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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

3 Comments

  1. Stuart Brereton

    January 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    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.

  2. Hector Espindola

    January 11, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    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.

  3. dallas1966

    January 15, 2018 at 3:18 am

    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.

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Star Blog

Jason Garrett Can’t be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?

Brian Martin

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Jason Garrett Can't be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?

One of the few positives most of us were looking forward to after the Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the fact that Scott Linehan would no longer be the offensive coordinator for America's Team. Everything was pointing to his dismissal, but that may not be the case according to Head Coach Jason Garrett.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Jason Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will return in 2019. "We don't anticipate any significant changes on our staff," Garrett said.

I can't say that I was happy upon learning Jason Garrett plans on retaining Scott Linehan as the Cowboys OC in 2019. In fact, my first thought was… Well, something better left unsaid. I'm sure many of you can kind of read my mind, because I'm pretty positive you had all that the same thoughts running through your head as well.

In all honesty, I didn't think there was a snowball chance in hell Scott Linehan would return to Dallas after the conclusion of the 2018 season. After all, the Cowboys nearly fired him during the bye week earlier this season, meaning his job security was already on thin ice. He didn't do anything to improve things in my opinion.

I know Jason Garrett has said Scott Linehan will return as the OC in 2019, but not for a second do I believe it. We are less than 72 hours hours removed from the Cowboys exit from the playoffs and I highly doubt any of Dallas' decision-makers has had the time to sit down and discuss who stays and who goes. In fact, I know they haven't.

Jeff Cavanaugh on Twitter

Stephen Jones says they won't comment on anything with coaching staff but that they need to take a deep look at why they fell short. Says it a little early to speculate about players or coaches. They haven't had a meeting about it yet.

I think once the Cowboys brass sits down and reevaluates the 2018 season, they will come to the conclusion they can do better than Scott Linehan as their offensive coordinator. There were just too many times throughout the season where the playcalling was a problem just. It's just time to move on, despite the vote of confidence by Jason Garrett.

Of course, this could just be me trying to read between the lines hoping and praying Scott Linehan is finally fired. Like many of you, I've grown way too tired of his predictable and dated playcalling. It's time to move on and find someone more innovative who can maximize the talent the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster, much like Kris Richard did with the defense.

You can either choose to believe Jason Garrett or not. I for one have a hard time seeing the Dallas Cowboys staying status quo with their coaching staff, especially their offensive coordinator. But, only time will tell.

Do you think it's time for the Dallas Cowboys to fire Scott Linehan?



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Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright

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Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright

If you were to have clicked over to Sportsbook Review, you could have seen what all the premier online sportsbooks were dealing on the Cowboys/Rams game before kickoff. Sites like Bovada, which incidentally you can read a Bovada Review at Sportsbook Review as well, had the Rams favored in every quarter, in both halves, and installed LA as seven-point favorites over Dallas. As is often the case, the number was nearly spot on as the Rams bounced our 'Boys out of the postseason 30-22. It was a heart-wrenching loss for Dallas fans everywhere but for those who put their money where their mouths were, it was particularly painful in what turned out to be a one-point difference between losing and pushing.

Let’s look on the bright side, though. The Cowboys not only copped the division crown but the draft picks from April bore fruit this season. Linebacker and No. 19 overall pick Leighton Vander Esch is a certified stud while third-round pick Michael Gallup proved he is a bona fide NFL receiver. Second-round offensive lineman Connor Williams had difficulties at left guard, but at the very least, has a season under his belt at the next level and could turn into a legitimate bodyguard for Prescott in 2019.

And let’s not forget about the trade for Amari Cooper, which turned Dallas from a squad struggling to find its identity to an NFC East champ in winning seven of its last nine games since Cooper arrived. This year’s edition also bested a tough Seahawks team in the first-round of the playoffs.

Let’s face it, folks, no one expected the Cowboys to win a Super Bowl this season and what we got was about as much as we could have hoped with the current roster as it is presently constructed.

Dak Prescott has one more year on his rookie contract and will be looking to score a big payday at the end of next season, if not sooner. The Cowboys could enter negotiations and lock Prescott up for the foreseeable future, but it might be best for both parties to see what 2019 brings and go from there. Either way, Dallas will pay beaucoup bucks to keep Prescott in a Cowboys uniform so watching and waiting will most likely be the tact management takes with their star quarterback, with a franchise tag in 2020 as an option as well.

