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Have Teams Figured Out How To Fluster Dak Prescott?

Brian Martin

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Dak, Vikings

First-year players for the Dallas Cowboys deserve a lot of credit as to the reason why this team is on an impressive 11 game winning streak and has already clinched a spot in the playoffs.

Ezekiel Elliott, Maliek Collins, Anthony Brown, and especially Dak Prescott have been simply outstanding so far in 2016 and they all look like centerpieces for the organization for years to come.

I don't know about you, but I've kind of been waiting for these rookies to hit that "rookie wall" for some time now. Fortunately, they are all still playing at a very high level and there really are no signs of them slowing down anytime soon.

Dak Prescott has arguably been the biggest surprise and has really looked more like a veteran QB then a player in his first year in the NFL. He has been unflappable so far, which is why the Dallas Cowboys are the first team in the NFL to clinch a playoff spot.

Having said that though, it looks as if teams are starting to figure out a way to fluster the rookie QB just a little bit these past few games.

Cowboys Headlines - Have Teams Figured Out How To Fluster Dak Prescott?This is really only natural considering that there's more game film out there now of Prescott running an NFL offense. Teams are starting to get a grasp on his strengths and weaknesses. They are starting to game plan ways to make things as difficult as possible for the young signal caller.

Defensive coverages are starting to get more complex and more pressure packages are being dialed up to make #4 have to make quicker decisions with the ball. Unfortunately, things are only going to get more difficult from here on out, especially once the Cowboys get in the playoffs.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Dak Prescott is going to fold under the pressure. In fact, he has continued to find ways to win games when the odds were against him.

The game last week against the Minnesota Vikings was evidence enough that Prescott can make just enough plays at the right time to give his team a chance to win the game.

The Vikings have arguably one of, if not the best defense in the entire NFL. This is the caliber of defenses the Dallas Cowboys will see in the playoffs and it was encouraging to see how Prescott performed, despite continuously being put in bad down and distances the majority of the game.

This was exactly the type of learning experience that Dak Prescott and the rest of the young Dallas Cowboys needed to put things into perspective.

When faced with adversity, you have to continue to grind things out. You never know what the outcome will be in the end.

Teams may be starting to figure out how to fluster Dak Prescott a little more, but fortunately he's not the only one suiting up for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys offense is well-balanced with playmakers all over the field. Prescott can neither win or lose a game by himself. He has his teammates to lean on when times get tough and there is no reason to believe this team can't continue to overcome any obstacles in their way.

Things may become a little bit more difficult for Prescott, but his unflappable nature will be why this year's team will be a force to reckon with the rest of the season and especially in the playoffs.

Do you Agree or Disagree?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



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. Ray S

    December 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    We need to stop giving credit to the QB for wins simply because they are the QB. Dak didn’t figure out how win the game despite his struggle, the team figured out how to win despite no passing game from their QB. Dak played a terrible game and they won in spite of him not because of him. This the same golden boy Kool-Aid swilling mentality that lead to the decision to play him over Romo once Romo was healthy. The Boys have had a soft schedule so far but Dak has a shown that if you can put pressure on he does not play well. The media calls this poor play proof of his greatness because the team still won. That is Kool-Aid drinking at its best People are to easily impressed that he has been able to play well with a great running game, a clean pocket, great receivers and a defense that steps up when needed. If you can’t play in those conditions you shouldn’t be a QB in the NFL. Can he do what Romo did in 2014 when he went into Seattle or when he beat the Saints in the Super Dome? Can he throw for 4 TDS and 400 yards if he needs to? Playing a rookie over a QB who is one ring away from a gold jacket is baffling and when the Cowboys have to play better teams they are trouble. Ask yourself what is Dak’s best game against a team you expect to make the playoffs and then ask why you think he is ready to play Seattle in the NFC championship.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      December 5, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Ray, I agree with a lot of what you said. I do however believe that Prescott was still a big reason why the Cowboys were able to beat Minnesota. The one deep pass to Dez Bryant alone put the Cowboys back in the game. Yes, he can’t win or lose a game by himself, but he is doing what he is supposed to…protecting the ball and making plays when it matters. I agree that Romo might be the better QB, but you can’t deny the successes team has had with Prescott.

