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Jerry Jones On Cowboys Need for “Unpredictability” in Dak-Friendly Offense

Sean Martin

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Jerry Jones Weighs in on Cowboys Need for "Dak-Friendly" Offense
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Scouting Combine is not only a critical part of the draft process for the prospects fortunate enough to perform in front of scouts, coaches, and general managers, but it is a great opportunity for the media to learn more about each team's mindset heading into free agency and the draft.

While the draft scout in me eagerly awaits meaningful post-Combine projections and analysis, it is always important to pay attention to what Jerry Jones has to say to the media at any time. The Cowboys may very well be in better hands with Will McClay and Stephen Jones in control of the roster, but Jerry did take the time to discuss the future of his football team in Indy - including his interpretation on what "Dak-friendly" truly means.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Dallas Cowboys bus parked in front of Lucas Oil Stadium where draft prospects are working out. Fan walking by yells: "Jerry Jones, come out, bro! I need that contract!

The Cowboys' offense failed to live up to any expectations this season. Overcoming Ezekiel Elliott's suspension, Tyron Smith's injuries, and inconsistent play from Dez Bryant along with the rest of the WRs simply proved too much for Dak Prescott to overcome in year two.

Arising from the disappointment of a 9-7 season in Dallas is the term "Dak-friendly" - nothing more than an equally simplistic approach to fixing this team's simple offense.

It is this simplicity under Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan that Jerry Jones hopes to change in 2018, which could easily be the last for this core of coaches should the Cowboys struggle once again.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

What does Dak-friendly mean to Jerry? An offense that makes him unpredictable.

Jones mentioned looking back at Prescott's production in a spread offense at Mississippi State to make his third-year quarterback more comfortable. Even before the Cowboys make as many as ten picks in this upcoming Draft, Cowboys Nation can run wild with options already on this roster to create more unpredictability.

Having Ezekiel Elliott on the field for 16 games should certainly open up this entire Cowboys offense, but opportunities for Zeke to catch passes from Prescott should increase. A backfield tandem that absolutely took the league by storm in 2016 will be out to prove that they're improved collectively, with Prescott and the Cowboys finding as many ways as possible to feature their star running back.

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer, Dez Bryant (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

From here, the Cowboys' passing game can complement their rushing attack, finding ways to involve second-year receivers Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown even more. Both players made the most of their limited opportunities as rookies, with Switzer flashing in the same ways he did at North Carolina - a young player with a chance to be one of the most explosive slot targets in the NFL.

These concepts match what Prescott himself has said about this offseason's buzzword, naming the Panthers and Chiefs as offenses he would like to emulate. I expanded on Dak's comments about those two teams in relation to the Cowboys being "Dak-friendly" here:

"The common theme throughout these teams is the simplicity they allow their quarterbacks to play with, scheming receivers open, utilizing backs to create mismatches both on the ground and through the air, and running their mobile QBs when needed."

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

Jerry Jones is many things to the Dallas Cowboys, and despite his dwindling impact on personnel decisions, it is indisputable that he is a Hall of Fame caliber businessman. Financially, the Cowboys have a window of opportunity to win their sixth Super Bowl while Prescott is still on his cheaper rookie contract.

Letting this past season slip away thanks to an inexcusable lack of execution on offense, Jones has already referred to the Cowboys' haul of draft picks as "ammunition" for a draft that Dallas will host in April.

With unleashing Dak Prescott on the NFL as their target, the Cowboys are going to use this ammo to build around their third-year quarterback even further.

Tell us what you think about "Jerry Jones On Cowboys Need for “Unpredictability” in Dak-Friendly Offense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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2 Comments
  • Mr. Jaguar

    Sean, very good article , regarding jerry’s assessment of the meaning of the Dak friendly offense and it’s concepts.

    This off season reminds me of the 1975 and 1991, seasons , when Coach Landry implemented the Shotgun into the Cowboys playbook, to help Roger Staubach in progression of reading defenses, by taking snaps away from the center, and utilizing the talents of RB Preston Pearson ability to separate from linebackers out of the backfield, in the passing game, which later open up the running lanes for Dorsett, in 1977.

    In 1991, Coach Johnson ‘s hiring of offensive coordinator NorvTurner, who implemented the time based offense schemes into the Cowboys playbook, that was geared toward the strengths of Troy Aikman, to throw place action to a spot, which opened up running lanes for Smith.

