Cowboys Offensive Wrinkles Will Start Eagles Losing Streak


Oct 19, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end

Gavin Escobar

(89) celebrates his third quarter touchdown with receiver

Dwayne Harris

(17) against the New York Giants safety

Quintin Demps

(35) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are going to beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. This game is going to be a joy to watch for Cowboy Nation. I believe offensive passing coordinator and play caller Scott Linehan has figured out what this team possesses. A vast and lethal offensive arsenal that’s capable of air and ground superiority. What I’ve been waiting for is Linehan’s creativity to emerge and use his tools to maximum effectiveness. In my opinion, that finally happened when the Cowboys defeated the Chicago Bears 41 to 28 on Thursday night.

I can’t blame Linehan for taking so long because it’s his first year with the Cowboys. Offensive line coach and running game coordinator Bill Callahan has been optimizing the rushing attack since 2012. The ground phase showed promise last year by gaining 4.5 yards per rushing attempt. The Cowboys weren’t a team that couldn’t run, they were a team that didn’t run enough. This year, they have the NFL’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray. That’s not bad when many pundits thought Linehan would have quarterback Tony Romo throwing the ball 200 times per game.

For Linehan, it didn’t take long to notice that Murray and the running game is an obvious strength along with wide receiver Dez Bryant, tight end Jason Witten and Romo’s accuracy. Those weapons are obvious. It’s not that Antique Roadshow where a someone discovers their great grandmother’s blanket is really the first American flag with Betsy Ross’ signature in the botttom corner.

Linehan looked around the room at his other weapons, the “role players”. He pointed at tight ends Gavin Escobar and James Hanna and wide receivers Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris and screamed confidently – “You got potential and you got potential!” Guess what, unlike that commercial, Linehan’s nose didn’t grow.

Escobar, Hanna and Harris have developed into competent blockers. In the rushing attack, the Cowboys were able to use Escobar, Hanna and Witten to create an unbalanced line against the Bears. Then, in the third quarter with 8:08 remaining – the magic happens. With Cowboy Nation preparing for another run by Murray, the tight ends line up in a bunch formation with Bryant on the outside. Then, Escobar moves out wide and you have Escobar, Witten, Hanna, Bryant and Murray running passing routes. That’s when I screamed – “Touchdown!”

That’s the offensive wrinkle I’ve been waiting for each week, the one I begged for last week. The possibilities are endless and it’s not about trick plays but creating mismatches. Linehan has to find ways to keep utilizing our offensive weapons to keep defensive coordinators awake at night. Linehan has me wondering what will the Cowboys do next!

Personally, I think Harris is due. My prediction: It’s play action, he fake blocks a cornerback then sprints between the safeties and Boom! It’s a 76 yard touchdown!

Another play I’d like to see from that same 3 tight end formation with Bryant and Murray. Escobar moves out wide and Bryant shifts into the slot while Witten and Hanna line up beside each other on the opposite side.

Does a linebacker shift to the outside with Escobar and try to cover him in space? Will the cornerback stay on Escobar and give up a height advantage? Either way it’s a win for Escobar.

With Bryant in the slot, do they dare cover him with a linebacker? If the safety drops down to help cover Bryant, that just leaves a bigger window and deeper play opportunity for Escobar. Advantage: Cowboys.

Witten and Hanna on the line, the Cowboys could run the ball or do play action with Murray. They could also send everyone out on pass routes, like they did against the Bears. Advantage: Cowboys.

If the defense goes big with linebackers, we throw the ball. If they go small with an extra defensive back, we run the ball. Our offensive line is so good, we could run the ball even if they went with linebackers. With nothing else to lose, it’s time to hit opposing defenses with everything in the playbook.

Linehan is learning the strengths of his offensive personnel and realizing it’s more explosive and exciting than a Dodge Caravan with a Hemi. (Do they have those? That’s sounds awesome!) I’m confident with Linehan, the shuffle pass to Witten was only the beginning. It’s creativity shown in the past few weeks that has me comfortable and confident that the Cowboys will beat the Philadelphia Eagles and take over the top spot in the NFC East.


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