Mac Engel

Linehan to remain Cowboys play caller, says work-in-progress offense has to ‘get busy’

Dak Prescott says offense can be fixed

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he liked the fight of his offense and feels good about fixing the issues that hurt them in the season opener.
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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he liked the fight of his offense and feels good about fixing the issues that hurt them in the season opener.

One day after his offense barely scored 13 points, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said his status as the team’s primary play caller, from the press box, is status quo for the next game against the Detroit Lions.

For the angry mob that are Cowboys fans, that’s not what they want to hear. Of course, they’d prefer someone’s head on a plate.

With the Cowboys ranked 30th overall and 31st in passing, the offensive coordinator has become the subject of speculation/criticism of the team through the first three games.

For the second time in three games, the Cowboys scored just one touchdown in their 24-13 loss against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Seattle. The Cowboys currently average 13.7 points per game, second worst in the NFL.

Linehan said in a phone interview on Monday that he thinks the offense remains a “definite work in progress, but we have to get busy getting there,” he said.

No one is going to fight him on this.

“The Seattle game, we were a little of our own culprit. There was more there. We had penalties,” Linehan said. “We have to have some chunk plays in our offense. When we get on the other side of the 50, we have to attack the end zone more so that will give us more credibility in our offense. We are relying too much on the 10-plus play drives, and you can’t do that.”

As far as the run-pass option plays that worked well in the Cowboys’ Week 2 win against the New York Giants, and the owner/GM loved, they were basically non-existent against the Seahawks.

After running seven times for 45 yards against the Giants, quarterback Dak Prescott ran the ball twice for 21 yards in Seattle. The two carries came in the fourth quarter when the game was already gone.

“We had an opportunity early for a play early and we didn’t execute it on third down; that would have been a big play for us,” Linehan said. “We also didn’t call it as much because Seattle put a safety down near the line, which we anticipated they would do.”

Virtually everything that happened in the Cowboys’ loss at Carolina to start the season returned on Sunday, with the exception that running back Ezekiel Elliott was far more productive against the Seahawks.

He ran for more than 100 yards on Sunday, but the passing game was just as inefficient. Dak threw for 170 yards and was sacked six times against Carolina; against Seattle, he passed for 168 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and was sacked five times.

“We thought we had really progressed from Week 1 to Week 2, but then similar issues sped back up with the pressure,” Linehan said. “They blitzed us a lot more than they had been doing in the first two games. And in the first half we have really struggled.”

And as far as Prescott and a passing game that has been so bad through three games?

“We are still a work in progress getting to that level; there are times when guys are open and we can say, ‘This play worked,’” Linehan asid. “As he gets used to his new personnel that will get better.

“Only because we have played three games that doesn’t make us not new; other than Cole Beasley, Dak has all new receivers. Terrance Williams hasn’t been in much because he’s still getting back from his foot injury. Dak is still getting used to those receivers, and even more so with his tight ends.”

Whatever the case, Linehan will remain intact to help fix an offense that, at this point, has more excuses than points.

Boise State was well represented in Sunday night's Cowboys-Giants matchup. Leighton Vander Esch, Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence play for the Cowboys, with Donte Deayon playing for the Giants.

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