Davenport breaks down what he thinks could hold the Cowboys back in 2018.
This is something of a make-or-break year for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
After capturing OROY honors in 2016, Prescott’s numbers were down considerably last year. Prescott’s yardage and touchdowns were down, his interceptions were up, and his passer rating dropped by over 18 points.
If Prescott rebounds this season, it will be all the more impressive given what he has—or more appropriately doesn’t have—to work with at receiver.
With Dez Bryant now gone, the total number of 1,000-yard seasons on the resumes of every Cowboys receiver on the roster is one higher than my total number of 1,000-yard seasons. And since reeling in 64 catches for 1,031 yards for the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2015, Allen Hurns hasn’t had even half that in a season. Maybe rookie Michael Gallup is the real deal. Maybe Hurns will finally stay healthy. Or maybe the Cowboys will have the NFL’s weakest wideout corps in 2018.
Doubters don't faze Dak despite Cowboys losses of Dez, Witten - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dak Prescott says the Dallas Cowboys are going to surprise people in 2018. He said they are heading into training camp feeling good about themselves, despite the losses of receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.
Prescott said critics have lower expectations of the Cowboys going into this season than they did a year ago because of their 9-7 finish in 2017 and the offseason departures of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant.
“On paper, we are a different team,” Prescott said Wednesday. “We know where we want to go, we know what we got to do to get there. We know where we are at … People have certain expectations of us. We know how good we can be. We know the players we have on this team.
"We are heading into the offseason and getting ready for camp feeling good about ourselves.”
“We have to be more balanced all the way around,” Prescott said when asked what Dak-friendly means to him. “We know we have a great back in Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott). We got a lot of different guys at receiver and tight end, a lot of guys you don’t know about. Expect the ball to be spread around. Our best games are when I have eight different guys with catches and Zeke dominates in the run game, us opening it up and defenses not knowing what to expect from our offense.”
VIDEO: Colin Cowherd outlines why Dak Prescott is better off on the Cowboys without Dez Bryant - FOX Sports
Colin Cowherd outlines why Dak Prescott is better off at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys without embattled wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Why the unpredictability of Tavon Austin will be one of the Cowboys' greatest offensive strengths this season - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Machota writes that the Cowboys are looking to become a little less predictable ths year.
The Cowboys are banking on unpredictability being one of their greatest offensive strengths this fall. While watching four weeks of organized team activities and minicamp practices, no player's workload was more difficult to project than Tavon Austin's.
The coaching staff was careful about how much they featured him during team drills when cameras were around. But the expectation is that he's going to get the ball in a myriad of ways.
"The coaches have a great plan," quarterback Dak Prescott said. "He's a guy that if we get the ball in his hands, he'll score some points and get a bunch of yards in this offense."
WR coach Sanjay Lal after Tavon Austin caught a deep ball from Dak on a pump route during minicamp team drills: “I saw burst, I saw a detailed route runner and he tracked the ball over his outside shoulder. We've had limited exposure but he has shown some really unique traits.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 23, 2018
NFL Film Study: Chargers QB Philip Rivers X's and O's - Andy Benoit, SI.com
Rivers with a perspective on what it's like to play against a linebacker of Sean Lee's caliber.
“It’s the game within the game that makes it so awesome,” [Rivers] says. “To me, the most fun games are where we get in the no-huddle, we get in kind of a groove and the defense has a Mike linebacker who can go no-huddle with you.
“I remember going against Sean Lee, and it was that. It was that. I checked and he would check. And it was, ‘Golly! Hey, reload that.’ And he would try to get to something else. That was fun. There’s that back and forth and, ‘Gosh, you got me here, but now I got you.’ I thought he was getting to this, but he got to that.’ Those types of games, when there’s a guy over there who’s in the same mold preparation-wise, study-wise, that’s the most fun”
SportsDayDFW brings up an interesting point. Will there ever be another Cowboys’ tight end to accomplish more than Jason Witten? Multiple writers also rank out previous Cowboys tight ends.
Moore: Witten is not only best in Cowboys history, but one of the best ever to play the position.
Machota: Tony Gonzalez is the only TE in NFL history with more receptions than Witten. What makes that stat even more outstanding: Witten has been able to do it with one team.
Cowlishaw: Witten setting marks with this franchise that will never be touched.
Gosselin: Dupree excelled in an era when the TE was primarily a blocker, Witten & Novacek when the TE was primarily a receiver.
Sherrington: Novacek most underrated weapon of Jimmy’s era.
There is always a few really tough cuts made before the start of every season. David Helman and Rob Phillips from the Mothership give a few guys they hope can make it through final cuts onto the final-roster.
Q: Who do you think is most likely to miss the team that we will come to regret later on?
David: Questions like this are what make me wonder about Rico Gathers. Clearly, from watching spring practices, he’s last on the depth chart. It’s not a stretch to think he might get cut. At the same time, we know how athletic he is – and we’ve seen what he can do in the preseason. As raw as Rico might be, I bet the Cowboys are terrified of what he might do with another team if they release him.
Rob: The receiver spot immediately comes to mind. I feel like we’re always discussing how the group is largely new and unproven. But it’s also pretty deep and talented, and there’s no way all of them can make the 53. Lance Lenoir and rookie Cedrick Wilson clearly have ability, but there are a lot of vets in front of them.
