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Identity Crisis, Who Are These Cowboys?



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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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