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Should Cowboys Wait on Making the Offense “Dak-Friendly”?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Entering his third year in the NFL, Dak Prescott still needs to prove to a lot of people that he is capable of being the Dallas Cowboys franchise quarterback. We have seen the highs, and we have seen the lows, but nobody really knows yet what he is truly capable of.

The Dallas Cowboys of course haven't really done him any favors. Prescott is still pretty much operating the same offensive scheme as Tony Romo did before he was forced into retirement, with the same players. That is why the phrase "Dak-friendly" has been making waves around Cowboys Nation.

The man himself, Dak Prescott, recently weighed in on what a "Dak-friendly" offense would look like, which my fellow Staff Writer Sean Martin wrote about last week.

I'm not going to sit here and deny that changes to the offense need to be made. But, would it be wise on the Cowboys part to wait until they find out exactly what they're getting from Prescott before making any drastic changes?

Dak Prescott, Cole Beasley

QB Dak Prescott and WR Cole Beasley (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Dak Prescott and believe he can be the Dallas Cowboys franchise QB for years to come. But, I'm seeing a lot of fans who believe the Cowboys should draft another QB and others who believe Cooper Rush is better.

Now, even though I've liked what I've seen from Cooper Rush, I don't think he's as good as Prescott. Yes, he looked good in preseason, against scrub players, but Prescott has performed really well against starting defenses around the NFL.

Prescott did struggle in 2017 at times, but that has a lot to do with breakdowns in protection and other contributing factors. The play calling could definitely have been better and his receivers didn't help him out very much either. Hopefully that will change in 2018.

I'm all for bringing in more talent that will help the offense become more "Dak-friendly". But, if the Dallas Cowboys don't really know exactly what they have in their young QB, then it might be wise to wait until after the 2018 season.

The moves the Dallas Cowboys make in free agency and through the draft could tell us all we need to know about what the organization believes they have in Dak Prescott. If they bring in players specifically suited to make him more comfortable within the offense, then we are likely looking at the Cowboys franchise QB for years to come.

Do you think the Cowboys should wait on making the offense more "Dak-friendly"?



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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27 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    Dak friendly???? Was phillys offense “Carson friendly” or was it just good coaching?? Lets stop with this Dak friendly thing, it ultimately comes back to coaching putting players in great situations to win

    • Brian Martin

      The Eagles offense was definitely “Carson friendly”. They brought in free agents to help improve the talent around him and the play calling was suited to maximize his talents. They incorporated a lot of play action, run/pass options (RPOs), and even installed some of the plays he liked from college. So yes, it was both “Carson friendly” and the coaching. It’s what the Cowboys need to do with Prescott.

    • http://www.jeffbartlettmedia.com Jeff Bartlett

      Calling it Dak friendly or not is silly. You want to win in 2018, learn from the Eagles. Coach up the team and players with plays that buildbonbtheir strengths. Or just keep being the middle of the road Cowboys…

      Funny, there is another article on BR right now about how the eagles coaching tree might change the NFL.

      • Brian Martin

        I don’t know about Eagles coaching tree changing the NFL, but it’s not a surprise to see some of their coaching staff move on to better opportunities. That’s just what happens to Super Bowl winning organizations.

        • Jorge Sure

          BRIAN I give you the reason that the offensive should be friendly with DAK he is still playing with the design of TONY ROMO, I think that they should change the game book and start adapting it to DAK it is illogical to wait a year this would be a retrozeso like the 2017, I think you should start letting go of DEZ, WITTEN, WILLIAMS and bring new receivers that adjust and do chemistry with DAK is where we should learn from the eagles that surrounded CARSON of talent for the ademas as you say adapted the Playbook in the style of your QB franchise

