Dallas Cowboys: Why better receivers will help Dak

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Terrance Williams
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Terrance Williams /

Dak Prescott struggled in his second season as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, but a legitimate receiving corps will make him better.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott struggled in this second season as the signal caller of America’s Team. Maybe struggled is not the right word, but he had a lot more issues than he did in his rookie season.

Everyone has an opinion on why Dak struggled at certain times. Some critics say its because opposing defenses had a year’s worth of tape on him and found his weaknesses.

Others say Dak is no more than a game manager who needs Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield to be an effective quarterback.

When it comes to Cowboys Nation, the reasons vary person to person. Some Cowboys’ fans are positive and believe its part of the learning curve to becoming an elite quarterback in the NFL. Some Cowboys’ fans believe Dak is bust and that Tony Romo should still be the quarterback.

Regardless of where you stand on the matter, it’s clear that Dak and the passing game struggled. But I believe there is one thing that will help Dak in his development as a franchise quarterback:

Better receivers.

A legitimate receiving corps will benefit Dak as he progresses as a quarterback. Having competent receivers is as important as footwork , progressions, and accuracy.

Let’s break it down and talk about it.

Contrary to popular opinion, an offense doesn’t need a number one receiver to great. What an offense needs is a good core of receivers that can do all of the things required to make it top notch.

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It’s no secret that Dez Bryant is no longer an elite receiver. His decline fell faster than 2008 stock on Dow Jones.

Whether its because of speed, injuries, separation and/or bad route running, Dez is a complete shell of the All Pro receiver we witnessed back in 2014 where he led all receivers with 16 touchdowns.

Dez is one of the highest paid receivers in the league, yet he didn’t play anything like one. Time after time Dez dropped easy passes and tipped balls that led to easy interceptions.

Plus, Dez led the league in dropped passes.

Even though Dez continued to drop passes, Dak kept throwing to him. Yes, some of Dak passes were off, but not all of them. If those balls are caught, maybe, just maybe, the Cowboys win those games and are in the playoffs.

Instead, those miscues were beyond costly and not only hurt Dak’s numbers, but it caused the Cowboys’ offense to be one dimensional. It was a trickle down effect.

Since opposing defenses no longer needed to double team Dez, they double teamed Cole Beasley, Dallas’ next receiving threat. As a slot receiver, with a specific purpose, it wasn’t hard to limit Beasley’s playmaking abilities.

With Dez and Beasley held in check, Dallas’ offense spurted, making it easier for defenses to stack the box and even blitz at will.

An upgrade in the receiving corps is crucial for Dallas to make it to the playoffs next season. Dallas needs receivers who can catch, run good routes, and be a deep threat. Terrance Williams is no more than a possession receiver who can block, which is why he’s on the field.

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T-Will is anemic as a receiver, part of the reason why Dak looked bad this year. Dallas’ top two receivers did nothing to help Dak, besides tipping passes into waiting arms of defensive backs.

Because of Dez and Williams, Dak led the league in interceptions returned for touchdowns with four. Heck, Dak had only four TOTAL interceptions during his rookie season.

A group of a receivers who can catch and stretch the field will do wonders for this team because it makes them dominant in the running game, too. With Zeke in the backfield, opposing defenses will have to respect the running game AND the passing game.

If defenses stack the box, the receivers will make you pay dearly because of man coverage. Defenses will stay up all night figuring out how to stop a lethal offense like Dallas’ because of its offensive threats. Zeke alone causes nightmares for defenses.

Further, look at the remaining teams in the playoffs and their group of receivers. The Eagles, Vikings, Jags, and Patriots all have a good core of receivers.

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Contrary to popular opinion, an offense doesn’t need a number one receiver to be great. What an offense needs is a good core of receivers that can do all of the things required to make it top notch.

Because Dez is Dallas’ top receiver, the coaching staff required Dak to force it to Dez, even as he constantly dropped passes. Back in 2016, when Dez missed a few games because an injury, Dak played outstanding without Dez on the field.

The fact that Dak could read through his progressions and make plays is why Dallas went on an 11 game winning streak in his rookie season.

That’s proof that Dez hurts Dak more than helps. It’s why Dallas needs to upgrade its receiving corps as soon as possible.

Next: What the Dallas Cowboys need in a new receiver

I understand Dak regressed to some degree and needs to work on his mechanics, accuracy, pocket awarenessn and footwork. But those things are fixable, and so is drafting receivers who can catch the ball.