One of the most honest voices in the NFL does not view the Dallas Cowboys as a tear down, nor does he view Dak Prescott as a bum, but NBC’s Cris Collinsworth does see a philosophical problem.
A few days after Fox analyst Troy Aikman suggested his former team requires a rebuild, Collinsworth would not go that far.
“I don’t look at the Cowboys as a tear-down situation but I think philosophically the Cowboys won championships on their running game and I’m not sure that league is the same any more,” Collinsworth said in a phone interview on Thursday. “We see it everywhere we go. What I am seeing is record scoring and points. There are too many advantages for the passing game. If someone wants to stop the run they can put as many guys in the box and do it. Until the Cowboys show they have someone who scares defenses to death, that’s going to happen.”
Collinsworth will call the Cowboys’ game at Philadelphia on NBC’s national Sunday night telecast. With the exception of Aikman, no national broadcaster has watched the evolution of the Cowboys more than Collinsworth.
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Sunday will mark the 10th consecutive year the Cowboys and Eagles will play on NBC, which is the longest streak for any one matchup featured on a national broadcast package in league history.
He is not ready to take a blowtorch to the Cowboys, and specifically quarterback Dak Prescott.
Collinsworth believes Dak has been hurt with the departure of tight end Jason Witten, and, until the acquisition of Amari Cooper, he had no one on the outside that an opposing defense feared.
“It has nothing to do with the way he throws the ball, I can tell you that,” Collinsworth said. “To some extent they were spoiled by what they saw his first year. He’s still learning progressions. Give him a little time. We see quarterbacks make a big jump at age 30, and we expect him to make that jump at age 25.
“Physically, there is nothing he can’t do and you can’t convince me of that. He’s strong. He can run. He has a quick release. It’s progression, and with progressions he can save a lot of hits on his body.”
The Cowboys’ improvement this season on offense, which currently ranks 29th in the league, comes down to Cooper.
“He has that chance to be that No. 1 receiver they really have not had. Dez (Bryant) was a No. 1 but he was not a true, deep threat,” Collinsworth said. “He has a chance to be that kind of receiver. If there is going to be a big jump in the Cowboys, it’s going to be on what they focus on with him and what he’s able to do. Some of those double teams should open things up for Cole Beasley.
“What they need is someone at tight end to make a jump. You can tell the guy Dak really misses is Witten. He could give Dak a side to throw the ball to and they are still working on that.”