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Dak Prescott’s RPO-Decision Not To Blame For Cowboys Loss

Kevin Brady

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AP Photo/Joe Mahoney

With the Dallas Cowboys down four and looking to score what they hoped would be a game winning touchdown, they faced a second down and one deep inside Packers territory.

The Cowboys had gotten here by punching the Packers in the mouth. Ezekiel Elliott looked like his 2016 self on this drive, running with a purpose over and through Packers’ defenders. The offensive line was moving people, and seemed to finally be gelling.

After a nine yard first down play the Cowboys lined up in the gun for second and one. Everyone in the building expected Dallas to continue pounding the rock with Zeke and take more time away from a potential Aaron Rodgers comeback.

Instead, they decided to run a run-pass option in which Dak Prescott read the defense and threw an incomplete pass to Dez Bryant in the end zone. The Cowboys scored the very next play, but this incompletion proved costly in terms of time remaining for the Packers offense.

The thing is, Prescott made the exact right read when throwing the football.

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The Packers linebackers all bite on the play fake, as do both of their safeties. Seeing that the free safety has his eyes in the backfield, Dak immediately attacks the secondary and finds Dez Bryant in a one-on-one situation.

This is exactly how the Cowboys draw this play up. If you want to take away Elliott and this powerful run game, then we will exploit man coverage with our best receiver. Had their been five minutes left instead of just one, no one would be saying a thing.

With all of that said, I do think it is fair to criticize both Prescott and the coaching staff here. Why not just run the ball once again, chewing more clock and most likely picking up a first down?

At the same time, I don’t subscribe to all of the outrage which has been directed Dak’s way due to this incompletion.

On second and one, knowing you have three downs to get one yard, taking a chance at a touchdown to Dez Bryant is never really a bad idea. Plus, no matter how poor your defense has looked this season, the blame must be placed on that defense if they can’t hold an offense out of the end zone with just a minute and change left in the game.

This loss is not on Dak Prescott by any means. And while he probably wants this one back, I don’t believe we should be killing him for it the way that the internet is today.

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Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the ‘boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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12 Comments
  • William Ballou

    You’re an idiot. How many times does Rodgers have to beat us in the last second for you to understand that that in-completion cost us the game? Instead of no timeouts and way less than a minute to play or one time out and way less than 30 seconds left to play, this one pass gave Rodgers 1:13 and a timeout to score. Duh! Dak read it correctly. Duh! The play should’ve never been called. Only a football moron throws a pass in that situation.

  • Wayne Young

    I didn’t agree with the call to throw it in that situation. They should have just handed the ball off to chew up more time. With that being said, they had another opportunity to kill more time off the clock with the next play. Nobody can fault Dak for scoring the touchdown afterwards, but even as he was running towards the end zone after picking up the first down, I found myself yelling for him to just slide. Anybody remember Westbrook for the Eagles doing that to us? I still do and I was hoping for Dak to do the same. It would have forced Green Bay to use their last time out and with the way we were running it down their throats there’s no way they would’ve kept Zeke out of the end zone with at least one or two more runs, which would have easily put the clock under a minute. That’s my take on it at least. Again, hard to place any blame for scoring a touchdown. That defense though…… PLEASE let Sean Lee come back. He’s only one guy, but our defense is a shell of itself when he’s not out there. If there’s blame to be given, it’s on that side of the ball.

  • Charles

    Very poor decision!! Everyone is quick to give Dak a pass in this situation whereas they would be ripping Tony a new one, but Tony would have been smart enough to not throw the ball in this situation. Dak also could have bled more time off the clock snapping the ball with 1 second on the play clock instead of 10 plus seconds. Reminds of the game where Romo beat the Giants because Eli was dumb enough to throw the ball in the red zone when he shouldn’t have.

  • XaqFields

    It’s not Prescott’s decision to throw that hurt the team, but rather the play call that led to it. In that situation against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, you are not looking to score with more than a minute left on the clock. No play should have been called at that time with the intention of scoring.

    Same with the next play that resulted in a score. Prescott did the right thing — it was just a bad play call.

    In that situation, you line up in the I-Formation and you call a run between the tackles. You’re not likely to score on that play, so the Packers burn a timeout to keep more time from coming off the clock. For the next play, you do the exact same thing. I-Formation, run Zeke between the tackles. Again, you’re not likely to get the score but you might get the first down. Heck, your instructions to Zeke should be “get the first down on this play but don’t take it all the way into the end zone.”

    At that point you have FOUR tries to punch it in, and the Packers can do nothing to stop the clock. You’ve got two time outs you can use to control the clock to make sure you don’t run out of time.

    It was just a horrifically mismanaged series. The players did nothing wrong. It was Linehan/Garrett not using smart strategy there.

