Late on New Year’s day, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys were moving on from wide receivers coach Derek Dooley.
Changes coming in Dallas & a coach who won’t return: #Cowboys WRs coach Derek Dooley, sources say. Dez Bryant will get a new position coach— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 1, 2018
The news comes just about 24 hours after the Cowboys season ended with a riveting 6-0 win in Philadelphia, putting them a game above .500 on the season.
But... there are reports that no decision has been made.
Source says report of Derek Dooley not returning as Cowboys WR coach is not true. Cowboys front office meeting with Jason Garrett about his coaching staff this week— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 1, 2018
So the question is, should Dooley come back?
Dooley took over the wide receivers in Dallas back before the 2013 season, following Dez Bryant’s breakout 2012. This came after Dooley had been fired as the head coach at the University of Tennessee, and we all know how much Jason Garrett likes former leaders.
Changes need to be made in Dallas, and perhaps you agree that Dooley is one of them. It feels like the Cowboys wide receivers had a down year, but when you put it in the proper context you realize just how horrific their season really was.
Terrance Williams did not catch a single touchdown during the 2017 season.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) January 1, 2018
Dez Bryant did not eclipse 100 yards once.
Cole Beasley did not have a game with more than 4 receptions.
A lost year for the Cowboys WRs.
Think about this long and hard. Let the mediocrity soak in.
Terrance Williams actually did catch one touchdown throughout the calendar year that was 2017, it was the one Tony Romo threw him in the 2016 season finale. That was it.
Dez Bryant did have a superstar-level game when the Cowboys hosted the Packers in last year’s divisional round, but he’s failed to reach 100 yards in a regular season game since the Cowboys were in Pittsburgh that season. In fact, Dez only has three games in triple-digit yardage in the Dak Prescott era, all coming in 2016.
Cole Beasley was a reception machine in Dak’s rookie season. He racked up at least five receptions in half of that regular season, and he only had less than four receptions three times, one of them being the season finale in Philadelphia where starters were pulled.
This, quite frankly, is as disastrous as things could conceivably be for the Cowboys wide receivers. This is a position group that, over the last few seasons, has shown consistency and always been reliable in terms of at least one person stepping up.
Is Dak Prescott the common denominator to point at here?
Since tweeting this, the overwhelming response has been that Dak Prescott is to blame. The truth is that he is to blame, but so are Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Derek Dooley.
The Cowboys weren’t properly prepared for this season. It’s as if they just assumed they could do whatever they wanted, veering away from what yielded them success a season ago. Consider that Cole Beasley was targeted 98 times in 2016 and only 63 times in 2017.
Beasley was a machine for Prescott in his rookie year, yet somehow the Cowboys went to that well a third less often than the year before. Again, part of the onus here falls on the shoulders of Prescott, but clearly an effort wasn’t made to integrate a player like Cole at stronger frequency.
As much as responsibility falls on Dak and the coaching staff, it also falls on the Cowboys receivers themselves. Beasley clearly strives for more, and back on December 1st he even reached out to a footwork specialist about getting better in that capacity.
I need u this off-season. I’ll be in touch. New accomplishments call for new measures. I’ve always trained myself.— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) December 2, 2017
The same goes for Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. How many drops did Dez have that would have otherwise potentially pushed him over 100 yards in any given game? And how many tipped passes did T-Will send into the hands of defenders that could have resulted in touchdown drives for him?
This was a dark year for the Dallas Cowboys, everybody included. It’s a bit shocking to see that the Cowboys wide receivers collectively dropped off as an entire unit, but at least they’re doing things together, right?