  2. Russ_Te

    December 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    There is a natural phase of course for a rookie or new-starter QB where defenses amass enough film on him to figure out tendencies, then it is up to the player to adjust again in response. Good reason to draft someone with football smarts and poise for the position.

    So in that aspect I don’t worry much about Dak’s next phase of development. The coaches have given him a laundry list for his game so far in 2016 – going back to mini-camp, and all he does is accept that coaching and implement it.

    With respect to heavy blitzing or exotic blitzing & coverage packages, Dak has already been seeing that of course and it is absolutely up to team offense to handle it. Up front & blocking RB have to do their best job to ID and stone blitzers, Dak has to read it instantly, and then somebody has to become the hot receiver. Nothing is worse than seeing a kitchen sink blitz that you can’t fully pick up, and then nobody broke off their route to give your QB a chance to get a completion against it.

    And of course when you do that right, you can often get a big play out of it. So, bring it… ;^)

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      December 5, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Russ, thanks for commenting. I agree with everything you said, but it’s that adjustment phase that might need to be sped up just a little bit. You certainly don’t want Prescott going through that phase in the playoffs. I personally think he will be fine as long as offense doesn’t continuously put him in the long down the distances like they did against the Vikings.

  3. Byron Jordan

    December 6, 2016 at 10:22 am

    The defense gets the most credit for the win over Minnesota, but Prescott had a 108.3 passer rating. The real problem with the offense was that the plays on 1st&10 were mostly runs that mostly kept getting stuffed. The play calling did not adjust to what Minnesota was doing. Nothing against Elliott, Minnesota was obviously keying on him on 1st&10. There were 17 1st&10 plays. 11 were Elliot rush plays; 6 for 2 or less yds, 2 for 4 yds, 1 for 6 yds, & 2 for 10+ yds. Dallas kept getting into obvious passing downs against Minnesota’s #2 in the NFL pass defense. It is amazing Prescott did as well as he did. There was a called run on 1st&goal at 8 yds that Prescott checked off to a TD pass to Dez Bryant.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      December 6, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks for the info Byron. I think it’s pretty well known that the Cowboys are going to try to run the ball on first down the majority of the time. I think the biggest problem against Minnesota was the fact that penalties and turnovers continued to back up the Cowboys offense in a long down and distances. It was an all around ugly performance by pretty much the whole team, but they still managed to come together and win the game.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Offseason: Projecting Dak Prescott’s Extension

John Williams

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QB Dak Prescott Switches Agents Prior to Crucial 2018 Season 1

This week, Spotrac.com, who analyzes the salary cap, player performance, and makes projections for future contracts, released their most recent contract valuations for the big name Dallas Cowboys who will be approaching the offseason looking for a new contract. Between, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys will have a lot of negotiating going on this offseason and will be handing out some big bucks.

Obviously, the one that we're most concerned about here in Cowboys Nation is what the Dallas Cowboys front office is going to do with Dak Prescott. Many fans and pundits aren't sold on Dak Prescott as a franchise quarterback, but he is a franchise quarterback and he's about to get paid like one.

Brace yourselves. 

Spotrac on Twitter

Updated Baseline Market Valuations for notable #Cowboys heading into 2019 Dak Prescott: $25.2M https://t.co/ShnCWjIJOM DeMarcus Lawrence: $19.6M https://t.co/3pekUoiVjQ Amari Cooper: $16.7M https://t.co/vPymDSdEeU Zeke Elliott: $9.4M https://t.co/mtFxTap892

Over The Cap is projecting the 2019 salary cap to be around $190 million this season, which would put Dak Prescott's projected salary figure of $25.2 million at around 13.2% of this season's salary cap. And percentage of the cap is the more important number to look at when judging Dak Prescott's figure. When Russell Wilson signed his four-year extension in 2015 that averaged out at $21.9 million per year, his contract took up 15.3% of the salary cap when signed. So yes, in total dollars, Prescott's salary will be higher, but in percent of the cap it will be lower. If you give Dak Prescott 15.3% of the projected 2019 salary cap, you’re looking at $29.07 million per year.

