Dallas Cowboys: 12 days of Christmas (12-point wish list)

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Twelve wishes for the Dallas Cowboys now and in the offseason…

There’s plenty to wish for following this depressing Dallas Cowboys season. Even though there are two games yet to be played, the needs and concerns are apparent already.

So this year we’re making an offseason wish list for the 12-days of Christmas.

Wish No. 1: Dak Prescott Deal

This is the wish to end all wishes. If the Dallas Cowboys can’t get a long-term deal done with Dak, we slide straight into “what’s the friggin’ point” territory. Dallas will tag Dak again as they negotiate the terms, but it would be disastrous if something isn’t agreed on and agreed on early.

A deal would actually free up money and allow Dallas to upgrade other positions. No deal means a very uncertain future for the Cowboys and a high likelihood they’ll be wondering in the desert for the next half-decade.

Wish No. 2: A new defensive coordinator

This isn’t to pin all blame on Mike Nolan. The players have their own massive chunk of accountability to accept. But the scheme clearly doesn’t fit the abilities of the personnel and Nolan’s changes were too significant given the unique climate of 2020.

Wish No. 3: Veteran run-stopping tackle

For years the Dallas Cowboys have neglected the DT position, and now it’s finally caught up with them. Dallas’ DTs have displayed zero gap integrity and that has trickled down to the linebackers. In the end, teams have been able to run all over the Cowboys.

Dallas doesn’t just need any DT – they need a true front line starter who can play the run and pressure the passer. They need to devote big free agent money to the position they’ve neglected for too long.

Wish No. 4: Committee at running back

Ezekiel Elliott has declined as a runner and basically just takes what the offensive line creates for him. The time for him to be the primary runner is gone and a committee approach is just what the doctor called for. Zeke still has a need in short yardage situations, but Pollard is a game breaker and needs at least half the touches.

Related Story. What Tony Pollard taught the Cowboys about the RB position. light

Wish No. 4: New starting safeties

Everything we said about DT, applies here as well. Dallas has undervalued the safety position and now it’s time to reshuffle the deck. Xavier Woods has to go and everyone not named “Donovan Wilson” can go with him.

Unlike DT, rookies are known to be impactful at this position, so Dallas isn’t obligated to use free agency if they’d rather draft a rookie. But at least one safety needs to be added with a top-100 pick because they can’t afford to short-change their secondary any longer

Wish No. 5: 1 shut-down corner

For as promising as Trevon Diggs looks, he’ll likely never be a real shut-down cornerback. He’s a ball-hawk and a gambler. The Dallas Cowboys need to invest in a true CB1 to pair with him. Someone reliable and pedigreed (someone like Byron Jones, maybe?). Either a top-40 pick or a proven veteran. Coverage is too important not to.

Wish No. 6: Sean Lee as a coach

Sean Lee is a born leader and one day soon, a great coach. We just hope and pray it’s with the Dallas Cowboys.

Wish No. 7: Less special, special teams

John “Bones” Fassel came to Dallas as the best special teams coach in the NFL and he seems determined to prove that title every single week. The Cowboys special teams unit has been creative trick play after creative trick play all season.

But all I want is a competitive unit who’s capable of pulling a rabbit out of a hat every once in a while. Let’s stop trying to be so darn special each week and just focus on the fundamentals, shall we?

Wish No. 8: More RPOs, Motion, and nonstop Play-action

RPOs keep opponents on tilt and motion and play-action both offer a statistical advantage. Teams that use motion at the snap of a given play are more likely to succeed than those who don’t. Same with play-action. I wish for more.

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Wish No. 9: 4th down aggressiveness

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most aggressive teams in the NFL on 4th down. That’s a great thing that they need to expand upon. Let’s have less punting and less field goals and more guts and glory. Much like Wish No. 8, the analytics support such action so let’s embrace win probability and start playing to win rather than going against the odds and playing “not to lose”.

Wish No. 10: Accountability at LB

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have been poor this year. Much of that is based on how they’re responding to the situation in front of them at DT, but some also lies with their play. They are undisciplined, ineffective, and at times, lazy.

They need to be put on snap counts and rotated to be at their most effective. They also need to get pulled out when tanking an assignment.

Wish No. 11: A real GM

Will McClay is largely in charge of finding talent but it’s Stephen and Jerry who are tasked with keeping it. Instead of re-signing Dak and Byron Jones, the Joneses re-signed Jaylon and Zeke. They basically went 0/4 there and will be paying the consequences for seasons to come.

Wish No. 12: A healthy O-line

Finally, we ask for a fully healthy offensive line. The Dallas Cowboys were missing their starting two tackles and most of their depth all season. Even their All-Pro guard, Zack Martin, fell to injury. The trickle-down effect has been felt throughout the entire offense and now some are clamoring to use the top pick in the draft to address the unit.

If healthy, this is still a dominant O-line and it behooves Dallas to use most of their draft capitol on defense and not offense.

Next. The real conundrum on the Dallas defense. dark

So there we go – our 12 wishes for the Dallas Cowboys. What did we miss?

  • Published on 12/25/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 12/25/2020 at 09:51 AM