Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Playoff Primer: Dallas Cowboys Quarterbacks

Sean Martin

Published

on

Dak Prescott

We've looked at every position across the board for the Cowboys' loaded offense in this Playoff Primer series so far, and now it is time to talk about the most important position - the quarterbacks.

The story of the Cowboys' quarterbacks in 2016 has been unprecedented, as Dallas will remarkably enter the postseason with the league's best quarterback situation.

Dak Prescott has the keys to this 13-3 car, two wins away from a trip down the street to Houston for Super Bowl LI. Tony Romo will back him up, and Mark Sanchez will serve as the veteran QB3.

New year, new quarterback situation. It is time for Playoff Primer - the quarterback edition!

Dak Prescott, Packers

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott

In a week 6 meeting against the Green Bay Packers on the road, Prescott completed 18 passes on 27 attempts for 247 yards. He did throw his first career interception against the team he will now face in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, but Prescott got the win behind two scoring passes to Cole Beasley and another to Brice Butler.

So here we are as Cowboys Nation with this earth-shattering rookie as our quarterback in the playoffs.

Dak Prescott is the first rookie QB to lead his team into the playoffs as the starter since a trio of first-year signal callers in 2012. While Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck were first round picks with high expectations, Russell Wilson's rookie season had a similar feel to Prescott's - as he stayed within himself to bring an immensely talented team to the big dance.

The biggest difference between the 2012 Seahawks and the 2016 Cowboys is this though. The best overall unit on Seattle was their defense, which kept Wilson from having to "save the day" too often. Dallas' biggest strength is Dak Prescott's offense, and he has executed it for Scott Linehan almost perfectly.

The playoffs should be no different, as I fully expect Prescott to remain the cool, calm, collected, and poised quarterback that has distributed the ball to his targets on high-percentage throws all season long.

The story of whatever team comes out of the NFC is going to be written through their quarterback, and the big throws that will decide close games. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, or Dak Prescott is going to represent this conference in the Super Bowl. When you stack up Prescott with these other experienced QBs, his task may seem daunting, but we said the same when he was charged with the task of simply keeping the Cowboys relevant until Tony Romo was healthy.

Dak Prescott benched Tony Romo by going on to win 13 games, and his rookie campaign isn't over yet. No truly intimidating passing defenses remain in his way, and his cast of play makers' desire to step up for him will be at an all time high.

Tony Romo

Ah yes, Tony Romo. The best thing Romo could have done for the Cowboys this season was give the speech he did to "concede" the starting QB job in full to Prescott before a week 11 home game against the Ravens.

Sure, it hurt to watch, and I even had a professor make me watch it in the middle of a classroom while wearing Romo's jersey, but nothing can keep Cowboys fans down when America's Team is 13-3, which they are thanks in large part to Prescott.

It certainly was amazing to see Romo execute a flawless touchdown drive in the season finale against the Eagles, which reassured a fact that many already believed - Tony Romo is without a doubt the best backup quarterback in the NFL.

If he is needed this postseason, emotions are going to be running wild. Either Dak Prescott was injured or wildly ineffective, or maybe Romo is taking a snap in victory formation in front of a rowdy silver and blue crowd.

Whatever the situation may be, we know that Jason Garrett potentially has a lottery ticket in the QB that largely deserves a ton of credit for making him the coach he is today. Tony Romo can take this Dallas Cowboys team to the Super Bowl.

Your backup quarterback probably can't? We cannot relate.

Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez cannot take the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl. Simply put, we do not want to see Mark Sanchez take any real snaps this postseason. Sanchez's most recent action against the Eagles - albeit behind a backup offensive line - was a painful reminder of what happened to the Cowboys' offense in 2015 with backups that were simply not up to speed with the scheme.

Dak Prescott is the perfect blend between a scheme fit for Dallas, and a quarterback that has also changed this team's scheme to his strengths for the better. Tony Romo is Dallas' offensive scheme. Mark Sanchez is just a guy hoping to get a Super Bowl ring, far removed from the signal caller that led the New York Jets to consecutive AFC Championship games in his first two seasons.

If #3 is playing in the next few weeks, the Dallas Cowboys won't be winning three 2016 playoff games.