    Now Coach Garrett , is having offensive coordinator Linehan, devise more of the Mississippi State offensive concepts into the Cowboys playbook, to help Dak Prescott, in the passing game, that will eventually, open up the running lanes for Elliott.

    The former concepts into the Cowboys playbook, made both Staubach and Aikman from above average quarterback into a hall of fame quarterback. IMHO, I see the later, doing the same for Prescott. Just my two cents worth.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Well said all around, thank you so much for reading and commenting! There’s a lot of people that hope you’re right about this quarterback.

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Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases

This week, Stephen Jones discussed the difficulties of making a trade, saying "it just seems like in the NFL trades are hard to make, to make it all come together for two teams".

The two teams that could be lining up to change that are of course Jones' Cowboys as well as John Gruden's Oakland Raiders. Yet another Raiders player has been in the headlines as a trade target, 24-year old Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

WR-needy Cowboys doing their due diligence on Raiders' WR Amari Cooper: https://t.co/pE2wmrzCXu

Playing at the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys will have yet another reshuffled lineup at wide receiver, playing without Tavon Austin. Their biggest offseason addition to this unit was Allen Hurns, and he's been underwhelming with just eight catches.

Thus the Cowboys are reportedly doing their "due diligence" on Cooper, sensing the need for a mid-season acquisition at WR for the right price. The Cowboys ability to potentially find that price in a deal advantageous to them, given how the Raiders handled the departure of Khalil Mack in a trade to this Chicago Bears, is what makes this story relevant.

A lot has been said about Cooper since his name emerged as the latest player potentially out of the Bay Area. Whether you believe he's still an impact receiver with the potential to regain his Pro Bowl form of 2015 and 2016 or one that "doesn't love football," as some have been inclined to say, the former fourth overall pick represents an investment into the WR position that the Cowboys have not made in some time.

In those Pro Bowl seasons, Cooper averaged over 77 catches a season while putting up over 1,000 yards in both. The Raiders have used this to justify their reported asking price of a first-round pick for Cooper, something the Cowboys are not alone in their reluctance to give.

With Cooper, the Raiders are holding onto their last bit of relevancy. A reeling 1-5 football team that needs to maximize their return on trading Cooper, the Colts and Redskins are also following in the Cowboys footsteps by preparing as much as they can on the player.

Cooper has caught 22 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown through six games this season.

For as desperate as the Raiders are to jump-start their organization, the Cowboys should be just as desperate to add a threat like Cooper to their passing attack. Unlike the Raiders, they're in the hunt for a division title, something much harder to put a price on when it comes to the Jones' finalizing any deal for Cooper in the coming days.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 30th, at 3 PM Central Time. The Cowboys will be two days into their bye week, not in action again after Sunday until November 5th.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline" 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

How Will Cowboys Handle Sean Lee’s Return?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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REPORT: Cowboys LB Sean Lee to Miss Games with Hamstring Injury

For the first time in what feels like forever, the Dallas Cowboys' defense is still dominant without Sean Lee on the field. For many years, Lee's injuries have shown us the worst of this defense but finally that's not the case. Thanks to Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys should feel just fine without #50 wearing pads on gameday.

As the Cowboys get ready to play the Washington Redskins on the road in their quest for a winning record, Sean Lee is expected to return to the field. He was a full participant on practice on both Thursday and Friday and should make his way back to the field today.

But how much will he play?

Usually, we would be talking about this defense being desperate for his help. He's been rushed back to the field on many occasions simply because the team's linebackers weren't doing enough without him. This year though, the narrative is different.

Even before he got injured in week 3 playing against the Seattle Seahawks, Lee had been struggling. Now granted, he wasn't looking bad, but we were watching him miss a few tackles here and there which simply isn't something you'd expect from a player such as himself.

The rookie out of Boise State has made a really good job justifying why the front office decided to invest a first round pick on him. So far, Leighton Vander Esch has accounted for 49 tackles, 40 of which have been solo. The kid can play, period. He's done nothing but get better and better by the week and the snaps he's gotten replacing Lee have helped him a ton.

With the veteran returning, what's in store for this linebacker rotation?

Honestly, with the bye week so close, I think this will depend a lot on how this game starts off. If it comes to a point in which the Cowboys are comfortably leading and have no concerns of losing the match, why not rest Lee as much as possible?

