Scott Linehan is no longer a member of the Dallas Cowboys organization after finally being relieved of his duties on Friday as offensive coordinator. Over the past couple years, Linehan has been receiving criticism and apparently owner/general manager Jerry Jones finally gave Linehan the axe. The play-calling, especially in 2018, became predictable. The offense was outdated and it struggled mightily. Finishing in the bottom third of the league in scoring along with dreadful red zone woes, it was time for a change.
Seemingly, the Divisional Round in the playoffs appeared to be Linehan’s ceiling. His offense failed to win all three games in the Divisional Round, being in 2013-2014, 2015-2016 and this year 2018-2019. His offensive schemes and preparation could not get Dallas to the next level.
There are two prime examples why Scott Linehan needed to be fired due to lack of intelligent play calling. First, in the Week 15 match-up with the Indianapolis Colts, on a fourth-down & goal play, Linehan called a weak side run which resulted in running back Ezekiel Elliott being stopped short of the endzone, turning the ball over. Later in the game, on another fourth-down play, Linehan called the same run play but it was a strong side run. This time, the Cowboys converted. If this strong side run was called on the goal line, it would have ended in a touchdown. Second, in the Divisional Round against the Los Angeles Rams, it was a fourth-and-one in Los Angeles territory in a one possession game with the Cowboys trailing. With everyone in the stadium knowing Ezekiel Elliott was getting the ball, Linehan calls for a “HB Dive” right up the middle as Elliott and the Cowboys failed to convert. There was no ingenuity as defensive coordinators had no trouble compiling a gameplan against Dallas. This type of dysfunction and predictability made Cowboys fans wish for the firing of Linehan.
Along with those two examples, Cowboys wide receivers, former and current, had much to say about Linehan and his play-calling. Former franchise receiver Dez Bryant sent out a cryptic tweet after receiving news Dallas fired their offensive coordinator. More notably, wideout Allen Hurns publicly criticized the play-calling of Linehan as he disagreed vehemently with the route assignments in relation to the defenses earlier in the season. Plus, during the Dallas-Philadelphia showdown at AT&T Stadium, star wideout Amari Cooper told quarterback Dak Prescott before the snap to audible their original play-call and send Cooper deep since the Eagles secondary could not contain the former first-round receiver, which then resulted in a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage on that respective drive.
With the removal of Linehan, now Prescott and Elliott can experience a more extensive playbook which can benefit at least one play-maker, if not both of them. The search for the new offensive mind for the Dallas Cowboys will be the storyline for the next coming weeks but for now, Cowboys fans can rejoice, knowing that their offense can take a step forward into present times and be more dynamic.