Dak Prescott’s Legs Could Save the Cowboys Offense

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On the Monday Morning NFL Podcast, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling analyzed the streaky Cowboys offense and why it worked so well against Jacksonville on Sunday…

GARY: I don’t know what people are expecting this Cowboys offense to become. I know there’s been all this criticism and it doesn’t help when Jerry Jones says, “Yeah, our offense is a lot like the Rams’ offense.” They don’t have the passing game weapons to become the Rams offense, but they’re streaky and have spurts. They had a really nice first half against the Jaguars here. Dak Prescott with his legs a little bit, Cole Beasley got A.J. Bouye a couple of times when Bouye came down to guard him in the slot, and then a little bit of Ezekiel Elliott. They pulled away in this game in the first half. I thought it was a nice performance from the embattled Cowboys offense.

ANDY: And now the embattled Jaguars defense becomes the theme. I never in a million years would’ve guessed we’d see Jacksonville give up 40 points, let alone to the team with the least-talented passing game in the NFL. Dak Prescott ran the ball more in this game. He had a career high 82 yards rushing. I know you want to be judicious with how you run your QB. I’ve even had conversations with Cowboys staffers about this, “Yeah, we run him when we get near the red zone because the payoff is bigger, but we don’t always feel it’s worth it to risk him in the middle of the field.” I think Dak Prescott’s legs have a chance to save this Cowboy’s passing game. The passing game turns into a running game by default. I think we need to see more of Prescott moving around, whether it’s actually running the ball or certainly him getting outside the pocket, where he’s always been very good.

GARY: He was excellent on both designed runs and scrambles. The strength of top offenses around the league is the passing game. It’s the receiving weapons and the quarterback. That’s not the Cowboys’ strength, and the Jaguars are built to deal with that strength. Not that they’re bad against the run, but they did struggle to stop the run both Prescott and the more traditional running game. It’s the Jaguars strength against the Cowboys’ biggest weakness. Does your strength really matter that much at that point if even a middling group of cornerbacks and pass rushers can shut down this passing game?

ANDY: While we’re on the periphery of the topic, scrambling stats should not count as rushing yardage. They should go down as part of a team’s passing yardage. For one, they usually come against man-to-man coverage so they’re already coming against specific pass coverages. They’re coming out of passing formations on passing plays. Everything about the play has a pass element except for the little matter that somebody didn’t actually throw the ball. If I’m a coach, I’m looking at scrambling yards allowed as part of my pass defense, not my run defense. And the other thing they ought to clean up while they’re at it, passes behind the line of scrimmage and between the tackles should not be counted as passing yards. Those are an extension of your running game. In a perfect world, they could keep the stats better. Dak Prescott helped the passing game by scrambling around that.

GARY: Scrambles should probably just stand alone then, not rushing yards and not passing yards. They’re scramble yards.

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Also on this week’s edition of The Monday Morning Podcast:

1:30—How the offenses overwhelmed the defenses in the Patriots-Chiefs classic

7:27—Steelers do it to Cincy again, and why the Bengals were right to be aggressive on their final defensive play

12:51—Cowboys steamroll the Jaguars D thanks in large part to Dak Prescott’s legs

19:21—Raiders hammered by Seattle as it becomes a lost year for Jon Gruden

26:46—Ravens defense destroys Titans, more Mariota questions

33:36—Osweiler-led Dolphins come back to beat Bears in wild, mistake-filled OT game

38:39—Chargers sharp in Cleveland, Baker Mayfield has his first bad day

43:14—Bills let positively Bills-y victory slip away in Houston, as Nathan Peterman goes from hero to goat again

46:23— LIGHNING(ish) ROUND!
• Broncos get run all over again, this time by the Rams
• Washington gets out early and hangs on against mistake-prone Panthers
• Atlanta hangs on against Tampa as game ends with wild last-gasp play
• Vikings dominate Cardinals as defense seems to be getting back on track
• Andrew Luck spectacular in another losing effort, Sam Darnold coming along

56:31— Andy and Gary each pick their “Thing of the Week” awards

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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