When Spotrac does their salary projections they attempt to find quarterbacks who have had similar careers to the player and use those players as a gauge for what the projection might be, including adjustments for the market rate for the position and the growing salary cap. So, Spotrac has Dak Prescott's career thus far comparable to Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton. Below, you can see the contract numbers for those players that Dak Prescott compares to and the age when they signed their deals.

That's an interesting mix of players.

What will a Dak Prescott Contract Extension Look Like

Let's also take a look at the top six quarterback contracts in the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys Offseason: Projection Dak Prescott's ExtensionLet's start first with Derek Carr, who has the sixth highest average annual pay rate at just over $25 million per year. He signed his deal two years ago in the 2017 offseason. Another contract I like to look at when attempting to figure Prescott's number is Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo got his deal from the San Francisco 49ers after only seven NFL starts (two with New England Patriots and five with the 49ers). His contract made him the fourth highest paid quarterback at $27.5 million per year. Again, after only seven NFL Starts.

Dak Prescott has 48 starts in the NFL regular season, and a career passer rating of 96. Of the top six quarterback contracts listed above, only Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo have a higher career passer rating than Dak Prescott. If you look at the top 10 quarterback contracts in the NFL now, only Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Jimmy Garoppolo have a higher career passer rating than Dak Prescott. You can argue that Prescott's teams have had more success than Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, and Derek Carr in his first three seasons. While QB Wins is not a stat that we should use to evaluate quarterback play, because you’re paying not only the production of Dak Prescott, but also the intangibles if Dak Prescott, you have to look at the wins.

The Dallas Cowboys have gone 32-16 in the regular season with Dak Prescott at quarterback and 1-2 with him in the playoffs. That, in only three years in the NFL. He's going to get better as a player. Even if you don't look at QB Wins, Dak Prescott has been as productive as those guys he's mentioned with, aside from Brees and Rodgers.

John Williams ✭ on Twitter

Dak Prescott's body of work as a 3-year starter is franchise QB level stuff. As @Marcus_Mosher pointed out on the @lockedoncowboys Podcast, Dak's last 15 games 4,100 total yards, 30 total TDs, 7 INTs. Y'all don't want to pay that? #CowboysNation

These comparisons below look at the two years before the quarterback signing their franchise quarterback contract. Here you see that Dak compares favorably to Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Kirk Cousins.

What will a Dak Prescott Contract Extension Look Like 1

 

As you can see above, over the last two years, Dak Prescott's averaged more passing yards per game, nearly as many touchdowns per game, fewer interceptions per game, and a comparable passer rating to Newton and Wilson in the two years before they signed their big contract extensions. His completion percentage That doesn't consider his play during the 2016 season in which he won rookie of the year as the starting quarterback for a team that went 13-3.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Derek Carr became the highest-paid player in NFL History after his third season. He signed a five-year, $125M extension. Here's his first three seasons next to Dak Prescott's.

RJ Ochoa, formerly of Inside The Star and now of Blogging the Boys, provided a nice comparison between Derek Carr and Dak Prescott in their first seasons in the NFL. When Derek Carr signed his contract, he became the highest paid player in NFL history.

The projection provided by Spotrac of $25.2 million is the floor as it would be just above Derek Carr's contract that he signed 2 years ago. It's entirely possible that Prescott signs a contract for more than Matt Ryan and could potentially become the highest paid quarterback in the NFL,  but I'm going to estimate that Dak Prescott receives a five-year deal for $145 million, which would give him $29 million per year.

