in

LikeLike LoveLove AngryAngry

Struggles on Offense Continue for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys Offense

The Dallas Cowboys were able to take a massive step forward in securing the NFC East with their win against the Washington Football Team on Sunday. The Cowboys now lead the division by three games with four to play.

That should make Cowboys fans feel warm and cozy inside. The fact of the matter, though, is that even though the Cowboys have won back-to-back games and are on the verge of clinching the NFC East, half the team is not doing their part.

The side of the ball that is failing the Cowboys is what has everyone all stirred up. It is not the Dallas defense that is letting down the team, but instead, it’s the Dak Prescott-led offense that is stuck in a rut.

Can you imagine in August of this year if someone were to tell you the Dallas defense is carrying the team? You might have thought that person was talking in a different language, but alas, that is where the Cowboys are.

The defense is finally healthy, and they are balling out. Since week nine, per rbsdm.com, the Cowboys defense ranks fourth in EPA/play (-0.139), fourth in success rate (38.5%), third in dropback EPA (0.202), and first in dropback success rate (36.9%).

The Dallas defense has tallied eight turnovers in its last two games, and that is why the Cowboys have won back-to-back games for the first time since the calendar hit November.

On the other hand, the Cowboys’ offense is a whole different story. Dallas is winning despite the offense. Over the last three games, the offense is converting just 27.7% of their third downs and scoring touchdowns on just 36.36% of their red-zone trips. Both rank 31st in the league over that time frame.

Since week nine, per rbsdm.com, the Dallas offense is ranked 25th in EPA/play (-0.079), 30th in success rate (38.4%), 23rd in dropback EPA (-0.039), and 26th in dropback success rate (41.4%).

The rushing production has been even worse. The offense ranks 27th in rush EPA (-0.164) and 29th in rushing success rate (32.1%) since week 9.

The offense looks stagnant and predictable, eerily reminiscent of the Jason Garrett era. So, the play-calling has been called into question for a good reason.

On Sunday against Washington, the Cowboys seemed to get in a pattern, first down incompletion or ineffective run, short second-down run, and screen pass on third down. It was frustrating for the entire Cowboys fan base.

There seems to be no creativity out of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The offense looks stale and out of sync, and he’s not doing anything to spice things up or make things easier on the players. Moore calls plays where there is motion at the snap at an alarmingly low rate.

Seth Walder on Twitter: “Overdue for a team motion update! First number is motion at snap, second one is all pre-snap motion.Data via @ESPNStatsInfo’s video tracking team. pic.twitter.com/HVzlOUxaMV / Twitter”

Overdue for a team motion update! First number is motion at snap, second one is all pre-snap motion.Data via @ESPNStatsInfo’s video tracking team. pic.twitter.com/HVzlOUxaMV

It is a fact utilizing pre-snap motion, particularly motion at the snap, positively impacts the offense, yet Moore remains hesitant. It is a huge head-scratcher, and Moore is not adapting or adjusting, and it is becoming a detriment to the team.

Seth Walder on Twitter: “Motion at snap on pass plays: continues to rise, albeit at lower levels than run plays, but the edge remains. Motion at snap pass plays have accrued .08 EPA/P more than non motion at snap pass plays. pic.twitter.com/b38XvlCjQK / Twitter”

Motion at snap on pass plays: continues to rise, albeit at lower levels than run plays, but the edge remains. Motion at snap pass plays have accrued .08 EPA/P more than non motion at snap pass plays. pic.twitter.com/b38XvlCjQK

Kellen Moore also stubbornly relies on the run game on early downs, even though it has proven ineffective. Over the past six weeks, running the ball has worked 27.3% of the time on early downs, yet Dallas ranks in the league’s top half in early-down run rate. That is questionable decision-making.