It is game week here at Inside The Star! The Cowboys host the Packers with a trip to the NFC Championship Game on the line this Sunday.

To get Cowboys Nation ready, I'll be shifting this Playoff Primer series over to the defense throughout the week.

Tell us what you think about "Playoff Primer: Dallas Cowboys Quarterbacks" 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.

Advertisement
Comments

Dallas Cowboys

Despite Changes, Cowboys Offense Still Runs Through Ezekiel Elliott

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Ezekiel Elliott, Rams

We've talked a lot this offseason about the changes at Offensive Coordinator and slot receiver, or how Jason Witten's return will impact the tight end position. But while all of these will impact the Dallas Cowboys' offense in 2019, the constant feature remains Running Back Ezekiel Elliott and the rushing attack.

From 2016 to 2018, since the Cowboys drafted Elliott, Dallas has ranked 1st, 3rd, and 10th among NFL teams in "run vs. pass" play calls. That's only logical; you don't spend a fourth-overall pick on a RB and then not make him the featured player in your offense.

Zeke has certainly rewarded Dallas' decision; Elliott has led the league in total rushing two out of three years, and he led in yards-per-game in 2017 while dealing with his suspension.

Leaning on Elliott has been smart business based on his effectiveness, plus the investment in the offensive line over the last several years.

Dallas has now sunk three first-round picks (Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin), one second (Connor Williams), and now two thirds (Chaz Green and Connor McGovern) on building up their front wall. They've spent a lot of money to keep their All-Pro guys around, plus La'el Collins.

Some would try to paint the run-heavy approach as how the team is trying to hide the weaknesses of Dak Prescott at quarterback. But in 2014, with DeMarco Murray at RB and Tony Romo at QB, the Cowboys were still 3rd in the league in rush vs. pass attempts.

This isn't about Zeke or Dak, or any other specific player. This about a team philosophy that starts at the top with Jason Garrett, and that isn't going to change even with Kellen Moore taking over as the new Offensive Coordinator.

Dallas Cowboys: Ranking Top 5 Most Indispensable Players 4

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

We're all excited to see what new wrinkles comes from getting rid of Scott Linehan. We highly anticipate the development of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in the offense, coupled with the addition of Randall Cobb. We're salivating at what Blake Jarwin might become under the tutelage of the great Jason Witten.

Heck, maybe we'll see fullback Jamize Olawale's receiving skills put to more use. Perhaps gadget guys like Tavon Austin or rookie Tony Pollard will be deployed in more creative ways.

And yes, Dak Prescott's growth is another major factor in Dallas' 2019 success. It's especially interesting, and even concerning, as talks are ongoing about his long-term contract.

But make no mistake, this is still the Ezekiel Elliott show. Even if a few more of his carries become receptions in Moore's scheme, Zeke should still get the lion's share of the touches.

That's why this week's news about his incident in Las Vegas is so troubling. It probably won't lead to a suspension, but we saw what happened in 2017 when Elliott was missing for over a third of the season.

While Dallas should be better able to withstand losing Zeke now than it was two years ago, it may still be more than Prescott, Cooper, and the rest could handle. It definitely wouldn't put the Cowboys in good position to compete for a Super Bowl.

In the end, the 2019 will still come down to how well Dallas runs the ball. It's the engine; nothing else matters if the rushing game doesn't set everyone else up for success.

Don't ever take it for granted. This is still Ezekiel Elliott's offense.



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

What Would a Successful Season Mean for Kellen Moore’s Future?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Kellen Moore

Out of every chess piece moved by the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, the decision to name 30-year old Kellen Moore might be the most interesting one. Not only that, but it could be the one that makes the biggest impact on the team. After all, the Cowboys are ready to go talent wise.

With Kellen Moore taking up a new role, it's intriguing to imagine what a successful season would mean for his future with the Dallas Cowboys. Truth be told, Moore is in a pretty fortunate position to debut as an offensive coordinator. He'll be driving a unit full of talented players with almost no weak links. Last year, it wasn't the lack of quality players lined up that had the offense struggling throughout the season, but the guy in charge.

At first, the philosophy of not needing a #1 wide receiver clearly blew up on the Cowboys face. The passing game in Dallas needed a spark and they didn't find it until they traded a first rounder for Amari Cooper. Cooper's impact on the team was clear right away as he put on impressive performances on a weekly basis.

