Connect with us

Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys: One Thing Fans Aren’t Understanding

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys: One Thing Fans Aren't Understanding

It's 3rd & 1 and the Dallas Cowboys need a short push to get a much-needed first down. Behind the best offensive line in football, this looks to be easy for Darren McFadden and the Cowboys. The ball is hiked to Matt Cassel, Cassel proceeds to hand the ball off to McFadden, and McFadden is stuffed at the line. The Cowboys are then forced to punt. How many times have you witnessed that happening this season?

Well, it's actually happened a lot. According to 105.3 The Fan's Shan Shariff, the Cowboys are 7-18 on 3rd & 1. For all of you math majors out there, that's a 39% success rate. Yikes.

Behind All-Pros like Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin, as well as an up-and-coming player in La'el Collins, and a guy who isn't so bad himself in Doug Free, the Cowboys should be converting easily, but really, the problems lie all on the coaching staff. On short-yardage plays, the Cowboys bring in jumbo personnel, meaning two more tight ends for extra blocking. In theory, this sounds like more blocking, but it attracts more defenders which means more clutter and less space for the offensive line to do what they're best at. Here's a picture of what I'm talking about:

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys: One Thing Fans Aren't Understanding 1

In this picture, because the Cowboys come out in their jumbo personnel, the Packers basically have all 11 of their guys within five yards of ball. Robert Turbin is seven yards from the ball. Once the ball is snapped, and it's determined it's a running play, it's honestly easy to see why the Cowboys aren't having success on short-yardage plays.

Let's take a look at two plays where the offensive line opened up huge holes:

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys: One Thing Fans Aren't Understanding 2

On this play, notice how Free is sealing the edge, Martin is blowing out the "backup" man and how James Hanna is sealing the outside linebacker. This leads to a hole like this:

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys: One Thing Fans Aren't Understanding 3

This leads to a 50-yard gain for McFadden. Let's take a look at another play:

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys: One Thing Fans Aren't Understanding 4

Notice on this pitch to McFadden how Jason Witten comes underneath to seal the defensive end, allowing Collins and Smith to use their athleticism get to the outside. The outside-man, Smith, blows the cornerback off the football.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys: One Thing Fans Aren't Understanding 5

We then see an absolutely huge hole for McFadden. Shortly after this image, we see Collins absolutely destroy Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and then continue running another 30 yards to block another defender.

These two plays are prime examples why the narrative of 'the Cowboys' offensive line isn't nearly as good as it was last year' is simply a joke. The other bad one is 'maybe DeMarco Murray helped the offensive line more than the offensive line helped him'. Dallas' offensive line is still the best in football. Over the next few years, this unit will only continue to get better.



An online sports writer for about three years now, Ryan is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He writes about his favorite team on Inside The Star. Ryan also writes for other publications like Roster Watch, Rant Sports, and Cuse Nation. Ryan is a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Information Management and Technology. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL.

Advertisement
6 Comments
  • Keith

    This year team the whole organization is horrible, does jerry jones want to win? First of all we need a good backup QB not a bargain also take a look a some of the DB'S. The Cowboys should be in a league with the Patriots you know they always make the playoffs, we made the playoffs two times in 20 yrs thats unheard of.Jerry wake up and make some decisions.

  • https://insidethestar.com Freddie Suave

    The coaching staff are just plain DUMB & STUPID. They will NEVER get it. Don't even know how to manage a game. Bring on Sean Peyton, at least he knows how to build a team and how to be UNPREDICTABLE. Garrett IS NOT a coach with any experience. Jerry Jones just likes to use Garrett as his scapegoat. As long as Jerry Jones controls him, they will NEVER win a Superbowl. CowboysNation continues to suffer for their STUPIDITY. THANK Jerry Jones & Family!!

  • http://google Ellen

    The play calling is so predictable that a high school defense could recognize the offense when you're at the goal line trying to score on a run play why not a sweep because Linehan! U see up the middle is gonna be jammed up. Common sense!!!!!

