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Is Dak Prescott’s Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

As the final whistle sounded last Sunday with the coming away victorious over your , it was pretty clear there were a lot of things wrong with the . Many pointed to and the play calling. Others to the . Others to . And others to the wide receivers.

There was plenty of blame to go around in an offensive performance that left struggling for answers. Simply put, there wasn't much good from that side of the football in their 16-8 loss. 

Well, as this week has gone on in preparation for the Sunday night, there have been answers to questions from within the organization that make me, an outsider, feel really awkward about the relationships inside the organization. Particularly on the offensive side of the football. 

There was this from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan responding to 's critique of a lack of creativity in the play calling of Linehan.

“People have their own opinions. It's hard to be super creative when you're having loss-yardage plays, to be honest with you. But I thought we had some really good stuff for the game that we couldn't use. But he's entitled to whatever he has about that. It's our job to go out and show him that we have some stuff that maybe he'll be impressed with.”

Scott Linehan – via Jon Machota, Sports Day DFW

Then this from . 

With Dak Prescott speaking to the media on Thursday, some interesting nuggets of information came out about the communication that takes place on game day between Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, Quarterback Coach , and Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Namely Dak described Kellen Moore as a “mediator” between the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.

“Kellen, I guess you call him the mediator at that point, when I come to the sideline. Me and him talk about what we saw and then he gets on the headset and he’s talking with Linehan. Then he’ll get back to me with what Linehan’s thinking with the plays and stuff that we’re working towards, so it’s been great.”

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback

Count 1310 The Ticket's Bob Sturm as one of many confused by Dak's statement about Moore as the go between.

It's becoming clear that there is a huge disconnect between the play caller and his quarterback and this disconnect is affecting everyone on the offensive side of the ball.  

Everyone, after one week, appears to be placing blame on someone else, which is really odd to me. Normally, when a unified group of players is asked a question that may lead to finger-pointing, they don't really answer the question.

Above, you can see that Hurns basically said, it wasn't the wide receivers' fault. Linehan, reacting to Troy Aikman's comments about the lack of creativity in the offense, placed the reason for the lack of creativity on the players. And Dak Prescott appears to allude to a really odd communication structure.

It has me wondering, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, if there is a trust issue with the Dallas Cowboys offensive staff and players.

Trust is a very important aspect of any group of people who work together to meet a common goal. Football is no different. As far as team sports go, the NFL requires a strong sense of trust and commitment to one another to make the intricacies of an NFL offense work.

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Oct 8, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) congratulates wide receiver (11) after a touchdown in the first quarter at . Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman- Sports

The coach has to trust that the player he's calling the plays for. If the play caller doesn't trust the players to execute, he's going to be much more conservative than he should be. A play caller who trusts his players will allow them to play and will be aggressive in his game planning and play calling. 

The player has to trust that the play caller is putting the player(s) in the best position possible to succeed. If the players don't trust the play caller, they aren't going to buy in to the offensive scheme. If they don't buy in to the offensive scheme then there may not be the necessary effort put in to see the scheme succeed. 

From the outside looking in, the relationship between quarterback and play caller seems fractured.  It's not a good sign for the relationship of the two men tasked with guiding this offense that there is a mediator involved in their communication. If there is an issue in the relationship that is leading to poor communication, then the Dallas Cowboys structure — , , and — need to make a change to better enhance offensive communication.

They aren't going to change quarterbacks at this point in the season. The move they can make that Jason Garrett appears unwilling to make, is changing who calls the plays. If the relationship between Linehan and Prescott is such that Kellen Moore needs to act as “mediator,” then the time has come to change the play caller. Whether it's Moore who takes the reigns or Garrett who returns to calling plays, the change may need to be made soon to salvage this season. 

Trust is a very valuable resource in any organization. It's the reason that Jason Garrett has remained head coach for as long as he has. The ownership trusts him. 

The lack of trust that appears to exist between Dak Prescott and Scott Linehan is something that not only hurts their relationship, but the chemistry with the entire offense. 

Football may be the greatest team sport in the world. And as such it requires a high level of chemistry . It requires everyone on offense and  buying into their respective schemes and trusting each other to execute those schemes. 

Obviously a win against the Giants would go a long way toward healing whatever wounds exist between Prescott and Linehan. A loss however could potentially deepen a divide between the quarterback and his coordinator.

John Williams
John Williamshttps://anchor.fm/inside-the-cowboys
Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Sexcdex Xfact

To me, Dak Prescott played worst of all position groups
But it’s not by a landslide however

Without knowing WR / TE assignments I can’t say but his targets were open
They did get separation

Yet how many times have receivers been wide open yet on a different page than the receiver ?

Then the O line played just as poorly as Dak did
They caused 4 holding/illegal block calls backing them up & nullifying some of the executions made by Prescott, receivers, & RB’s

Even the defense caused poor field position with a rtp flag
&
Not getting off the field on 3rd downs while also exhibiting very poor tackling from even our best defender & defensive captain Lee

Why certain personnel were not played, play more & utilized differently, I don’t know

Why did we abandon the run when we only lost by 8 pts, AGAIN I don’t know

We beat ourselves & I will say we had good enough playcalling to win

I can also say had it not been for penalties, we would’ve sustained drives longer which would’ve yielded better field position

Missed int/fumble recovery opportunities also would’ve improved but chances drastically

Just can’t see all this continuing at the same level & with the same consistency

I see ‘s turnaround for better & foresee a not do surprising win
We are favored & pending we remain healthy, I’m projecting a decisive victory

This is a very young team, newly constructed, & coaching + players must gel
Chemistry is vital in this league

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