'Several' Cowboys players reportedly say their play-calling is too predictable
The Cowboys had one of the NFL's best offenses in 2016 but have fallen off this year
A year ago, the Dallas Cowboys had one of the best offenses in football. Armed with arguably the NFL's best offensive line, sensational rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott at quarterback and running back, and weapons all over the perimeter, Dallas steamrolled over the league, ranking fifth in yards and points and third in Football Outsiders' offensive DVOA. Beyond all the talent Dallas had, the most important factor in their success was the job coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did putting those players in position to succeed.
This season has gone quite a bit differently. Despite returning largely the same personnel (Dallas did lose right tackle Doug Free to retirement and left guard Ronald Leary to free agency, then saw Ezekiel Elliott get suspended for six games), the Cowboys have fallen off to 14th in yards, 12th in points, and 10th in DVOA through 15 games. Prescott has undeniably regressed. Dez Bryant is having his worst season in years. Cole Beasley has basically disappeared from the offense. Dallas seems to have no element of explosion to its offense and has also struggled to put together sustained drives at times.
The culprit, according to multiple players, is not the injuries, the backward step the offensive line has taken, or the lack of chemistry between Prescott and Bryant. It's predictable play-calling.
That stance aligns with exactly what Bryant said earlier this week. "That's something you got to discuss with them coaches, not Dak or me," Bryant said of the team's relative lack of offensive production, per ESPN.com. "You got to discuss that with them." Dez also told ESPN that he plans to sit down with Garrett, Linehan, and Jerry Jones this offseason to discuss his concerns about the team's scheme.
Jones has maintained that he's not looking to make a coaching change this offseason, citing the Coach of the Year award Garrett won last season, but we've seen him reverse course on things like this before. If enough players feel that the offense has gotten stale and predictable and want to see a change, maybe Jerry decides to go in another direction.
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