  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    Thanks for a great article, Ryan!

    I think the idea that the Cowboys offensive line isn't very good is ridiculous. Do they have flaws that maybe we didn't know about (or chose to ignore) heading into the season? Sure. If the belief was that Joseph Randle was going to be a 1,500 yard back behind this offensive line, then surely you're disappointed right now.

    With that said, they are indeed one of the top 3 offensive lines in football, at least. They're young and they do have a pretty weak link in Doug Free, so they're not perfect but they're VERY GOOD.

    My main gripe about yesterday's game: McFadden's two stellar runs came on similar types of plays. Both pitch-out plays where McFadden was running outside trying to get the edge. Why did they only run that play twice? Zack Martin and La'ell Collins are SPECTACULAR running that play. The best blocks I've seen in several years have come this season on those exact plays where one of those guys pulls to the outside and functions as a lead blocker.

    I understand minimizing it because you can't have your offensive line running all over the field on every play, but only twice? When it yielded a 40+ yard gain both times? I really don't think we're giving enough credibility to the idea that maybe Scott Linehan just really isn't that good of an OC unless he's got perfect talent (like last year) at pretty much every position.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog Fred Goodwin

    Yes fans are so stupid. Thank God for so-called "experts" like Ryan to explain it all to us mindless dumb@$$es!

  • maxdallasfan

    Teams don't fear our passing game. Haven't since Romo went down.

Star Blog

Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

Published

on

Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

It doesn’t take a lot to cause an overreaction in the NFL, and fans and the media alike can be very fickle. Thus, when the Dallas Cowboys were beaten by the Carolina Panthers in week one the discussions surrounding their title credentials began, and even more so because Dak Prescott and his Cowboys offense was only able to score 8 points. He left the stadium still looking for his first touchdown pass of the season and wondering what went wrong.

By all accounts, Prescott wasn’t great, and his quarterback rating of 81.1 reflects that. His performance left the fans concerned and some asserting there were no shades of the Prescott of 2016. Nonetheless, a quarterback has to be helped by his offensive line, and allowing him to get sacked six times shows that improvement is needed up front.

In week 2, against the New York Giants, Prescott started the game with a booming 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Tavon Austin on the first series of the game. It was a play four whole quarters of football in the making and made fans explode in celebration following the lackluster performance against CAR. Prescott's rating jumped to 95.4 and he wasn't sacked during the contest. Even still, he threw the ball for 10 fewer yards than in week 1 and was 1.5% less on his completion percentage too.

Prescott’s best defense is the Cowboys' lack of stand-out wide receivers. The loss of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant – neither of whom has adequately been replaced – is the biggest cause of this perceived fall from grace. Those departures have undeniably created a problem, but one that many great quarterbacks over the years have managed to overcome.

While the doom and gloom felt by Cowboys Nation after week 1 has abated some with a victory over New York, for a franchise that has enjoyed the often wow-worthy play of Tony Romo, Dak Prescott has a way to go yet, to say the least.

Dak Prescott's Top 10 Plays of the Dallas Cowboys' 2016 Season

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The current situation is difficult for the Cowboys, but there are also psychological mitigations. One of these is their presence in a division with the reigning Super Bowl winners, the Philadelphia Eagles.

This has long since put the Cowboys on the back foot in the futures betting markets, with an average moneyline price of +210 that makes them the least likely team to win the NFC East division. Unlike betting on individual games themselves, the futures market is a starker reflection of a team's form, rather than the more reactionary moneyline prices on individual games.

Criticism, from experts and fans alike, always intensifies after a defeat, and starting the season off at 1-1 isn't always enough to overcome said criticism. So too will the moneyline price of the Cowboys besting the Eagles lengthen, although the rewards for keeping faith in the Cowboys to do that – if they somehow do – will be all the more greater if they proceed to underachieve.

