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?
Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys
Now that he's signed with the Washington Redskins, cornerback Orlando Scandrick joins a lackluster list of former Cowboys players and coaches who have gone from Dallas to its historic rival. The history of these moves is ugly for Washington, going back over 40 years, and can't have their fans too excited anytime they sign an ex-Cowboy.
The most recent example was just last year with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After a strong season as a 15-game starter in Dallas, McClain got a four-year, $21 million deal to join the Redskins. He missed four games with injuries and was only credited with two starts; hardly what the team wanted given the money they paid.
Before him it was Jason Hatcher, whose 11-sack season for the Cowboys in 2013 got him a four-year, $27.5 million deal from Washington. Hatcher would battle knee injuries for two season, getting only 7.5 sacks from 2014-2015. His early retirement in 2016 brought an abrupt end to a disappointing tenure.
Continuing the legacy of defensive linemen was Stephen Bowen, who Washington paid a shocking amount of money ($27.5 million over five years) to in 2011 to pick up in free agency. Bowen had a great first year for the Redskins with six sacks and 16 starts, but injuries would soon cost him 14 games from 2013-2014. He was eventually released after only one standout season in four with the team.
Going back even further, DT Brandon Noble joined Washington in 2003 after being a full-time starter for Dallas for over two seasons. He would miss all of 2003 with a knee injury, have an unimpressive year in 2004, and then missed all of 2005 with more health issues. He retired after being released by the Redskins in 2006.
Orlando Scandrick won't be the first cornerback to go from Dallas to Washington, or the best. At age 32, Deion Sanders was released in 2000 by the Cowboys and then got a huge seven-year, $56 million deal from the Redskins. This came less than a year after Daniel Snyder bought the franchise and was desperate to get them relevant again.
The Sanders move backfired horribly. Even after a solid season by his lofty standards, Primetime was disgruntled with both the coaching staff and his increasing struggles as an aging player. He suddenly retired after just one season of the seven-year contract.
Washington also tried to tap into the Cowboys' glory days when they signed receiver Alvin Harper in 1997. Harper had left Dallas in 1995 and spent two years with Tampa Bay, but had not carried over the same success he enjoyed playing in the Dallas offense.
The Redskins hoped that reuniting him with Norv Turner, who had been Harper's offensive coordinator and was now their head coach, would help Alvin get back to form. But between ongoing injuries and the absence of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith as teammates, Alvin Harper was never the same guy as when he won two Super Bowls in Dallas.
The failed poaching attempts go back many more decades, another one being running back Calvin Hill. The fourth-leading rusher in Cowboys history and a four-time Pro Bowler while in Dallas, Hill joined Washington in 1976. He served as a backup only, averaging only 3.8 yards-per-carry as he played behind the likes of Mike Thomas and John Riggins.
The bad history doesn't stop with players. The aforementioned Norv Turner, who was one of the hottest assistant coaches in history after the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s, was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 1994.
Turner's run started with a whimper, drafting quarterback Heath Shuler third overall in that first year. Shuler would go down as one of the biggest QB busts in NFL history
Norv's Redskins never seemed to recover from that blunder. He only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance from 1994-1999, and was fired midway through the 2000 season.
Far more recently, Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan left the team in 2015 and took the same job in Washington. He didn't get to bring the offensive line or DeMarco Murray with him, though. As such, the Redskins have remained one of the league's worst rushing teams for the last three seasons. They fell to a new low of 28th in the NFL in 2017.
~ ~ ~
Of course, none of this means that Orlando Scandrick won't have success in Washington. But with the Redskins generally the most mismanaged team in the NFC East, all of the Dallas players and coaches who've gone there have not walked into good situations. For all that Cowboys fans love to complain about Jerry Jones, he handles the owner and GM roles better than any pair Washington's had in almost 30 years.
Given the nature of the rivalries, we naturally can't wish success for Scandrick or anyone else who leaves Dallas for a division opponent. With the track record we just discussed for Washington, it's not something I'll be losing any sleep over.
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
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