The one thing that will fix the Dallas Cowboys offense

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys offense is ranked 30th in the NFL, but lucky for us, it can all be fixed by correcting this one vital thing…

Through three games, the Dallas Cowboys offense has scored a whopping 41 points this season. That total equates to under 14 points per game and is the worst offensive output to start a season since 1990.

Bogged down by the 31st ranked passing attack which averages a paltry 145 yards, Dak Prescott is principally coming under fire in Cowboys Nation. Fix the quarterback – fix the problem, right? Well, unless you have an Aaron Rodgers clone waiting in the wings, it’s going to take more than a quarterback change to fix this offense.

But the good news is the Dallas Cowboys stagnant offense can all be fixed by correcting this one major issue: Execution

While every NFL team can make the claim proper execution  is all that stands in their way of a perfect record, not all NFL teams can say they’ve seen winning execution from their players once before.

One can certainly make the case that Dak isn’t playing good enough to win. Or that play-caller Scott Linehan needs to call better plays. That the offensive line isn’t even playing well. Or even that the committee of pass-catchers lack the needed talent to win basic match-ups. But what it all really boils down to is simple execution.

We’re not talking about unrealistic execution either.

We’re talking about playing up to the standards that these players have previously set. While every NFL team can make the claim proper execution  is all that stands in their way of a perfect record, not all NFL teams can say they’ve seen winning execution from their players once before.

Dallas Cowboys fans have.

Zack Martin had arguably his worst day as a pro last Sunday against Seattle. Tyron Smith posted an unusual stinker as well. They made physical errors as well as mental errors (inexplicably struggling with a T-E stunt they’ve seen a million times before). If they just play up to their expectations and execute at the level they’ve done countless times before, they will once again be a dominant force. Even with the new pieces in place (Joe Looney and Connor Williams).

No one needs to exceed expectations here. Meeting them is more than enough.

Ezekiel Elliott has single-handedly put the Dallas Cowboys on his back and carried the team to victory. He’s proven to be the engine to this offense. He’s the league’s second leading rusher (likely to be No. 1 again after Sunday) and an All-Pro in nearly every way.

But he’s been missing key blocks in pass-protection, he’s fumbled the ball away in scoring territory, and he even negated a touchdown by stepping out of bounds without any defensive pressure to do so.

It’s just executing to the level that we’ve grown accustomed. It’s not playing above abilities, but rather playing to their proven level of abilities.

The pass-catchers on this team are a little trickier. With so many new faces on board, we don’t have a consensus baseline in which to set the standard. But catching the ball is a standard we can agree all professional pass-catchers are expected to do and we’ve seen far too many dropped balls by these Dallas Cowboys pass catchers this season.

It’s worth noting, the receivers have largely been getting open. Despite the lack of pedigree, they have been gaining separation (with the exception of last week). They need to catch the ball and Dak needs to trust them to catch the ball.

Speaking of which – Dak Prescott himself has set a standard in Dallas. Even when not posting high passing numbers, Dak has found a way to avoid mistakes, make big plays in critical situations, and win games.

Week 2 in New York is a good recent example of that. Dak made critical runs that were much bigger than the stat sheet could ever indicate. He delivered on big plays (Gallup should have caught that deep pass down the sideline) and he avoided the big mistake.

Again, we’re not talking about unrealistic expectations. We’re talking about the standard that these players have already set. No one needs to exceed expectations here. Meeting them is more than enough.

This goes all the way to the coaching staff. Scott Linehan has had success in the past. He’s been in the league for this long for a reason (insert nepotism joke here). But truthfully, he’s had an aggressive and creative attack before in Detroit. He even had a winning formula with Dak not too long ago here in Dallas.

Now we’ve seen things work (use of Tavon, zone reads, creative screens, and the run-pass option) and we’ve seen him abandon them. We don’t need him to pull a rabbit out of a hat here. We just need him to execute up the level he’s proven before (although we do need him to stop calling those dang “waggle” plays (they ain’t foolin anyone, bruh).

"“It just boils down to the execution,” Dak Prescott said. “He [Linehan] can call whatever play he wants to call, it’s on us to execute it and execute it the right way. The bottom line is that’s how it’s got to be approached.”"

Next. Why it's time to press the panic button. dark

If it makes you feel good to pin this all on your favorite scapegoat, go for it, because none are without blame. But if you really want to target the issue at hand, it’s all about execution. Far too many players are playing below their expectations, and until they correct that, nothing else is going to matter.

  • Published on 09/28/2018 at 12:09 PM
  • Last updated at 09/28/2018 at 12:09 PM