The 2019 Dallas Cowboys did one thing very well, and that was rack up yards on offense. They led the league in overall yards and were second in passing yards. Dak Prescott set a career high with his passing yards, and both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup had over 1,000 yards receiving. Sure, they could have been a little more efficient turning those yards into points, but they were a juggernaut on offense nonetheless.
How will 2020 shake out? There is plenty of reason for optimism as the Cowboys did a few major things that could make their offense even more potent. They brought in Mike McCarthy who is known as an offensive mind who likes to air the ball out. He also claims to have become a convert to analytics which should help keep the offense going in the right direction. The flip side of that is the removal of Jason Garrett, who seemed intent on keeping the Cowboys offense in check with some old-school thinking in terms of strategy, play-calling and innovation.
Then there was the crowning move. Somehow, the Cowboys were able to draft CeeDee Lamb at pick #17. Lamb can easily be argued as the best receiver in the draft, and now he becomes the Cowboys WR3. It’s an embarrassment of riches at the skill position for the Cowboys. It made us giddy enough to create #Team40Burger t-shirts.
But, you know what they said about the best laid plans.
So let’s see what someone else has to say about the Cowboys offense. In this case, we turn to Bucky Brooks at NFL.com. In a recent article he discussed Amari Cooper’s hope that the Cowboys could have three 1,000 yard receivers this season. This is a subject we’ve covered a couple of times this offseason. Once here, and more recently when Cooper made his claim.
Brooks covers Cooper’s comments, and then details the outrageous skills that Lamb brings to the table. He also notes that Cooper and Lamb will be able to move around the formation, allowing McCarthy to get mismatches against defenses, especially those without depth at cornerback.
He then gets into the meat of the analysis and wants everybody to remember that Ezekiel Elliott makes this passing offense even scarier just by his presence.
In Dallas, this strategy will be enhanced by the presence of Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield. The two-time NFL rushing champ will force opponents to utilize more “plus-one” fronts to contain the Cowboys’ potent running game, and that will lead to more one-on-one coverage on the perimeter. With defensive coordinators unable to utilize brackets or double-teams to slow down Cooper (... or Gallup ... or Lamb), the Cowboys’ aerial attack becomes extremely difficult to stop.
The Cowboys’ 11 personnel package (one RB, one TE, three WRs) not only gives them three pass catchers with A-plus playmaking ability to exploit one-on-one matchups, but it should also encourage Dak Prescott to take more shots down the field. Cooper, Gallup and Lamb have the capacity to wrestle 50-50 balls from defenders along the boundary and each possesses enough speed to win on vertical routes against single coverage.
Considering Prescott’s precision down the field (a dive into the Next Gen Stats suggests No. 4 was the NFL’s best deep-ball passer last season), the trio could produce more big plays and fuel an offense that’s even more dynamic and explosive in 2020. And this is the club that led the NFL in total yardage a season ago. Add Lamb to the mix, and America’s Team could be downright scary this season.
Maybe we need to send Brooks a #Team40Burger t-shirt.
What say you BTB? You buying what Brooks is selling?