It's clear that the defense is far from desperate for having #50 back on the field and it's also clear that Lee is a player who could get injured at any given time.

Thanks to Smith's and Vander Esch's play, the Cowboys can afford to limit Lee's snaps versus the Redskins today. Rest him as much as possible and throw him on just a few plays out there. Lee has suffered injuries on both hamstrings, which is another reason to take it slow with his return.

If they're able to limit him today and then take advantage of the upcoming bye week it could pay Lee big dividends down the road. Dallas needs to realize they're in a very comfortable position regarding Sean Lee. They have the option to take things slow.

Not only that but once he's healthy, he doesn't have to be on the field every single snap. It might be hard getting used to watching Lee slowly become a "situational" player because he's so good to be only played on specific situations but that might be the way to make his availability improve.

It will be interesting to see how they handle the situation starting today as Lee is slated to play football against an NFC East rival.

Tell me what you think about "How Will Cowboys Handle Sean Lee’s Return?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Big Return on Special Teams?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars

The last time the Dallas Cowboys played a football game, they made many of their fans' dreams come true. This happened by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-7 in a dominant performance against a top NFL defense. Can they make our wishes come true in back-to-back weeks? I don't know about walking away with another 33-point win, but we're obviously putting up a Cowboys Wishlist as every gameday.

Let's hope they come true. As always, I hope you enjoy this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist!

Wish #1: First Road Win of the Season

I mean, we obviously are wishing for a win. But this one right here would be a very important one, so I'm including it as a wish. The Cowboys haven't won any game on the road this year and doing so in Washington against a hated NFC East rival like the Redskins will be huge for this 3-3 Dallas Cowboys team.

Last Sunday's victory over the Jaguars might have been the moment when the Cowboys "turned the corner" to become a winning team in 2018. It's time to go on the road and beat a 3-2 divisional foe to prove that is the case.

Wish #2: Beasley Keeps It Up

The Cowboys' MVP last weekend was Cole Beasley. He was the only wide receiver on the team with more than one catch, ending his day with nine receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns. It was one of the best performances in his career yet.

The Cowboys need a WR to step up. Other than Cole, no one else is stepping up in the passing game. Beasley did so last Sunday but, can he consistently perform well enough to keep the offense going throughout the year? It remains to be seen.

For the long term, it might be better to have an outside, taller receiver be your #1 guy, but in the meantime, Beasley is the guy Dak Prescott should be targeting the most.

Lookout Deshaun Watson, QB Sack Leader DeMarcus Lawrence is Coming!

Wish #3: The Sack Hat Trick

Ok, I might be asking for too much here. But hear me out. The Dallas Cowboys defensive line is getting stronger and stronger. Just last week, David Irving returned to the field and got limited playing time. Although he didn't get a sack, his impact was felt since his first snap on the field.

Randy Gregory also saw limited playing time but was able to sack Blake Bortles once. And well, DeMarcus Lawrence is still playing at an elite level this year. How epic would it be for each of these three great pass rushers walk away with a sack?

Three headhunters, three sacks. Let's go!

Wish #4: Keep Redskins Under 10 Points

The Cowboys' defense is no joke. They're allowing 17.2 points per game, which is second best in the entire NFL right now. They're ready to face a Redskins' team that is ranked as the 25th offense in scoring. On top of that, the Redskins' receivers are pretty banged up.

Jon Machota on Twitter

3 of Washington's top 4 receivers (Chris Thompson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder) not expected to play vs. Cowboys https://t.co/9uOkA7Pzhv

This could end up being the second consecutive big win for the Cowboys, specially because the defense should have a very good day.

Wish #5: Big Return on Special Teams

The last time the Dallas Cowboys played the Washington Redskins, Ryan Switzer returned a punt 83 yards into the end zone in what will remain his biggest highlight from his short career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist at Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

We haven't seen much excitement on special teams this year. Switzer is now a Pittsburgh Steeler, so Tavon Austin has gotten most of the punt returns. However, that's bound to change after he sustained an unfortunate injury. Deonte Thompson has taken care of the kick returns but nothing special has happened either.

I wish that changes today. With Austin out, I wonder if it'll be Cole Beasley or someone else fielding punts for Dallas but whoever it is, things will be spiced up. Through 6 weeks, the Cowboys longest punt return has been for 22 yards and the longest kick return for 35.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Big Return on Special Teams?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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