Dwain McFarland’s RSP Film And Data: Dak Prescott And the Cowboys’ Passing Woes


RSP writer Dwain McFarland performs a comprehensive and insightful film and data analysis of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and the results counter some of the popular analytics narratives about the run game, the coaching staff, and Prescott. 

Just two seasons ago Dak Prescott was Rookie of the Year.  Scott Linehan was being hailed as an offensive genius after helping guide the Romo-less Cowboys to a fifth-place finish in total offense.  Jason Garrett was Coach of the Year.

The NFL is a tough business.  Now you can’t turn on a sports talk show or search across Twitter without finding someone ranting about how terrible the Dallas play calling is or how the Cowboys need to find a new quarterback.

Of course, you can’t talk about the Cowboys without mentioning Jerry and Stephen Jones who, are also drawing heat for their lack of planning in the skill position department.

Much of the criticism is tied to a passing game averaging 167 yards per game (ninety below league average) and not creating enough explosive plays at 6.5 yards per attempt.

In this article we are going to delve deeper into these narratives:

  • It may be time for a new quarterback in Dallas in 2019
  • The Cowboys’ need to revamp their receiving corps
  • Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett should be fired

Not only will we dive into each one of these, but we will also zoom out and look at them in context of one another as they are all interdependent.  We will start with data and then move to the film.

Unfortunately, doing this takes time.  The court of public opinion doesn’t have time to be burdened with looking at the whole picture.  But today, we will.

[Author’s note: Full disclosure – I was born and raised a Cowboys fan.  While doing this research I set aside my fandom and feelings towards the team’s current leadership.  I wanted to let the data and film do the talking.]  

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott’s efficiency numbers have dropped each year.

In Chart One below notice his drop in completion percentage on aimed passes (C %), accuracy (aC %), yards per attempt (YPA), touchdowns per attempt (TDPA), and traditional completion percentage (Trad C%).

Accuracy is the percentage of passes aimed for a pass receiver that was catchable (removes throw-aways, spikes, and drops). Completion percentage removes throw-aways and spikes.  Traditional completion percentage is the way we have measured historically – doesn’t remove any of the noisy data.

Completion, accuracy and Average Depth of Target (aDOT) data courtesy of ProFootball Focus.

For reference, I also included Tony Romo’s statistics.

Chart One – Prescott & Romo Passing Statistics

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Prescott’s completion and accuracy percentages are similar to Romo’s in this offense.  However, his yards per attempt and touchdowns per attempt are lower. Scott Linehan served as passing game coordinator in 2014 and became offensive coordinator in 2015.

Let’s see if we can gain a better idea of what may be causing Prescott’s drop in performance by digging into some statistical categories that contribute to yards and completion performance.

  • Air Yards (Air Yds) and Yards After Catch (YAC) – Completion Air Yards measure how far the ball traveled in the air for each completion. Yards after Catch tell us how far the receiver ran with the ball after completion.
  • Aggressiveness (Agg %) – This is a new statistic from NFL.com and their NextGen Stats. It tells us what percentage of a quarterback’s attempts are thrown into coverage where a defender is within one yard of the receiver.
  • Deep Passing and non-Deep Passing Data (Int/Shrt Passing) – Help us understand what percentage of a quarterbacks attempts, yards and touchdowns are coming from plays over twenty yards versus under twenty yards.

Below is a breakdown of each category for Prescott and Romo.  Refer back to abbreviations in parentheses above for stat definitions.  Air Yards and Deep Passing data courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Chart Two – Prescott Air Yds, Agg %, YAC, and Deep/Non-Deep Statistics

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Now we are starting to gain some potential insights as to why Prescott has regressed.

  • Air Yards grade out well versus the rest of the league, but his Yards after Catch plummeted in 2017 and are even worse in 2018.
  • Aggressiveness has been fairly consistent.  Those marks grade out 13th, 13th, and 2nd most in the league.  He is at a career-high through four games in 2018.
  • Deep Passing isn’t a performance issue for Prescott.  His accuracy percentages are consistent.  The completion percentage is down some, but not due to his accuracy.  Notice Prescott hasn’t heavily relied on deep passes to make up much of his yards or touchdowns.
  • The completion percentage on non-deep passes is one of the bigger drops we see from Prescott’s rookie campaign to 2017 and 2018.

Let’s acquaint ourselves with a few more important stats before we move on.

