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Dallas Cowboys Who Need to be Better After the Bye

With the upon us, the are getting their respite from gameplay with a 3-4 record and sit a game and a half back of the in the . The Redskins took the lead in the division with a 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

The season hasn't gone like many of us thought it could with the team alternating wins and losses through seven games. They've not won a road game this season, which is shocking given that the team has generally been better on the road than at home in the era.

The Dallas Cowboys aren't out of it; yet. They have nine more games to make something happen in 2018 and with no team really taking control of the East, there's still a shot that they can win the division and make the .

All is not lost.

For the Dallas Cowboys to get back to their winning ways though, they're going to need several players to play better in the next nine games than they did in the first seven. Here are three.

Chidobe Awuzie, Cornerback

After his rookie season in the NFL, there were high hopes and expectations that 's play, aggressiveness, and swagger would make him a good to great corner moving forward. Most thought Coach would take what Awuzie showed in his first season and help him take a step forward in 2018.

It's been , on the other side of the field however, who's been the standout.

Meanwhile, Awuzie's become the target of opposing passing games and he's not given them much reason not to focus on him. Among players who've played at least 162 coverage snaps this season, Chidobe Awuzie has allowed the ninth highest in the NFL (128.7), per Pro .

Awuzie's been in the right spot a lot, but he's not been able to make plays on the football even though he's been providing some nice coverage. He's allowing a reception every 6.6 snaps according to Pro Football Focus. That's the second worst rate in the NFL. Compare that to Byron Jones who's allowing a reception every 19.6 coverage snaps and Anthony Brown who's allowing a reception every 17.4 snaps.

He has the attitude, athleticism, and ability to be a really good cover corner in the NFL, but he has to start making some plays on the football. He has to show the play-making he showed in college and in his rookie season.

The Dallas Cowboys has been really good in the first half of the season, but if they can get an improved effort from Awuzie in the second half, they'll be at an elite level for the last nine games.

Connor Williams, Guard

Yes, is a rookie. Yes, he's playing a new position. Yes, he's got to be better. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams has allowed 15 total pressures — 11 hurries, two hits, two sacks — and has been called for three holding . Those numbers are among the 15 worse numbers for guards in the NFL per Pro Football Focus.

He has had some struggles against some really good interior players, but the expectations for Williams are sky-high. He was supposed to be the missing piece to a team that got up and down play in 2017.

The first seven games do not write the career for a rookie player and he's had some good moments so far in 2018, especially in the run game. However, for and the to take a step forward over the final nine games, Williams is going to have to be better against interior pressure.

Dak Prescott, Quarterback

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” The opening line from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities fully encapsulates the first seven games of the season for Quarterback Dak Prescott.

He's been good in his city and not so good in the away cities. Dak Prescott's home and away splits through seven games are staggering.

Dak's been good at home this season going 50 for 79 for 598 yards passing with five touchdowns and no interceptions. At home he's averaging 7.57 yards per attempt, has a 107.5 quarterback rating, and has only been sacked six times. On the road Dak's completed 78 passes on 127 attempts (61.42% completion percentage) for 819 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Prescott's averaging 6.45 yards per attempt, has a quarterback rating of 74.9, and has been sacked 17 times.

There are many reasons why Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys haven't been as good on the road as they've been at home. Probably, the biggest reason is who they've played on the road. They've played some good defenses on in the , , , and Washington Redskins. All four of those teams rank in the top 10 in the NFL in scoring defense.

In their final nine games, they play four games against teams that are in the top 10 in scoring defense. They have the in week nine in Arlington, two games against the , and a rematch with the Washington Redskins at home. There other five opponents, the , , , and rank in the bottom ten in scoring defense. The Falcons, Giants, and Colts games are on the road.

Whether it's the quality of team they've played on the road or the difficulty in communicating in hostile atmospheres, there's a huge disparity in his home and road performance. Dak Prescott is going to have to win some games on the road if the Dallas Cowboys have hopes of making the playoffs in 2018..

He's good enough to lead them to victories, but he has to be better when playing away from .

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

With the Dallas Cowboys needing to go 6-3 over the final nine games to have a winning season for the third year in a row, and more importantly have hopes of making the playoffs, they'll need to get better performances from these three Cowboys.

Who else, in your opinion, needs to step up for the Dallas Cowboys the rest of the way?


John Williams
John Williams
Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Sexcdex Xfact

There’s just honestly no way to name 3 players unless you say the top 3
Other than that this article leads to the assumption that these are the ONLY 3

To include the core of all that needs be improved
Because the NFL World, (including the fanbase), knows & have critiqued them all throughout this season
It’s best to be fair & address the whole

3 top needs of improvement out of the bye

1- The O line : Tyrone Smith, Lael Collins, Conner Williams specifically
With the rookie getting more of a pass

2- The QB : Dak Prescott, (despite drops, separation & poor execution)
(despite poor to missed blocking assignments)
(despite poor coaching), etc
,,,,,,simply needs to step up BIGTIME in almost every area
Some more than others, but still in every element

3- RB : Zeke hasn’t produced close to last 2 seasons
He’s responsible for his suspension which has hurt the team last year
He’s fumbled – Seattle , stepped out of bounds- Houston , dropped an endzone pass vs Washington
Haven’t shown his usual burst etc

If the O line isn’t enough to excuse Dak, it can’t be used to excuse Zeke
It takes less time/effort TI open a lane than to give 2-3 secs to the QB
The FB Osewalli has been half if what Keith Smith was for us
Rid just haven’t had the opportunity he had last year

Honorable Mention :

It’s a tie
Coaching staff (HC, OC, O line Coach)
Schemes, adjustments, discipline issues
Secondary & Safety play
Too many chunk plays have kept our defense on the field (especially on 3rd downs)

We’ve given up long TD’s from blown coverages
We’ve played a bit too safe & missed golden opportunities to get int’s by being content to get PBU’s etc

I can’t neglect the fact that our Special Teams are ranked poorly also

We have far too many players at fault
Every position group needs improvement
Not one player is where he needs to be

John Williams

I agree. La’el Collins has to be better. Tyron Smith has been good but has been beaten badly at times as well. Elliott has been ok, but he had no where to go last week to really even evaluate him. The Dallas OL got ate up in the run game.

Sexcdex Xfact

Well, glory be
They’ve finally fired the new scheme behind the regressed O line that has caused a chain reaction for the entire offense

I was hoping they hired Colombo or ‘s definite proven O line coach instead of what had been a proven failure at Cincy

Things are looking more promising now
Amari should have more time sling with Bease & Gallup etc
As our O line should return to its ’16 form

John Williams

I agree. La’el Collins has to be better. Tyron Smith has been good but has been beaten badly at times as well. Elliott has been ok, but he had no where to go last week to really even evaluate him. The Dallas OL got ate up in the run game.

Ethan Chazin

You. Any call out only 3 on a game day active 46 so how about the real truth… the entire O line leading with a tremendously disappointing season for Tyron smith, Conor Williams rookie struggles esp with bulk rush DTs, looney is serviceable but La’el Collins still has to prove he is a starting caliber RT. Maybe zack Martin gets what tip???

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