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    Cowboys Aren’t Using Dak Prescott on Play Action Enough

    The has taken a turn for the better over the last five weeks. Five weeks ago, as we’ve discussed a ton, the Cowboys made the move to bring from the for their pick. The results have been very encouraging for an offense that is hoping to be a difference maker in the . They also promoted to take over for then Offensives Line coach . Both moves seem to have had positive impacts on the offense as a whole, but most importantly Dak Prescott. 

    One area where the Cowboys offense can improve with Dak as their is in their use of play action. 

    As you can see from NFL Matchup’s tweet, Dak Prescott is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when throwing out of play action. The problem is the Cowboys don’t use it nearly enough. 

    Dak Prescott only uses play action on 24% of his drop backs this season, which ranks him 15th in the NFL per Pro . For reference, the use play action on 37.4% of ’s drop backs, which leads the league. Pat Mahomes uses play action 29.5% of the time. 

    When the Cowboys use Dak Prescott in play action, his yards per attempt is 9.2, which is 13th in the NFL. When Prescott doesn’t use play action, his yards per attempt is only 6.7, which ranks 26th in the league. That’s a 2.5 yard per attempt difference. Prescott’s passer rating, like a lot of the NFL goes up in play action, but Prescott’s goes up nearly 23 points from 89.9 to 112.7. 

    Like we saw on Thursday against the Saints, and have seen now for almost three years, Prescott is excellent in play action. His work on the screen pass that went for a touchdown last week is exhibit A to his deft ability to use play action. With as good as Dak’s been on play fakes, it’s a shame that doesn’t work it into the offense more. 

    Every team that the Cowboys face know that priority one for this offense is establishing the run. They know that Linehan’s goal is to get the ground game going, play keep away from the opposing offense, and play good . The problem is the has had issues protecting Prescott this season. They could use quick play fakes or even feints to get opposing defenses thinking about the run when the Cowboys want to pass. Even if it makes the hesitate for a split second, it’s an advantage for Dak Prescott and the offense.

    The offensive line has hadn’t some issues protecting Dak as he’s the most sacked quarterback in the league and is in the top five of most pressured passers. Scott Linehan needs to scheme to keep opposing defenses off-balance with quicker passes, but can also use play action to create some hesitation by the .

    Teams don’t want Ezekiel Elliott beating them, so if the Cowboys decide to increase their use of play action, it will have a positive effect. Prescott’s shown in his young career that it’s a strength of his. Now Linehan and the Cowboys need to figure out a way to get more out of it.

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    John Williams
    John Williamshttps://anchor.fm/inside-the-cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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    DevilDog58

    They could get more out of it by simply using it more. They should be using it for about 40% of Dak’s passes. What we really need is an OC who understands how to use the players he has much better. Linehan has shown time and again he is not that guy.

    Sdot-carry-the-infinite

    This is a no-brainer. This has often angered me over the past 5 years. The Cowboys finally established a running game, but do not know how to effectively use it in the passing game. Tom Brady over the years, has used play action without a dominant run game. But, when he does use playaction, he hits his back foot and the ball is out. Tony Romo and Dak Prescott seemed not know where the hole in coverage is suppose to be. The purpose is to draw the linebackers in and drop it over the top of them. With Dallas’s reputation, they are afforded the opportunity to run play action as soon as they get off the team bus. Please send a real offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for Christmas Santa.

    Chuck Wright

    Good write up but face it. ..this is a huge DUH.

    Scotty L sucks as an OC. . .needs to be GONE. . .

    Joe Conti

    This just shows Linehan and his bastard son need to go and if Garrett wont fire him he needs to go also

    John Williams

    I agree they need to go, but I wonder if they continue to have success and make the playoffs and the offense looks good, if they’ll keep him.