  • Under Pressure Statistics are pretty self-explanatory.  They tell us how a quarterback performs when being hit or hurried by a defender.
  • Kept Clean is just the opposite of Under Pressure.
  • Time in Pocket data tells us how long a quarterback is holding the ball and breaks performance down into <=2.5 seconds and >=2.5 seconds.

Below in Chart Three is a breakdown of each per Pro Football Focus.

Chart Three – Prescott & Romo Under Pressure, Kept Clean and Time in Pocket

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What can we glean about Prescott from our three new data elements?

  • Under pressure more than most, but that hasn’t changed in three years.  Despite playing behind inferior offensive lines Romo was pressured less – this tells us there may be more to pressure than blocking.
  • Sack rate is up in 2018.  Romo’s sack rate is similar despite Prescott being pressured less overall.  That is odd.
  • Consistent from a Quarterback Rating perspective when under pressure, but accuracy and completion have dropped each year.
  • Kept Clean completion and accuracy percentages look good compared to the league and are consistent.  Efficiency in 2016 was much higher with 9.1 yards per attempt versus 6.7 and 7.1 for 2017 and 2018.
  • Time to Throw and Time to Attempt are on the high side compared to the league and at a career high in 2018.  Overall, close to Romo’s numbers but slightly higher.
  • Completion percentages and rating when throwing in 2.59 seconds or less are strong compared to peers but has fewer throws of this variety.
  • When throwing in 2.60 seconds or greater Prescott’s numbers are inferior to peers in 2017 and so far in 2018.  He was much better in 2016 and more comparable to Romo who was elite.

To recap, we have some red flags with Prescott’s performance – a deteriorating completion percentage and yards per attempt which is being driven by less optimal performance in these areas:

  • Yards after Catch
  • Completion percentage on non-deep passes
  • Completion percentage on throws taking greater than or equal to 2.6 seconds
  • Completion percentage on throws while under pressure
  • Sack rate

It is likely that Prescott owns a good portion of accountability when it comes to his recent struggles, but before go there we need to take a look at the other elements of the equation.

Surrounding Talent

This is an offense that lost two major components of it’s passing attack in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten during the off-season.  It also hasn’t had much capital invested here over the past few off-seasons.

Based on nfl.com NextGen Stats, three of the Cowboys wide receivers rank in the bottom of the league at earning separation from a defender.  We discussed Prescott’s high percentage of throws into tight windows above – part of this sits with the receivers.

  • Michael Gallup – 1.6 separation yards (85 of 88)
  • Allen Hurns – 1.8 separation yards (84 of 88)
  • Deonte Thompson – 2.1 separation yards (73 of 88)
  • Cole Beasley – 2.6 separation yards (55 of 88)
  • Geoff Swaim – 4 separation yards (3 of 29)

The Cowboys alarmingly have multiple players at the bottom of the rankings and performing well under the league averages.

Utilizing data from 2016 and 2017, an NFL wide receiver who runs less than thirty percent of routes from the slot average 2.5 yards separation at the time of a completion or incompletion.

Receivers that do greater than seventy percent of work from the slot averages out to three yards separation.  The average for tight ends is 2.9 yards.

For perspective, let’s look at the performance of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten from 2016 and 2017.

  • Dez Bryant – 2.4 separation yards (69 of 93)
  • Jason Witten – 2.5 separation yards (28 of 31)

Although not above the league average, Bryant was performing better than the other wide receivers taking on his role (Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, and Michael Gallup) working the deep intermediate areas of the field.

There are many variables such as man, zone, scheme, route depth, and quarterback timing.  That can make separation data volatile from year to year and hard to learn from out of context.  However, when threading it together into a larger tapestry like we are here it is a valuable data point.

It is interesting to note Geoff Swaim’s target share is third on the team after Cole Beasley and Ezekiel Elliott through four games.  Pairing target share data with separation data makes sense in theory – if open a receiver gets targeted more by their quarterback.

We definitely see that narrative playing out below in Chart Four.  The top separation grades from above are seeing more targets.  I also included snaps, routes ran per team drop back, target percentages, the average depth of target (aDOT) and slot usage (per Pro Football Focus) for reference.

Chart Four – 2018 Cowboys Passing Utilization Grid

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Getting open is part of the equation, so how are Dallas skill players fairing when targeted?

So far in 2018, the receivers are catching the ball well according to Pro Football Focus.  The overall team drop rate is three percent – below the current NFL average of five.

What about doing something with the ball after the catch?

Since 2008 when you average Yards After Catch (YAC) for wide receivers with greater than or equal to forty receptions (647 players) it comes to 4.5 YAC per catch.

