The month of December got off to a great start for the Cowboys as they demolished the lowly Giants 30-10. The breakout fourth quarter allowed some players to “reintroduce” themselves to the NFL world. As the season hits its home stretch, we are starting to figure out a few things about these Cowboys. Let’s talk about a few of them.
My Name Is Smith
The saying goes the most popular player on the team is the backup quarterback, but on this team it may be the backup running back – Rod Smith. He officially introduced himself to the NFL with a breakout performance Sunday.
Smith became the first player in NFL history to record an 80+ yard touchdown reception and a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. For the game, he recorded 160 total yards and two touchdowns on less than 15 touches. He now has a touchdown in three straight games, with four total during that span. His play and versatility, being able to play offense and special teams, should make Dallas think twice about their offseason strategy regarding a backup running back. At 6’3 230 lbs., he brings a unique set of skills to the table. If he keeps this up, the Cowboys could have Ezekiel Elliott’s backup for the foreseeable future.
R Squared To The Rescue?
With thirteen games under their belts, five without Ezekiel Elliott, it’s safe to say Dallas needs more playmakers around Dak Prescott. Last season Cole Beasley and Jason Witten were extremely effective underneath. However, this year teams are taking them away. Apart of me believes due to their limited abilities to stretch the field, they are becoming a detriment to the offense. If Beasley and Witten can’t threaten defenses deep, teams have an advantage scheming their defensive gameplan against the Cowboys. But answers to this problem may already be on the roster in the form of Ryan and Rico.
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Ryan Switzer and Rico Gathers are two young players that bring a more explosive skill set to the Cowboys. Switzer has already shown on special teams that he can be a threat. He is top ten in both kick return and punt return average, with a touchdown to boot. His talents go beyond that though. Switzer is a very capable wide receiver that just hasn’t been provided an opportunity to showcase that. While in college he not only showed the ability to be a dynamo underneath but also the ability to make plays deep on a consistent basis. Switzer having an equal role to Beasley was once an afterthought, but based on the last few games, it has to be considered moving forward.
— Patrik Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) December 11, 2017
Rico Gathers may not take a snap this season for the Cowboys, but he was well on his way to carving out a role. The 6’8 former basketball star turned tight end showed great improvements in the pre-season both as a blocker and a pass catcher.
TDs everywhere! Kellen Moore finds Rico Gathers for a 26 yard TD strike! Cardinals lead 15-7. pic.twitter.com/6YPqjUrLUd
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) August 4, 2017
One commodity the Cowboys lack on offense is a seam stretching athletic tight end. This is no disrespect to the great Jason Witten, but his best days are behind him. Teams invite Witten to catch everything underneath between the twenties. They know he won’t get yards after the catch, and they know he won’t get behind them for explosive plays.
Gathers going into year three could have the potential to add this skill set to the offense. It is an aspect of the offense that Dallas has been missing for some time. His explosive athleticism combined with his catch radius and sure hands would give Prescott a huge weapon from anywhere on the field.
The question then becomes, if the staff doesn’t make changes to its scheme, do they have the guts to make the tough call on Beasley and Witten? If they want to see a more explosive and difficult offense to contend with, they should.
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