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Are Dez Bryant’s Strengths, Dak Prescott’s Weaknesses?

Brian Martin

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Dez Bryant

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.

Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

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.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. fgoodwin

    December 29, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Tom Landry and the entire Cowboys organization was famous for its top-to-bottom “re-evaluations” he instituted after (I think) the 1968 playoff loss to the Browns.

    After losing in the playoffs three years in a row, he wanted to identify things they were doing wrong, ways to improve, etc. In other words, he was willing to questions assumptions and how he was doing things.

    I wonder if the current organization has the guts to openly and honestly question itself? Twenty-two years of mediocrity tells me the answer is “no”.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      December 29, 2017 at 9:16 am

      That’s a great question. They certainly need to make changes/adjustments to not only the roster, but their entire approach to the game. Changes definitely need to be made!

      • fgoodwin

        December 30, 2017 at 11:10 pm

        “Need to” and “will do” are two different things. Jerry seems to be content with standing pat.

  2. TreFKennedy88

    December 29, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Or Dez can put everything into becoming a better route runner and Dak can work on throwing his wr’s open

  3. Fred Miller

    December 30, 2017 at 1:37 am

    You hit the nail on the head

  4. Adam Mwakikoti

    December 30, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Again, Romo a vet, could make all the best reads and throws, and Dak can’t do that yet. So we have a QB that isn’t seasoned and a WR on the first year of the back side of his prime. It’s not about skill-set, it’s more about what you gain with expierence, and that is Dak’s flaw. It took Tony time to figure it out, it will take Dak time too, and Dez and Witten may not be there when he does. And let’s not forget the o-line. Every football person that isn’t an idiot should agree that Tyron Smith is the most important player on their roster today. With Tyron they score 30, and without him it’s a Byron Bell Sack party. Zeke was there when Tyron was not and Dak ran for his life all game like Romo used to. It’s not complicated. The Cowboys go as the O-line goes.

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.

Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.

Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.

The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas

Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.

The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.

Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.

Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.

Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Pues en Dallas, hoy dos  jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.

Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.

Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.

Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.

Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

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Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 2

Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.

The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.

Lock Down the Big Guns

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

@Randy81MossRetires, via Twitter

Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.

Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.

As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.

Adding New Talent

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 1

@brkicks, via Twitter

One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.

Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.

If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.

Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.

Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.

The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.

As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.

Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.



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