For tight ends (217 players) it is 4.6 YAC per catch.  For running backs (174 players) it is 8.4 YAC per catch.

Below is a breakdown of the Cowboys YAC per catch in 2018, 2017 and 2016 if they had more than 19 targets:

  • RB Ezekiel Elliott – 8.8 yards, 11 yards, 12.3 yards
  • TE Geoff Swaim – 6.6 yards
  • WR Tavon Austin – 6.4 yards
  • WR Cole Beasley – 3.6 yards, 3.2 yards, 5.1 yards
  • WR Terrance Williams – 3.5 yards, 4.5 yards, 3.7 yards
  • WR Michael Gallup – 2.8 yards
  • WR Allen Hurns – 1.8 yards
  • WR Deonte Thompson – 1.1 yards

Departed Cowboys:

  • TE Jason Witten – N/A, 1.5 yards, 3.7 yards
  • WR Dez Bryant – N/A, 4.2 yards, 2.9 yards (injured)

Every player outside of Geoff Swaim, Ezekiel Elliott, and Tavon Austin are below YAC per catch league averages in 2018.  Each player who has played previously with the team is at a three-year low.

Jason Witten and Dez Bryant weren’t performing above league averages in 2016 and 2017.  However, Bryant was performing better than most of this years team during 2017.

Based on the data we have analyzed it seems fair to assume that the skill position players have something to do with Cowboys and Prescott’s regression in some areas.  This unit is well below league averages in Yards After Catch which is part of the Yards Per Attempt (YPA) equation.  The lack of separation is also most likely impacting completion percentage, and potentially causing Prescott to hold the ball longer in some cases.

Before we finalize any conclusions we still have one more layer to this multi-faceted issue we must peel back.  It’s time to take a look at the scheme and play calling.

Scott Linehan

Scott Linehan has sixteen years of NFL experience as either an offensive coordinator or head coach.  During those years he has seen his share of success as well as failures.

His successes do slightly outweigh his struggles in offensive yards and points scored where he ranks in the 63rd and 52nd percentile versus his peers (see Chart Five below for ranks and cumulative percentiles).

We can see in half of those years his teams rank in the top six in offensive yards.  What I find most interesting is ‘how’ Linehan has accomplished that feat.

  • Once with a top rushing and passing attack (2003)
  • Three times with a top passing attack and average rushing attack (2004, 2006, 2013)
  • Twice with a bad rushing attack and a top passing attack (2011, 2012)
  • Once with a top rushing attack and above average passing attack (2002)
  • Once with a top rushing attack and a bad passing attack (2016)

Six of those eight years he had a top passing attack – so we know he has a history of being a pass-oriented coach.  He also has shown an ability to adapt when needed and lean more on the run game.

I found this somewhat surprising given the fact that some of the ‘Linehan is a bad coach’ narrative is tied to his unwillingness to pass the ball more.  Based on historical data we have no evidence to show Linehan would do this without reason – he led the league in pass attempts by healthy margins in 2011 and 2012.

What we can see is Linehan’s overall efforts in Dallas have been lackluster so far from a yardage and scoring perspective grading out at the 50th and 41st percentiles.  But, he is experiencing the highest win/loss rank of his career at the 60th percentile.

Chart Five – Scott Linehan Historical Offensive Rankings per Pro Football Reference

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The other sub-narrative making its way through the analytics universe is that Linehan is too conservative and should be calling more pass plays on first down because that is more likely to put your offense in manageable later down and distances.  So, I tracked down that data too.

  • In 2011 and 2012 Linehan threw the ball 55 percent and 53 percent of the time on first and ten.  The league average for those years was 48 percent both seasons.
  • He even passed 54 percent of the time when leading both seasons!

Mind Blown

This begs the question, and its a really good one.  Why would Scott Linehan want to pass the ball less when his history suggests he has been MORE willing than his peers?

Based on what we have uncovered so far here are a few guesses:

  • Dak Prescott has deficiencies.  Linehan is trying to limit negative plays that can exacerbate his young quarterback’s weaknesses.  Interceptions and sacks create longer down and distance situations for the whole offense.  Dallas is currently sporting a below-average completion percentage (57.9 percent) compared to the league on first and ten AND an above-average average sack rate (15.6 percent).
  • Linehan is just simply playing to strengths.  Why force it when averaging 6.4 yards per rush on first and ten?  Over the past three seasons, teams are averaging a first down 59 percent of the time when they get to second and four or less.  This doesn’t even include third down.
  • Linehan doesn’t have the passing personnel to consistently attack through the air.  In Minnesota, he had Randy Moss.  In Detroit, he had Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

The narrative that Linehan doesn’t ‘get it’ or want to change doesn’t hold well given his history, but that doesn’t consider Jason Garrett may be placing parameters around play calling and sequencing.

