Are the Dallas Cowboys an 8 win team? A 10 win team? Vegas has set the over/under at 9 wins, a total they’ve bested for three straight years. With a talented roster and a new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore guiding the team, will that override the overwhelmingly bland Jason Garrett?
That’s what we try to figure out on The Kist & Solak Show #101! Speaking of Moore, there’s a good reason for Cowboys’ fans to be optimistic about their new coordinator. He’s saying all the right things, including how to scheme up Dak Prescott to highlight his strengths rather than putting a spotlight on his weaknesses.
Those ideas include using more play-action, pre-snap motions and shifts, rolling pockets, quarterback runs, and other philosophies conducive to Prescott’s strengths. Essentially, stop trying to force Prescott to be a pocket passer, where his propensity for wonky mechanics and panicky pocket movement exposed him to the second most sacks in the league last year.
While that’s all very exciting, there’s still a concern that we don’t know how well Moore is able to marry “college” and “pro” concepts while sequencing plays within a game. We also don’t know why Jason Garrett didn’t speak up and implement similar philosophies while Scott Linehan was the offensive coordinator. Regardless, there’s still a good shot that the Cowboys’ offense should be better off via addition by subtraction.
There’s also the matter of Prescott, a mildly accurate quarterback that falls short in several situational categories. Those categories include third down and long, fourth downs, and the red zone. Mike Garafolo recently spoke with BGN about defensive coordinators wanting to put the game on Dak’s shoulders, especially in third and long. This drew a predictable “no duh” response, but why would coordinators plan to focus on the run on early downs to put Prescott in those situations? The statistics paint a pretty clear picture.
Some people dismissed this & missed the point, but here's Dak passing on 3rd & long conversions:— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) June 23, 2019
'17-'18: 34th of 35 (min. 50 att.)
'16-'18: 27th of 28 (min. 100 att.)
Wentz comes in 4th, 10th, and converted twice as many with his legs. Same disparity on 4th down. https://t.co/m3wHJYtX2H
I spoke more about Garafolo’s quote on the show:
“The ability to get the offense out of a jam, the best quarterbacks in the league do it, Dak doesn’t, in fact not only is he in the second worst for converting those situations, he’s 8th worst for throwing interceptions in those situations. He’s towards the bottom for yards per attempt in those situations, for example, Carson Wentz, 9.8 yards per attempt in 3rd and long, Dak 6.9, massive difference. Carson Wentz 2.1% interception frequency, Dak 3.8%, so don’t tell me that Dak is a quarterback that’s special, by any means, because special quarterbacks at least show up to dance on third and long.
There’s a reason it keeps coming up like that, there’s a reason that no matter what stat you look at, or however many years you go back, or even if you throw in scrambling, there’s a reason the names surrounding Dak Prescott look a lot different than the names surrounding Carson Wentz.”
We talk more Garrett, Moore and Prescott on The Kist & Solak Show #101: Eye On the Enemy - Dallas Cowboys! We also dig into the brights spots on the defensive side of the ball and give our final predictions for the Cowboys entering the 2019 NFL season. Spoiler: both me and Benjamin Solak believe they’ll hit the over on 9 wins, but will the take the NFC East title again?