Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys Offensive Fix: Changes in Dallas Red Zone Could Improve Through These Internal Changes



Editor's note: This is the first in a series of five articles that are looking for ways to address the Cowboys' offensive before the 2019 season. Find the complete series at the end of this post.

The red zone has turned into a realm of frustration for the Cowboys in 2018.

A problem that lasts all season. Once they went through the 20 opponents, they behaved like one of the NFL's worst offenses.

At the end of the season, after three games in total, when Dallas scored touchdowns on only 2 of the 11 possessions in the red zone, the team was forced to spend more time repairing the blame in training and talking to the players and coaches tightened field and they approached the end zone.

In these times of powerful offenses, being content too often with goals on the ground will not be enough.

The problem will not necessarily go away now that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has moved on – although many fans would like it.

If a new visitor to Kellen Moore can reveal desirable modifications or approaches in the area to get the most out of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and others, the Cowboys' performance must also improve.

The problem

The Cowboys scored 24 touchdowns only 24 times on 50 trips in the red zone in 2018. The 48% success rate is better than the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers. Ending in difficult situations did not help things. Dallas scored touchdowns on them only 52% of the time (13 of 25), last last in the NFL. Inefficiency can not be reduced to one source.

At times, the plan was too predictable – yes, the giant package means that Elliott, a Pro back, will throw the ball, usually on a defensive front stacked on hold.

On other occasions, it was too cute – why put the rarely used side, Jamize Olawale, in the position of catching the ball, even though it was wide open?

Speaking of misses – take Prescott's pass to receiver Noah Brown near the goal line which should have been a score but who was wandering. At the time, Cole Beasley, one of the team's most reliable receivers, dropped a sure-fire first-and-there in Atlanta.

The status of the offensive line also affected the success rate. One unit that had to be mixed due to injuries contributed to a handful of possession penalties in the red zone, not to mention the responsibility in part of some expensive Prescott bags.

The solution

Prescott's ability to run the ball should be used more. His six touchdowns in 2018, unsurprisingly, are in the red zone. No, the Cowboys do not want to risk their franchise quarterback – he has been through difficult, but acrobatic, times on such plays. But use his abilities and his toughness and keep the defenses to conquer.

Keep feeding Zeke in the red zone – believe it or not, the Cowboys understand its value near the goal line and use it often. He could also benefit from a more stable offensive lineup in 2019, with the All Pro Pro Travis Frederick center being back after an autoimmune disorder that forced him to miss the year 2018. That could help reduce the number of points and taken with negative yards or no gain.

Find a tight goal. The Cowboys did not necessarily have a player who could fight for balls played in the end zone last season, something in former receiver Dez Bryant who specializes in. Tight end Rico Gathers remained on the list due to the possibility of using his big frame as a target in the end zone, but he only had two targets in the red zone. Some passes were tight in 20, although second-year TE Blake Jarwin had three assists in the regular season final, including two in the red zone.

Make better use of offensive weapons at your disposal. WR Cooper is a talented road racer, but that did not seem to have as much impact in the red zone. Only two of his six touchdowns were in the red zone. With a season-long arrangement playing for Cooper, this could improve.

Prescott is very comfortable with Beasley, the slot machine receiver who should be a free agent, but Beasley has only been targeted 10 times in the red zone.

The relationship between rookie Michael Gallup and Prescott has improved over the seasons. In the playoff win against Seattle, they missed an attempt in the red zone when a pass faded into the end zone. But they came back to the next room, determined to make it work. This is the case, with Prescott dropping the ball to Gallup.

Twitter: @khairopoulos

TD Production

The worst TD percentages in the red zone in 2018 (Pittsburgh beat the NFL with 73.47%):

Rank Team Pct.
29 Cowboys 48.0

30

New York Jets

44.4

31

Jacksonville

44.12

32

San Francisco

41.18

Miss the goal

The worst percentages of TD in 2018 (New Orleans exceeded the NFL with 84.62):

Rank Team Pct.

29

Houston

61.29

30

Jacksonville

58.82

31

San Francisco

57.69

32 Cowboys 52.0

Efficiency rate

The efficiency of Cowboys in 20 (regular season):

Opp Pos. TDs TD pct.

at Carolina

1

1

100.0

NY Giants

3

1

33.3

in Seattle

3

1

33.3

Detroit

3

1

33.3

in Houston

2

1

50.0

Jacksonville

5

4

80.0

in Washington

1

1

100.0

Tennessee

4

1

25.0

in Philadelphia

5

3

60.0

in Atlanta

2

1

50.0

Washington

3

2

66.7

New Orleans

5

1

20.0

Philadelphia cream

4

1

25.0

in Indianapolis

2

0

0.0

Tampa Bay

3

2

66.7

at NY Giants

4

3

75.0

totals

50

24

48.0

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