NFC East Preview 2018 | T2F Podcast

On this episode, we are joined by Jon Cassel, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, to discuss each team in the NFC East (Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles) going into the 2018 season. SUBSCRIBE to T2F for more football content! SUPPORT us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Time2Football Follow us on social media!

Dak Prescott Needs Support Like Never Before

The likes of Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns aren’t going to be reaching the Hall of Fame, but they are more than capable of helping Dallas score more than 8 points in a game. Take away the opening-drive shot from week 2, the only TD pass Dak has thrown in 2018, and the Cowboys scored just 13 points against the Giants. It's hardly confidence inspiring, yet.

There have been numerous points so far where the Prescott of 2016 would have found the receiver, but for whatever reason, those throws just aren’t being made with any consistency right now. That is especially bad considering the breathing room that is given by an elite level running back, which can be found in the form of Ezekiel Elliott.

Zeke got the ball 15 times for 69 yards against CAR and 17 times for 78 yards against NYG, both of which have to be less than he would have liked. Yet, the Panthers were out to stop him, specifically, and the Cowboys offensive line couldn’t cope, which allowed Elliott to lack effectiveness and their quarterback to be put to the ground half a dozen times. The opening drive against the Giants certainly helped alleviate pressure on Prescott, but it's clear that the defense beat the Giants, overall.

These, however, are problems that an offensive coordinator needs to overcome, and Scott Linehan didn’t cover himself in glory either.

Ultimately, above all else, there seems to be a bit of disunity within the offense. The receivers feel unloved, the running backs face a lot of defenders on each play, and the quarterback must improve his accuracy.

These situations are where you need creative play calling and a unique approach.

Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott: Top 5 Moments of The 2016 Cowboys Season

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Spirit of 2016 Can Still Make an Impact

With every defeat, the next game is hugely important, in the mind if not on paper. If the Cowboys can step up and convincingly rack up some wins, then – as ever – it will start to go quiet.

One aspect that sometimes goes overlooked is the defense. Conceding 16 points against Carolina and 13 against New York should usually be more than low enough to secure a win. Thus, if the Cowboys keep up that level of performance, then they should win a lot more games than they lose. But that's because most offenses in the NFL are capable of scoring 20-or-more points a game. With the Cowboys defense performing as they have been thus far, the onus is on the offense the close out games.

There's a reason the quarterback position is regarded far above all others, and Prescott needs to carry the team with him to keep that winning feeling in the Cowboys’ locker room.

He needs to give the opposition’s defensive line more to think about, and make them fear the pass as much as Elliott’s or his own rushing ability. That will give his receivers more confidence and Elliott more space. If his offensive line isn’t doing its job then he and Linehan need to think of ways to get the ball out quickly and on target.

Doom and gloom often surrounds any first loss of a season, but if Prescott and Elliott can work together as they did in their first win of the season, then it’s going to be very hard to beat them, especially if their defense keeps playing to such high standards as they have.

Regardless, the Super Bowl is anything but a lock at this point, and the problems need to be fixed quickly, before "distant" becomes mathematically "impossible."



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

Brian Martin

Published

on

Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

In a somewhat confusing move, the Dallas Cowboys decided to re-add Wide Receiver Brice Butler to the roster in order to get something more out of the passing game, which to be honest has been pretty putrid in the first two games of the 2018 season. Something needed to be done, but I'm not sure that Butler is the answer.

I'm going to agree with my fellow Staff Writer, Jess Haynie, in saying that the Cowboys decision to reunite with Brice Butler makes no sense. Jess is actually much more polite than I would've been when I initially found out about this transaction. I personally hate the move and I'm not afraid to say it. But ultimately, it wasn't my decision to make and the only thing that really matters here is whether or not Butler can help improve the passing game?

With all of the questions surrounding the Cowboys receivers, Butler's addition just adds another one. Unfortunately, we are two games into the 2018 season and the receiver position still remains the biggest unknown. No one has really stepped up their game and with the exception of Tavon Austin's touchdown catch last week, there hasn't been any big plays in the passing game.