But even when Cooper was at his best, the offense still presented relevant struggles. Despite getting more first downs, the Cowboys still had trouble scoring touchdowns when in the red zone and kept leaving points on the field.

Although he's been a controversial conversation among members of Cowboys Nation, there are a few reasons to be excited about what Kellen Moore can bring to the table as a young offensive coordinator. Ever since he declared for the NFL Draft out of Boise State, where he ran a very complex offense on his way to become the QB with most wins in NCAA history, he was seen by many as an extremely smart prospect. Many expected him to have a mediocre career as a player, but saw him as a potential coach down the line.

Now it's his chance to prove the world just how smart he is and his potential as a coach. He will not only be proving it to the Cowboys organization, but all of the NFL and college football teams. Don't forget what NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah mentioned a few months ago.

Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter

I've mentioned this before- Kellen Moore is a rising star and he'll be in the mix for HC gigs (CFB or NFL) in the near future. https://t.co/hLjOb4HAUc

With a great group of talent at his disposal, it's fair to imagine Moore having a pretty successful "rookie" season at a major coaching position. If he indeed manages to turn heads with the Dallas Cowboys offense in 2019, what does that mean for his future?

In a league that's turning to the young offensive-minded coaches thanks to guys like Sean McVay, is it possible one team decides to pull the trigger and make him an offer for a head coaching gig? It certainly would seem premature, but it's still a possibility in the NFL, where teams have become increasingly impatient with their coaches.

I definitely wouldn't be surprised if next offseason, we're concerned about another team (college or NFL) trying to snatch Moore off the Cowboys. I insist in pointing out this would be a premature decision if it does happen, since Moore has very little experience, but looking at the trend in the NFL it certainly could happen.

This might be the most important year in Kellen Moore's young career. For now, let's hope he does a good job leading Dak Prescott in his fourth year as a professional player and an offense that has a solid OL and a pretty good set of skill players.

Tell me what you think about "What Would a Successful Season Mean for Kellen Moore’s Future?" 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!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Connor Williams Working as Left Tackle in Cowboys Practice

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Connor Williams

Second-year guard Connor Williams has been working as the Cowboys' left tackle during practice this week. While this isn't the plan for him in 2019, it does provide a glimpse into potential uses for Williams down the road and how Dallas might handle future offensive line moves.

Using Connor at LT this week has been a matter of necessity. The top players on that depth chart, Tyron Smith and Cameron Fleming, were not participating for other reasons.

Todd Archer on Twitter

With Tyron Smith getting a vet day and Cam Fleming not practicing because of a bruised shin, Connor Williams worked at left tackle Wednesday. He said it was his first left tackle snaps since he was at Texas. He said it felt like riding a bike after a little bit.

Indeed, Williams spent three years at left tackle in college. It was the last position he'd played before being drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by Dallas, who immediately moved him to guard.

Connor started 10 of 13 games at guard last season. He played mostly on the left side, starting Weeks 1-9, before getting injured. Xavier Su'a-Filo played well enough in his absence that Williams didn't get the starting job back when he was healthy. However, when Zack Martin had to miss a few games at the end of the year, Connor started a right guard for those two weeks.

When Martin returned for the playoffs, Williams was back as the starting left guard in both postseason games.

Tyron Smith and Cam Fleming will be your starter and backup at left tackle next year. But for 2020 and beyond, Connor Williams' ability to play tackle creates some interesting possibilities.

La'el Collins will be an unrestricted free agent next year. Fleming will still have one year left on his deal and Dallas just spent a third-round pick on the versatile Connor McGovern. Throw in that Williams can play some tackle, and it seems as if they're covering bases for Collins eventual departure.

We could very well see a starting lineup in 2020 with McGovern at LG and Williams at RT. Another possibility is that Fleming starts at RT and Williams stays at guard, but can be moved to tackle if needed.

If nothing else, it's nice to know that Dallas has options. We may never see Connor Williams play a regular season snap at left tackle, but versatility is a great asset. It can greatly increase a player's value, and give his team some leverage and flexibility in roster management.

For the Cowboys, it does make you wonder what the future holds for the offensive line.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending