There are a lot of overreactions and underreactions surrounding the Dallas Cowboys after last week’s embarrassing outing. The direction of this football team is unknown are they a Super Bowl contender or a fluke?
Over and Under-Reactions Surrounding the Cowboys
“Dak Prescott is the problem.” He’s not and he hasn’t been, he’s the reason the Cowboys are contenders each year. Those calling for Prescott to be benched or replaced haven’t appreciated the good he’s done throughout his career. He had a rough night against San Francisco, but so did the entire team. Nobody came to play against the 49ers but to blame the outcome on Prescott is unfair.
The sense of panic is understandable considering the 49ers are the hump they can’t get over but the season isn’t over in Week 5. For any hope of getting back on track, it’s going to be through the quarterback. Jerry Jones trusts Prescott to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl and he’s a proven winner. He’s played 12 or more games in six seasons and made the playoffs in four of those seasons. A bad performance early in the season doesn’t steer the direction of the team, don’t jump ship and trust your quarterback.
The defense will be fine, the bully got bullied but there’s no need to panic. The 49ers just had a counter for every punch the Cowboys threw. That may be the worst their defense looks all year, but the fact they didn’t look well against a Super Bowl contender has some believing their first few weeks were a fluke. If they want to regain respect and implement their dominance it starts against the Chargers number five-ranked offense.
This defense will see tests almost every week for the remainder of the year. They’ll face five of the NFL’s top 10 offenses and five playoff teams from last season. The real test for the Cowboys defense starts now and they’ll need championship caliber play as the offense starts to figure it out.
The Weapons Are A Head Scratcher
The Cowboys offense is lacking production from the wide receivers and tight ends. CeeDee Lamb’s frustration is reasonable, teams are scheming to take him away and make others beat you. It’s worked so far, he has one touchdown and one game with over 80 yards receiving. They know the importance of getting him going to generate some offense, but they need others to be game-changers too.
They haven’t found their guy to take the pressure off Lamb and also stretch the field. They only have 15 pass plays beyond 20 yards, Lamb has eight of them. Brandin Cooks was brought in to be that vertical threat the Cowboys desperately needed. He hasn’t produced up until this point, he only has 73 receiving yards in four games. Michael Gallup also has been silent with 180 yards in five games, only averaging 36 yards per game.
Mike McCarthy’s Offense
There was a lot of optimism surrounding the Texas Coast offense but it hasn’t lived up to the hype. There haven’t been fireworks and highlight plays many thought he would introduce. Instead, it’s been a heavy dose of quick passes and play-action.
“He runs very basic West Coast concepts that don’t stress defenses the way they used to,” Rob Gregson, A to Z Sports stated. “Especially when his personnel is limited at wide receiver” he added. This week, McCarthy has to find ways to spark this offense while also feeding your star wide receiver, but how? Using a page from Mike McDaniel’s playbook.
Similar to how Tyreek Hill is used, moving Lamb around the formation could benefit the offense and help others get open. Last season they had much success using pre-snap motion to get him favorable matchups and free releases. It’s time to let Lamb roam freely, it’ll be more challenging to bring safety help and put hands on him by constantly moving him around. Regardless if he’s being targeted or not, using him as eye candy will open up a lot of downfield shots for Prescott.
This Could Be The Season
The Cowboys have a lot to play for and Monday Night is a huge make-or-break game. They need to get that bad taste out of their mouth from last week and make a statement. Kellen Moore would love the chance to put some big points up against his former team.
The season may come down to this game, they’re already playing catch-up in the division, and if they drop to 3-3 their chances of an NFC East title and a playoff appearance may vanish. Expect Dallas to bounce back and secure a much-needed victory before heading into their bye week.