    • Melvin S Edgmand

      Thank you Travis I forget about our big time coach

  • Nick Russo

    I don’t think it’s fair to evaluate dak as a franchise quarterback without trying to make the offense “dak-friendly”. You don’t know his full potential if you don’t give him the chance. I think A LOT of it is play calling. Linehan is so predictable that I sit at home and know that we are going to run on first down and then go to the shotgun on second down. We don’t run any pick or run routes to get guys open and Dez has struggled to get open on his own for the last few years now. In addition to RPOs, Linehan NEEDS to find a way to get switzer and Beasley on the field at the same time. One of them will get open and that is how dak can excel as a passer. Noah brown can block as well as Williams in the run game and doesn’t use his chest to catch balls give him a shot. Add a true #1 and that’s a big improvement to the passing game “woes” we saw last year. The guy had the best rookie season of all time and a slight dip in production amidst tons of adversity and people are ready to get rid of dak? That’s ridiculous.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t think I could’ve said it any better myself. Thanks for taking the time to comment and voice your opinion.

    • Tj

      Agree %100

    • Mike C

      Greatly said, im just mad they didnt fire garrett or linehan. It doesnt matter the talent on offense they never shake up the lineup. If your a starter you start no matter what they dont shake up the lineup. Mcfadden didnt even get a carry he was on the roster half the yr

    • Melvin S Edgmand

      I like your points but you missed a few factors. first and foremost zeke when zeke is in the offense dak is very good. with him out example this year hs was horrible and should have been pulled in all 6 games for just being a horrible Qb in every game zeke was out he threw less then 200 yards he is not a franchise qb nor will he be one. He has had two years how many years of medicore seasons you want to see well with DAK at Qb get ready for a lot of them

      • Nick Russo

        I won’t dismiss zeke being a factor. He’s a top level RB in the league and there’s no argument there. However, that 3 game stretch that the cowboys went through was not only without zeke but also without a serviceable left tackle with Tyron Smith out. Our receivers struggled to get open all season long (Beasley because he was being doubled) and then when you have a pass rush obliterating your blind side that’s not going to help the passing game. Teams were able to pin their ears back when smith and zeke were out because Linehan didn’t adjust. He refused to change up his scheme and didn’t help dak to get the ball out of his hands quickly. Everyone is quick to say the grass is greener on the other side but I remember the years between Aikman and romo. Quincy Carter, Drew Hensen, Vinnie Testaverde, Chad Hutchinson, and Drew Bledsoe to name a few. Dak is a great leader and he has the skill set. If we had some receivers that could get open and play calling that wasn’t so predictable this wouldn’t be a discussion.

        • Melvin S Edgmand

          Not disputing anything you said your on point as far as our past QBs have been dreadful . Except with Tony sorry big romo fan. And your receivers remarks on point as well and upgrade would be beneficial for dak and that’s maybe where I am use to Roger or Tony always being able to bring the team you’ve been a fan for a long time I can tell but in your head you remember our great QBS and in maybe someways I compare dak to them. Maybe not fairly . But like alll cowboy fans it’s Superbowl or nothing and I hope I am wrong love your comemt’s I don t have a complaint about any of it your on point I just have to disagree about daks ceiling. I hope like hell I am wrong i just really liked coopers preseason games. And in that 6 games where zeke was out an dak struggles I’d like to have seen cooper couple times but thanks for reminding me of the 80s cowboys. It was a dark time haha ill give him alittle while longer to show me thanks again and this is how 2 grown men talk about football without cursing at each other or name calling I respect you and your opinion thanks

          • Nick Russo

            Absolutely, the respect is mutual here. I love having a forum to have these discussions with knowledgeable cowboys fans and I appreciate you not just yelling back because you disagree. I see where you’re coming from in some of your points and I definitely can see some potential in Cooper and I like the thought of a competent backup after years of Matt Cassel, Jon Kitna, and Brandon Weeden. I loved Romo as well and I wish we could have given him even a mediocre defense in his time here (D-ware was always great individually) and I think he could have gotten us to the big one. I just think that Dak has the ability if our coaching staff can use him right.

  • Ryan

    3 pro bowl lineman. A no1 wideout at 28 who should still be in his prime plus 2 veteran receivers in their prime behind him. An elite running back a hall of fame tight end and an offense designed around read options for a running qb. How was this not a dak friendly offense?