Jerry Jones has been adamant over the course of the season about his desire to get a long-term contract done with Dak in the offseason. Jerry Jones is the owner and the general manager, so it's only a matter of time before Dak's representatives and the Cowboys front office hammers out the final numbers. Dak Prescott is going to get a big deal and bigger than many in Cowboys Nation want to give him. But the going rate for franchise quarterbacks in the NFL is that number that Jimmy Garoppolo signed.

More Salary Cap and Contract discussion here at Inside The Star

2019 Offseason Cap Casualties

2019 Dead Money Relief

Cowboys 2019 Cap Space: Who Stands to Gain the Most?

 



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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Fire Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Fire Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman

The theme of last year's offseason in Dallas was coaching changes below HC Jason Garrett, OC Scott Linehan, and DC Rod Marinelli, and not yet through a week of this offseason it appears to be the same now. The Cowboys today have moved on from Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman.

Like current ST Coordinator Keith O'Quinn, Colman was in his first season with the Cowboys. The former sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska held the same position with the Houston Texans for four previous seasons.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Small change on the #Cowboys coaching staff, as assistant special teams coach Doug Colman is out, source said. The only known change at this point.

With O'Quinn filling perhaps the biggest shoes left behind from last year, when Rich Bisaccia left the Cowboys after five seasons, the team has tentatively agreed they're struggles on special teams do not fall on the coordinator and will now be looking for a new assistant.

The Cowboys did successfully transition from Kicker Dan Bailey to Brett Maher, watching Bailey struggle with the Vikings as Maher finished 29 of 36 and six of seven on field goals of 50 or more yards. The always-steady Chris Jones averaged 44.5 yards a punt in 2018, up slightly from 44.1.

The return game is where Dallas struggled to find consistency. Deonte Thompson led the team in kick returns despite being released after eight games. Darius Jackson, Jourdan Lewis, and Cole Beasley all failed to make an impact from this spot once called upon - with Beasley and Tavon Austin also handling punt returns for an average of 5.7 yards a return.

With further upgrades at wide receiver being a pressing need for the Cowboys still, adding a dynamic returner should be of priority for both the current coaches and any new additions to the ST staff.

The Cowboys were also second to last in average kickoff return yards allowed this season, and 16th in punt coverage.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Fire Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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5 Potential Candidates Cowboys Could Target to Replace OC Scott Linehan

Brian Martin

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5 Potential Candidates to Replace Cowboys OC Scott Linehan

Should he go or should he stay!? That seems to be the question the Dallas Cowboys are asking themselves about their current Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Many of us would say it's an easy decision to make, but we really don't know what's going on behind closed doors.

The only thing we know for sure right now is Scott Linehan is still employed by the Dallas Cowboys and it might be a while before we know his fate with the organization one way or another. The Cowboys coaching staff, including Linehan, will coach the Pro Bowl in a little over a week, which is why any decision regarding Dallas' coaching staff will likely be delayed.

I know my opinion means little, but I have a hard time seeing Scott Linehan returning to the Dallas Cowboys next season. His playcalling has been pretty predictable and dated the past few years, plus there's the fact he was nearly fired earlier this season during the bye week. I don't think he's done much since then to improve his chances of sticking around. But, that's just my opinion.

That's why today I thought I'd share with you a few of the potential OC candidates I'd personally target if I were the Dallas Cowboys. Let's get started…

Tony Romo

Tony RomoHow elated would Cowboys Nation be if Tony Romo returned to the Dallas Cowboys as their next offensive coordinator. Everybody understands he doesn't have any formal coaching experience, especially in the NFL, but I seriously doubt that would matter.

No one would question his knowledge of the game, especially after hearing him break down the X's and O's first hand while he's commentating on game days. It's one of the reasons why he's grown in popularity as a commentator in such a short time.

Honestly, bringing in Romo as the OC could be the match made in heaven for the Cowboys. He already knows the system Jason Garrett likes to use offensively and his coaching philosophy. It would likely be a seamless transition, especially since he's already so familiar with the personnel. But, there's really no way of knowing if he's ready to leave his cushy commentating job to become a coach.

