Cowboys STARCAST: The math and mediocrity and a chance at Philly

FRISCO – On this edition of “Cowboys STARcast,” podcast host Jamie Horton and Cowboys247 columnist Patrik Walker take a look back to a fateful Monday night at AT&T Stadium where (quite probably) the 2018 season came to an end for your Dallas Cowboys. Yes, yes, the Cowboys still have a few of what we can call “mathematical opportunities,” even at 3-5, maybe in part because the NFC East remains largely mediocre … at least until this weekend, when Dallas experiences another prime time game, this one Sunday night at the 4-4 Philadelphia Eagles.

Indeed, with Ezekiel Elliott announcing this as a “must-win” game, and with what we’re learning unfolded at practice here inside The Star in Frisco on Wednesday (scoop featuring tight end Geoff Swaim and defensive end Randy Gregory is here), the urgency is real.

Meanwhile, perhaps one of my guys is playing “Devil’s Advocate” here in pondering whether maybe the problem with the Dallas Cowboys offense isn’t the work of the beleaguered offensive coordinator Scott Linehan after all. Sure, he’s a problem — the numbers say it is so — but if your job is to scheme plays that get guys open and help you succeed, you also need a quarterback who can execute said scheme.

And so yes, even amid Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issuing a future contract-related vote of confidence for Dak Prescott, … Maybe, just maybe, the Dallas Cowboys don’t currently have a quarterback who can do those necessarily things (My guys still are of the belief that Scott Linehan needs to go, though.)

On the field, looking back and looking forward, wide receiver Amari Cooper seems as advertised: a soft-spoken “football guy” who defeated the learning curve and immediately moved to the top of the Dallas totem pole as a target — hopefully justifying now, and for the future, that he can be a blue-chip weapon for this offense. (And be a better player than Dallas would’ve eventually drafted in April 2019 with the first-round pick instead given to the Oakland Raiders.) The offensive line continues to look broken and bad. (Time for a “Best 5” change? Time to move La’el Collins? That’s not the vibe I’m getting from here inside The Star.) The defense continues to keep its offense in football games, in spite of the fact that finally, in the loss to the Titans, they were torched and tired. (We’ll know more today in practice, but a healthier Randy Gregory can mean some help is on the way … even as an unhealthy Sean Lee means maybe a month of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vaner Esch holding down the linebacking fort all by their lonesome.) But now comes a chance at rejuvenation chance in Philly, all of which gives us much to discuss on this edition of ‘Cowboys STARcast’!

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