It’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s going to take time for the Cowboys’ offense to develop an identity in life after Jason Witten and Dez Bryant.
In order for quarterback Dak Prescott to develop chemistry with new receivers like Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in games, a lot of other things have to go right. The Dallas offensive line has to keep Prescott from getting sacked five times like he was last week in Seattle. The Cowboys have to put themselves in favorable down-and-distance situations to keep opposing defenses from pinning their ears back and coming after the QB on third-and-extra-long situations.
But mostly, it seems, the receivers need to get open and Prescott has to be able to find them and get them the ball.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett said on Wednesday that he can’t single out one of those areas that has hurt the Cowboys the most.
“If there is something that’s overarching, you say ‘Ok, we’ve really got to address this,’” Garrett said. “I don’t know that that’s been the case though. I think it’s probably been something here on this play, something there on that play, something here on this other play. And hopefully we can iron those things out and execute better.”
It might be death by a thousand paper cuts, but it’s still pretty grim.
Through three games, Dallas averages 13.7 points per game, ranking next-to-last in the NFL. In the season-opener, the Cowboys didn’t score in the first three quarters. After an uptick and a 20-13 victory over the Giants in Week 2, Dallas gave up three turnovers and fell to Seattle, 24-13.
While the Cowboys coaches and players might have patience for the offense to come together, the media and fans are getting restless. Garrett has answered question after question about all aspects of the passing game already this season. And fair enough, since Dallas also ranks next-to-last in passing offense.
Two seasons ago, Dallas fans were thrilled to see the rookie Prescott leading the team on an 11-game winning streak. But since Dallas reached 11-1 in 2016, the Prescott-led Cowboys are 12-12 and many are questioning whether he’s really the QB of the future for this team.
Prescott is certainly the QB of the present as backup Cooper Rush showed in the preseason that he’s not ready to run the show. But with each passing loss, more and more questions arise about Prescott’s future.
And it seems the more specific the questions Garrett hears, the more generic his responses.
“I think you’re always evaluating your personnel and how you’re using them and who’s available and what’s the best place to put them to hopefully maximize their strengths and maybe minimize some of their weaknesses,” Garrett said in response to a question about changing personnel on Wednesday.
That’s Garrett’s way of applying patience with the media. The big question is whether or not Garrett’s patience will pay off on the field.