Todd Haley

Todd Haley

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

As much as I'd like to see Tony Romo make his return back to the Dallas Cowboys in a coaching capacity, bringing back Todd Haley to the organization would be a close second. He spent 2004-2006 with the Cowboys as their wide receiver coach before moving on to become the offensive coordinator for several teams (Cardinals, Steelers, Browns) and the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Unlike Romo, Haley has a proven track record as a play caller in the NFL. I personally like what he would bring to the table if made the new OC in Dallas. He is an aggressive play caller with a fiery attitude. I think his addition to the Cowboys offense could have the same kind of impact as Kris Richard's did to the defense this past season.

There is a downside about Haley though. He can be a bit abrasive with those he's working with. He's known for not always getting along with some of his players or with his coaching staff. It's one of the reasons why both he and Hue Jackson were fired this past season by the Cleveland Browns. I don't think it would be a problem with Dallas, but it is something to think about.

Eric Bieniemy

Eric BieniemyI'm grasping a little bit here because it would take quite a bit to lure Eric Bieniemy away from the Kansas City Chiefs, but it's not completely impossible. Jerry Jones would have to really put on his business hat to get Bieniemy's attention, especially after he was in the running for a few head-coaching jobs here recently. But, we all know how persuasive Jerry Jones can be when he wants to.

First off, the Dallas Cowboys would have to make Bieniemy their assistant head coach as well as their offensive coordinator. He is already the OC with the Chiefs, just not the playcaller. Andy Reid still handles those responsibilities. He does however handle the majority of the game planning, which is raved about because of his attention to detail.

His players have also raved about his personality and aggressiveness as a coach. This is something that has endeared Cowboys players to Kris Richard in a short amount of time and it could be the same if Eric Bieniemy comes aboard. Unfortunately, I think this is a longshot. He's probably is eyeing a head-coaching job that could come as soon as next season. Jason Garrett replacement?

Joe Lombardi

Joe LombardiJoe Lombardi, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, isn't on a lot of people's list as a potential offensive coordinator candidate, but probably should be. He does have one year of experience as an OC in the NFL, but that was with the Detroit Lions in 2014-2015 and we shouldn't count that against him. No play callers last long in Detroit since Matthew Stafford took over as their starting QB.

The reason I really like Lombardi as a potential Scott Linehan replacement is because of the time he spent with Sean Payton and Drew Brees in New Orleans. Minus the one year in Detroit, he's been with the Saints since 2007. The majority of that time was spent as the QB coach to one of the best ever played the game.

I've been trying to figure out a way to get Sean Payton back as a Cowboys coach for the past several seasons without any success. Turning to someone he's personally groomed could be the next best thing. He was there through all of Drew Brees' numerous passing records and his Super Bowl victory. He has also help develop Taysom Hill into the playmaker he's become this season. He could just be the guy to take Dak Prescott's game to the next level.

Doug Nussmeier (In-house Candidate)

Doug Nussmeier

Dallas Cowboys TE Coach Doug Nussmeier

If the Dallas Cowboys do indeed decide to move on from Scott Linehan, it doesn't necessarily mean they will look outside the organization for a new offensive coordinator. They could quite possibly already have his replacement on the team in Doug Nussmeier, who served as their tight end coach this season.

Nussmeier's coaching background mostly consist of him being a QB coach or offensive coordinator at the collegiate level. In fact, those are the only two coaching titles he's held throughout his career until this year when he became the Cowboys TE coach. I don't know about you, but I find that pretty impressive, especially after seeing Dallas' young tight ends progress through the season.

Promoting Nussmeier to OC would virtually be a seamless transition for everybody involved. He knows the system, the players, and has been involved in the game planning this past season. I don't know however if he would be an upgrade over Scott Linehan. The two have known one another for years and have worked together in the past. Not exactly a ringing endorsement in my opinion.

Do any of these Dallas Cowboys OC candidates intrigue you? If not who?



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