Cowboys Twitter was set ablaze earlier this week when an irrelevant, and fraudulent, stat was put out into the world by NFL Network. The stat, if you haven’t heard, indicated that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had not yet thrown a touchdown pass in any of the training camp practices.
Even in a world where this information is true, counting touchdown passes during camp practices is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Yesterday in week one of my Madden 19 franchise, Dak Prescott threw for two touchdowns in a win over Carolina. That’s about equally as indicative of how the real season’s going to go as “training camp touchdown passes” are.
But I digress.
At the core of this internet freak out is some legitimate concern, however. The Cowboys downfield passing offense hasn’t exactly been explosive, and all reports out of camp indicate that the defense has been stealing the show during team periods.
Though Prescott has been able to execute the underneath and mid-level timing throws thus far, the lack of downfield success has some fans worried. But I’m here to tell you to relax. At least for now.
With Dez Bryant gone and a whole new crop of wide receivers in, it’s understandable that it’s taking time to develop the downfield rapport. Prescott has to learn what receivers like Allen Hurns look like when they’re open downfield, just as he had to learn to trust Bryant even when he appeared to be covered.
Not only is the personnel very new, but Dallas is also working with a brand new receivers coach in Sanjay Lal. Lal is trying to implement his philosophies and techniques with these new wide outs, while they are also trying to gel with Dak Prescott. Clearly, there’s a lot of moving parts currently at camp, and it makes sense that it’s taking time to get it right.
What is encouraging, though, is the success of the Cowboys’ most tenured receiver, Cole Beasley. Prescott and Beasley have developed a nice connection thus far, looking like they did during Bryant’s absence in 2016.
This actually reminds me a bit of what the Cowboys experienced at cornerback a season ago. Early on, their secondary struggled to find their way as young guys circled in and out looking for their home within the defense. But by the final six games of the season, guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis had settled in, and the defense found its stride.
All the Cowboys passing offense has known for nearly a decade are Jason Witten and Dez Bryant. It’s okay for them to experience some growing pains early on while trying to replace them and find new targets.
And I’m willing to bet that by week 8 or so, most of these issues will be resolved.