Reid D Hanson on Twitter: “On early downs the Dallas Cowboys passing game has a 12.3% higher success rate and a .163 higher EPA than the running game over the past 3games. Even in a slump passing the ball early is the lower risk/higher reward option. #StopEstablishingTheRun #CowboysNation #DC4L pic.twitter.com/5VT4vUL5Yv / Twitter”

On early downs the Dallas Cowboys passing game has a 12.3% higher success rate and a .163 higher EPA than the running game over the past 3games. Even in a slump passing the ball early is the lower risk/higher reward option. #StopEstablishingTheRun #CowboysNation #DC4L pic.twitter.com/5VT4vUL5Yv

When asked about the struggles on offense, Moore acknowledged the dip in play.

Jon Machota on Twitter: “Cowboys OC Kellen Moore talked today about the ups and downs of an NFL season, acknowledging that the offensive struggles are “certainly a little bit too much of a dip.”When asked about Dak Prescott’s recent play, Moore said as OC he needs to do a better job calling the game. / Twitter”

Cowboys OC Kellen Moore talked today about the ups and downs of an NFL season, acknowledging that the offensive struggles are “certainly a little bit too much of a dip.”When asked about Dak Prescott’s recent play, Moore said as OC he needs to do a better job calling the game.

The Dallas offensive line is not doing the offense any favors either. Dallas is ranked 22nd in pass block win rate with a win rate of 57%. Connor McGovern has struggled since he was named the starter at left guard. Tyron Smith has missed most games since the bye week due to injury. It just has not been pretty for this unit.

They have also had problems opening running lanes as of late. In the last seven games, the offense averages only 4.1 yards per carry, compared to 5.08 yards per carry in the games before the bye week.

The biggest thing that may be hampering the offense’s play is the play of quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott has not looked like himself since his return from injury in week nine against the Denver Broncos.

Prescott looked awful on Sunday against Washington and almost threw them back in the ball game.

Dov Kleiman on Twitter: “Dak Prescott throws a pick-6 to keep #WFT alive, what was he thinking? with under 5-min leftpic.twitter.com/oUKKMj1yOY / Twitter”

Dak Prescott throws a pick-6 to keep #WFT alive, what was he thinking? with under 5-min leftpic.twitter.com/oUKKMj1yOY

Fortunately, the Dallas defense came to play and ended any notion of a comeback attempt very quickly.

Jerry Jones was asked about Prescott and responded with, “I don’t want to say (it’s a) slump, but that’s probably fair. It’s such a multifaceted evaluation. I would say that our offense is definitely away from where we were 5-6 weeks ago… Yes, he is (healthy). He’ll figure it out.”

Per rbsdm.com, Since Prescott’s return in week nine, out of a total of 34 quarterbacks with 100 or more plays, he ranks 29th in EPA + CPOE Composite (0.019), 26th in EPA/play (-0.033), 29th in success rate (41.5%), 27th in CPOE (-3.4).

That is not going to get the job done for this team. Despite all that is happening around Prescott regarding offensive line issues, wide receivers missing time, and banged-up running backs, he needs to perform better, way better.

After the game on Sunday, Prescott said, “We’ve created these expectations and high standards and we have them for ourselves. So I mean just as much as the outside world isn’t pleased, we’re not.”

We will find out if Prescott and the offense can pick up the slack and revert to form over the next four weeks before the playoffs begin. Next up will be the New York Giants, who just gave up 37 points to the Chargers and three passing touchdowns to Justin Herbert.

It certainly looks like an excellent spot for Prescott to gain some confidence going forward.

What do you think?

Avatar

Written by Kevin Rice

I'm a 32 year old life long Cowboys fan from New York. It's fun growing up in enemy territory. College basketball and March Madness fanatic. Lover of thrillers and comedies. Follow me on twitter @CowboysCC9

10 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Just something to think about: Think back a couple of weeks ago our offense couldn’t be stopped our team chemistry was great! Who were the staring WR ‘s ? AC,CD,and CW. We have to admit that we have not been the same offense after CW has not been in the line up! I know it sounds crazy but that is just fact!! Hopefully we can regain our moxie and get this thing heading in the right direction!! One other thing it always seems to me that Dak plays better and our offense is better when we are playing fast !!

