Connect with us

Star Blog

Don’t Blame Coaches for Cowboys’ Slide

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Blog - Don't Blame Coaches for Cowboys' Slide

After their fifth-straight loss this season, the Cowboys' coaches are becoming the targets of increasing ridicule among the fanbase. When Tennessee fired their head coach, Ken Wisenhunt, earlier this week I actually saw members of Cowboys Nation wondering if Jason Garrett was the next to go. I thought perhaps they were joking, but a light prodding showed me that they were actually serious!

Good people, have you lost your minds?

Even if you're not that dense, you may be one who thinks it's ridiculous that the team hasn't squeezed a win out of the last five games without Tony Romo. It's certainly been tough to watch, especially given how close Dallas has been in some of these contests. But that frustration is actually a sign of the coaches getting things done, putting this team in position to win games despite missing the franchise quarterback and other key components.

In the five games played without Romo, Dallas is losing by an average margin of a little under 10 points. However, if you take their 24-point loss to New England out of that mix, the average drops to less than seven points. So, despite missing Romo and Dez Bryant for nearly all of these games, the Cowboys have managed to stay within a touchdown of nearly everyone they've faced. We're calling that "bad coaching?"

In Week 4 the Cowboys went on the road to the Superdome and took the Saints to overtime. They nearly won despite having to play Brandon Weeden against Drew Brees in his own house. "Bad coaching?"

In Week 7, on the road against the rival Giants, Dallas was two special teams plays away (Dwayne Harris' return touchdown and Cole Beasley's muffed punt) from tying or even winning the game. Darren McFadden rushed for 152 yards despite there being no major threat from the passing game. "Bad coaching?"

Last week, facing the back-to-back NFC Champion Seahawks, Dallas held them to 13 points. A redzone blunder by the officials cost Dallas a touchdown opportunity that was arguably the difference in the game. Do I need to say it again?

Now, I'll readily admit that I didn't expect Dallas to drop all of these games. I expected a win in New Orleans and thought the Falcons and Giants games could go either way. To have come up short in all of them is tough to swallow, but coaching has not been the real issue.

Coaches can't stop Julio Jones from dominating average cornerbacks. They can't prevent Brandon Weeden from being too scared to throw a pass more than 15 yards down the field, or make Matt Cassell throw a tighter spiral. They don't cause Beasley to drop a punt, or Terrance Williams to drop 3rd-down passes that hit him in the chest. They can't stop safeties who take bad angles and miss tackles. They certainly can't help what the referees do to muck things up, either.

It's been injuries and a comedy of errors, not deficiency of coaching, that's brought Dallas to this 2-5 record. The players have been put in positions to win in four out of five games and have not delivered.

I expect the next two games will offer similar opportunities for victory. Dallas' defense is much stronger now than when it held the Eagles to just 10 points in Week 2 and will see them again on Sunday night. Even without Romo, the Cowboys are much more talented than the Tampa Bay Bucs and will have little excuse for a loss.

The tragedy of this season is that everything we thought about the Cowboys going in has proven right. The defense is vastly improved and the running game is doing fine without DeMarco Murray. We are simply a quarterback short right now of perhaps being 5-2 or even 6-1, dominating the NFC East as we rightfully should be.

Don't blame the coaches. Honestly, don't even blame the players. If you need someone to be mad at, how about linebacker Jordan Hicks from the Eagles? He's the guy who squashed Romo against the turf in Week 2 and started this whole mess. We'd be looking at this season totally differently, basking in the glow rather than wallowing in misery, if we still had Tony running the show.

The chance to bask is still there. I'm fully confident that these coaches will consistently put the Cowboys in positions to win as the season continues. They've earned that trust. It's up to the players now, and some random swings of fortune, to see if they get rewarded for their work.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


Star Blog

What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

For many years, Linebacker Sean Lee has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense. However, that's quickly changing. The young duo consisting of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken over the linebacker position by dominating the field from sideline to sideline with their explosive talent. As a rookie, Vander Esch filled in for Lee at the weak linebacker position when the veteran went down injured and never gave the job back.

Currently, uncertainty surrounds Sean Lee, who took a pay cut earlier in the year to stay with the franchise he's played for since the beginning of his professional career in 2010. What will his role be in a young fueled defense in the upcoming season?

As we've all been able to see throughout his career, Sean Lee is one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's not very often. His injury proneness led him to a position change years ago, when he was moved from the MIKE (middle linebacker) to the WILL (weak side linebacker) position. Now, those two spots are taken care of.

Where does this leaves Lee? The main question is whether or not he'll move to the strong side. Many question if this would be the correct call, given that he could be at even more risk of suffering yet another injury in a position that leads to more contact. The other option would be for him to be Vander Esch's backup at WILL.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

Lately, it seems like the Cowboys will indeed move him to the strong-side. After all, it only makes sense to have your best three players on the field at the same time. On minicamp, the Cowboys have been playing the veteran at SAM, letting him get reps and grow comfortable in what seems to be his new job.

But even if Sean Lee starts lining up on the strong side, what can we expect from him next season? The way the NFL offenses operate now leads to teams sending their nickel packages to the field more often than not. For the Cowboys 4-3 defense, that means three cornerbacks, two linebackers. When that's the case, it will be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith who we see out there, not Lee.

Damien Wilson was the team's "starter" on the strong side, and he only managed to get 286 snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. That represents 28% of the team's total snaps. Even if Sean Lee becomes the starting strong side linebacker, we likely won't be seeing him as much.

Even still, I'd expect Sean Lee's experience to play a big factor when the team needs Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch to catch their breath. Lee could jump in and play a few snaps at any LB spot and do a good job at it.

After all, we can't forget that despite his injuries, Lee is a remarkable player on defense. He should still be one of the smartest linebackers with extraordinary instincts. There's a reason why, before Vander Esch arrived to America's Team, the defense crumbled without him. Last year, despite losing the starting gig, Lee still had 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and an interception. The longtime veteran can still play.

It will be odd for Cowboys Nation to watch Lee on a completely new role. It's also hard to put the finger on what his production will look like at the end of the year. If there's one thing we know though, is that the veteran will work hard every practice trying to get the most playing time he can. We should be excited about the team's top three linebackers.

Tell me what you think about "What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?" 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!

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady



Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady



Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success.'s Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.

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