Our Dallas Cowboys lost to the Tennessee Titans 28-14 last night at home on prime time television. You read that correctly? It’s time to hit the proverbial panic button, and dissect what is ailing this team. Let me tell you folks. There is plenty of blame to go around for America’s Team.
Is Dak Prescott, considering Jerry Jones’ statements, still the future of the franchise?
Ryan Wilson: I’m really not sure. Which quarterback are we judging? The one who helped lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 record in his rookie season or the one that has underwhelmed since? I would love to see Dak operating under an entirely different system, so that would mean that Garrett and Linehan would need to not be a part of the plan in 2019. If Dak can’t show any signs of progression, then it’s time to move on and save ourselves the risk of overpaying a mediocre quarterback and taking a colossal step backwards.
Darreck Kirby: Whether or not he is a true franchise quarterback, Jerry has remained adamant he will be extended. So he’s your guy for at least a couple more years. My guess is that Dallas gets a new coaching staff in place and if they can’t salvage Dak with a year or so of work, only then will Jerry consider giving up on #4.
Jared Wingate: Dak Prescott and the offense for Dallas have consistently under-performed all season. Despite trading a first-round pick for Amari Cooper, the team failed to score more than 20 points for the 6th time in 8 games. For the last season’s worth of games, Prescott has looked uncomfortable and scared in the pocket. Despite this, the coaching staff continues to run the same designs and expect different results. I think a new Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator could help Dak, but as of now, I have doubt as to he is seriously the answer at quarterback long-term.
Jay Attal: Barring significant growth or drop off, Prescott’s expiration date is the 2020 season. If he is signed to a long term contract with big money that can’t be easily disposed of past that season, you can find me at any local bar.
Troy Aikman hinted at an ‘overhaul of the entire organization’. Does that start at Jason Garrett, or does it go even higher?
Kirby: I think it clearly goes higher, given Aikman’s comments. While a new coaching staff could help revitalize the offense, the personnel assessment at times has been suspect. How else do you keep Jason Garrett through more than eight years of mediocrity –and yes, that’s including his offensive coordinator days in Dallas. By and large, the majority of Garrett’s tenure has been average or worse, and even the good years he’s enjoyed have ultimately underperformed with great teams and talent.
Wilson: Could Troy really have been taking a shot at his former owner, Mr. Jones? I don’t know. What he probably wants to say is Jerry needs to step down as General Manager and allow someone to come in and take that role over. He can focus on all of the “butts in the seats” and all of the marketing that makes him who he is, but allow that new individual to assess the team and find the talent needed to move this franchise in the right direction.
Wingate: The Dallas Cowboys have been the definition of mediocre under Jason Garrett. Despite acouple of breakout seasons in 2014 and 2016, the team has been average, otherwise. Now, at 3-5, the team’s season hangs on life support. Cowboys’ legend Troy Aikman appeared on 1310 The Ticket, saying, “To me, if you’re asking me, I’d say there has to be a complete overhaul of the entire organization.” This implies that the problem is even greater than the coaching staff. I would agree, and say that the team, from the coaching staff, to the players on the field, to the front office that is responsible for hiring both, has been unable to put everything together for 23 years. It’s time to shake things up.
Attal: In regard to Aikman’s comments about a complete overhaul it is important to remember how this team is constructed. Jerry Jones is the owner and general manager of this team and his son is second in command. If Jerry Jones won’t fire Jason Garrett he certainly isn’t going to fire himself or his own son. The overall Aikman is requesting means nothing more than a new Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator. Don’t hold your breath for a new GM
Has Cole Beasley done enough to earn another contract?
Kirby: I think so. He’s certainly had some rough games this year but for the most part he’s been the one reliable receiver amid this terrible corp. Gallup is nice and starting to show signs of breaking out but he needs time. The addition of Cooper now gives you a solid number one who can run great routes and provide big plays. Locking down Beasley with that duo for the next 3-4 years makes a lot of sense for shoring up the receiving corps moving forward.
