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Mailbag: Stretching the field with 'Texas Coast'?


I ask this while scratching my head: Is this "Texas Coast" system doing more harm than good? I understand that it's meant to help Dak Prescott get the ball out quicker, but it keeps all the plays in front of the defenders with shorter routes. And the Cowboys are not stretching the field with success, taking away that fear for opposing defenses. It also relies on the play-action aspect, but with short routes, the defense plays closer to the box. – Michael/Port Lavaca, TX

Nick Harris: Coming into the season, I was excited about the Texas Coast offense because it appeared as though elements from the Kellen Moore system would be integrated into the short, methodical West Coast system which would give it unique multiplicity, but we haven't seen that. I'm with you in being concerned about the sustainability of the offense, especially when it needs to claw back into a game. There haven't been big plays, playmakers are not being thrown to as much as they should, and Dak Prescott hasn't looked fully comfortable. There's an opportunity to rebound against the Chargers' poor pass defense ahead, though.

Patrik: I think the problem is it's tasked with getting the ball into the hands of playmakers quickly to let them operate in space, but that's predicated upon the playmakers consistently getting separation. When that doesn't happen, the quick pass is ineffective as far as YAC is concerned. I'm on record as saying the field needs to be stretched more completely and that will force defenses to back up, then allowing the Cowboys' playmakers to get the ball underneath for possible YAC, when then forces defenses forward and allowing you to go deep again — one hand constantly washing the other. But when you delete the deep middle part of the field as the Cowboys have, the defense not only gets to play more forward, but they only have to defend two-thirds at the third level. Until the explosiveness is unlocked, the quick-pass aspect of this offense will continue to look a bit disjointed. Let's be clear, they're moving the ball down the field very well (Week 5 notwithstanding), but it's matriculating and not explosive, and the latter would help to put points on the board that the former, to this point, mostly hasn't. Balance has to be found, and soon. Risk mitigation to prevent INTs is one thing, but handcuffing is quite another.

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