We better get a quick feel for Jason Garrett too and then circle back.  No stone unturned.

Jason Garrett

Chart Six – Jason Garrett Historical Offensive Rankings per Pro Football Reference

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What does the chart above tell us about Jason Garrett?

  • Better than average percentiles and led a top seven yards or scoring offense seven out of twelve years as a head coach or offensive coordinator.
    • Twice with an average run game and plus passing game (2007, 2009)
    • Twice with a minus run game and plus passing game (2010, 2012)
    • Once with a minus run game and average passing game (2013)
    • Once with a plus run game and average passing game (2014)
    • Once with a plus run game and minus passing game (2016)
  • Offense shifted to a more run-heavy approach in 2014 but remained highly efficient in scoring via the air. (Coincidence also the year Garrett first in win percentage?)
  • The offense shifted dramatically to a run-heavy approach in 2016 (Tony Romo lost in preseason).

What about first down tendencies?

  • In 2012 and 2013 Garrett’s offense passed fifty-eight and fifty-four percent of the time on first and ten.  The league average was forty-eight percent both seasons.
  • In those two seasons, the offense threw the ball fifty and sixty-two percent of the time when leading!

Not to play captain obvious, but this data paired with what we know about Prescott and the receivers is pointing towards a coaching staff trying to best utilize their talent.  Oh, and they know it can work too.

In Garrett’s two most winning seasons with the Cowboys, what did his offense look like?

2014 – 12 Wins

  • Fifty-two percent run, Forty-eight percent pass
  • First downs – seventy percent run, thirty percent pass
  • Best rating for a quarterback in his tenure (111 with Romo)

2016 – 13 Wins

  • Fifty-one percent run, forty-nine percent pass
  • First downs – sixty-two percent run, thirty-eight percent pass
  • Second best rating for a quarterback in his tenure (103 with Prescott)

I am so close to going on a tangent here, but I won’t.  All I will say is I find it interesting that the two best quarterback ranking years coincide with the best running years.

Let’s take a step back for a second and have fun filling in a few blanks (italicized) based on what we know.

  1. Dallas invests heavily in the offensive line to protect its star quarterback knowing it is by far the most important asset
    1. Tyron Smith (2011)
    2. Travis Frederick (2013)
    3. Zach Martin (2014).
  2. In 2014 the Cowboys achieve that goal with a balanced and efficient offense that ranked seventh in yards and fifth in points with Garrett as head coach and Scott Linehan as passing game coordinator. Tony Romo achieves career highs in…
    1. Completion percentage (69.9)
    2. Yards per attempt (8.52)
    3. Touchdowns per attempt (7.8%)
  3. In 2015 disaster strikes with Romo only able to complete four games.
    1. Dallas must start to consider life without their star quarterback and are rumored to like several quarterbacks in the upcoming draft.  
    2. The Cowboys still had hopes for Romo so they didn’t want to spend a top-four pick on a quarterback, but knew they needed a plan B.
    3. They created an archetype for what they were looking for based on the recent success of the Seahawks and Forty-Niners. 
    4. Two teams who were predominantly leaning on the run game paired with a mobile passer chosen later in drafts.
  4. The Cowboys select Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.
  5. In 2016 Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott form the greatest rookie passing and rushing duo in the history of the league.  Jason Garrett is named “Coach of the Year”.
  6. In 2017 and 2018 Prescott struggles.  
  7. Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan suck.

Wait…What?!

I apologize – I just had to get that out of my system.  We have more to do before coming to any final conclusions.  Let’s take a look at some All-22 film.

Data & Film Don’t Lie

Everyone has heard the phrases, “The data doesn’t lie” and “The film doesn’t lie”.  That is actually false.  Either one can be twisted to make a point.  However, when pairing them together and using them to create a system of checks and balances we can hold ourselves more accountable in our analysis.

To try and be as objective as possible I watched the film, noted trends, and charted plays before doing data research.  I was concerned if I did it the other way around I could start ‘fitting’ film to the data findings.  I guess I could do this either way, but my thought process was that I am a data and analytics guy by nature and didn’t want that to sway me out of the gate.

I watched every Cowboy game this season but focused on the two most polarizing offensive performances – week three versus Seattle and week four versus Detroit.

Prescott – Integrating Film & Data

Prescott is at his best when getting deep throws out early like the ones below to Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Gallup.  This makes sense when we consider his solid deep passing accuracy rates as well as his higher marks when getting the ball out faster.  These two things paired together show up well on film and in the data.

When considering Prescott’s low yards per attempt, one issue is his tendency to go with shallower reads.  It may have to do with getting comfortable with the receiving corps, but currently, he is bypassing open windows downfield that would ramp up his average depth of target and yards per attempt to bring some more punch to the Cowboys passing game.  This offense has upside if it’s just a trust thing.

Prescott doesn’t appear fully comfortable with deeper route combinations that include timing aspects. He does a nice job of monitoring the safety and looking him off but doesn’t trust it and go quickly to next read.

In this case, the film is matching up with Prescott’s statistical struggles when taking more than 2.6 seconds to pass.  His inconsistency with deeper and intermediate routes is impacting his rating and accuracy.  This is concerning because this trend started a year ago.   There is a chance it has to do with trusting his receivers.

The trickle-down impact of making slower reads is holding the ball.  That can intensify sack and pressure rates, which we know Prescott has struggled to deal with statistically speaking.  Unfortunately, he is bringing some of this on himself with odd pocket decisions that lead him into harm and away from throwing lanes.

I found it odd Tony Romo’s pressure rates were higher with sack rates similar to Prescott’s – now it makes sense.  Romo was a master at making subtle movements to avoid defenders in the pocket.  Prescott is still learning.

Prescott’s struggles with pressure were also something I noted while watching the games that ties back to what the data suggests.  The example below illustrates an opportunity to quickly get this ball out to wide open receiver but it doesn’t happen.

Prescott is a young player so there is an opportunity for him to improve.  What I found most concerning is after doing the research I went back to the Rookie Scouting Portfolio from 2014, which I purposely avoided until finished.  Below is a quote from Matt Waldman on Prescott.  Notice the bold font – all things that turned up in the data and/or film.

Few see Prescott as anything more than a mid-round prospect, but even that’s a higher value than his play merits if you’re truly projecting what you see to an NFL standard of quarterback play. Prescott’s a gamer, with the arm, legs, and occasional accuracy to inspire higher expectations. The problem is that occasional accuracy is not NFL-worthy. In order to become consistently accurate at every level of the field, he’ll have to develop much better footwork.

He needs to develop precision with his drops, pivoting from one receiver to the next, and avoiding pressure. Otherwise, Prescott’s game will remain limited to delivering the ball in three basic situations: clean pockets, on the move, or with punishment on its way. If Prescott can develop the precise footwork to make incremental movements, his accuracy and placement will have greater consistency, he’ll have more control to deliver the ball with immediacy to a wider range of targets, and he won’t have to work as hard physically to get the job done.

Labeling Prescott a mid-round prospect with starter potential and expecting him to develop these skills almost from scratch is asking too much from a quarterback who also has to get better at reading the field. Most of Prescott’s reads involve one or two possibilities. Many are set-piece plays like screen passes where he’ll “look off” a defender, but that look is an embedded part of the play. Others are two reads to the same side of the field and if nothing comes open, it’s time to run or improvise. When Prescott has the less frequent full-field read, he’s not patient with the timing, and he often moves to the next receiver just as the one he bypassed is breaking open.

These lessons are a lot to expect of a mid-tier prospect. If a team treats Prescott like the developmental project he is, there’s less likelihood of him getting forced into a situation when he’s not ready. Three- to four years from now, that team could be looking at its next starter—or at least a quality backup who has enough skills within structure to keep the offense in rhythm and the skills outside structure to make things happen when called upon.

-Matt Waldman

Surrounding Talent – Integrating Film & Data

Prescott and his receivers outside of Elliott, Beasley, and Swaim are a work in progress.  So far, they appear to be mismatched.  Prescott doesn’t see the field as well versus some zone coverages and looks more relaxed versus man.  Several of his receivers struggle with man coverage but find good space versus zone.

What we are seeing on film matches up with the low separation data from NextGen Stats per NFL.com.  This also matches up with the high Aggressiveness percentage Prescott is sporting – he is throwing to tightly covered receivers versus man.  Prescott’s sometimes delayed delivery plays in too.

To the receivers credit each play someone is typically getting open, but it is often on the other side from where Prescott is looking or they break open just after he releases the ball to a teammate.