Want to learn more about third-year tight end Rico Gathers? Check out this article by SportsDayDFW.
5. His decision to play football instead of basketball was partially influenced by family
Gathers said that he considered playing with Baylor’s football team, but chose to go pro instead.
”I played with the idea, but my wife and I both know the struggle of trying to provide off of one salary and keep everyone happy,” Gathers said. “We thought it would be best to get into the pros.”
He also told SportsDay’s Chuck Carlton the following:
”I talked to my family about it and we kind of go back and forth with it,” Gathers said. “In my mind, I’m really focused on trying to make that transition to the NFL. For me to do that, I think it will be [best] to move on and jump straight into it.”
Williams gives some interesting quotes from Cowboys’ offensive lineman Chaz Green. There’s hope he can bounce back and have a much better 2018 than 2017 season.
He has watched the film over and over again, hoping to learn from what he calls “self-inflicted” mistakes. Green doesn’t want the performance, which came with Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith inactive with an injury, to define him.
“That’s life. You’re always judged against your last performance,” Green said. “I don’t need sympathy, man. This game isn’t based on sympathy, so that’s the last thing I’m looking for. I own up to that. You know what I mean? I’m trying to move past that and grow.
“But the last thing I’m looking for is sympathy because my parents and how my dad raised me is much more tougher than that.”
Green, 26, faces a make-or-break season. In the final year of his rookie contract after the Cowboys spent a third-round pick on him, he has played only 18 games with six starts.
Green opened last season as the starter at left guard but lost his job to Jonathan Cooper. The Cowboys drafted Connor Williams in the second round to man the left guard spot this season.
Green worked at right guard and right tackle during the offseason program.
Anthony Brown hopes new technique helps him rebound – Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
Has Anthony Brown become the Cowboys' forgotten cornerback?
Brown expects the technique new secondary coach Kris Richard has brought from Seattle to benefit him and the rest of the cornerbacks this season. Brown calls the kick-step “a huge change.”
“Last year we didn’t have a set technique,” Brown said, via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News. “It was pretty much do as you please, whatever makes you comfortable. That’s helping us be patient. and it’s really helping our feet. . . . Whenever we press man and we come up to the line, our first thought in our head is to get that kick-step.”
Brown has three interceptions, 19 pass breakups and two forced fumbles since the Cowboys made him a sixth-round pick. But he played better as a rookie than he did last season, so he seeks a bounce back season.
Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram gives his thoughts on a quote from Dez Bryant’s Instagram account. Could the former-Cowboys’ receiver have more suitors than we think?
Of course, in keeping with the rules of social media, a follower chimed in with a question of whether the Cowboys all-time leader in touchdown receptions should rather be focusing his energy on looking for a new team.
Bryant shot back quick: “The last problem I have is finding a team. I’m in a world you will never understand.”
What also remains misunderstood is why Bryant turned down a three-year, $21 million offer from the Baltimore Ravens in April in hopes of signing a one-year, prove-it deal with a team of his choice.
Per an NFL report, Bryant has received phone calls but was waiting for the “for the perfect fit, a winning organization and a team willing to do a one-year, prove-it deal.”
Time will tell.
What’s going on with Dez after that insta comment? I explain. pic.twitter.com/hrjZrJ7dQE— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) June 23, 2018
Former third-round pick, Jourdan Lewis breaks out his checkbook to buy his family a house.
One of the greatest blessings that NFL players have is the ability to give back to those who supported them throughout the years once they make their millions. Many players who were less fortunate growing up, while using their NFL money to take care of themselves, also make sure that their families are taken care of after years of hard work and sacrifice in raising them to the point where they make it into the league. That’s just what Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis has done.
Friday evening on his Twitter account, Lewis posted that he had bought a house for his family, with multiple pictures of him and his family included.
If things go south in Big D, could Jason Garrett’s replacement already be on the Cowboys’ coaching staff? Brian Martin of Inside The Star definitely think that a new face in Dallas, could be the “next man up” as the Cowboys head coach.
I know that I’m not alone, but Jason Garrett is on thin ice this season. If he doesn’t at least get the Dallas Cowboys into the playoffs this year, he could be looking for a new job, which would create a vacancy at head coach. This could be the kind of opportunity Kris Richard is looking for.
I find it a little hard to believe that Kris Richard would be willingly to come coach in Dallas knowing that the entire coaching staff could be dismissed after the season if Jason Garrett isn’t successful. That’s not typically the kind of job security you look for, so something has to have been promised to him behind closed doors.
I know it’s a lot of speculation right now, but I don’t think it’s completely out of the realm of possibility. Someone is going to have to replace Jason Garrett if he falters this season and Kris Richard is a logical choice. After all, it’s kind of the way Garrett became the head coach of the Cowboys when he replaced Wade Phillips. Could history repeat itself?
Five obstacles the Cowboys must avoid in order to make it back to the playoffs in 2018. Here’s one:
5. Playing Conservative
The Cowboys have a very conservative offense. Their offense look similar to the Denver Broncos style offense from the 1990s. They run a lot of zone plays with a power back with great vision.
The Cowboys have spent a lot of resources creating this offense. They have three first round picks on the line plus La’el Collins who could have been a first round pick before drama led to go undrafted. The offensive line has melded together well. They are a very athletic group that zone blocks better than any team in the league. Ezekiel Elliott was a first round pick that solidifies the run game as the most dangerous in the league.