The BTB staff go together and discussed ways the Cowboys can make the offense more “Dak-friendly” moving forward. Here is what our Dave Halprin laid out:
1. Utilize Dak’s ability to move the pocket and throw on the run, along with his ability to tuck and run. The Cowboys ran a few basic bootlegs and such, but defenses started to cover those well. Dallas’ playbook didn’t really have any counter plays to use when defenses where shutting down the basic roll-outs and boots. Dak is a threat outside the tackles with his arm and legs, the Cowboys need to cater to that more often, and have answers when defenses catch on.
2. Air Coryell is a timing offense where a QB is asked to envision a WR being open before he actually is, and the QB is sometimes encouraged to be aggressive and take chances. These traits fit Tony Romo perfectly. Dak is pretty cautious with his passing, he likes to see a guy get open instead of throwing him open. The Cowboys receivers just don’t fit with that as well. Getting some smaller, quicker guys on the field like Beasley and Switzer together could help with that.
3. Air Coryell basics usually ask the QB to read from deep to short. The Cowboys really like to run at least two vertical routes in a pattern and stretch the defense. I wonder if Dak would be a little more effective hitting more slants, crossing patterns etc. across the middle, and letting the receivers work for YAC. Spreading the defense out sideline-to-sideline, instead of vertically, can also help reveal pass coverage, making it harder to disguise the defense, and create easier reads for the QB.
4. Some of the route combinations used in other offenses, with the picks, rubs, bunch formations etc. could be useful in opening up a receiving corps that is not exactly great at creating their own separation. Doing some of these things could open up guys and allow them to get more YAC.
Why we’re discussing improving the offense for Dak Prescott, we need to talk about the offensive line. Michael Sisemore suggested Dallas swing for New England Patriots OT Cameron Fleming in free agency.
The Cowboys should really consider putting a premium on the swing tackle position when you consider the health status of their All-Pro tackle, Tyron Smith. They will already be saving money at the left guard position but when Tyron went out, the left side of their line was completely compromised.
For Fleming, his best traits are his abilities as a pass blocker as he stays square with his pad level and shows great balance. Fleming is very good at mirroring the pass rusher and has the technique to get an inside position and finish his opponent. He’s okay in the running game though he’s not extremely athletic like the Cowboys’ starting bookends.
As the Cowboys shift their offense around their young quarterback, they have let go of some staff members — such as his position coach, Wade Wilson. Matt Mosley thinks that could be a mistake.
Do you think these position coaching changes will impact the Cowboys negatively?
Matt Mosley: I think Wade Wilson did a lot more than folks realized. I think replacing him with Kellen Moore would be silly. I think you could certainly improve the offensive line with a coach like Tom Cable or Tony Sparano. I’m a big fan of Miles Austin, but handing him the WRs job doesn’t seems that inspiring to me.
What do the Cowboys have to add to finally hoist their first Lombardi Trophy since the Triplets? Machota gives five pieces that would go a long way in accomplishing just that.
What piece(s) do the Cowboys need to add to become a Super Bowl contender?
Jon Machota: I think they need another play-making defensive back, another young receiver on the outside, an upgrade at swing tackle, another talented defensive tackle and a replacement for Anthony Hitchens if he leaves in free agency. I know it might seem like a lot, but most of it can be addressed this offseason.
There were mixed emotions about the Cowboys selecting Taco Charlton in the first-round of last year’s draft — both at the time of the draft and throughout most of the season — but Taco came on strong during latter parts of his first year in the NFL.
Notable: Charlton’s NFL career got off to a slow start. He had just three tackles in the first six games combined. That’s not exactly the impact fans had hoped for when Dallas invested in a defensive lineman in the first round for the first time since Anthony Spencer in 2007. But Charlton showed improvement as the season progressed - whether he continues to grow enough to live up to that first-round selection remains to be seen.
Bryan Broaddus had some interesting thoughts on Brice Butler and how the Cowboys utilized the free agent-to-be.
Bryan Broaddus: I do think Brice Butler is a very talented player. To the extent of what he thinks of himself? Probably not. I do think that there were some opportunities that they could have done with him. You saw in the Philadelphia game some of the things that he can do - the big body guy who can catch the slant. He does make vertical plays down the field. Is he a better player than Terrance Williams, more talented? Yeah, I think so. Absolutely. He’ll go get the football. Does it mean that it’s right to take shots at Dez Bryant and the offense and stuff like that? No, it really isn’t. Most guys would just go on their way and say, “Hey, I’m an unrestricted free agent. I need to go find me another job.” Your way of proving people wrong and showing that they’re wrong about you is going out and making some plays.
Ed Werder joined 103.5 The Fan and discussed a variety of topics, such as Matt Eberflus.
Thoughts on the Cowboys’ coaching shake up the past week
Ed Werder: I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the defensive coordinator situation given that [Cowboys linebackers coach] Matt Eberflus is a guy that they have a big future for. They see him as a respective defensive coordinator and they could be faced with, what do they do? Do they let him leave if Josh McDaniels gets a head coaching job somewhere else, or do they make an effort to promote him, and keep him, and what’s his comfort level with that? How does that affect Rod Marinelli? That’s interesting to me.
Werder was referencing a report made by Ian Rapoport, who tweeted out on Sunday that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the clear favorite for the Colts job, would go after Cowboys LB coach Matt Eberflus to be his DC in Indy.
While nothing is official, that would be a big hire for a team looking to move in a new direction and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reported that McDaniel’s top choice for a defensive coordinator would be Dallas Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus.
Eberflus has nine years of experience in the NFL, with the last seven being the Cowboys linebackers coach. He also served a two-year stint as the Cleveland Browns linebackers coach.