Cowboys Six Pack: What Are The Best Options On Offense?

Cory Mageors
August 07, 2018 - 11:38 am
Dak Prescott

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

I’d like to do this frequently throughout the football season if you would like to join me for the ride. I’ll take one general topic and drive down into the details with six cool crisp notes, thoughts or play breakdowns. 

With no further jabbering, let's talk about the Cowboys offense.

Again, I haven’t watched the team play against anybody yet, but I have watched every video Jeff Cavanaugh, Shan Shariff and our buddy Dave Helman have posted and I feel like I’m starting to get a good grasp of some of the ideas and basic concepts of this offense.

Each week with preseason, we’ll see these positions become more clear as a guy fumbles or scores a touchdown when given his opportunities, you just never know how a guy will respond.

Who will be in the Cowboys pecking order on offense with no Dez Bryant or Jason Witten on hand? It’s an interesting question because the Cowboys essentially opened up a ton of options for what they want to accomplish.

This is my 1-6 for this year’s Cowboys offense, if they all make the team. We’ll sit back and redo this after preseason. Man, I can’t wait for Thursday night’s game on 105.3 The Fan.

Option No. 1 – Dak Prescott – He’s my number one option for a multitude of reasons, but the biggest one is that on almost every offensive play he has the ball in his hands right after the snap. At any point after the snap he has to break down the defense, analyze it and decide to move forward with the throw or run that will give the Cowboys the best opportunity to convert a first down, whether that first comes on that play or the next or the next after that.

It’s not sexy to go with the quarterback, but if Dak is uncomfortable or feels nothing else around him can make it happen, he takes matters into his own hands and can break things open for big yards. I’d personally rather see him be a wildly accurate quarterback who can precisely dissect a defense, instead the Cowboys have a guy who makes most throws and is oddly capable of completing for big yards when he is outside of the pocket.

Option No. 2 – Ezekiel Elliott – Hey idiot, Zeke is this offense. Yep, I say that just about every day on air too, but Zeke can’t step up and push Dak out of the way for a snap. Therefore, he falls into the second spot.

There is no doubt in my mind that Zeke is the thing that makes the machine work at its best, much like adding N20 to a fast car, this offense is fine but when Zeke is on the field, it can leave you in the dust at any point. This team operates best when he gashes a defense for 11 yards on a drive and then does it again later on another drive for 20. Most teams benefit from explosive plays in their offense.

I know tons of fans were upset about the play calling and the predictability of the offense and the “just once throw it on first down.” I get it. He has gotten the ball 345 times on first down in the last two years, but if my dude is getting me on average, 5 yards per attempt on first down I am taking that every time. You basically cut your second and third down distance in half and it makes it that much easier for your offense to keep moving.

Win first down.

Option No. 3 – Tavon Austin – If things work the way they are supposed to, Tavon Austin will have the biggest plays of the season for the Cowboys. Will McClay said, on GBag Nation, he wanted to get younger and faster with his team. Not just this year, but it sounds like that is the goal every offseason.

With Austin, you added good speed to your offensive field. You also got two years younger than Dez.

I know he’s had more than 500 yards receiving only once in his career, and more than 800 yards total once in his 5-year career. However, he has a touchdown one out of every 18 times he touches the ball. I don’t know what the league average is, but that sounds reasonably impressive. I think the Cowboys are going to continue to try to find ways to exploit his type of speed all over the field.

Here’s a play I am interested in. I know they ran a shovel pass that Zeke tripped on during practice this week. Zeke was lined up in the slot. As often as it sounds like Austin will get opportunities as a running back, I think we’ll see a shovel pass on a play when Austin is in the backfield and Zeke is lined up in the slot. It just makes too much sense to move all of the pieces around and threaten from anywhere on the field.

My expectations aren’t super high, but I think he’s going to have some jump out of your seat moments for Cowboys fans.

Option No. 4 – Michael Gallup – In watching all of the videos posted from our twitter friends, Gallup is a blast. I’ve watched less of his battle with a particular receiver and more of his trust in running the right route.

In just a couple of weeks, he’s cutting on a dime and showing the strong hands. The precision in his route running has developed very quickly and that’s going to be very important for his future at the position to have that type of attention to detail now.

McClay seems to think he will be contributing to this offense in a positive way early because of his desire to get better. One of the things I think he understands is that he wasn’t a first round pick  so there’s a little proving he has to do, and this team doesn’t have a clear cut go-to guy. Therefore, he’s going to get plenty of opportunities to make his case for a heavy workload.

I think by the end of the year, Gallup will have more plays in key moments due to the trust Dak will have in him.

Option No. 5 -- Allen Hurns – Hurns will end up with the most receptions, most touchdowns and most yards of all of the receivers. Its quite simple, he was the offseason acquisition, his position coach absolutely loves him and think’s he’s the smartest sponge around.

If Hurns can get past this groin injury, something that could linger just because groin injuries do that, he will be the most likely target. Right now, Cole Beasley has been lining up with the first team always because he’s been with this team for a while, understands a lot of what this offense is about and has been healthy.

Again, if McClay and Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett made a conscientious effort to get younger, Hurns is 26.  

Option No. 6 – The Cowboys Secondary – Before you close your computer. The Cowboys defense finally has what they need to make their secondary elite, that’s Tank Lawrence.

If the line can get pressure, mistakes will happen no matter the quarterback’s tenure.

Plus, Eli Manning plays in their division so they see him twice. Now, the Cowboys don’t have a lackluster group of QB’s to play against this year, here’s a look.

Cam Newton

Eli Manning

Russell Wilson

Matthew Stafford

Deshaun Watson

Blake Bortles

Alex Smith

Marcus Mariotsa

Matt Ryan

Drew Brees

Carson Wentz

Andrew Luck

Jameis Winston

But there are plenty of opportunities to get picks. Right now, the Cowboys have a battle going down at cornerback for the nickel spot and that’s an awesome thing.

Anthony Brown, had a down year early last year and bounced back a little late, and Jourdan Lewis learned a lot in his first season. Both can cover and have the quickness to work in either direction in the middle of the field.

Byron Jones is doing what he’s best at, covering, and with the confidence of a new position coach, he might become a serviceable CB after spending a couple of years at safety.

But for me, the toughness of Chidobe Awuzie is the key. If he can become the guy who forces QB’s to throw away from him and throw towards other areas of the field, then the Cowboys defense can go from being one that allows points to one that flips the scoreboard. The biggest problem is that he battled injuries all last year, and right now has a minor knee injury. But it’s preseason.

And that’s my six best offensive weapons for the Cowboys this year. We’ll reassess in the next four weeks so that you can appropriately draft your fantasy team and know which jersey to invest in.

If you’re like me, the wonderment of what this offense might be if they truly wanted to shake things up this year is a present I can’t wait to unwrap.