I don't really know how Brice Butler is supposed to improve things. Is he supposed to be the "go to" receiver now? Is he any better than what the Cowboys already have on the roster? Or, will he end up being more of a progress stopper? Like I said, he just adds more questions to be answered.

I for one don't see any upside in adding Butler. Yes, Quarterback Dak Prescott has a bond with him, but nothing ever really materialized there when #19 was here previously. He showed flashes, like he has at all of his stops in the NFL, but his inconsistencies couldn't convince the coaching staff to play him more. So, what's changed?

Brice Butler, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler

The obvious answer here would be the subtraction of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the passing game. That's quite a bit of production missing that has yet to be accounted for. But again, I am still not buying into the Butler addition as a solution.

I know it sounds like I'm slamming Brice Butler pretty hard, but there was a time when I wanted to see him on the field more. Like many of you, the past few seasons I wanted to see him receive a promotion over Terrance Williams, but unfortunately that never happened. But, that was then and this is now.

Personally, I would much rather see Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, or Michael Gallup be worked more into the offensive game plan. I just feel that we have already seen what Brice Butler has to offer and it just wasn't good enough for him to stick around before. It's time to move forward, not back.

There is a reason Butler was a free agent. I mean, he wasn't even good enough to stick with Arizona Cardinals, who probably have more problems at WR than the Cowboys. But who knows? Maybe I'll end up being wrong and he'll finally play up to his true potential and talent. Wouldn't that be great?

Now, this is just one person's opinion, but I just don't see Brice Butler improving the passing game for the Dallas Cowboys. I think the only way that happens is if Dak Prescott reaches the next phase in his development. Until then, I don't see things improving much. But, that's an article for another time.

How do you feel about the Dallas Cowboys reuniting with Brice Butler?



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Despite Seattle’s Record, Sunday Is No Cakewalk For Cowboys

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: DT David Irving 2

As Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a game-ending pick six on national television Monday night, all of Cowboys Nation was suddenly giddy.

Somehow, the team which looked completely lost and inept offensively to open the season was now staring down a chance at a 3-1 start if they could take care of back-to-back winless teams.

The first of those winless foes being the Seattle Seahawks.

Though the last 5 years or so have conditioned us to believe that Seattle is a defensive minded, physical football team, more recent history suggests they’ve fallen off quite a bit. No longer are prime Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor patrolling their secondary, or are waves of top tier defensive linemen cycling through during the game.

Now, the Seahawks are defined by a shaky offensive line, a lack of playmakers on the perimeter, and Russell Wilson hero-ball.

It’s an odd, and typically ineffective formula for winning games, but it’s the one the 0-2 Seahawks are currently stuck with.

Despite all of this, however, Sunday’s game will be an important test for the Cowboys. Though they were favored by 3 points last week, this game is the first time in 2018 that Dallas is truly “expected” to win. Ironically, they come in as Vegas underdogs, but it’s difficult to find informed football analysts who are on Seattle this Sunday.

This, of course, has more to do with how poor Seattle has played to open their season, but they’ve still been incredibly competitive in both losses, losing both games by just one possession.

Going to Seattle and getting a win is a task teams have dreaded for years, even before Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom brought the Seahawks back to relevancy.Earl Thomas, Seahawks

Now when you add in factors such as this being Seattle’s home opener, and that they will be desperately fighting to avoid a potential season-killing 0-3 start, this is shaping up to be a very tough test for the Cowboys.

The young Cowboys need to handle their business the next two weeks and take advantage of 0-2 conference foes. These games will be huge down the stretch for potential playoff tie breakers and give them a chance to “fatten up” before entering the more challenging parts of their schedule.

Like two match ups with the Philadelphia Eagles, and running the rest of the NFC South gauntlet during the later months of the year.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending