With the departure of veteran receiver Miles Austin, the Dallas Cowboys are going to have to find someone else to man the slot when the team goes into three wide sets. The Cowboys do return some experience at the inside receiver position; bothh Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley return and fifth-round draft pick Devin Street filled the slot frequently in college, so the manpower is there. The Dallas Cowboys, and their offensive success in 2014, will come down to finding the right combinations that will create mismatches for opposing defenses. New offensive strategist Scott Linehan and wide receivers coach Derek Dooley will have their hands full in revamping the Cowboys passing game, but there seems to be a plethora of interesting options that will be at their disposal.
"Every player has strengths, things they do really well and every player has things they don’t do well. What’s fun about coaching is using those strengths to your advantage and trying to minimize putting them in positions where they’re not as good. It’s a little bit, ‘Hey, players, go out there and build on your strengths and improve as much as you can on your weakness,' but the coaches, it’s up to use to put them in the right spots so we can feature what they do well." - Derek Dooley
Currently the team is experimenting with both Cole Beasley and rookie Devin Street. Tight end Gavin Escobar is also seeing action at the slot receiver as well. Veteran wide out and kick returner Dwayne Harris is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery but he will join the mix as soon as his recovery is complete. Scott Linehan & Co. are using the other three players for now and creating some nightmare match-ups for the defense. The new Dallas offensive strategist has also used outside WR's Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams in the slot as well. This will create interesting possibilities down the road.
The idea behind Linehan mixing things up is to obviously create confusion for the defense (and we all remember from the Rob Ryan years how effectively a confused defense can be exploited) and so far it seems to be working. From the Twitter-verse our friend and BTB member Birddog26 has let us know exactly how the mismatches are impacting defensive backs.
Intresting OTA observation, Linehan is creating matchup nightmares at slot WR with Beasley, Escobar, Street. 3 very different players
With the different types of players Linehan is using at slot, the slot CB is going to be schizophrenic by 2nd half during a game
After a season in which we saw the Cowboys struggle to find ways to free up #1 receiver Dez Bryant, it is certainly good to see that they are experimenting with ways to exploit not only him but all of the pass catching options available to Tony Romo. I, for one, am glad to see a bit of creativity returning to the Dallas offense.