  • Fatfan

    Linehan is NOT strategically minded…at all. The offense works because the scouts, Garrett, and management has gotten high caliber players. Consider how poorly Linehan has adjusted the offense after losing Free, and Leay, whom we knew we would be losing. However, it was because of the D that we lost, no the offense.

  • Ddenney1

    DEFENSE is the problem and HAS BEEN for 20 YEARS!!!

  • Dave

    Kevin, I’m not going to call you an idiot but you need to open your mind to the BIG picture here. Linehan should not have called the play. Prescott should have ignored the play called by Linehan. There was over a minute left in the game. 2nd and one. RUN THE BALL! RUN THE CLOCK! Hell, Prescott should have taken a knee on the three instead of scoring. Dallas would have had three downs to score a touchdown.
    RUN THE CLOCK! Don’t give the ball back to Green Bay. I don’t blame the defense. We all know what Green Bay can do on offense.

  • dennisg40

    This is the second year of a team of Cowboys with lots of rookies and we expect them to know everything. People calling the plays decide what they are going to do next. If anyone has noticed the whole NFL is discombobulated this year too with a team like Kansas City leading the pack and other long shot teams running high on the hog. Look at the Patriots they are having a hard time and then Hitler Jones decides to decide who plays next depending on the flag. He picked all the teams for twenty years past and coaches and look what a mess he made out of them. Now that he rigged it up to get in the Hall of fame he thinks he is GOD ALMIGHTY.

  • Gbear

    It’s called “situational football” for a reason. Coaches are responsible to tell the QB not to pass regardless of the defensive look when time is a factor. If Dak disobeyed that, then there’s your story, if it was left up to him completely, they should fire garrett.

  • will_50

    Really, in reality, most everyone is incorrect in their take on the game’s final minutes. You really can’t blame Dak for this loss, you simply can’t. If there is any fault to be placed, place it where it truly belongs, on that sorry porous defense. no way in hell should the Packers been able to come back to win that game and I don’t care if it was Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady at QB, no defense should be that porous as to allow a QB to throw and complete passing to wide open WR’s.

    The Cowboys defense is the one piece that will keep them from winning the East or even get to the playoffs. That defense is atrocious and they should be ashamed of themselves to let all that great play/performance go wasted that Dak put on! Dak is the one reason that Dallas was in the game to have a chance to win and you want to blame him…asinine and totally bogus.

    You score when you can, cause nothing says that their won’t be an ill timed fumble, sack or any turnover during those critical moments at the end. What if the ball was turned over while trying to kill extra seconds off the clock and the Boys didn’t score at all, what then! Dak was put in a no win situation, especially with all the whining so called football experts who call themselves fans of the Cowboys!

  • Gbear

    Had Dak slid, it is more than likely the D would’ve been instructed to let them score on the next play. A little more time off sure but plenty of mistakes were made and many things could’ve been done better. Garrett is a horrible game manager. We’ll never advance with him, you all should know that by now. I feel sorry for the long suffering fans who’ve had to put up with the Jerry Jones circus all these years. I feel sorry for the players because they have a cheerleader instead of a head coach.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Mistakes were made throughout the game. Dak getting into the end zone was not one of them. Seriously, if Zeke had not reached out on 4th down it would have been over. The overhead camera saved Dallas for another play. If T-Will hadn’t muffed the pass, then woulda-coulda-shoulda. If Jourdan Lewis would have turned a little sooner, then Davonte Adams might have had another contested pass in the end zone. If just one of the LBs had spied on Rodgers, then when Irving missed the tackle, a LB might have been there to tackle him, instead of watching Aaron high-stepping down the sidelines. If for all of that, we stopped Rodgers, then Crosby would have kicked a field goal and we would have gone to OT. Then what???….who won the flip of the coin?

Star Blog

Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL.

A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above.

Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses.

Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension.

And is that really all that bad?

Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team.

Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well.

So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion.

They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott.

I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference.

But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

So maybe success is a bit of a strong word.

This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like.

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Star Blog

Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Training Camp Begins

For the Dallas Cowboys, the playoffs have begun a bit earlier. After putting themselves in a tough position, they need to win out in order to have a shot at playing in January… and even then, they need a ton of outside help to make it.

Less than a year ago, we saw the Cowboys become the #1 seed in the conference with a 13-3 record under rookie QB Dak Prescott. So naturally, it’s fair to say that the fact that after 14 weeks the record of this football team is 7-6 is very disappointing.

Some have even questioned, are they even worthy of being a playoffs team? 

Despite suffering from some key injuries and well… suspensions, the Cowboys shouldn’t be left off the hook. Players and coaches should be blamed. But even still, it’s hard to believe that Dallas wouldn’t have win at least one more game with Tyron Smith, Sean Lee or Ezekiel Elliott available.

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

I’m convinced that if Zeke hadn’t been suspended, the Cowboys would at least have one more win. If that were the case, we probably wouldn’t be suffering thinking about what combinations would get our favorite team in the postseason.