In the team’s immediate future will be signing their second-round pick in 2014, DeMarcus Lawrence. The talented defensive end provided the Cowboys with the edge rusher they needed for parts of this season and his combined 25 sacks over the last two seasons would be nearly impossible to replace. Dallas franchised him this season but will most likely put together a long-term deal for Lawrence in the offseason.

Ezekiel Elliott has also reportedly been hinting at his own contract extension even though he is contractually committed to the Cowboys for next season with a team option in '20.

Ironically, one of the strengths of the Dallas Cowboys in recent years was a relatively weak link this season. The offensive line was decimated by injuries and Pro Bowler Travis Frederick missed the entire season. But those wounds will heal for next season and the old gang will be back together again.

The Cowboys have loads of cap space but are without a first-round pick due to the trade for Amari Cooper. Nevertheless, the young blood on the team looks poised to contribute for many years and there will be money available to woo free agents to a club now viewed as a legitimate contender.

If you want to look at next season’s odds, make sure to educate yourself on which online sportsbooks are the most reputable, trusted, and reliable. Read the Bovada Review over at SBR and see what customers are saying about one of the industry’s top sportsbooks. Then, when the lines come out on next season’s division, conference, and Super Bowl winners, you can be informed and maybe throw a few bucks on the 'Boys from Dallas!



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Star Blog

Cowboys’ Window Depends On Maximizing, And Helping, Dak Prescott

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Future Hinges Heavily On Dak Prescott And Their Future Offensive Coordinator

Saturday night's Division Round loss was met with mixed reaction among Cowboys Nation.

Some fans, claiming they are the rational ones who hold the Cowboys to a higher standard, believe this might end up being their best chance at a Super Bowl for some time. The young players this roster is built around will only get older and more expensive as the years go by, and 2018 ends with yet another Jason Garrett-led playoff loss.

Other fans, claiming they are the rational ones, said that Dallas accomplished a lot this season, climbing back from a 3-5 start to win the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a competitive game to one of the league's best. This group believes that the Cowboys championship window is as open as it has been in years, with young talent galore on Dallas' roster.

Whether this is true, however, hinges on the shoulders of two individuals. One of which, ironically, hasn't even been named yet and the other a source of constant debate among those same segmented fans.

Those people, of course, are quarterback Dak Prescott and whoever ends up as the offensive coordinator in 2019.

Dak Prescott is a good quarterback.

Let's start there. I firmly believe that Dak Prescott did enough during his third season to earn the contract extension he will likely receive from the Cowboys within one of the next two offseasons. Especially once the Cowboys acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Clearly, Prescott is far from "perfect" is a passer. He makes mistakes in decision making, he sails some throws, and he sometimes exhibits inconsistent footwork when the pocket breaks down. But we focus too much on his mistakes while simply glossing over his accomplishments, talents, and upside.

Not only is Dak Prescott someone that the team responds to and believes in, but he is also a good football player. Prescott finished the 2018 season 12th in total Expected Points Added, ahead of quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Baker Mayfield. He's also finished 3rd and 4th in raw QBR during his first two seasons in the NFL respectively. And, despite his slow start to 2018, Dak Prescott ended his third season on the best run of games in terms of QBR he has ever had.

Prescott is improving, and this is evident each week. He played more comfortably in the pocket over the last 6 games of the season, panicking less, taking fewer dumb sacks, and abandoning his technique fewer and fewer. And, while he doesn't run as often as many would like, the times Prescott does carry the ball often change drives and games.

And while I despise "QB Wins" as a determining statistic, the fact remains that bad quarterbacks don't win at the rate Dak Prescott does. Three straight winning seasons has been rare in Dallas over the last 15 years, and Prescott orchestrated this his first three seasons as a starter.

Passing Wins Championships.

Though very different than the old cliche, this appears more accurate by the season. The final four teams remaining in the NFL are each top 5 in passing DVOA, while not a single one has a top 10 defense by DVOA.

Neither the Chiefs nor the Rams have had a good run defense at all this season, but stopping the run doesn't matter as much as stopping the pass most weeks in today's NFL. I know this sounds absurd after the Cowboys run defense got abused by Los Angeles, but the numbers often bear this out.

The Cowboys have to do everything in their power to aid Dak Prescott and the passing offense this offseason. They need to draft another pass catcher, preferably with their second round pick. They need to continue to improve the chemistry between Prescott, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.

And, maybe most importantly, they need to hire an offensive coordinator who can maximize this passing game.

Scott Linehan simply is not the answer. And if the Cowboys are going to make the most out of whatever title window they may have, the offensive play caller will be the most critical man in the building going forward.

Unfortunately, latest reports point to Linehan returning in 2019.



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