    • Brian Martin

      It’s more than just the personnel. Yes, they have talent, but it doesn’t necessarily play to Prescott’s strengths. Prescott needs WRs who can create separation on their own. With the exception of Beasley, the Cowboys don’t really have that. The playcalling also needs to change.

      • William Pep Hatcher

        Beasly had a worse year than Dez. He needs to go.

    • Ervinlang318

      Terrance Williams- ZERO Touchdowns. ZERO.
      Witten- Useless except for Blocking or running a 5 yard route when we need 8 yards for First Down
      Dez- Slow and every single catch was a 50/50 catch

      Cole- Couldnt Get open for some strange Reason
      Zeke- Suspension Cloud Hung over the Entire Season

      Linnehan – Provided Predictable Offense

  • William Pep Hatcher

    Dak needs a WR and a TE that can stretch the field. Witten is too slow. Dez doesn’t seem to know how to run routes to get separation.

  • UnaMas60

    Prescott is not quick with his reads and struggles in recognition. Giving him more weapons will not be the answer because he will still only get to maybe his second read anyway. That’s why is a better passer when he rolls out – he only has to read half the field. He also doesn’t raise the performance of those around him. Elliott out for six games and we were a .500 team. Eight games of sub 200 yards passing. Four games with less than 10 points.

    These was the same receiving group from last year. They can’t have ALL forgot how to run routes or catch the ball all at the same time. More likely the defenses got more creative with a year of film on Prescott. He was unable to decipher the changes. I’ve seen enough of Prescott. Unless the team around him is absolutely stacked he is not that good.

    • Melvin S Edgmand

      Bravo my friend excellent points

    • Matthew Harrell

      Right on. What these Dak apologists fail to see is that he is clearly the problem. They love to blame the Zeke suspension and theTyron Smith injury, the OC Linehan, the recievers, all who were fine when they had an elite passer throwing to them. Zeke is one of the very best running backs there is. Tyron Smith possible the best LT. It is a pathetic argument to excuse Dak’s poor play on not having the leagues best runner or Tackle. No other QB has those guys either. Also we had fine backup running backs and the run game didn’t tank, it held its own. Sure Zeke is dynamic but that is hardly an excuse for a franchise record 10 quarters without a passing touchdown or the worst 3 game stretch in team history pitting up putrid QBR and yardage. No Zeke made him the worst QB we’ve ever had? Look, like I said no one else has Zeke either and neither did Romo. Linehan is taking heat for basic playcalling and yes it was predictable. So he suddenly lost his mind? No, he is calling plays based on what he is working with. Dak can’t handle a full playbook, Linehan is keeping it as basic as he can for his limited QB. Next, receivers statistically looked bad because they have a QB who can’t throw anyone open, takes way too long to make reads, holds the ball too long and refuses to throw more than 20 yards downfield. It’s real and it’s a big problem. Go back and review every pass he threw. Nearly every single game he threw one or no passes complete for more than 30 yards thru the air. I’m not talking about a check down where the receivers got YAC. I mean he doesn’t throw thru the air deeper than 20 yards. The film backs this up. He love the check down, even when it’s a no win. He’ll check down for 1 or 2 yards even if a linebacker or safety is bearing down on the receiver. Also sick of hearing the receivers “aren’t getting seperation.” This is a clown term and it’s not even correct about our receivers. Again, go back and review film, he has wide open receivers nearly every passing play. He doesn’t see them and/or refuses to throw long. An example for the lazy ones who don’t want to review his passes, the pick six he threw trYu g to check down to Zeke even though he was covered—Witten was wide open 20 yards downfield in the middle of the field. Oh yeah, washed up old Witten who “can’t get seperation”. Please. Even old man Witten still gets open. Terrace Williams zero TDs? He is a deep threat big play receiver! Granted a slightly above average one, but that’s his game. Again , he doesn’t have a QB who can or will throw deep. Dez needs a QB who throws the jump ball, he’s the best high point and 50/50 ball receiver there is. Twill needs a guy who throws the deep ball. Dak is too busy checking down to see guys more than 10 yards out. Also the offensive line is still tops. DAK made things worse for himself by not having any pocket prescene. He created many of his own sacks. Watch a good QB. Most good ones take their 3 step drops, sometimes one or two and they fire the ball right away. Of course you have to have timing, accuracy and a knowledge of your playbook to do this, he doesnt. Philip River? Put on a clinic against us on Thanksgiving. Show in what Dak can’t do–throw guys open, throw to a spot. Rivers ate against us by simply throwing to his receIverson covered or not. Just hit the spot. Throw it to where only they can catch it? “Getting seperation”? He didn’t need it. (BTW it is called getting open. Getting seperation is a weasel word) and in conclusion, when a QB is bad, everyone loos bad. People want to blame, literally everyone and everything else but Dakie Pooh when the obvious and logical conclusion is the most important position played poorly makes everything else break down. As a parting case in point, Jimmy Garapolo gets traded to an 0-11 team and wins 5 straight. Think about it. Porridge Dakie pooh and all his little problems didn’t have an 0-11 roster. Jimmy G didn’t care about that. He just went out and played well and turned an 0-11 roster into winners. It’s a fine line that a QB makes the difference with. Unfortunately for me, a die hard bleed silver and blue lifelong fan, now SF has a good one and we don’t. Although Cooper Rush could do the same for us. And as for him playing well against scrubs, please. Don’t forget he was playing WITH scrubs too, Something Dakie Pooh gets a pass for, remember?

