Is it too obvious to state that the Dallas Cowboys will live and die by the success of their offense in 2016?
It should really come to no surprise to anyone that has followed the Dallas Cowboys over the past several years. The organization has invested heavily on the offensive side of the ball, despite the fact that everyone seems to believe that defense wins championships.
Obviously, owner/general manager Jerry Jones doesn't seem to buy into that belief and if you take a good hard look at what Jones and Company has been able to put together on the offensive side of the ball, you might just agree.
The 2016 offense for the Dallas Cowboys should be one of the top units in the entire NFL and if I'm a defensive coordinator game planning against this unit, I think I would definitely have some sleepless nights ahead of myself.
America's Team is going to have a "pick your poison" offense in 2016, and that's without their projected starting quarterback Tony Romo.
Unfortunately for defensive coordinators on the Cowboys schedule this year, Dak Prescott might just make the offense just a little bit more difficult to game plan for. Don't get me wrong, Romo will absolutely be missed while he's out recovering from his injury, but Prescott adds a little different dimension.
Let me try to break this down all further and explain what I mean by "pick your poison".
The New York Giants will be the guinea pig about how to game plan for a rookie quarterback with only preseason game film to go by.
I think it's pretty obvious teams are going to stack the box and try to shut down the running game, thus putting the offense in the hands of the Cowboys 2016 fourth round draft pick, Dak Prescott.
Well, if that's what opposing defenses are going to try to do against Prescott, then they better be prepared to be exposed in another area of their defense.
Prescott has the ability to make plays with both his arm and his legs, hence the other dimension I mentioned earlier. He has been doing this since he first started opening up eyes with his play on the field back in high school and in fact holds many of the schools records at Mississippi State because of these traits.
The coaching staff is going to put Prescott in the best position to win as possible. That means probably a lot more snaps in shotgun and maybe even a little more a zone reads than we're used to seeing.
Although you are losing Romo's experience in the offensive scheme and his ability to make pre-snap reads, you're gaining a much more mobile QB that can make plays in a variety of different ways.
There is a reason the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott so highly. He is not only one of the best all-around running backs to come out of college in arguably the past decade, but he is the perfect fit for the Cowboys offense.
We didn't really get to see a lot of Elliott in the preseason, but the small sample size we did see against the Seattle Seahawks should ease any concerns you might have had.
Elliott ran with speed, power, vision, decisiveness, and attitude. He is going to make everybody forget about DeMarco Murray.
Defenses are going to try to take him of the game for reason, but that's easier said than done.
Elliott can hurt a defense by not only running the ball, but catching the ball out of the backfield as a receiver. It's not something he did a lot in college at Ohio State, but he is more than capable of being a dangerous threat in the passing game.
Elliott's versatility to line up all over the formation is really going to be hard for a defensive coordinator to game plan for.
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line is arguably the best in the NFL, and for good reason, but not many people understand why they are so good.
Personally, I think it all comes down to two words, agility and power.
Every member of the offensive line has the agility needed to play in that zone blocking scheme that the Cowboys like to use, but they also have the power to line up head-to-head against the opposing defensive line and create a push up front.
This versatility allows them to get creative in their blocking assignments, mix matching zone and power running schemes. This can really create confusion for opposing defenses and is one of the reasons why the Cowboys running game has been so successful.
In pass protection, they do a great job of communicating, which allows them to pick up exotic blitzes and stunts.
This talented and versatile unit will be a huge reason why the Dallas Cowboys find success in 2016.
No one might benefit more from the addition of Ezekiel Elliott then Dez Bryant. There was a reason Bryant's best season in the NFL was in 2014, when the Cowboys stayed committed to the run.
Defenses had to decide whether they wanted to double cover Bryant or commit an extra defender in the box to try to stop the running game. Either way, they were wrong with whatever decision they made.
Bryant is the definition of playmaker and has to be accounted for wherever he lines up on the field.
He is arguably the best WR in the NFL at high pointing the ball and coming down with the catch. He can also take a simple short pass and take it to the house because he is so dangerous in the open field.
I fully expect that Dez Bryant will have an outstanding 2016 season. We have already witnessed that he has a connection with QB Dak Prescott and there seems to be no lingering effects from his 2015 injuries.
Obviously these aren't the only weapons the Cowboys have an offense, but they are the ones that a defensive coordinator has to make sure the game plan for.
We just have to hope that the Dallas Cowboys "pick your poison" offense can carry the team in 2016, otherwise they are going to be in big trouble.
Do you agree or disagree?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday
According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.
Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...
Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.
Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.
This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.
Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.
This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder
The Dallas Cowboys added more defensive line help today after signing former Detroit Lions Defensive End Kerry Hyder.
Going back to Texas! #CowboysNation
Hyder, 27 originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech with the New York Jets in 2014. He spent a year in New York before signing a future/reserve contract with the Detroit Lions in January 2015.
He had a breakout eight-sack year with the Lions in 2016, but tore his Achilles in 2017 causing him to miss the entire season. In 2018 he had just one quarterback sack after Detroit switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme.
Overall, this is a good depth signing by the Dallas Cowboys. Kerry Hyder has starting potential, but shouldn't keep the Cowboys from upgrading the position further through either another free agent signing for the draft.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap
It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.
As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.
It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.
- TE Jason Witten (unretired)
- TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
- DT Christian Covington (Texans)
The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.
Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.
Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.
- WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
- TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
- DL David Irving (shenanigans)
- LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)
Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.
Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.
Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.
While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.
- FB Jamize Olawale
- WR Tavon Austin
- WR Allen Hurns (team option)
- OT Cam Fleming
- G/C Joe Looney (team option)
- DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
- DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
- LB Justin March-Lillard
- S Darian Thompson
While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?
The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.
Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.
Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.
On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.
~ ~ ~
If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.
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