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Blame the coaches for poor adjustments, or blame a Cowboys offense that cannot execute?

The coaches shouldn’t be free from blame but what’s hurting more is players that aren’t executing.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys have struggled this season through a rough start coupled by late season suspensions and injuries at the worst time. Such is life in the NFL and nobody pities you for the losses that occur. Right now, the prevailing notion is that the Cowboys have a problem with the coaching staff:

Let’s concede the fact that the coaches are not free from blame in the least bit. However, if coaching is your main fuss, may I suggest you take a look at the players? No NFL coach is free from making mistakes and the only one that seemingly gives his team a consistent edge is Bill Belichick. Everyone else from Andy Reid or Pete Carroll to Mike McCarthy are looking up at him. The real problem this team has is that the players simply cannot execute for 60 minutes.

Rod Marinelli had the perfect game plan to start the game against the Eagles. After giving up seven points on the first defensive drive, his defense got off the field six of seven drives in the first half. The Cowboys offense gave them all of nine points, missing just about every opportunity to make something happen. So, what did happen?

Well, Dak Prescott played his worst game of his young career is what happened. He under-threw, over-threw, threw a few at the feet of his receivers, he was plain terrible. To make matters worse, his receivers didn’t help him in the least bit which continues the trend of what we’re coming to realize this season. Without Tyron Smith, the offense doesn’t do as well. Without Ezekiel Elliott though...the offense doesn’t exist.

It’s understandable to want to blame coaching for the Cowboys’ getting the doors blown off them in the second half of games. Again, the coaches do deserve blame but it’s not like they’re not even attempting to put their players in position. Marinelli gave the offense six chances to do something. Scott Linehan tried to draw things up for Prescott to get the ball to his receivers but they, especially Prescott, failed to execute any semblance of a gameplan. Against the Eagles’ 19th rated passing defense, the Cowboys had nothing to show but poor throes, dropped passes and three interceptions.

It’s time to face the facts, the Cowboys’ offense only works when Plan A is executed to perfection. If you want to blame coaching for not having a Plan B or C, I’ll join in but we must all admit that this team lacks playmakers on offense. Granted, Dak threw a screen at the feet of Dez Bryant at least twice and he got ate up. However, last season, against the Vikings, Dez caught a similar pass and busted through ten yards for the score. This time around he was tackled by a guy he has three inches and 28 pounds on, Ronald Darby.

The offense’s execution in these past two games has been so incredibly bad that lots of folks are starting to second guess these so-called “weapons” around Dak Prescott:

The Eagles are a good case point to study even though the very words “Eagles” and “good” are two really hard words to write. Some of us (me) made fun of their offseason acquisition plan but they’ve made the ridicule look foolish. They put weapons around Carson Wentz and watched as he flourishes. He’s without a doubt a better passing product at this point than Dak Prescott.

From what we’ve seen, Dak isn’t capable (yet) of carrying the offense past their deficiencies. He’s a great play-action passer but without the threat of a backbreaking running game, he’s not going to be the guy that lit the league on fire as a rookie. We’ve seen enough great football from Dak to believe that he will get there but right now he’s stuck in an offensive rut. That rut isn’t helped by the lack of help that he’s getting from his supporting cast.

We already mentioned Bryant but Terrance Williams’ inability to carry one good performance over to the next game hurts. It hurts worse when he doesn’t trust his hands and let’s balls bounce off his pads and into the arms of the defender. Cole Beasley has dropped passes that he normally catches. Jason Witten is desperately needed as a blocker. This offense is severely handicapped without Ezekiel Elliott because he is the only player that scares the opposing defense. When he’s in there, everything else can work but without him, nobody is worried.

Alfred Morris may have had a decent game but those 90+ rushing yards were hollow and meaningless. The Eagles didn’t care that Morris was running the ball because they knew he’s not going to put it in the end zone and they were right. Byron Bell is no Tyron Smith but he didn’t exactly play terrible football. Even with Smith, the offense has a dominating line but still lacks any real offensive threat. The best the Cowboys can do is rely on the legs of Dak Prescott but his receivers haven’t helped to elevate the passing game.

As fans who have been waiting over two decades to see this team win anything substantial, it’s hard to continue to have patience with the coaches. With that said, this isn’t all on them and we have to stop making that the convenient excuse. The real issue is clear, this Cowboys’ offense is not as deep in talent as we all assumed they are. They have a receiver capable of playing elite football but he hasn’t done that in the past 17 games. Around him, they have wildly inconsistent products that don’t compliment one another. Once again, not a single defense is worried about any of these guys not named Elliott.

Maybe it’s a call to tweak their philosophy a little bit and look for ways to make their offense more dynamic. They might want to go find a receiver that has blazing speed or a guy that can really exploit mismatches. Whatever they can do to put more weapons around Prescott that threaten defenses will be a welcomed sight. One thing is for certain, they can’t simply rely on Ezekiel Elliott to be their entire offense because it’s far too naive to believe he’ll never miss another game.

With a young, developing quarterback, it’s imperative to keep reloading the offense around him. It may be true that this coaching staff hasn’t adjusted very well but don’t forget to divvy out a fair share to the players, who have simply failed to perform when their numbers were called.

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