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Identity Crisis, Who Are These Cowboys?

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Identity crisis, who are these Cowboys?

One of the many problems I noticed with the Cowboys this past season was the fact that offensively they lacked an identity.

They definitely weren't a west coast offense. They weren't a smash mouth offense. They weren't necessarily a pass-happy team. They weren't a field position and time possession team. And, you really couldn't consider them a balanced attack.

If I had to define the offense, I would call it a big play or bust offense.

Unfortunately, too many times last season, it busted.

The Cowboys seem to rely too heavily on the big play, especially when passing. It seemed that their philosophy was look deep first and foremost, and then look underneath. Now, I love big plays as much as the next fan, but I'm realistic. That type of philosophy is doomed for failure.

This is not Madden.

With Garrett being the offensive coordinator, I find it curious that he would employ such a philosophy. I thought he would bring back a version of the timing-based offense that was in place in the 90's when the Cowboys had much success.

The playbook seems completely devoid of the slants, outs, comebacks, and deep slants that the Cowboys ran routinely when he was a backup quarterback. What is particularly troubling about that is the fact that the offensive personnel seem to be perfect for that type of offense.

Roy Williams is a big strong possession type of receiver. Miles Austin could possibly be that Alvin Harper type of receiver. Of course, Witten has drawn comparison to Novacek. And, Romo has the arm strength to make the throws.

The Cowboys still have the big offensive line. And while, they don't have an Emmitt, they do have three running backs who are pretty good in their own right.

Maybe, now that Owens is gone, Garrett will bring back some of the old Cowboys playbook.

It would be nice.

At least then they would have an identity.

The Wizard has spoken.



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7 Comments
  • mike

    Wiz you are going to see that offense this year. The traps with Felix and Choice . The ten or twelve yard out to Roy and the skinny post to Witten and Bennett. We still need some pieces to complete that package. A fullback ” a la Moose” to lead the runs or block the blitzing linebacker , a solid left guard “a la Larry or Nate ” and centre that can get the snap to the quarterback without it being another episode of adventure world. All three of these are fixable in the off season. Free agency is solidifying a lot of the defensive questions. Can we get a guard and fullback in the draft ? Sure can. Will the centre snap still be an adventure ? Probably. Well two out of three ain’t bad. Jason should be able to run his full offense. It should be fun.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    I’m hoping this will exactly be the case. Hopefully, without TO in his ear all the time, Garrett will now utilize all of the rest of the talent that’s on this team. We’ve already gotten good news that Felix probably start, now he just needs the touches. Swing passes, skinny outs, tosses, split him wide. Whatever it takes to get the ball in his hands. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the fact that Roy and Romo will be developing chemistry.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    That stuff with the bad snaps is BS … that’s probably the biggest non-personnel need this season, is communication on the field.

  • Shaun Wellman

    Defenses are constantly evolving and now contain athletes that would excel on either side of the ball. It’s time to move on and stop asking Garrett to try and re-create the offense of the early 90’s. Modern day defenses would shred that old version of Norv Turners I formation offense. Those days are over. Watch a Chargers game and you’ll see it for yourselves. Offenses also evolve and Garretts O is an evolved version of an offense designed by Don Corielle.

    The guy demanding the ball the most is gone.

    Balance is coming, and the athletes are already in place.

    Saying that “Witten has drawn comparisons to Novacek” is ridiculous considering that Witten has destroyed any and all single season and career bests stats that Novacek ever posted.

  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    Shaun … very true about Witten, and it’s just a sign of the changes you mentioned. Today’s NFL offense is a whole other game for TE’s compared to 15 and 20 years ago.

    This will be more balanced now with Owens out of the picture, but Garrett has some work to do. Recreating the offense of the 90’s would not only be difficult, as you said, it wouldn’t be effective. But there were times last year when this offense was firing on all cylinders and still got shut down because … it seemed … that the defensive backs knew where the ball was going.

    Constant mistakes is one thing, and is usually the fault of the players on the field, but the defense looking like they knew where the play was going from the snap falls on the coordinators shoulders. Owens affected that a bit with his demands for more balls, but I don’t think it was all him, and I don’t think it was all injuries either.

