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Cowboys news: Offense continues to struggle in loss; Dallas planning trade for Earl Thomas?

The Monday morning links.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

5 thoughts from Cowboys’ loss at Seahawks: Frustrating day for Zeke; Earl Thomas’ price tag just went up - Jon Machota, SportsDay

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott struggled and Earl Thomas is even more expensive than he was 24 hours ago.

1. What a frustrating day for Ezekiel Elliott. He rushed for over 100 yards for the first time this season, but there’s no way he’s pleased with that performance. He dropped a catchable ball on third down, missed on a block while trying to cut a blitzing linebacker, stepped out of bounds on a play midway through the second quarter that would’ve gone for a touchdown, and then fumbled in the fourth quarter after breaking a big run. His play basically summed up how Dallas’ day went. No one played well throughout on either side of the ball. But for all the problems the Cowboys had, Elliott is the least of their worries. It’s unlikely he’ll have another day like that in a while.

Earl Thomas balled against the team he has been wanting to be traded to.

5. Earl Thomas couldn’t have had a better showing against the team he wants to play for. He led Seattle in tackles, had two interceptions and capped his performance with a bow to the Cowboys sideline. The question has to be asked, though: After watching Sunday’s game, why would Thomas want to leave the Seahawks and join the Cowboys? It doesn’t matter if he attends training camp or even practices during the week, Thomas is one of the most dominant defenders in the game. And I think his price tag just went up.

Cowboys players, and fans, have no one to blame but the Cowboys players - Dave Halprin, BTB

Dave writes what should be written: the Cowboys’ players have no one to blame but themselves.

We can debate the effectiveness of Jason Garrett, or Scott Linehan, or offensive line coach Paul Alexander, or the roster-building skills of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Will McClay. We can go round and round about strategies, play-calls, motivation, teaching techniques, dead money or free agent acquisitions. It’s all in play for debate and it’s all very legitimate.

What’s not debatable is these Cowboys players are simply failing. I made the case after the Carolina Panthers game, and it was not well-received by some. Scott Lienhan was the problem child for many, but after watching this game against Seattle, it’s pretty obvious that the coaches are not solely to blame for this mess. No one is absolving them of some blame, the team should be playing better and they have to accept the fact they are not, and accept their own complicity in that. If things continue this way, many of them will be fired after the season, Jason Garrett included, and that’s as it should be. It’s easier to change the coaching staff than it is to re-do the roster.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys offense inept again in Seattle - Todd Archer, ESPN

Archer writes on the struggles of the offense.

On Sunday, the Cowboys’ offense suffered through another miserable day in their 24-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

For the ninth time in the past 11 games, dating to last season, Dak Prescott did not throw for more than 200 yards, completing 19 of 34 passes for 168 yards. He was intercepted in the first quarter and the fourth quarter, both by I-want-to-be-a-Cowboy Earl Thomas, and sacked four times.

Ezekiel Elliott ran for more than 100 yards for the first time this season (127 yards on 16 carries) but it was not the best of showings for the Cowboys’ best offensive player. He dropped a pass, inexplicably stepped out of bounds in the second quarter to negate a touchdown catch and fumbled in the fourth quarter.

Dallas Cowboys offense digs a new humiliating hole in Seattle - Mac Engel, The Star-Telegram

Seriously, the offensive concerns are very troubling.

Any offensive superlative after that point is a giant bag of #FakeStats.

The Cowboys offensive stats gained in Seattle were no different than the hallow bag of numbers they accumulated in their Week 1 loss in Carolina. They moved the ball only when the Seahawks played soft in their attempt to kill the clock.

By that point on Sunday, Dak had not run the ball once. He hadn’t thrown for much, either.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who would go on to run for more than 100 yards, had his own first-half touchdown reception erased because he stepped out of bounds before he ran his route.

Troy Aikman blasts NFL rules and reveals what’s to blame for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s struggles - Brad Townsend, SportsDay

Troy Aikman has a theory on Dak’s troubles.

Buck and Aikman would have been hard-pressed to say a solitary kind word about a first half in which the Cowboys totaled 23 passing yards, but Aikman did make sure most of the blame wasn’t heaped upon quarterback Dak Prescott’s shoulder pads.

”Prescott’s had people in his face for a good part of this first half,” Aikman said. He then repeated an earlier point that Zack Martin in particular was having a tough day. “Yeah, Prescott hasn’t been as sharp as you would like, but there’s been some reasons for that. . . There’s been a lot of those dark jerseys in the backfield in this first half.”