All of this makes me wonder… Do we know what this team is capable of? 

I think not. Let’s take a quick look at the games Dallas has lost this year.

  • @ DEN Broncos 
  • vs LA Rams (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 35 points)
  • vs GB Packers (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 28 points)
  • @ ATL Falcons (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored seven points)
  • vs PHI Eagles (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored nine points)
  • vs LA Chargers (No Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored six points)

I believe in the “next man up” mentality. But not when you’re talking about going from Tyron Smith, who is arguably the best LT in the league to Chaz Green and Byron Bell. Sure, the coaching staff should’ve made a change earlier when Green was getting Dak killed, but Bell wasn’t much better.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make excuses for this football team at all. In fact, it’s the same thing when you take a look at wins. Through 14 weeks, the Cowboys have just been able to beat one NFL team with a winning record: The Kansas City Chiefs. The thing is, despite being 7-6, the Chiefs are 2-8 since week 6. I’m not sure I’d qualify that as a winning team.

We haven’t seen this team face a strong, winning opponent and actually beat them. The Cowboys have one more game to win without Zeke, and then they’ll be on to face the Seattle Seahawks. If Dallas gets to that game with an 8-6 record, the outcome of the Seattle game could define the Cowboys’ 2017 season.

With Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith all ready to go, it’d be the first time this year we see the Cowboys go against a quality opponent with all of their star players. Will this defining game come too late? Perhaps. It’s no secret that the Cowboys need a ton of outside help in order to get into the playoffs with 10-6 record.

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Denver Broncos 1

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten #82, QB Dak Prescott #4. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

But at least, it’d be nice to see our team at least doing the job they can control and winning out. Even if it’d be painful to see them go 10-6 and still miss the playoffs… as fans, we probably want to see them doing their job.

For now though, it’s all about the Oakland Raiders. One more week without Ezekiel Elliott. After surviving a trap game against the Giants, the Cowboys must do the same again as they prepare to face a football team that has also been disappointing this season but still has dangerous play-makers, such as Derek Carr.

And then, we might find out just how good the 2017 Dallas Cowboys really are.

Tell me what you think about “Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott's Future?

It’s funny how quickly some players are able to establish themselves as professional athletes and grow their fan base. That is exactly what Ezekiel Elliott has done in just a little over a years time since becoming a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, given his current situation, it’s that fan base that might be starting to turn on him a little and doubt his long-term future in the NFL.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are fully aware of the six-game suspension the NFL slapped Ezekiel Elliott with based on nothing more than accusations of possible domestic violence. Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, it happened and there is no taking it back. But unfortunately, because of the suspension Elliott will now have to walk the straight and narrow if he wants to have any kind of career in the NFL.

I honestly don’t think Ezekiel Elliott is a bad guy, but the slightest slip up will more than likely put his career in jeopardy. It doesn’t matter how big or small the infraction, the NFL has already decided they are going to make an example of him.

RB Ezekiel ElliottFrom here on out, Elliott is going to have to live like he is under a magnifying glass. Any kind of slip up, big or small, will likely cause the league to suspend him an entire season. This unfortunately has been weighing on the minds of a lot of Cowboys Nation and has to be at least a little bit concerning for the Cowboys organization.

You see, the Dallas Cowboys have Elliott under contract for at least three more years after this season. He has already proven how important he is to the offense and how much production dips without him in the lineup. They absolutely want him on the field because he makes them better. But, any kind of slip up would pretty much erase one of those three years. Look no further than what has happened with Randy Gregory.

I’ve heard many fans voicing their concerns about Ezekiel Elliott’s long-term availability with the Cowboys. They are afraid Elliott’s immaturity will end up getting the best of him and Zeke unfortunately has done nothing to ease those concerns so far.

I for one am not all that concerned about Zeke’s future in the NFL. I think his six-game suspension has served as an eye-opening experience and that he will do better from here on out to put himself in better situations and surround himself with better/more trustworthy people.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel ElliottYou can see anytime Zeke is on the field his passion for the game and how much he enjoys it. I don’t think he’s going to put something he cares so much about in jeopardy. But unfortunately, he already has a bull’s-eye on his back and can’t afford to take a misstep. That will without a doubt put his future career in jeopardy.

I personally can’t wait to see how #21 responds when he is able to suit up once again next week against the Seattle Seahawks. I think he is going to play with a chip on his shoulder and run angry. That is the best way he can stick it to the league for suspending him based on accusations and another reason why I’m not concerned about his future in the NFL.

I know if it was me, my mindset would be to turn myself into the best player possible and once again become one of the more popular athletes in the league. That is about the only way he can say “F U” to the league, and I think that’s exactly what he will do.

Are you concerned about Ezekiel Elliott long-term?

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