    Garrett has got to understand his players better, cause only then will he consistently put each player in a position to do their very best.

  • The Wizard

    I was in no way suggesting that Garrett dusts off the old 90’s playbook, that would be silly. But, even when you watch the Chargers, you see elements of those old plays. They have of course been updated as defenses have evolved.

    Last season, according to several defenders, the Cowboys had the easiest playbook to dissect. Even I could tell most of the time what the play was.

    My point was Garrett didn’t run plays that best suited his players. I don’t think that had anything to do with Owens or any player for that matter.

    Garrett simply did a poor job, that is it. Hopefully, this season he’ll learn from his mistakes and do better. If so, the Cowboys could have great success.

  • Shaun Wellman

    OK, I need to clarify my T.O. comment.

    What I meant was that with T.O. gone Garrett doesn’t have to focus so much on getting him the ball. That is why our offense started to look so vanilla.

    Garretts offense was so effective his first year because he ran first, which opened up the passing game, and then spread the ball to all the different weapons. Often the result was that alot of drives ended in big plays to T.O..

    In 07 T.O. had more yards and touchdowns, but Witten led the team in receptions. Crayton had a nice year moving the chains and Barber was more effective in the passing game.

    Their effectiveness at making every little play made it easier to make the big plays for 3/4 of the 07 season. There at the end of the 07 season it did seem like they were living and dying by the big play.

    Garretts success early in 07 has been his biggest obstacle late in 07 and all of 08.

    Ownership, fans and media all began to expect the big play, and so he keeps trying to give it to us. The more big plays T.O. made the more he kept calling for the ball.

    It did’nt work as well in 08 because in order to keep everyone happy (Jerry Joones and T.O.) he had try and find a way to get T.O. the ball more. The owner wanted it. The fans wanted it, and the media was happy to either cover it or T.O. complaining about the lack of it.

    Now that the talent level is more even, Romo will spread the ball around more which will balance out the passing attack.

    Don’t expect them to just plug Roy E into T.O.’s spot and keep doing the same shit. They don’t need him to.

    The three-headed monster we have now at tail back will give us back that balance between run and pass, which of course means a more balanced offense overall.

Dallas Cowboys

Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPN

John Williams

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A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 Playoffs 2
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has long been considered "The Worldwide Leader in Sports," and for a long time that title was justified. If you wanted your national sports news, where did you turn to but the cable sports channel to watch that day's episode of SportsCenter. But over the last few years, it's become more and more clear that it's "The Worldwide Leader" in name only.

The ratings are dropping and the network has had to make a lot of business decisions as it relates to much of their on-air talent over the last several years. With their latest under 25 starting 22 -- ahem, troll job -- they seem to have finally come to terms that they are basically First Take. 

Noah Brown put it best in his reaction to the ESPN "Insider" voting that led to Saquon Barkley being named to the starting 22 ahead of Ezekiel Elliott. Brown, Elliott's teammate when both were at Ohio State University, came to his defense upon seeing the list.

https://twitter.com/Nb_Eight5/status/1018940752787894277

And here is the ESPN list:

SportsCenter on Twitter

43 of our NFL Insiders voted. Here's their best starting roster under the age of 25.

I'm sure there could be debates about different positions on the squad. Personally, quarterback is one where an argument could be made for Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott over DeShaun Watson, but that's for another time.

But to have a rookie, who has never played a down in the NFL ahead of the NFL's league leader in rushing for 2016, Ezekiel Elliott, is laughable.

Ridiculous.

Shameful even.

The fact that they had 43, again I use the quotations, "Insiders" vote on this and Ezekiel Elliott wasn't listed as one of the two running backs just shows you how far they've come as a network.

Let's remember that Ezekiel Elliott has averaged a touchdown a game -- receiving and rushing -- in his 25-game career. No running back has more rushing yards than Elliott does over the last two years, including 2017 league rushing leader, Todd Gurley. No running back has more rushing touchdowns than Elliott's 22 rushing TDs.

Ezekiel Elliott's yards per carry is a healthy 4.63. Todd Gurley sits at 3.93. No player with more than 1,800 rushing yards over the last two years has a better yards per attempt than Ezekiel Elliott.

