Cowboys: Examining The Offensive Struggles Through Five Games

October 12, 2022
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A lot has been made about the Dallas Cowboys quarterback situation with debates being made about who should start between Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush. One aspect of the team that isn’t being focused on as much is the struggles of the offense.

The Dallas Cowboys offense in general has not been up to par with the performance the defense has shelled out this season. For most statistical categories, the defense is ranked in the top ten except for rush defense. Offensively, the Cowboys currently rank 25th in points per game (18.6), 27th in passing yards per game (182.2), and 27th in total offense (298 yards per game).

There is a combination of reasons the Cowboys’ offense has struggled. Focusing on what has been working is the rushing attack. While they are not a top-ten rush offense, Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard have stepped up in the absence of Prescott and have been able to make plays on the ground or in the passing game. Not many of their runs have been 20-plus yard carries, but they have been able to gain those tough three to five-yard runs.

Surprisingly, the offensive line for the Cowboys has been another positive part of the offense. Outside of allowing three sacks in their 22-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, the line has been able to protect Rush well as they are one of the best lines in the league in sacks allowed with nine sacks in five games. Players like rookie Tyler Smith and Jason Peters have been a big part of that success as well as Connor McGovern returning to the starting lineup.

Now examining the quarterback position, Rush deserves a lot of credit for not turning the ball over. He’s been smart with the football and has done what he needed to win games. The problem is if there is a game where he will need to win in a shootout, he has not proven that he can get the job done. Dallas’ offense is too reliant on the defense performing well to be in games.

The one other unit to focus on is the receiving core. One major problem with the unit is outside of CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown, no one else has really stepped up. They are the only two players with over 100 yards receiving for the season and the team is five games into the season. Prescott and Rush have targeted Lamb and Brown 55 percent of the time this season.

How The Dallas Cowboys Can Fix The Offensive Woes

Some of the lack of production from receivers could be blamed on Rush simply not targeting other receivers on the offense, but it also can’t be on him. The receivers have to do a better job of getting open on their routes and providing another avenue for Rush to throw it to. Tight end Dalton Schultz has been dealing with injuries this season, but he was placed on a franchise tag for $10 million this season. Schultz has 80 yards receiving in five games. He must step up with that kind of money.

Michael Gallup returning will help the offense, but even in two games, he has had just 68 yards. Gallup has been seen as the second receiver on the team so he needs to start showing that because Brown has been taking that role and running with it. If Gallup can come in and start being more productive, that will help the receiving core tremendously.

A lot of fingers have been pointed at the offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and how he is running the offense. Moore’s play calling has been put into question at times being way too conservative by running the ball or throwing short passes. There are times when he will call gadget plays that would have never worked. Also, a major complaint is that he is not involving certain players enough in the offense including Pollard and return specialist KaVontae Turpin. With that kind of speed and athleticism those two players have; they should be more involved in the offense.

Would a return of Prescott boost the offense? It could be the case as the offense was first last season in yards per game with 407 yards. That is over 100 yards more than what they are averaging this season and a big reason for that is the passing game just simply being better last season than this season. This shouldn’t be seen as a knock on Rush as he has played well, but Prescott has proven to be the better fit for the offense. Dallas is more efficient with Prescott at quarterback than Rush.

Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles will go a long way in figuring out how the Cowboys’ offense will be. Obviously, it will all depend on who the quarterback is going to be for the Cowboys whether it’s Prescott or Rush. Regardless, there are a lot of players on the offense that need to step up, and to win the NFC East division, they will need the offense to step up to the plate and knock out the last undefeated team in the NFL.