Jerry Jones did his regular Tuesday hit on the radio and discussed a wide variety of subjects. One issue that came up is one that has been bedeviling the Cowboys and their fans for a while now - why does the team fail so often in the red zone? The Cowboys offense has no problems moving the ball between the 20’s, but once they close in on the goal line, things go sour.
It happened again in Indianapolis when the Cowboys got to the three-yard line and face a third-down and one for a first down. The Cowboys ran a perfect play that had two receivers open for a potential touchdown. Dak Prescott chose to loft a pass to fullback Jamize Olawale who only needed to catch the ball and fall into the endzone for a score. Instead, he totally whiffed on the ball and the Cowboys chose to go for a fourth-down attempt. They went to the ground game but two linemen ended up blocking one guy, while leaving another free to knife into the backfield and blow up Ezekiel Elliott’s run attempt.
So what was Jerry’s take on the red zone woes?
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on @1053thefan on red zone issues: we're not proud of that. We've got a way to get in the end zone with Zeke and Dak's ability to keep the ball. We've got some work to do.— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) December 18, 2018
Sounds like the owner is keen on keeping the ball on the ground and allowing Prescott to use his legs more. Prescott using his legs more has been a constant theme this year but the Cowboys seem reluctant to expose Prescott to too many hits.
There is plenty of people who blame Scott Lienhan for the play calls in the red zone. Much of it depends on your view. There certainly could be more creativity in the red zone as the Cowboys rarely deviate from their normal set of plays. On the other hand, it’s hard to blame Linehan for things like Cole Beasley dropping a wide open pass for a touchdown (Atlanta game), or Dak Prescott failing to hit a wide open Noah Brown (Washington game), or the aforementioned Olawale play.
The truth is it is a combination of things, as we haven’t even gotten into the penalties that have pushed the Cowboys back in certain situations in the red zone. Whether it’s Linehan, the players, a combination of the two, or whatever... the Cowboys better start figuring it out soon if they want to have hope in the playoffs (assuming they get there).
Jones went on to update some of the injured and benched players. He noted that the team expects David Irving to play again this season and that he is ”working to get viable.” The team still isn’t sure if Tavon Austin will return this week and there is no concrete update on the status of Zack Martin’s knee.
Additionally, Jerry made a little crack at the expense of the defensive line, who had a terrible game against the Colts. After two weeks of being a healthy scratch, he suggested maybe it was time to get Taco Charlton back in the rotation.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones has said he has to step up his play coming off a shoulder injury. Coach Jason Garrett has said Charlton, the team’s 2017 first-round pick, must compete to win one of the eight active defensive line spots on gamedays.
Jones said that after the Cowboys’ defensive front struggled to get penetration against the Colts, maybe it’s time for Charlton to return to the field.
”Maybe we ought to get him in there,” he said.