One-armed Knife Sharpener
- Apr 7, 2013
By Bob Sturm 3h ago
Nothing angers a fan base like an offseason full of contract talks for players on an offense which often underwhelmed.
If you want to pay players off that phenomenal defense from 2018, fine. But the offense? Weren’t they already getting the lion’s share of the money before underachieving most of the year while the Dallas defense tried to drag them along to victory? That might be overstating things, but such widespread bewilderment suggests not everyone seems on board with the Cowboys opening their checkbook for the same offensive cast and crew. While the Chiefs, Rams, Patriots, and Saints were the four highest-scoring teams and also the NFL’s final four teams last year, the Cowboys bobbed along as the 22nd-best scoring team in the league and were dismissed in the Round of 8.
You pay Pat Mahomes and Jared Goff. You definitely pay Tom Brady and Drew Brees. But what about Dak Prescott? For what, exactly? Did you see this offense?
The Cowboys’ issues extend beyond their quarterback. They’ve also paid huge money for their running back, No. 1 wide receiver, tight end (again), left tackle, center and right guard. The right tackle makes a lot, too. Soon, there may not be a team with a more expensive offense than this one. Is it too much to expect an elite offense to go with the elite paychecks?
It is reasonable to suggest that if you have poured most of your draft and contract resources into an offense, at some point you should have a great offense. And, the Cowboys absolutely did have a great offense in 2014 and in 2016 with two different quarterbacks and two different running backs. Both years, they were a top-five team in offensive points scored, ultimately winding up as divisional champions and playoff teams.
Unfortunately, though, things happen. The Cowboys never strung two seasons of “great” scoring offenses together. Their QB/PGA golfer broke down the next season in 2015. The wide receiver who helped make a lot of this happen also saw his body diminish greatly and was gone after 2017, the star RB got suspended in 2017. The league also figured out what Scott Linehan liked to do and took it away.
It didn’t help that the Cowboys decided to enter 2018 without a single receiver capable of scaring defenses. They told themselves that “you don’t need a No. 1 wide receiver to win.” That could be true in some cities, but if you watched the first seven games last year, you realized Dallas wasn’t one of them. They desperately needed a No. 1 wide receiver to accomplish anything. So they got one.
Amari Cooper changed the Cowboys’ season. To quantify just what that means, here is a graphic that first appeared in my extensive piece about Amari Cooper a few weeks back.
2018 Cowboys before and after the Cooper trade
Giveaways per game1.1 (10th)1.0 (5th)