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Cowboys news: Daryl Johnston says firing Jason Garrett would sabotage the organization

Checking in on the Cowboys news o’ the day.

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Why Daryl Johnston says firing Jason Garrett would ‘sabotage’ the Cowboys - Staff, SportsDay

Some people are down on Jason Garrett, but ex-Cowboy Daryl Johnston thinks getting rid of Garrett would be a huge mistake.

So I think you’ve got to be able to give a head coach time. It’s one of the great things John Madden said, and this was about the San Francisco 49ers when they moved away from Steve Mariucci but they had no plan after that. Sometimes you do that and all of a sudden you find yourself in a decade of mediocrity, and in San Francisco’s case, not even mediocrity. That was a tough decade. They made a change for change’s sake and nobody was there.

Jason Garrett, in my opinion, moving forward gives Dallas the best opportunity. They’ve got that window right now with a quarterback and a very talented running back on rookie contracts. To make a change right now, that would be sabotage to that organization. Keep everything in place, take a run with this window that’s there.

Quarterbacks and Pressure 2017 - Scott Kacsmar, Football Outsiders
A deep dive into quarterback performance under pressure compared to performance without pressure. It’s an excellent read for the statistic nerds like me. However, the research might concern Dak Prescott supporters. Prescott ranked 23rd overall with a clean pocket and his 34.3% DVOA number in such situations is barely above the “let’s try someone else” threshold. Giants fans shouldn’t be too optimistic either.

One of the most useful stats to analyze a quarterback is his DVOA without pressure. If a quarterback can’t take advantage of a clean pocket, then he’s probably not franchise-caliber. That’s why I often focus on the quarterbacks at the bottom, because those are usually the players about to be replaced.

Sure enough, last season saw seven quarterbacks dip below 30.0% DVOA without pressure, and only two of those players (Eli Manning and Joe Flacco) are expected to be Week 1 starters for their teams in 2018. They also happen to be the two with Super Bowl MVP awards, but at least the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round in April. The Giants are still going with a 37-year-old Manning, but that shouldn’t be the case much longer if he continues to struggle like this.

Prescott did rank fifth overall when facing pressure, giving him one of the smallest differences between performance under pressure versus performance without pressure.

The most valuable Cowboys of 2018: These two lead the way – Kevin Turner, The Athletic
Last week, the DMN ranked the ten most valuable Cowboys players, and Dak Prescott oddly ended up in the seventh spot. Kevin Turner and Jeff Cavanaugh don't make a similar mistake and rank Prescott as the most valuable player for 2018, ahead of Tyron Smith.

Prescott is 22-10 in 32 regular season games. I understand he’s not Tony Romo, and I understand there are parts of Prescott’s game that need improvement, but he’s done nothing to make me think he shouldn’t be the Cowboys quarterback for the long-term.

Sometimes I wonder what the fan base would think of Prescott if he wasn’t following in the footsteps of Romo, or if he hadn’t replaced Romo. It’s important that when we watch and evaluate Prescott that we do that through clear goggles, not with fog on them from the Romo era. Dak is his own player and he deserves his own leash.

MMQB: Could Cowboys make late push to sign Demarcus Lawrence to an extension? - Albert Breer,
In his latest MMQB column, Breer wonders whether the fast-approaching deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions could lead to a last-minute offer for Lawrence.

Next time you hear from me in this space, the July 16 deadline to sign franchise-tagged players to extensions will have come and gone. Predictions? These are tough.

I’d expect the Rams to make an effort to get Lamarcus Joyner signed, and the depressed safety market and manageable tag number could help them get it done.

Things have been quiet in regard to Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence, but I think Dallas will take a late stab at finding a compromise.

The cases of Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh and Ziggy Ansah in Detroit are more challenging. We covered this, by the way, in last week’s mailbag, explaining why each could be tempted to follow the Kirk Cousins model. We’ll see if they decide to.

Does making playoffs come down to adding Earl Thomas? - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Revisiting the initial game-by-game breakdown of the Cowboys' 2019 schedule and coming away firmly believing the team needs Earl Thomas to make the post-season.

When the NFL's regular season schedule was released in April, I predicted the outcomes of all 16 games. Since two and a half months have passed, I've gone back and made any necessary updates.

I've predicted a 10-6 record each of the last two years the day the schedule was released. I went 9-7 this year with Dallas just missing the playoffs.

