Dallas Cowboys: What to Make of the Scott Linehan Firing


To the ecstasy of many Cowboys’ fans, the organization and OC Scott Linehan have parted ways. This felt like a necessary move as the team’s Red Zone Offense and Passing Offense were still a legitimate concern for the team.

Scott Linehan has been the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys last 5 years. While he’s helped the offense get to the playoffs in 2014 and 2016, the offense was scrutinized for the lack of production in 2017 and 2018, especially in the scoring department.

This move symbolized that the Cowboys wanted a schematic shift, not a mindset shift. The Cowboys are a built like physical team and they will continue to establish their physicality at the line of scrimmage. This coaching move was intended to bring in some creativity.

Picking Pros had the Cowboys passing offense rated 22nd and the scoring offense at 21st. These play hand in hand as the Cowboys threw more than they should have in the red zone where they should’ve established their physicality with their offensive line and All-Pro running back.

Most importantly, this offense wasn’t designed for #4, but rather, for #9. Number 9, obviously having more experience, was able to go through his pre-snap reads much quicker than Dak and had a better idea of where his receivers would be at any point time. This doesn’t mean Dak is incapable of reading the defense pre-snap, but he just isn’t as good.

So what does this offense need now?

It needs to cater to Dak’s passing ability

Dak is at his best when he knows who he’s throwing to before the snap. Some prime examples of this are the 48 yard touchdown he threw to Michael Gallup Week 7 against the Washington Redskins and the 75 yard touchdown he threw to Amari Cooper Week 14 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dak saw he had one on one on the outside and knew Gallup would beat his man allowing for Dak to drop a dime to Gallup. This concept can carry over into Dak’s intermediate and short passing game where he focuses on one side and throws to his back side.

Unfortunately in this offense, Dak had a tendency to telegraph throws and hold on to the ball causing him to throw ill-advised passes and take sacks which may or may not have led to turnovers. When Dak has a clean look at his receiver, especially deep, he’s usually pretty accurate. In fact, in 2017 Pro Football Focus had Dak as the 4th best deep ball passer in the league.

Creativity in the run game

At this point, everyone is probably familiar with the 13 personnel strong look the Cowboys would run on first down. (1 RB, 3 TE) Even if they didn’t have 3 tight ends, they still brought in Noah Brown on a motion and lined him up at H-back. Not only was it difficult to run, but also passing became difficult.

Against the Rams, the Cowboys allowed a porous 273 rushing yards against Todd Gurley and someone who everyone was complaining had a “dad-bod.” When the Rams had the constant threat of a jet sweep, it kept the Linebackers on their heels, and as a result many big run plays occurred.

While I’m not asking for the Cowboys to shape their offense like the Rams, it would be nice to see some unpredictability between run and pass reflected in their personnel choice. When Zeke has an open hole, everyone knows he’ll make a big play.

Now who are the Cowboys most likely to hire?

More from Dallas Cowboys

Doug Nussmeier, Cowboys TE Coach

Before Nussmeier was hired by the Cowboys, he was the offensive coordinator for Michigan, under Brady Hoke, and for Florida, under Jim McElwain. He was instrumental in the growth of Geoff Swaim, Dalton Schultz, and Blake Jarwin. Also having coached spread offenses, hiring Nussmeier could allow Prescott and Elliott to play in a system that was closer to their college offenses.

In addition, Nussmeier seems to be the favorite within the organization to fill in the vacancy and given Jason Garrett’s history of picking assistants, this seems like the most likely move. Another possible option for the job is Kansas City OC Eric Bieniemy, but Kansas City does have the ability to block him from interviewing with the Cowboys as he is not applying for a Head Coaching position.

Related Story. Cowboys OC: Doug Nussmeier?. light

In all, this move was to help the QB, which has been a consistent theme to coaching hires this off-season. We should expect the same of the Cowboys as maybe this can take them to the next level.

  • Published on 01/18/2019 at 21:47 PM
  • Last updated at 01/18/2019 at 21:47 PM