  • Hector Espindola

    The play calling needs to change in order to maximize Daks pros, otherwise the coaching staff is not getting the work done, as simple as that (along with the FO, giving him more weapons). Any QB needs this both opportunities before being tagged as franchise QB or a transition QB.

    • Melvin S Edgmand

      Great comments

  • Melvin S Edgmand

    No not just no but hell no.why Iam at it hell no to the Blaine gabbert b.s.. look bottom line is dak is a slight bit better then pre Injury RG3 and that’s it sorry but he has peaked. Not because of last year look at any if his passes since turning pro. If we didn’t have talented receivers his stats would be laughable. and then the zeke factor. dak isn’t that good. Now Cooper rush a bigger stronger more accurate of a QB then dak and can run. Last preseason he destroyed daks stats. Led the NFL. Check it out. And everyone wants to dismiss him in favor for let’s see a drunk trouble maker with a big mouth manzel a QB who was crap his whole career gabbert and why so they pats can take him like they have tried and new England can win 6 more. sports writers should be smarter then this. fans are smart guys why you try to pass this trash article off like were idiots is beyond me. Give us fans more credit or get a new job.

  • UnaMas60

    I watched the second half of last year’s GB game on the NFL channel the other day. Prescott was non-existent. He tried to go deep and under-threw Williams – almost intercepted. He tried to go mid-range and was late with the throw – Bryant had to play DB to prevent INT. He tried to go short and was picked off for a TD. He missed passes left and right.

    He’s just not a good QB unless everything is perfect and his receivers are WIDE open.

  • Mr. Jaguar

    No. I think he Cowboys are doing the right thing by moving forward to make Dak more productive in an offensive scheme dedicated to his skill set instead of Romo who is no longer playing. Furthermore, nfl defensive coordinator had caught up to the Romo friendly offense. Despite the fact Romo wasn’t the quarterback, the results would have probably have been the same regardless of Romo experience in the system catered to his skill set, but we’ll never know.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys 2018 Breakout Candidates: LB Jaylon Smith

Jess Haynie

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#DALvsIND: 5 Cowboys Storylines To Watch In Preseason Week 2 1

No single player on the Dallas Cowboys roster right now may be more primed for a breakout season than Linebacker Jaylon Smith. His ascension as a player isn't just a big gain for the Cowboys defense, but it may be vital to their success in 2018.

Smith joined the Cowboys as a high second-round pick (34th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. Potentially a top-five elite talent in that class, Jaylon's stock fell after a severe knee injury in his final college game. It was unknown if he could ever play football again, but Dallas took the risk based on Smith's incredible upside.

After Jaylon sat out his rookie year to fully rehab. In 2017, he was able to play all 16 games and started in six. That alone was a huge win for Smith and the Cowboys.