I get that you'd vote Todd Gurley in there, but to not have Ezekiel Elliott, arguably the game's best running back on your Under 25 starting 22 just makes you look like Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith. Not a sports journalism entity worthy of people throwing money at for "Insider" access.

I won't say that I never or will never watch ESPN, because where else am I gonna go for Monday Night Football, Todd Archer, or the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships? When I'm at my father-in-law's, I'll watch SportsCenter first thing in the morning, because it will be on and you don't change another man's television.

"The Worldwide Leader," however, loses credibility when they promote a list like this that has such a glaring omission.

Perhaps, maybe the goal wasn't to put out an accurate list. Maybe the goal was to get us talking about their list, just like when NFL Network releases their Top 100 players list. Like they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

This troll job from ESPN has certainly gotten them some publicity, or should I say, notoriety.



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Player News

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys, Elliott Should Keep Close Tabs on Le’Veon Bell’s Situation

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Elliott Should Be Keeping Close Tabs on Le'Veon's Situation
AP Photo / Don Wright

The deadline for reaching an agreement with franchise tagged players came to an end last Monday, in what turned out to be a pretty uneventful day all around the league. No agreement was reached by any of the teams with their respective players, including the Dallas Cowboys and their promising "War Daddy," DeMarcus Lawrence.

But the Cowboys' front office have something to learn in this process that doesn't involve a player of their own. Something that both the front office and Ezekiel Elliott should be keeping a close eye on.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also failed to secure their franchise tagged player: Running Back Le'Veon Bell. Really, no one expected a deal to be reached among the two parties. The 26-year old football super star is asking for too much money, which has led to the Steelers tagging him twice in consecutive years.

Bell, conscious of his abilities on the field, is asking for a lot of money from his football team. In 2018, he's set to earn over $14.5M under the tag. That's more than twice the money that Devonta Freeman averages per year - 8.25 million - who's next on the list of highest paid running backs in the league and the highest paid on a long-term contract.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Just to clarify: Steelers' offer to Le'Veon Bell last year averaged $13.3 million per year. Steelers' offer to him this year averaged $15 million per year. But Bell does not believe he should be paid as a RB; he believes he should be paid as an elite offensive weapon.

Le'Veon, whose agent has said 2018 will likely be his last season playing as a Steeler, was reportedly offered $15M per year but that wasn't enough for him. Bell wants to get paid as an elite offensive weapon, which he is. But it turns out he's also... a running back.

It's a complicated situation and one that, if it turns out well for him in free agency next year, could revolutionize the entire running back market in the NFL. If it doesn't, he might end up regretting passing on the Steelers' offer for he won't easily find that kind of money with a team that seems to be a Super Bowl contender on a yearly basis.

The Dallas Cowboys' priorities will rely on other players during the next couple of years, but that shouldn't keep them from keeping close tabs on these events since they could be dealing with a similar scenario when Ezekiel Elliott's turn for a new deal comes around.

Jerry Jones, Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, RB Ezekiel Elliott (Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

Fairly assuming that the fifth year option on Zeke's contract will be picked up after the 2018 season, locking him up through 2020, it's a problem that will be down the road for the Cowboys. But it will have to be dealt with at some point.

When his time is up, Elliott should undoubtedly be looking to become the highest-paid in the game, but the amount of money he gets will depend on the outcome of this whole Le'Veon-Steelers thing. David Johnson and Todd Gurley will also play an important role in determining the future of the running back market.

While Elliott hasn't been used as a receiving threat during his first two seasons in the league, he's still an elite offensive weapon for the Cowboys. The team's offense is based around Zeke and the running game, so it will make sense if his demands are somewhat similar from those by Bell.

Elliott might even be franchise tagged once or twice by the Cowboys if things get complicated in the future. Unlike DeMarco Murray in 2014, surely they won't be willing to let him walk in free agency once his contract comes to an end.

For now, it won't be just the Cowboys who will be keeping close tabs on this situation, but also Ezekiel Elliott and his agent. Hopefully, both parties will manage to handle things better than what we're seeing right now in Pittsburgh.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Elliott Should Keep Close Tabs on Le’Veon Bell’s Situation" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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