Wilson: Yeah, for sure. I’m just not sure what the play-calling involves anymore. Last night was clearly the Cowboys trying to focus mainly on their shiny new toy, Amari Cooper. Beasley will benefit from having an elite #1 receiver on the outside. It will just take some time for defenses to adjust and ultimately that will open up even more opportunities for him.
Wingate: Yes. Beasley is a security blanket for a team’s quarterback, hypothetically. He continues to roast defenders in man-to-man and draws bracket coverage that frees up other areas of the passing game. Despite his numbers being down, Cole continues to sauce defenders. While his age and size don’t favor durability, Beasley can be an asset for Dak Prescott, or whoever manages the team at quarterback in 2019.
Attal: Cole Beasley deserves a new contract. But I suppose it’s gonna be up to him to decide what his future is. He may very well demand more than he knows Dallas will give him so he can have a reason to walk out the door. Can you blame him?
Who’s to blame? The coaching staff or Dak Prescott?
Kirby: This one is equal blame in my book. The coaching staff has been terrible for some time now, putting forth poor game plans and play calling. They’ve been chiefly responsible for Dak’s development and he’s clearly regressed over the past year and a half, if not two full seasons. But Dak has gone from a player who could play big in big moments to quite the opposite. Aside from the large charge at Washington, he’s shown himself most likely to throw a costly pick or fumble as he scrambles from the pocket this season. And interceptions like his toss on second and goal from the 5 against Tennessee are such back breakers and inexcusable that he cannot go without mention.
Wilson: I know Dak is getting a lot of the blame, and rightfully so, but this falls under coaching. Who is in charge of getting that quarterback prepared week in and week out. Who is responsible for coming up with the game plan necessary to succeed? This coaching staff has under performed for years. Garrett has coached this franchise for nine years and it has resulted in just three winning seasons, two playoff appearances, and ONE playoff win. Enough said.
Wingate: Both parties have been disappointing, to say the least. Despite a troubling performance in the second half of last season, the offense has seemingly regressed even further. While Prescott deserves blame, the coaching staff has not put the team in position to win. Take Ezekiel Elliott, for instance. Elliott is the team’s best offensive player. However, he has not been getting the ball enough. Elliott has fewer than 20 carries in 5 out of 8 games this year. He had just 4 occasions in his career with less than 20 caries entering this season. The team has questions on offense, and it starts with the coaching staff.
Attal: I want to say coaching staff. But I am positive they only call screens on 3rd and 15 because they don’t trust their QB to get the ball down the field. So I will very painfully say Dak Prescott.
What happened to the defense against the Tennessee Titans?
Kirby: This is tough to point a finger on as the defense was the top rated defense in the league entering the game and let the 30th ranked offense come into their house and kick their teeth in, aside from the first two Titans possessions. I think part of it is fatigue since the offense has been so bad all season. The defense has been asked to do a lot, and even with a bye week, they might begin to wear down. Also troubling was that entering the game they were yielding the 4th highest completion rate to opposing quarterbacks at north of 68%. That, mixed with poor tackling and safety play, killed them I thought. Oh, and the fact that their reputation as a fantastic goal line defense got obliterated for four touchdowns in four tries…
Wilson: I’m not putting much of anything on the defense last night. The offense was ineffective, which meant that their unit was on the field an awful lot throughout the game. If we are going to start looking to the defense as the problem, then we are blatantly ignoring the real problems right in front of us.
Wingate: Monday night’s game featured two bottom-5 offenses entering the contest. The Dallas defense has been stellar all year. However, the unit began to show signs of bending under carrying the weight of the team. Marcus Mariota played well, and the Titans scored 28 points, good for their highest scoring game of 2018. The Dallas defense has a lot of talent, as Demarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch and Antwuan Woods are building blocks for the team. However, they can’t carry the weight of both sides of the ball, as evidenced last night.
Attal: They’re on the field too much. Bye week or not they’re exhausted, and it showed in their run defense. Dallas lost time of possession again last night by almost ten minutes (34:26 to 25:34). Not good for a team that likes to run the ball
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