Dak Prescott’s lack of rushing attempts reveals bigger problems - Sam Quinn, 247

The Cowboys appear to be better when Dak Prescott runs the football. But, the Cowboys seem to be against calling plays to use the quarterback's skill-set.

Dak Prescott ran for 19 yards in the Dallas Cowboys’ opening week loss to the Carolina Panthers. They scored eight points in that game. He ran for 46 yards in their Week 2 win over the New York Giants. The Cowboys scored 20 points in that game. These numbers hold to a nearly flawless trend. Prescott has run for more than 25 yards in a game 12 times in his career. The Cowboys are 10-2 in those games, and the two losses came last season, once in a game in which Tyron Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee and Chidobe Awuzie combined for eight snaps, and another in which Jason Garrett mismanaged the clock to lose the game, but the Cowboys still scored 31 points. He has run for 25 or fewer years in 23 times in his career. The Cowboys were 13-10 in those matchups coming into Sunday. The data doesn’t lie. The Cowboys are a significantly better team when Prescott runs.

And so, in classic Garrett and Scott Linehan fashion, Prescott did not make his first rushing attempt until the fourth quarter. He had two in the game. They went for 21 total yards. And the Cowboys lost. That bring their record when Prescott runs for fewer than 25 yards 13-11. Exclude last season’s meaningless Week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Cowboys are 1-5 in their last six games under those circumstances. This isn’t rocket science. Even two coaches as seemingly incompetent as Garrett and Linehan should have been able to figure it out.

That’s one thing. But the fact that this goes against what they claimed earlier in the week is highly concerning.

It is entirely possible that they did. There might be a greater force at play here. I present to you the following two quotes, both of which came during the week leading up to the Seahawks game:

“We’re going to use Dak. We should. These games are so important to us. The other thing that Dak does is a very good job throwing on the move. We just have him in a lot of play-action. The pass-run option is a key part of the game today, and Dak can really do it well. So, we’ll use him.” — Jerry Jones, via his KRLD FM radio show (h/t Clarence Hill of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

“You can’t just consistently serve your quarterback up as a runner... I can’t necessarily see our plan being to run Dak 8-10 times a game. I think you use it to set everything else up.” — Stephen Jones, via his radio show on 105.3 The Fan on Monday (h/t Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News).

Earl Thomas time? No, loss to Seahawks looked like beginning of the end for the Cowboys - Kevin Sherrington, SportsDay

The beginning of the end for the 2018 Cowboys? That’s what Sherrington writes.

Remember how curious minds wanted to know when the coaching staff was going to work Zeke Elliott into the passing game?

Did you see him screw up Dak’s single best play?

And on a day when Zeke went for 127 yards on just 16 carries, the Cowboys lost by 11. Going into the game, the Cowboys had been 10-2 when Zeke broke 100. Even when he got loose, it wasn’t good. The end of a 26-yard run late in the game resulted in a fumble deep in Seattle territory, and the end of the Cowboys’ chances.

Once upon a time, the Cowboys relied on their running game, and when it worked, it usually was their salvation. But it wasn’t enough Sunday.

Earl Thomas gets two picks in Seattle’s 24-13 win over Cowboys - Charean Williams, PFT

Yeah, ET had himself a game and was a big reason why Dallas lost.

The Cowboys probably wish Earl Thomas hadn’t played. Or that the Seahawks had accepted their offer of a second-round draft pick for him.

Thomas punctuated his second interception by bowing to the Cowboys’ sideline, effectively ending any comeback hopes for Dallas. The Seahawks won 24-13, their first victory of the season.

Thomas had a team-high seven tackles, two interceptions and two defensed passes as the Seahawks held the Cowboys to 303 total yards.

Thomas chased down Jason Garrett after last season’s Christmas Eve game in Dallas, encouraging the Cowboys coach to “come get me.” The joke after Sunday’s game was Thomas might chase down Garrett to tell the Cowboys coach NOT to come get him.

What Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said about Cowboys coaches asking ‘You ready for the trade tomorrow?’ - SportsDay

The All-Pro safety and Texas native only made the rumors of a trade that much crazier on Sunday following the game. First, Thomas bowed after ending the Cowboys hopes to make the score look any closer:

Then, he said this:

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