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TE Snap Count Reveals Flaws on Cowboys Final Drive

John Williams



Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

There's something severely flawed about the way the Dallas Cowboys play offense. Yes, you can look at the play of the offensive line, the play of the quarterback, or the play of the wide receivers and see some issues. However, the play calling, and just as important, the personnel deployment isn't helping. The thing I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around this season is the way Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan uses tight ends despite not having a tight end on the team that is a threat in the passing game.

I pointed it out after the loss to the Washington Redskins when the Dallas Cowboys trotted out Dalton Schultz while the Cowboys were driving down the field with less than two minutes left in the game. Even then, Schultz wasn't one of the Cowboys five best pass catchers. Now with Amari Cooper on the team, there's little reason to deploy a TE in passing situations.

Each of the Dallas Cowboys three tight ends played as many or more offensive snaps than Allen Hurns 18.

  • Blake Jarwin - 27
  • Dalton Schultz - 24
  • Rico Gathers - 18

On the final drive of the game, the Dallas Cowboys were in 11 personnel for every play until the 4th and goal at the end of the game. There were plays that took Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup off the field, likely for rest. Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers split the snaps on the last drive of the game -- aside from Blake Jarwin's reception for six yards -- and they were largely invisible.

Tight End Snap Count Reveal Flaws in Two-Minute DrillWith the Dallas Cowboys trailing by 14 with under two minutes to play and facing a 4th and 10, Scott Linehan called for a 12 personnel -- 1 RB, 2 TEs, and 2 WRs -- with Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers on the field together.


On the final play of the game, when you are staring at a 3-5 record that is going to make making the playoffs nearly impossible, why do you have Rico Gathers and Blake Jarwin on the field at the same time? When you need a play, you want to have your best players on the field, and time and again, the Scott Linehan fails to get his best players on the field together. It happened in Washington and it happened again on Monday Night Football. The Dallas Cowboys have some offensive flaws, but the offensive coordinator isn't helping them to overcome or mask those flaws on offense.

I get that NFL teams are looking to create mismatches down the field by using bigger bodies against safeties. The problem is, you must have players who are good to be considered mismatches. The Cowboys don't have a tight end on the roster that should be on the field when the Cowboys are in obvious passing situations like they were when down two scores to the Titans.

Scott Linehan is addicted to tight ends. It's time for an intervention people. 

I know that Linehan isn't completely to blame for the Cowboy offensive struggles this season, but he shoulders some of the blame. His offense with Dak Prescott worked for 24 games spanning 2016 and the first half of 2017, but Dak Prescott and Scott Linehan haven't made it work for the last 16 games. That is a problem.

They made the right decision by making sure Gallup got a starter's amount of snaps last night, despite Hurns getting the starter designation. But when the Cowboys are in those two-minute situations, they have to get their best receivers on the field and none of the tight ends qualify. Cooper, Beasley, and Hurns are good to great route runners and Michael Gallup has shown an ability to make plays down the field.

Their best passing lineup moving forward is 10 personnel and I will preach that from today until the end of the season. Getting Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, and Allen Hurns on the field at the same time with Ezekiel Elliott gives Dak Prescott the best opportunity to make plays down the field. For some reason Linehan refuses to figure out a way to get their best pass catchers on the field at the same time.

Scott Linehan is running out of time to figure things out with the Dallas Cowboys. Though Jason Garrett doesn't seem inclined to take the play calling duties away from Scott Linehan that could ultimately lead to Garrett's downfall. The Dallas Cowboys aren't going to make the playoffs this season, but how they finish the season, particularly on offense is going to determine Garrett's fate.

Scott Linehan will be looking for work this offseason. Jason Garrett may be joining him.

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.


Game Notes

Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.

However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.

Taco Charlton

That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.

With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.

One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.

Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.

Tell me what you think about "Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3" 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

HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game

Matthew Lenix



HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game 1

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.

The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.

Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.

The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.

Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.

Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.

Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.

Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez



Rookie Report: Which Cowboys Draft Picks Stood Out Against the 49ers?

In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.

Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot

Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.

If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.

Can WR Devin Smith Sneak Onto the Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Smith (AP Photo / Josie Lepe)

Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting

The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.

His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.

Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again

Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.

While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.

Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer

Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.

But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition" 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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