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The Cowboys’ offense is bad, and was always going to be bad

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Dak friendly fire

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There is a recent meme going around pointing out how unproductive Dak Prescott has been in his last 16 games. The comparisons are hilarious.

But you don’t need stats to know that Prescott and the Cowboys offense are struggling this year and were always going to. You don’t need to watch them play. You don’t even need to know who is on the Cowboys offense. All you need to know is the way that Prescott and the Cowboys offense were talked about.

This offseason was billed as creating a “Dak friendly offense.”

Right then and there you knew Dallas was in trouble. When new phrases are coined in the NFL, it’s not a good sign.

Nick Foles had a season like no one had ever seen before in 2013. Rather than treat it like the outlier it was, it was rationalized into Foles becoming something that he wasn’t by being talked about like no one had ever talked before. “Pro Bowl MVP” became nearly synonymous with Foles while the award would never come up when discussing one of his predecessors, or his co-MVP, as Foles won the award for offensive player in the first year the award was split (it was Derrick Johnson). “27-2”, his touchdown to interception ratio, was an even greater rallying cry. It was a hugely impressive record, but it was just a record, not a talent. No other QB has his TD/INT ratio used as the be all and end all, not even when it was greater than Foles’, as was the case with Tom Brady’s 28-2 in 2016. Not too long into the 2014 season, it was clear that the hype on Foles was nothing more than hype.

It’s a similar situation in Dallas. The “Dak friendly offense” stinks. It was inevitable. The implication that the 2017 Cowboys offense, almost entirely the same players and coaches as the 2016 Cowboys offense that had Prescott looking like a star quarterback, was somehow holding him back was preposterous. As were the moves that were made to make the offense more “Dak friendly”: Allen Hurns, who had one good season three years ago; Tavon Austin, who’s never had a good season; Deonte Thompson, a 29 year old journeyman… these are not moves to create a playoff team. It wasn’t the Cowboys fault that both Jason Witten and James Hanna would retire, but it was their fault that Witten was 35 last year and because every move by the Cowboys is for the present season that they had nobody waiting in the wings to replace him.

And then they doubled down. Already deciding that they were going to use their first round pick on a wide receiver (which is a problem on its own), they used it to trade for Amari Cooper. Jerry Jones has publicly committed to signing Dak Prescott to an extension. Maybe they’ll bring in a new coach, or a new offensive coordinator. They’ll certainly spend money in free agency.

None of it will matter if it’s to continue to make a “Dak friendly offense” rather than an actual good offense.