However, even years have recently been pretty good to the Cowboys. After missing the playoffs in 2013 and 2015, they reached the postseason in 2014 and 2016.

Let's see if that trend continues.

Super Bowl Champions The Years Before Winning Super Bowl - Chase Stuart,
Have you ever wondered how many wins the average Super Bowl champion had in the season prior to winning it all? Stuart has the answer.

On average, Super Bowl champions win 12.7 games the year they win the Super Bowl, 10.9 games the year before, 9.7 the year before that, 9.5 three years before, and 9.2 four years before.

Comparing Jaylon Smith & Myles Jack In Year 3 - Bryan Broaddus,
The broad one continues his ongoing series scouting Cowboys' 2018 opponents. He uses this opportunity to compare Myles Jack with Dallas' own Jaylon Smith.

We knew this would happen at some point.

From the time the two were drafted, we’ve been drawing comparisons between Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack. The Cowboys made headlines around the NFL when they selected Smith No. 34 overall, despite the debilitating knee injury he suffered just months prior.

The Jaguars took a risk on the opposite end of the spectrum. Jack was fully healthy when Jacksonville drafted him two picks after Smith, but there were lingering concerns about the long-term outlook of his knee.

Smith took a redshirt year during his rookie season, while Jack was used sparingly, finishing with just 24 tackles. Last fall, we got a first glimpse of what both might be capable of. Smith played in all 16 games with six starts, finishing with 81 tackles -- while Jack was a 16-game starter for a Jacksonville playoff team, making 90 tackles and two interceptions in the process.

Will Special Teams Defections Be A Problem? - staff
The Mothership's staff debate the question, which is a good one considering the number of defections by both players and special team's coach Rich Bisaccia.

It’s an interesting question because there’s been a lot of turnover, starting at the top with Bisaccia leaving. But I think Keith O’Quinn is ready for this opportunity to run the special teams, and he’ll have the group ready. There are players on the roster with the experience and ability to replace Ryan Switzer on returns, and Tavon Austin is the one I think of first. Guys will have to step up and replace Kyle Wilber and Keith Smith on the coverage units, but guys like Jeff Heath and Kavon Frazier are back to help that group. It’s also an opportunity for rookies and younger players to make the team and contribute. Can Chris Covington help there? Bo Scarbrough? This is their chance.

Early projection of Dak Prescott’s next contract with Cowboys K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
Prescott has been the Cowboys starting quarterback while making the NFL equivalent of peanuts. But that’s going to change soon and K.D. takes a stab at what Prescott’s services might cost in the near future. The starting point is $58M for the 2020-2021 seasons.

In 2018, with the salary cap at $177.2 million, the QB franchise tag was $23.189 million, or 13.09 percent. Prescott will make just $720,000.

In 2017 with a cap of $167 million the QB tag was $21.268 million, 12.7 percent. 2016 was 12.9 percent.

It seems to be a safe assumption to project the QB tag around 13 percent of the cap. Therefore, if the Cowboys had to tag Prescott in 2020 and the cap was $200 million, he’d cost them $26 million.

A player who is franchised for a second time receives 120 percent of the prior tag amount, so in this case, that would be $31.2 million.

For Dallas, that would mean three years of control, from 2019 through 2021, for just under $58 million, or an average of $19.3 million over three seasons.

That’s a steal.

It is time to start over at defensive tackle - Joel W. Cade, Fansided
A look at the Cowboys' defensive tackle approach and coming up with some suggested changes.

The Cowboys should use their defensive tackles in a single-gap attacking style defense. The advantage would be to pressure the quarterback into bad decisions every time an option or RPO is run. With the NFL quickly adding these style of plays into the offense, moving to this strategy makes sense.

Fortunately, the Cowboys have the players on the roster to employ the scheme. They would simply need to have the foresight and vision to adapt to defend what the rest of the league is beginning to employ.

Personnel wise, the Cowboys have the players to adapt the scheme. Collins played well in the 3-technique last season in Irving’s absence. Irving has a quick first step that makes him dangerous as a defender.

But this offseason, the Cowboys have bolstered their defensive line by bringing in Jihad Ward, who is another 3-technique quick get-off type player. They have also brought in defensive ends who could be brought inside in this style of defensive in Kony Ealy and Datone Jones.

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