If anyone can get most out of Dante Fowler, it is defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
The Dallas Cowboys have benefited recently by reviving the careers of struggling edge rushers. Robert Quinn and Randy Gregory both experienced turnarounds with the star on their helmets.
When Dallas signed Quinn in 2019, he had four consecutive seasons of single-digit sacks. Quinn then went on to post 11.5 sacks for the Cowboys along with two forced fumbles.
The Cowboys are now looking for a resurgence out of defensive end Dante Fowler, the likely No. 2 edge rusher opposite of Demarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys signed Fowler to a one-year, $1.5 million dollar deal in March.
Cowboys COO Stephen Jones believes defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (who befriended Fowler while both were at the University of Florida) can get more out of Fowler.
Prescott needs a deep playoff run to claim top-tier status.
NFL players, coaches, and executives recently ranked the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Dak Prescott kicked off the list, ranking at No. 10. He dropped three spots from last year’s preseason list.
It has been a continuous debate from experts if Prescott is worthy of being a top 10 QB. The abilities are there, but deficiencies are preventing him from being a top-tier quarterback. What holds Prescott back?
Why Dak Did Make the Cut
Let’s point out the elements that made Prescott a top 10 QB. For starters, he is a leader. Before every first drive, Prescott fist-bumps every player in the huddle with the belief of leading his team to victory. He is passionate and always pushes his teammates to work harder. His work ethic is contagious in the Cowboys’ practice environment, and his teammates respect his routine. Even Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman approves of the tone Prescott sets within the team.
Prescott holds a 1-3 playoff record, including the most recent loss to the San Fransisco 49ers. Being the leader of “America’s Team” attracts plenty of pressure. Add the postseason curse Dallas has suffered and the first impressions Prescott left after his rookie year, all eyes are on No. 4 in the big moment. So far, the playoffs have not treated Prescott well.
More innovation incoming for Kellen Moore’s offense?
1. Start using designed pick plays
The first thing Moore needs to come to terms with is that he’s lost his best route-running receiver in Amari Cooper. With Cooper now gone, Moore will have to do more in terms of scheming his receivers open. CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are good receivers but they aren’t on the same level of route running capability as Cooper.
2. Take advantage of your mobile quarterback
This Cowboys offense has always had success when Prescott has been able to use his legs effectively. The QB used to be able to buy time extending a play or use his legs to pick up first downs and move the chains.
3. Effectively utilize Elliott and Pollard at the same time
One could say that last season’s most explosive and productive player on the Cowboys offense was Tony Pollard, who was able to make plays in both the running game and passing game. That effectiveness looks to have spawned new ideas from Moore and McCarthy who are going to look to utilize Pollard more on the field as a slot receiver. It’s about time, too.
4. Be more creative with playcalling
Let’s face it. Whenever the Cowboys’ offense seems to stall it’s because Moore gets stuck trying to figure out how to beat defenses that seemingly have figured him out. By stuck, I mean going back to what he knows and that’s the Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett playbook. That’s when the jet sweeps and runs on first down start seeping back into the plays on the field and that’s something that hopefully (with the help of Mike McCarthy) will change this season.
Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Falls out of ESPN’s Top 10 RB Rankings Voted by NFL Insiders - Mike Chiari, Bleacher Report
Keeping Zeke fresh down the stretch and healthy is important.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler released the list as voted on by 50 anonymous NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players, and Elliott could only muster a place in the honorable mention section.
An NFC executive provided a possible explanation for Elliott’s absence on the list after placing in the top 10 last year, saying: “He’s still a good player, but that burst he once had just doesn’t seem to be there.”
The 26-year-old Elliott is set to enter his seventh NFL season in 2022, and he will look to secure his fifth 1,000-yard rushing campaign and fourth season with double-digit rushing touchdowns in the process.
Elliott reached both of those milestones last season, rushing for 1,002 yards and 10 touchdowns on 237 carries to go along with 47 receptions for 287 yards and two scores through the air.
While Zeke’s overall numbers were solid, he is clearly lacking the explosiveness he showed earlier in his career.
Jake Ferguson could go from mid-rounder to backup tight end in quick fashion.
We can all hope Dalton Schultz will be around even if he does not sign a deal by Friday, but we know he is the TE1 on the Cowboys roster next year.
The Cowboys lost Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, we all know that. With the 12 personnel, you can feature a nice mix of runs and pass while doing them effectively. That might be something Dallas could feature next season some more to help maintain the offense they had just a year ago.
If Sean McKeon does not take the TE2 spot, I hope we see A LOT of Jake Ferguson next season. I think Dallas should find a way to scheme some run packages together. Ferguson was drafted out of Wisconsin, Ferguson came from a team that enjoyed running the football.
Ferguson was a factor in the Badger offense all four seasons, catching 145 passes for 1,168 yards and 13 touchdowns in his college career. Last season, he caught 46 passes for 450 yards and three touchdowns, earning First-team All-Big Ten honors.
When opposing teams see a 12 personnel group, many think the chances are pretty great to run the football. So I would be all for Kellen Moore using this to their advantage next season.
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