This article has a few extra tidbits in the Dak-to-Cowboys story, including the notion that Wade Wilson may have been the coach who pressed the strongest case for taking Dak. Worth the read if you haven't seen it.
The Cowboys’ selection of Prescott has a lot of layers. Yes, they attempted to trade up in the draft for Lynch. And yes, by all accounts they would have taken Cook (and maybe Brissett) instead of Prescott if either had still been on the draft board in the fourth round. In that context, they got lucky.
That said, Dallas didn’t just grab Prescott because he was the only guy available. Again, a source said that Louisiana Tech’s Jeff Driskel was ahead of Prescott on the board, but that it ultimately came down to what player the coaching staff wanted as a quarterback project. And the staff overwhelmingly agreed that Prescott was that guy. While the scouts saw him as another iteration of Showers, the coaches thought he had some hybrid qualities that placed him somewhere on the continuum between Showers and Tony Romo. And thus far, that assessment appears to be dead-on.
So who was most responsible on the Dallas coaching staff? There are varying opinions. What’s clear is that head coach Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson all liked Prescott and thought he was a worthwhile project. But Garrett had some concerns about Prescott’s off-field incidents and made a point to drill into him about it in their personal meetings. And Linehan? He remained a big Kellen Moore backer behind Romo, but believed Prescott had the skills to develop down the line.
Ultimately, the driving force that tipped the scales seems to have been Wilson, who went all over the map looking at Prescott. In terms of overall assessment and scouting, Wilson’s work on Prescott’s on-field abilities might have had the most depth. So there is merit in saying that Wilson may have planted the seed that was ultimately fed and cultivated by Garrett and Linehan.
All Seven Rounds Of Dallas Cowboys 2016 Draft Board Rankings Leaked - Blogging The Boys
If you want to see exactly what the Cowboys' 2016 draft board looked like and where Prescott was ranked, this link has it all.
As long as we're on Dak, let's note that he's #1 in the NFL in ESPN's QBR metric. If you look at the article, you'll see that he's been in the high 90's (100 is perfect) in three of the last four games.
More on Dak's game from Bob Sturm. He also explains, with videos, how defenses are forced into making choices where they can't win against a Dallas offense executing this well.
11 Personnel is what this team produces out of and makes you declare how you plan to stop this running game. 11 Personnel is almost always going to be Elliott at RB, with Witten, Beasley, Williams, and Bryant. This grouping requires at least five DBs because you want - at worst - a safety up top and then man coverage on each of the four receivers. Also, you better not try to match up a linebacker on Elliott, because he will run right by him, so the defense often will go dime. That means six defensive backs, of course, and this then means you only have five "bigs" left. Often, they try to stay nickel and use four DL and two LBs because they know if they go dime, then the Cowboys will run the ball right down their throat.
This is what I mean when I suggest that the defense cannot be right. Whichever they choose, Linehan and Dak go the other way. They are just playing probabilities. With these odds, we think we can have this much success. You go dime, we run. You go nickel, we pass into man coverage all day and we think we have guys who can win against man.
The Aikman Efficiency ratings have liked the Cowboys for weeks.
The Cowboys, with the best record in the NFL at 10-1, remain atop the Aikman Combined Ratings compiled by STATS for the fourth consecutive week after their Thanksgiving Day win over Washington. Dallas also is first in Aikman Offense for the third straight week.
But the folks who do Football Power Index over at ESPN don't really like the Cowboys' game. Somehow the Cowboys are the seventh strongest team in the NFL. Really?
Thankfully, in the NFL, they win and lose the games on the field, which also determines seedings. Starting with FPI (cited above), which places the Cowboys seventh, these guys have to scramble to avoid the embarrassing conclusion that the Cowboys would be left out of a four-team playoff. They still leave out the Raiders and Chiefs.
Though these are just some of the metrics that can be used to evaluate NFL teams, only four teams rank in the top 10 in all three metrics above: the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons, and they actually rank in the top seven of each one.
Do the Cowboys have the toughest test down the stretch? Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, it's not likely something the Cowboys are focused on. They are just focused on today and Thursday's game.
They have three road games left at Minnesota, the Giants and Philadelphia. Those three teams have a combined home record of 13-3. The two home games the Cowboys have left are against Detroit and Tampa Bay. Each of those teams has won three consecutive games. It won't be an easy finish for your 10-1 Cowboys, but they've handled every road block thus far without much of a problem.
Another story about great drafting by the Cowboys. In a sense, Frederick is the quarterback of the offensive line.
"At that time, if you remember, we were really trying to build our offensive line," coach Jason Garrett said. "We already drafted Tyron Smith a couple years earlier to play left tackle for us, and Travis was a guy we were really interested in -- for obvious reasons. Just a really good player. Well-coached at Wisconsin and was one of those guys that you just felt could really solidify the inside of your offensive line and really have a positive impact on your team. That has certainly been the case. He was a Day 1 starter when he came in, and he's just been able to handle everything really, really well. He's certainly a leader on the offensive line. He's one of our captains. He's a guy that everybody looks to. Really consistent player, a physical player. Doesn't have many weaknesses -- good run-blocker, good pass protector. Really makes our whole group better up front."
Barry Church is back. Will turnovers return?
Church broke his forearm in the Dallas Cowboys' overtime win against Philadelphia on Oct. 30. He had surgery to repair the bone and will wear a hard carbon fiber brace on his foreman. Church said the Cowboys will use additional padding on the brace, so game officials will allow him to play with it.
If the brace is too hard, officials will make him change it.
Church has been a full participant in practice each of the past two days. The only thing he hasn’t done is tackle someone and take him to the ground, which isn’t unusual.
Still, he doesn’t think there will be any issues against the.
Just another milestone for this Cowboys team to overcome.
This, of course, will be the Cowboys’ first-trip to the Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened this year. Overall, Dallas hasn’t won a regular-season game in Minnesota since the 1995 season, when they needed overtime to beat the Vikings 23-17 in the Metrodome.
The Cowboys Offense, Drive By Drive - In Chart Form - BTB FanPost
Be sure to check out Mr. Mannequin's latest FanPost breaking down the Cowboys offense in all kinds of cool charts. We love community created content that is this awesome!