  2. Think back then CF Ed that that was back before Dak’s calf injury he suffered at the end of the Pats game, I think it’s just a coincidence that we ain’t doing good wo Ced

    Even with the injury, or if by some reason it is Ced, or are we seriously gonna blame a QB Coach ? Those are no good excuse for a 40 mill QB, which
    is i believe the 2nd or 3rd highest contract in the nfl currently, he’s just got to play better.

  3. It’s funny how when things go wrong, ppl will blame everyone but Dak, even going as far as it’s on Moore, or a QB coach, i think most of everybody LOVED KELLEN MOORE BEFORE, but now it’s a different story cuz we aren’t doing good smh

    those guys can only do so much for Dak, he’s the one throwing the balls that are getting picked, and don’t you guys forget that

  4. You can’t blame the whole offensive problems on Dak…. He has been different since he came back from the calf injury, but so has the offense as a whole!! Different receivers in and out of the games, different offensive linemen starting, there were a couple games where they thought it was a good idea to keep rotating offensive linemen, and everybody knows that’s not a good idea on the offensive side of the line!! And as much as I hate to say it, but the offensive line has been a mess since we took Connor Williams out and started Connor McGovern!! I thought Connor McGovern would be the better player, but apparently I was wrong about that!! Connor Williams got benched for a good reason, but I’m beginning to think those penalties are better off than having Connor McGovern in the starting lineup!! Our offense has been struggling as a whole since Connor McGovern has been starting, not since Cedric Wilson hasn’t been playing (c f Ed)!! And like I said above, I’m sure playing with different receivers in and out of the games every week has something to do with it too, but Dak can’t go through his reads and he can’t stay in the pocket safely, and he can’t make good throws if the offensive line can’t protect him and he’s running for his life the whole game!! They need to fix that line, and it starts by putting Connor Williams back in as the starter and keeping La’el Collins in as the starting RT the whole game without rotating him and Steele!! We do that and I guarantee our offense will play better and Dak will also play better!!

  5. Agree TUTX88, the excuses just keep on coming for DP.

    The coaches, the O-line, the injuries, the run game, the play calling, NOW THE WRs LOL, ETC. It never ends.

    Look, he had a 9.9 QBR in the WFT game.

    9.9 on a scale from 1 to 100. Thats under 10 folks.

    They are winning in spite of him now. One thing I see is he is not mobile anymore, and his success is tied directly to the RUN GAME. Without a decent run output, he struggles. He CANNOT carry the team with his arm, and his legs are not there anymore.

    Cowboys have an albatross of a contract with this guy, who is just not reliable or consistent. He is not a rookie and should be better than this now, in his SIXTH year.

  6. I have been a Cowboys fan since I was 10 years old. I just read through the comments, (some not so literate) and have a few ideas of my own. First, it was amazing to note that not one mention of the head coach was made. It is his responsibility to develop the game plan and ensure it is successful or make neccessary changes. Second, Kellen Moore and Quinn are both amazing . Third, to trash Dak is ridiculous and embarrassing. Try breaking your ankle, come back and suffer the calf injury. It takes a terrible toll both physically and emotionally,
    but he will figure it out. . Armchair quarterbacks are a blight on the sport. Dak is talented and smart and I for one will have no regrets for being a fierce supporter. This game in this year has been crazy. Detroit beat the Cardinals for goodness sake. It is NUTS to bash and criticize for winning by too little. I am a grandmother and love the game. The fans? Not so much.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Healthy Cowboys Defense Takes Over Win in Washington, Addressing Issues on Offense 2

Healthy Cowboys Defense Takes Over Win at WFT, Addressing Issues on Offense

Micah Parsons, Washington

NFC East 2021: Cowboys Closing on Division-Clinching Scenario