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Should Cowboys Rebuild the Offense Around Dak Prescott?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Pre-Training Camp 53-Man Roster Prediction: Offensive Edition
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys offense was in disarray the majority of the 2017 season. With the offseason already underway, there are more questions than answers about how to get the offense back on track. The place I would start is at the quarterback position, with Dak Prescott.

The quarterback position is arguably the most important position for any team.

How well the QB plays typically determines the performance of the entire offense. Dak Prescott's struggles in 2017 resulted in a ripple effect that was felt throughout the entire Cowboys offense. But, I don't think it's entirely Prescott's fault.

You see, the Cowboys coaching staff has failed to really change the offense since Dak Prescott took over as the starting QB. Everything still looks pretty much the same as it did when Tony Romo was under center, with the exception of a few wrinkles added for Prescott.

That, of course, needs to change in order to put #4 in a better position to succeed.

If the Dallas Cowboys truly believe Dak Prescott is their franchise QB, then they need to start rebuilding their offense around him, because unfortunately, this team was built for Tony Romo.

Let me show you what I mean:

  • The game plan seems to be written in stone. That was okay when you had a veteran QB like Tony Romo. He was much more advanced at reading defenses pre-snap and knowing how to exploit them. Prescott hasn't developed to that stage in his career yet.
  • Also, play calling hasn't changed much since Prescott took over for Romo. There have been a few wrinkles added to incorporate Prescott's mobility (run/pass options and zone reads), but nothing else has really changed. There has been absolutely no creativity to play to Prescott's strengths.
  • The personnel is nearly the same as it was with Tony Romo. The Cowboys haven't brought in any new toys/playmakers to help their young QB. They are depending on the same players they brought in to suit Romo's skill set.

As you can see, it's not hard to imagine why Dak Prescott has had a hard time fitting in the Cowboys offense. He was simply inserted into a unit that was built for someone else, and it's just not a good fit for him.

Yes, you can argue Prescott found success as a rookie with the same personnel, but I think we all know Ezekiel Elliott had a lot to do with that.

We saw firsthand what the offense looks like once you take Elliott out of the equation.

Without Elliott, teams took away Prescott's favorite target in 2016, Cole Beasley, which exposed how much the Cowboys wide receivers don't really fit his skill set. Both Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams aren't known as players who create separation, meaning they have to be thrown open.

Unfortunately, this is an area where Dak Prescott is still developing. He prefers to hold on to the ball in hopes of finding the open receiver, but he still has time to improve in this area.

The best way to help Dak Prescott is to rebuild the offense a little.

Thankfully, the foundation is solid.

The Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but adding one or two more pieces in the passing game could really take the offense to another level.

If it was me, I would find a new #1 WR who can create separation with his route running. Then, I would add a younger/more athletic TE who can be more of a threat down the field than Jason Witten. I think those two pieces alone would drastically improve Prescott's chances to succeed.

What do you think about the Cowboys rebuilding their offense around Dak Prescott?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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3 Comments
  • Stuart Brereton

    I agree with your assessment of the situation, and the solutions that would help Dak have a better year than last year. I also believe we need a better back up left tackle, but on case Mr Smith goes down, as we saw what happened in the games where he was missing.

  • Hector Espindola

    Absolutely, somehow the OC needs to create plays where WRs help Dak, but we already know what happened after they game planned without Zeke. so I’m wondering if they will be able to do that. Thankfully FA/draft can help them to find an speedster who creates wide open targets. Gamebook and players needed.

  • dallas1966

    Excellent article. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the Cowboys passing game. It’s time to put the Romo friendly offense, in the warehouse.

    It’s time for the Cowboys coaching staff to taylor the Cowboys offense, towards Dak strength. Which in itself would a whole need breath of fresh air for the Cowboys, in attacking the opposition, as well as, making in game adjustments.

    If Linehan can bring in the right personel for Dak, this Cowboys offense will be unstoppable.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

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?

El Draft

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.

Decisiones difíciles

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.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" 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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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

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.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

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:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
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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