Dallas Cowboys: Offensive improvement everywhere except here…

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Michael Gallup #13 of the Dallas Cowboys goes up for a pass against Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Michael Gallup #13 of the Dallas Cowboys goes up for a pass against Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys offense saw massive improvement in Sunday’s win against the Detroit Lions. That is, every part except this one…

It was a sight for sore eyes. The Dallas Cowboys offense got off the ground, so to speak, and produced their best performance of the season, passing for a season’s best 255 yards and rushing for a season’s best 183 yards.

The 26 points scored is the highest amount they’ve posted since the December 10th match-up against New York last season (seven games ago).  And if it wasn’t for some poor red zone play, the score Sunday could have been much higher. Finally, the Dallas Cowboys moved the ball.

Through the first three weeks of the season, the Dallas Cowboys offense struggled nearly everywhere. The offensive line, the receiving corps, the tight ends, the quarterback, and play-calling all lacked execution. Even Zeke struggled making much of an impact early in games, and when he did, he mixed in some uncharacteristic boneheaded mistakes.

Everyone on offense has looked bad this season and the future started to look bleak. Until Sunday…

On Sunday everything came together. Zeke had a career game, the offensive line gelled and dominated, and Dak moved the offense in impressive fashion. But one unit failed to elevate their game. One unit struggled to execute and now enter this week with more questions than answers.

The pass-catchers

On a unit that just lost Dez Bryant and Jason Witten over the offseason, “struggling” is supposed to come with the territory. But Cowboys Nation remained hopeful, largely because of new receiver’s coach Sanjay Lal.

Sanjay was supposed to make the committee of pass-catchers consistent in their routes and in their overall execution. And for the most part, he’s succeeded. This rag-tag group of replaceable parts has been surprisingly slippery in their route running. With the exception of Week 3 against Seattle, they have been getting open on a routine basis.

Last Thursday, Cole Beasley had something to say to critics doubting him and his pass-catching brothers:

"“We’re getting open. That’s all we can do. If you watch the tape, that’s all you’ve got to do. A lot of people aren’t watching the tape. They’re just assuming. That’s fine.”"

Well Cole, I was watching the tape. And I was noticing you and your brethren were getting open (except in Seattle). I was also seeing pass-protection struggle and the passer struggle, preventing any possibility of an aerial connection.

But against Detroit the pass-protection pulled through. And as a direct result, the passer was able to deliver. And while you and your fellow pass-catchers were getting open, you were also collectively struggling to execute the catch.

Catching the ball seems like the most obvious job requirement of an NFL receiver and/or tight end. It doesn’t matter how open you get in your routes or how dynamic you are in the open field, if you can’t catch the ball it’s all for naught.

When Dak Prescott drops a dime into your waiting arms, you MUST pull through and make the catch. Even in the face of some excellent coverage. And make no mistake, Detroit had some excellent coverage.

Besides Tavon Austin’s drop in the end zone, there was a drop by Allen Hurns on a slant, and a drop from Beasley when he broke inside on 1st and 20. Even tight end pass-catchers Geoff Swaim and Rico Gathers missed opportunities running some questionable routes in the end zone. Once again, poor execution led to missed opportunities.

They weren’t simple catches but they are still the type you still expect an NFL player to make.  The offensive line did their part by giving Dak Prescott time. Dak did his part delivering extremely precise passes deep downfield. But the pass-catchers failed to do their part.

When the coaches’ film is released you can bet we’ll be consulting it to find out how well/poorly these pass-catchers did downfield. Frankly, we can only see about 20% of what makes up the passing game by watching the broadcast.

*Note: it was great to see Michael Gallup come up with one of those perfectly thrown (and well guarded) deep balls. Gallup, specifically, has struggled completing the catch this season so with any luck he can build on this recent success.

Next. What Rico Gathers needs to break out this season. dark

This Dallas Cowboys offense is coming together but if they want to become contenders again, they need all hands on deck (emphasis on hands) and that means the Dallas pass-catchers must execute the catch when No. 4 gets the ball into their hands.

  • Published on 10/01/2018 at 17:01 PM
  • Last updated at 10/01/2018 at 12:24 PM