Dallas Cowboys receivers second worst in NFL in this stat
The Dallas Cowboys wide receivers claim they are getting open for quarterback Dak Prescott. The Next Gen Stats show something different.
The Dallas Cowboys made a choice this offseason to forgo having a true number one wide receiver on their roster and instead adapted a receiver-by-committee approach. It was believed that quarterback Dak Prescott would find more success spreading the ball around rather than focusing on one or two main targets.
Through the Cowboys first six games, that experiment has been a failure. Dallas ranks 29th in passing yards per game with 172 yards a contest. And Prescott has posted career-lows in yards per game (190.7), completion percentage (62.0), and quarterback rating (85.5).
The Cowboys leading receiver is Cole Beasley, whose 26 catches are tied for 48th most in the NFL. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is second on that team list with 23 receptions. And tight end Geoff Swaim is third with 16 catches.
Dallas’ big free agent signing at wide receiver, Allen Hurns, has only been able to catch eight of his 22 targets so far this season. Their top drafted wideout, third round selection Michael Gallup, has only recorded seven receptions off of 17 targets through his first six games.
Receiver Deonte Thompson has recorded 12 receptions, but only three catches total in the past three games. Gadget player Tavon Austin has posted seven catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns, but it appears he’ll now be sidelined for several games due to a groin injury.
Finally, veteran wide receiver Terrance Williams has underwhelmed posting just two catches this year. Williams was placed on Injured Reserve due to a nagging foot injury and also recently received a three-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
After weeks of criticism, Beasley publicly defended himself and his wide receiver corps late last month claiming they were getting open. There were just a lot of variables keeping the ball from the receivers.
Yet, here’s what NFL.com’s Fantasy Managing Editor Graham Barfield wrote about the Cowboys wide receivers inability to gain separation when their quarterback is in trouble.
"“This has been a common theme in this space all year, but Dak Prescott is really struggling against pressure. It’s largely because his receivers can’t separate. Per Next Gen Stats, Cowboys’ receivers are earning just 2.4 yards of separation at the target point when Prescott is under duress — the second-worst figure in the NFL.”"
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week Six, Beasley exploded for nine catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Cowboys to a 40-7 victory. But since the team’s leading receiver has averaged just over three receptions for 38.6 yards and no scores over his previous five games, it isn’t believed he’ll be able to duplicate those monster numbers on a weekly basis. And while Beasley found success against the Jags, no other receiver recorded more than one catch.
Despite their success targeting Cole Beasley against the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend, the Dallas Cowboys still have major problems in their passing game. And with teams more likely to scheme for Beasley from here on out, someone other than the veteran will need to step up. Although there are several issues plaguing their passing attack, the Cowboys wide receivers not winning consistently (especially when their quarterback needs them the most) is likely the biggest obstacle.