these young players can be molded the way he wants. He doesn't have to break bad habits as much and can focus on doing things the way he wants them done. Luckily for him, the Cowboys will still have a run first mentality on offense, but he still needs his WRs to be productive so that the entire offense isn't one-dimensional.
Ben Bloom, LB Coach
Ben Bloom technically isn't a new Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coach, but he's never shouldered more responsibility than he is expected to this season. You could say that Bloom has paid his dues in Dallas. He was hired in 2011 to be the teams defensive quality control coach and assistant linebacker coach to Matt Eberflus. He has also worked with the defensive line and as the club's assistant coach/special projects, among others.
After Matt Eberflus left to become Indianapolis' DC, Bloom was promoted as the Cowboys new LB coach. To say that he has his work cut out for himself maybe one of the understatements of the year. It's one of the few positions on the Cowboys roster where there still remains a lot of unknown. Luckily, having a player like Sean Lee is a godsend.
Where Bloom will make the most impact this season is his ability to get Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys first-round draft pick, and Jaylon Smith up to speed, since they are both expected to have major roles this year, possibly both as starters. How Bloom prepares these two players could and should have a major impact on how the entire defense performs.
Which Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coaches do you think will be most impactful?
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
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