Linehan Scheme – Integrating Film & Data

Studying Linehan’s scheme was one of the most surprising parts of this work.  It is amazing how much more you see with the All-22 film and no announcers or distractions.

What I found was more in line with what the data suggested – a pliable coach trying to play to his team’s strengths.  He also knows his team’s weaknesses (as do we now) and is selective on when he wants to expose them.  I don’t agree with every play call the guy has made in every situation, but I do understand what he is trying to achieve and can tell he is intentional in his approach.

When you have a quarterback with some limitations reading coverages and receivers that struggle to gain separation at times there are multiple things you can do to help them out.

One option is to create more space for the wide receivers via motion and bigger windows for your quarterback via play action.  Then you cut the field in half to create an easy read.  Prescott’s percentage of passes involving play action is currently at a three year high at twenty-five percent.

Linehan is constantly utilizing motion to help his players predetermine man or zone coverage pre-snap.  Here are two similar plays were Ezekiel Elliott is lining up out wide to start the play.

The first one shows man and creates an easy underneath first down pass as Elliott runs a route to the opposite side of the formation forcing linebackers to switch and work through traffic.

The second play is an example of Linehan assimilating concepts other coaches are troubling defenses with this year into his offense.  Again, lots of motion and misdirection create a wide open look for Swaim – this is an easy read Prescott should have hit for a touchdown.

Another way to free up your receivers and get a good read pre-snap is through bunch, tight and trip formations.  Seeing more and more of this as the season goes on.  This is not a static offense lining up and just snapping the ball.

Lack of creativity?  Below Linehan uses a jet sweep motion they have shown already in the game to misdirect the linebackers and hit the back door screen for a touchdown.

I did see some conservative play calls in longer downs and distances that originally I marked down as negatives – and I do think there is an opportunity to mix things up more.  However, after watching how much opportunity Linehan is creating through his scheme I can tell he wants to be able to call a different play in that scenario as well.  He and Garrett have had great success in the league passing early and often (they were doing it before the analytics we all love were cool).

Conclusions

Now that we have covered the data, film and combined it all for context lets revisit the three narratives currently in the court of public opinion and make some recommendations.

1. It may be time for a new quarterback in Dallas in 2019: True.

This is the narrative that caused me to write this article.  What is funny is when I started this process I thought this answer would be false.  I even had a conversation with a close friend who was really down on him and I argued that he wasn’t part of the problem.  I was wrong.

This is not to say Prescott can’t improve or should be benched in 2019, but there is too much evidence to just assume everything will get better.  The Cowboys should have a punch list of things they need to feel better about before signing him to a big extension.  They should also be in the market to acquire some competition.

2.  The Cowboys’ need to revamp their receiving corps: True.

Having some moving parts at wide receiver is okay, but having your whole corps rotating in and out of the lineup is a bad sign.  However, that isn’t as bad as the consistent issues found on film paired with the separation data.

If the Cowboys do stick with Prescott they will need to find someone who can win earlier in the play and must be smart enough to play all over the formation.  That will ensure they can scheme to get him the ball and work around any issues Prescott doesn’t resolve.

3.  Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett should be fired: False.

Opposite of Prescott, this is the one I would have called true coming in.

I guess after negative media coverage saying teams know the Cowboys plays, former players blaming a lack of innovation for performance, and analytics gurus having a field day with tendencies I was brainwashed.

I wouldn’t call myself a Garrett and Linehan truther, but I have seen enough to know they are not the issue.  They aren’t perfect.  I have often criticized both of them during a game for not making adjustments, and I think some of those things probably still hold true.

What has changed for me is now I have much more appreciation for the choices they have to make.  There is a big difference between what you would like to do on the field and what you can do.

Dwain McFarland has an extensive background leading data and analytics teams in the healthcare market. Most recently, he served as an Associate Vice President for one of the largest healthcare performance improvement companies in the United States.

Dwain has a passion for understanding key performance drivers to success, which he will be bringing with him to the RSP. His understanding of football context is always at the core of his analysis. Dwain brings a rich understanding of coaching schemes and player utilization tendencies that are key contributing factors to player success and development.

A native Texan, Dwain is married and they have three kids, one named Landry, in honor of the legendary Cowboys head coach. You can follow him on Twitter @dwainmcfarland.

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Categories: Dwain McFarland, Matt Waldman, Players, Quarterback, RSP Film And DataTags: , , , , ,

3 comments

  1. Its so much info in here! Great job and Analysis!

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