There is a lot of frustration going around Cowboys Nation right now, and it's not from just the fans. From the top to the very bottom, I don't think there is one person within the Dallas Cowboys organization who isn't frustrated. But, no two people have shown and voiced their frustration more here recently than Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant.
Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant let their frustration get the better of them this week during interviews with the media. Their frustration has nothing to do with anything happening off the field or within the locker room, despite attempts by several media members to convince Cowboys fans otherwise.
No, Prescott and Bryant are both frustrated with their lack of production on the field and how much the Cowboys offense is struggling as a whole.
It's been building up for some time now, but things finally came to a boiling point after an emotional loss to the Seattle Seahawks. And as we all know, when things come to a boil, you have to let off a little steam.
Unfortunately, with just one game left in the 2017 season, I don't see that frustration dwindling anytime soon.
In fact, I think it's going to be something that continues to nag at them throughout the off-season. But, it could end up being the driving force to motivate them to develop a better working bond with one another for next year.
That's what we are all hoping happens, but I'm not sure it's possible.
You see, I personally believe that Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant aren't a good match as a quarterback and wide receiver duo, based on their individual skill sets. I know it sounds a little odd to suggest such a thing, but I will tell you why I believe this way.
Dez Bryant's strengths as a wide receiver just so happen to be Dak Prescott's weaknesses as a quarterback, and vice versa. That's why we haven't seen them build that chemistry between one another, despite two years together. Bryant isn't a player who creates a lot of separation because he's not the fastest and isn't the best route runner. That means he has to rely on his strength and athletic ability to overcome his deficiencies, which he does really well.
Bryant is the type of player that has to be "thrown open". That means putting the ball in a place where only he can go get it. Tony Romo was excellent at doing just that with back shoulder fades and throwing the ball high where only Bryant would have a chance to catch it. Unfortunately, Dak Prescott isn't that kind of quarterback.
Prescott's biggest weakness right now is that he hasn't been able to throw his receivers open. Prescott instead prefers to throw to the open receiver, which is why he tends to hold on to the ball too long.
The problem with that way of thinking is the Dallas Cowboys don't really have any receivers who can create that type of separation and get open on a regular basis. Cole Beasley of course is that kind of player, which is why he and Prescott were so successful in 2016. But, opposing defenses found a way to take Beasley out of the equation and Prescott and the entire Cowboys offense has struggled ever since.
Something definitely needs to change and in a hurry, because the Dallas Cowboys are too talented of a team to allow this to continue happening. Prescott either needs to learn how to throw his receivers open or the Cowboys need to find a way to get the WRs open with better playcalling.
There are three ways the Dallas Cowboys can fix this problem.
- They can release Dez Bryant and find another WR who better suits Prescott's skill set. That would likely be a possession/volume type of WR. Someone who can create separation on a regular basis, a Keenan Allen type of receiver if you will.
- Another way the Cowboys can fix all of this is to help Prescott learn how to throw his receivers open. There is no way of knowing for sure if he can develop that skill set. He may always be the "bus driver" type of QB, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it also isn't going to help the Cowboys passing game with their current receiving corps.
- The best way to fix this problem is to bring in a new offensive coordinator who can get the best out of Prescott, Bryant, and the rest of the offensive playmakers. Scott Linehan has failed to do so with Prescott at QB, and it might be time to find someone who can get the job done.
As bleak as all of this may sound, there are still ways of turning everything around. But, it's up to Jason Garrett and the rest of the Cowboys coaching staff to find the right solution for everyone involved. It's not going to be easy, but it's a necessity in order to get the best out of this ball team.
Can the Cowboys fix the Dez Bryant to Dak Prescott connection?
Starters Make Cowboys Serious Contenders, But Depth is a Concern
Playing in the National Football Conference, the Dallas Cowboys have a difficult task ahead of them if they are to be serious Super Bowl contenders. Even still, they've become a very underrated football team due to their 9-7 record last season. The Cowboys struggled in many areas and with the Philadelphia Eagles crowned as Super Bowl Champions, everyone has forgotten about America's Team.
2017 was an awful year for the Cowboys. It seemed like a roller coaster of success, putting up an impressive performance one week only to disappoint the next one. Let's be honest with ourselves here and talk about what really ended the Cowboys' last season.
As much as we talk about how there shouldn't be any excuses in football - the Eagles made a huge statement by winning it all with a backup QB and other key starters missing - we can't deny the impact of these injuries.
Anthony Hitchens, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott all missed some time last year, affecting the team's performance week in and week out. Had the starters been healthy, the truth is this team would've been in the playoffs.
Heading into 2018, the Cowboys will face a very similar situation. This year, starters make Dallas a serious contender. Even if they're playing in a conference that will feature a lot of quality teams, the Cowboys are a team that could beat any team in the league if healthy.
Even the dreaded wide receiver position - which has been famous this offseason for the lack of a #1 receiver - won't be as bad as we make it out to be starter-wise. A starting trio of Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley doesn't really sound bad.
Heck, not even Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods starting at safety is concerning. They have what it takes to be decent starters. Sure, Heath isn't a guy who will make the Pro Bowl, but his skills will show on the field once the season starts in September.
The Cowboys' starters will do just fine this season. If the team's fate is up to them, they are in a very good spot. The same can not be said about depth, though.
Except for the defensive line, every other position lacks depth. If Sean Lee goes down, the linebackers stop looking like a three-headed monster. Same goes for the cornerbacks. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis seem like a good group but as soon as one of them suffers an injury, the Cowboys will be in trouble.
We're in for an exciting season with a lot of young talent waiting to breakout. The Cowboys are underrated this year. They may not be among the NFC's favorites, but they truly have what it takes to replicate the success they had in 2016. However, it seems like circumstances have to be ideal for them to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.
With a little bit of luck, they'll bounce back this season.
The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up
Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.
The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.
As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.
Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.
Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.
Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.
Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.
I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.
All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.
How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?
Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?
With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.
Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.
I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.
I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?
Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.
Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.
Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.
Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.
Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?
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