Jaylon's performance last year wasn't great,  but understandably so after all the missed time. He also had to regain confidence in his knee, which is critical for a linebacker with all of the directional changes during plays.

Still, Smith got better as the season went. And even amidst the struggles, there were flashes of his instincts and potential.

This offseason, reports of Jaylon's improving health are fueling increased optimism. He is now playing without a knee brace and that means more confidence. If Smith fully trusts his body now, it will make him far more dangerous on the field.

5 Positives for Cowboys Heading Into the Off-Season

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

With Anthony Hitchens leaving in free agency, Dallas needs Jaylon to be a bigger factor this year. If he doesn't take the next step, it could leave the Cowboys vulnerable at linebacker in 2018.

True, Dallas drafted Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of last April's draft. But it's always dangerous to ask a rookie to do heavy lifting, and especially one who is seen as a raw talent like Vander Esch.

Ideally, anything Dallas gets from Leighton this year will be gravy. Their goal is to rely on veteran Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, with Damien Wilson also available as a solid fallback option.

But when you mention Sean Lee, you have to mention health concerns. After two encouragingly healthy seasons in 2015 and 2016, Lee was back to having some issues last year and missed five games.

That is all the more reason why Dallas needs Jaylon to be ready for more this year. If Lee misses time again, Smith is the best suited to take over the roles that Sean leaves behind.

Thankfully, all signs point to big things for Jaylon Smith in 2018. His body appears healed and there's no questioning his work ethic and desire. If the mental aspect of football has also developed, he could be everything the Cowboys hoped when they drafted them.



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Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Sean Martin

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Despite Late Push in Year One, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See the Field in 2018? 1
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.

These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.

Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton, DT Maliek Collins (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.

This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.

Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.

The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.

It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.

Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.

As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.

For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys OT La’el Collins Could Become Major Bargain

Jess Haynie

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La'el Collins

When you talk Cowboys offensive line, you always think of Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin first. Right Tackle La'el Collins still has to prove he belongs in the same sentence with his elite teammates. If he does that in 2018, Collins could become one of the best bargains on the roster.

Making the move from left guard to right tackle last year, Collins improved with time and was playing his best football at the end of the year. This was despite ongoing back issues that had him on the injury report most weeks.

La'el started all 16 games at right tackle and did enough that the Cowboys committed to keeping him there in 2018, even despite a big hole back at left guard. They are hoping consistency and stability will allow Collins to really blossom this season, building on the strong progress shown last year.

For 2018, Collins has a $5.76 million cap hit. According to Spotrac, that makes him the 13th-most expensive right tackle in the NFL this year.

That middle-of-the-pack expense is consistent with where La'el currently rates among NFL right tackles. Bleacher Report ranked Collins as the 16th-best RT in football last year.

But that ranking was based on the season as a whole. If La'el plays all of 2018 the way he was playing towards the end of last year, he will have emerged as one of the better right tackles in the game.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

If Collins develops as we hope, that salary suddenly becomes a major bargain. The most expensive right tackles in the NFL are making $7-$9 million this season.

But this can go a couple of ways. With his 2019 cap hit rising to $7.9 million, La'el needs to next step forward.

If Collins were to struggle this year, it could make him a potential cap casualty next offseason. Dallas can save $6.5 million in cap space if Collins is released or traded in 2019.

Dallas could elect to give Connor Williams, their second-round pick this year, a look at right tackle next season. It's the position he played in college.

They could also consider veteran backup Cameron Fleming, who will still be just 26-year-old. Fleming has two Super Bowl rings and several starts, including in the postseason, from his time with the Patriots.

While we think of La'el Collins as a first-round talent, it's important to remember that he was ultimately an undrafted free agent. Dallas did not have to invest anything to acquire him, and ultimately that makes it easier to let him go.

Naturally, we prefer the other side of this coin. If Collins builds on 2017, he will join the upper echelon of right tackles in the league. And if the Cowboys' offensive line isn't already the best in the NFL, that would only cement them as the best unit in football.

If La'el makes the leap, it could mean huge things for the Cowboys' offense and team success this year.



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