Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Week 13 Rookie Review: Prescott Saves Cowboys from Upset Loss

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Dak Prescott

Every week we’ll be looking at the Cowboys drafted rookies from 2016 and seeing what impact, if any, they had on the previous game.

Here’s a summary of the performances and statuses from all nine of the Cowboys drafted rookies after the Week 13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings:

Ezekiel Elliott, RB

Ezekiel Elliott, Vikings, fumble

Pioneer Press: Liam James Doyle

Elliott’s lowest rushing total since Week 2 was a surprise as Minnesota’s run defense was only 14th in the NFL going into the game. If not for one 30-yard run late in the game, Elliott would’ve had just 2.9 average with 56 yards on 19 carries. He almost made matter worse with a fumble but thankfully recovered it himself.

The Vikings did an impressive job of closing off the running lanes. You can’t even use the “12 three games in 12 days” excuse as Minnesota had played the same schedule. Talk of the “rookie wall” and Zeke getting worn down over the season will certainly increase after this performance, but I saw more blocking issues than any problems with Elliott.

Jaylon Smith, LB

Smith has one more week to practice before he either has to join the 53-man roster or be placed on Injured Reserve. The odds are that he will be heading to IR.

Maliek Collins, DT

Collins got his third sack of the season in addition to another QB hit and a tackle for loss. With Minnesota missing so many offensive line starters, it would’ve been a disappointment if the Cowboys defense couldn’t make some plays behind the line of scrimmage.

That is one thing to keep in mind about Collins. His three sacks this year aren’t a bad number for a rotation defensive tackle. However, two came against the league’s worst team (Cleveland Browns) and this one came against one of the worst offensive lines. We’re still waiting to see Collins make an impact against better competition.

Charles Tapper, DE

Tapper went on Injured Reserve in Week 4 due to back issues. He was inactive the three games before that, making this a redshirt season for the fourth-round pick.

Dak Prescott, QB

Dak PrescottIt wasn’t a big day on the stat sheet as Prescott only had 139 yards through the air. However, Dak made crucial plays to help pull the team out of harm’s way.

There was plenty of adversity to overcome. Prescott was sacked three times, the most he’s been hit all year except for Week 2 against Washington. One of those sacks was a blindside hit that cause a fumble, courtesy of Doug Free‘s ever-declining blocking.

After the Cowboys’ first three drives ended with two punts and that aforementioned fumble, Dak found Dez Bryant for a 56-yard bomb that set up a goal-line touchdown by Ezekiel Elliott. The play gave the Cowboys some much-needed momentum. Later on, Dak took advantage of a fumbled punt return by the Vikings with a touchdown throw to Bryant.

With the Vikings’ pass defense stingy all day, Prescott made some critical first-down plays running the ball. He never forced things and, once again, didn’t throw an interception. This game could have swung on just one more turnover, but Dak’s ongoing avoidance of interceptions is a key part to this win and several others this year.

Anthony Brown, CB

Brown had a pass deflection so nice that words just can’t do it justice. Ergo…

 

There’s so much to like on just this one play. Brown doesn’t even begin to bite on Charles Johnson shimmy move. Then he pivots so fast to follow the receiver up the field that Johnson doesn’t gain one bit of ground. Brown closes on the receiver and the ball perfectly, without ever looking behind him, to make a penalty-free deflection.

Chris Collinsworth was raving about Anthony Brown during the broadcast and a play like this shows you why. Dallas has found a true gem in the sixth round and a guy who will likely be a starter in next year’s defense.

Usually, you’re desperate to get a starting CB back onto the field because of issues with backups. However, Brown’s play has allowed Dallas to take it easy with Orlando Scandrick’s recovery. It’s been an incredible luxury this season, especially given the other injury problems with Morris Claiborne.

Kavon Frazier, S

There wasn’t much playing time to be had for Frazier this week. Barry Church returned and played full-time reps. Frazier did record a single tackle.

Darius Jackson, RB

Having yet to dress this season, it appears Jackson’s only shot at playing this year will be if Dallas has nothing to play for in one of the final regular season games. There is also the chance he could be released to make room for Darren McFadden.

Rico Gathers, TE

Gathers is still on the team’s practice squad; the only drafted player to not make the 53-man roster this season.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

Published

on

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Advertisement
Advertisement
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