Mailbag: What Can The Cowboys Learn From NE? - Bryan Broaddus & Rob Phillips - DallasCowboys.com
The Mothership’s writers respond to reader’s questions, including one asking how the Cowboys could possibly move on from Cole Beasley without an adequate replacement.
Bryan: Edelman has been doing this for years. It shouldn’t have taken just this game to realize that. There comes a point in time where you can pay certain players so much. The front office might be at that point with Beasley. If you sign him, great. If you don’t you move on. I saw three slot players at the Senior Bowl I’d love to have that could be just as productive as Edelman or Beasley for a quarter of the cost.
Rob: Cole Beasley can help this team, no question about it. Whether he returns probably will come down to money, though. It’s not about the Cowboys’ cap space this year, which right now sits over $50 million. It’s about the number of key guys whose contracts are up within the next year. The club has to prioritize and budget for those. To answer your question, they don’t have another player like him under contract right now. Tavon Austin is a speedy, shifty slot receiver, but he’s also set to be a free agent.
3 under-the-radar Cowboys who could become big contributors in 2019, including a forgotten man at WR - John Owning, SportsDay
Owning provides his usual gif-heavy analysis of three under-the-radar contributors to the Cowboys’ 2018 season.
Just 23 years old, [Cedrick] Wilson checks in at 6-foot-2 and a hair under 200 pounds, giving him nice size to go with his above-average athleticism.
Though he missed the entirety of his rookie season, Wilson’s college tape reveals a player who is ready to contribute, and with Tavon Austin and Cole Beasley’s contracts expiring in March, Wilson could see a lot of opportunities next season.
In college, Wilson found success because of his refined route-running ability. Despite the fact he lacks elite deep speed, Wilson was able to become the best vertical threat in Boise State’s offense because he understands how to separate from coverage with pacing and subtle movements.
The Athletic’s NFL “Super Bowl-Era” franchise rankings – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
The Sturminator embarks on his annual, long-term evaluation of every NFL franchise and notes how the Cowboys’ have slid from the top spot to their current position in third place.
Dallas was much happier about this study when I did it the first time. The Cowboys had a sizable margin on the competition and felt great about their accomplishments. Unfortunately, they have one of the longest current droughts in the industry when it comes to simply reaching an NFC championship game. Who would have thought this group would manage only three playoff wins almost 25 years since the Triplets were young? As a credit to the eras of Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson, they still hold a lead over everyone but Pittsburgh and New England. But the team that led this study for the first fifteen editions has now fallen to third place.
Jason Garrett’s 4th downs attempts against the Rams - Eli Cuellar, CowboysWire
Jason Garrett’s in-game decision-making has been questioned throughout his career. Here we get a detailed breakdown of Garrett’s handling of fourth down attempts in the team’s playoff loss to the Rams.
Garrett received criticism early in the year for avoiding such high-risk plays, It is understandable but his attitude towards fourth down tries had changed as the season went on. His decision making in close games began to improve, which is good news. In tight matchups, these kinds of plays shouldn’t be optional, they should be mandatory, when given favorable opportunities.
This kind of aggressiveness can prove to be a double-edged sword at times, but more often than not, teams are winning with optimal fourth-down efficiency. Perhaps with new OC Kellen Moore officially at the helm, Garrett and company will only continue to build in these game situations.
5 things Dallas Cowboys must do to get to next year's Super Bowl - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The Cowboys’ SportsDay beat writer gives his list of ways the team can improve and go farther next season.
More offensive creativity. Kellen Moore is the new offensive coordinator. Jon Kitna is the new quarterbacks coach. Will Moore's offense look completely different from what we've seen over the last few years? I have my doubts. Garrett had strong influence on the offense run under previous OC Scott Linehan and I expect the same this time around, especially considering this is Moore's first time as an OC and Garrett will be coaching for his job in 2019.
So what could change? I could see more pre-snap motion that would make the offense less predictable. I could see even more ways of getting the ball to Amari Cooper. I think most of all, there could be more opportunities for Dak Prescott to use his feet as not only a runner but also as a passer. Increased creativity could also come via new personnel. The Cowboys obviously don't have a first-round pick because of the Cooper trade. They're also not expected to be big-time players in the free agency market. But the league continues to get younger and it wouldn't surprise me to see Dallas draft a couple of offensive weapons either at tight end, receiver or third-down back that could add some new wrinkles immediately.
Back To The Future: Lessons From September - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
Helman begins a series looking back at the 2018 season, summarizing each game from September. His thoughts after the team’s come-from-behind victory over Detroit to even the team’s record at 2-2:
Encouraging: At long last, the Cowboys showed us a glimpse of what Zeke Elliott can contribute as a receiver. At this point in the season, Elliott had caught just 11 passes for 37 yards, so it’d have been hard to guess he was headed for a career year as a pass catcher. Week 4’s dramatic win was a taste of what was to come. Elliott only caught four passes, but they went for 88 yards – the highest total of his career. He caught a 38-yard touchdown on a screen in this game, but no catch was more important than his 34-yard wheel route to set up Brett Maher’s 38-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired.
Alarming: Again, another uncharacteristic day from the Dallas pass defense. Golden Tate victimized the Cowboys’ DBs, going off for two touchdowns and 132 yards on eight catches. No moment was more egregious than Tate’s first touchdown, when Jourdan Lewis slipped in coverage and Jeff Heath took a poor angle in pursuit, allowing Tate to waltz into the end zone from 45 yards out. Again, for a unit that finished in the top half of the league in pass defense, it was an uncharacteristic showing.
Star Evaluation: Why Gallup’s Future Is Bright - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
The Broad One looks at rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup and generally likes what he sees.
2018 Highlight: Gallup seemed to raise his level of play in the biggest games, including the wild-card round against Seattle. He atoned for that Week 3 miscue by catching a perfect back-shoulder pass from Prescott in the end zone that gave Dallas a 10-6 lead just before halftime. More examples? He kept the offense moving in the Rams loss with some clutch catches, and his early 40-yard catch set the tone against the Saints in what was probably the most impressive victory of the season.
What’s Been Bad: Gallup had some quiet stretches as a rookie and dropped some would-be catches. In the Cowboys’ Week 3 loss at Seattle, a ball bounced off his hands over the middle and got picked off by Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Gallup caught 33 of 68 targets for only a 48.5 catch percentage, though sometimes the definition of ‘targets’ is misleading. As the season wore on, he did a better job of being aggressive and going up to finish plays.
2019 NFL offseason: Nine headlines from ... the future! - Jeremy Bergman, NFL.com
The NFL.com writer plays Nostradamus and predicts the future. As with most such attempts, there are puzzling predictions:
4) Cowboys franchise-tag DeMarcus Lawrence
Attempts at working out a long-term deal between the Cowboys and Tank will ... tank, at least in the short-term, as the Dallas front office opts to take care of franchise faces Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott before its top edge rusher. Panic won't set in on either side for some time, though. Lawrence will have until mid-July to sign the multi-year deal he so desires.