When Robert Prince joined the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff this offseason, it was under less-than-ideal of circumstances. The 30-year-veteran coach lost his WR1 Amari Cooper in a trade with Cleveland. He lost his do-it-all young guy in Cedrick Wilson. And he retained an injured player with an unknown return date in Michael Gallup.
In all, the new coach inherited a unit that was going to start the new season without three of their top four receivers from the season before. He took over a passing attack that had finished in the top 10 a year before (sixth in EPA and 10th in success rate) and was asked to repeat, or even improve, the results with most of his top weapons absent from the lineup.
Robert Prince appears to be succeeding in arguably the toughest coaching challenge on the Dallas Cowboys this year.
On paper, this is the situation nightmares are made of. Robert Prince walked into the doors at The Star in Frisco with high expectations and limited resources. The only veteran signing he was given to work with fell to a significant injury early in camp (James Washington) and the only noteworthy addition is third round rookie, Jalen Tolbert, out of South Alabama.
But somehow…Robert Prince is making it work.
In training camp the Dallas Cowboys have been predictably leaning on their young star, CeeDee Lamb, quite heavily. They’ve been moving him around the formation and scheming of ways to get him the ball. But in order for that work, Prince has to have receivers that can similarly moved around the formation and be competent options in the process.
If a coach is judged on the improvement and preparedness of his corps, then Prince is making miracles. Simi Fehoko, a Day 3 draft pick from 2021, looked lost in every way last season. This season, he making plays on the regular and appears to have taken a massive step in his development.
Noah Brown, a five year veteran with less than 500 career receiving yards, has been the most consistent performer in camp. Playing inside and outside, Brown is a do-it-all WR with elite blocking ability. He’s making plays downfield as a pass-catcher and is suddenly on track for a starting job in Week 1.
T.J. Vasher is an enormous project from 2021 that has taken big strides in the offseason. He always had the natural skillset but now he has the knowledge and nuance needed to challenge for a position.
Dennis Houston is an undrafted free agent rookie who looks like one of the best coached players on the roster. He’s not blessed with NFL size or skills but his abnormally reliable play, grasp of the offense, and ability to play any role at any time, is a testament to the coaching staff (and his own work ethic).
The important thing to point out here, is the players are stepping up. No one is backing into a job here. Robert Prince has some good options to chose from and will ultimately be forced to cut some very intriguing prospects because he did such a good job developing everyone.
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t nearly as talented at WR as they were last year but seem prepared to pick up where they left off (assuming the O-line can do their job) and Robert Prince is largely to credit.
- Published on 08/13/2022 at 12:13 PM
- Last updated at 08/13/2022 at 12:22 PM