After a loss, it’s really easy to look for all the reasons that a team can’t do something. If you read or listen to many in Cowboys Nation you’d think that we’ve reached the last quarter of the season and the Dallas Cowboys have been eliminated.
That’s not the truth of the situation though. They’ve played three games and while the offense has looked stagnant for most of those three games, there are things that we can look at and find a bit of hope for this season and the future.
Hot Boyz Destructive
The Dallas Cowboys have a defense that has shown capable of taking over a game as they showed in week two against the New York Giants. In their loss to the Carolina Panthers, they showed that even when the offense wasn’t playing well, they could keep the game close long enough for the offense to have a shot at getting back into the game.
Week three was a different story as the Seattle Seahawks were able to do something Carolina and New York weren’t able to do; hit big plays in the passing game.
They’ll be without Sean Lee for an indeterminate amount of time, but they’ll also be getting back a fresh on Monday after he serves the final game of his suspension this Sunday. He’s a wrecking ball in the middle of the Dallas defense. Putting him on a line that now sits second in the NFL in sacks.
Byron Jones has asserted himself as one of the better corner backs in the NFL. Leighton Vander Esch has been really good in his rookie season, who now leads the Dallas Cowboys in tackles.
The Dallas Cowboys have really good players at all three levels of the defense. If they can correct some of the zone mishaps, particularly from their safeties, the Dallas Cowboys will have a defense that will cause problems for every team remaining on their schedule.
This defense is capable of helping the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs and will keep games close until the offense figures it out.
Superstar Capable of Carrying the Load
Ezekiel Elliott is the best offensive skill player that the Dallas Cowboys have. He had an up and down game on Sunday where he ran for 127 yards on 16 carries and at the same time had several drops and mental miscues that ended drives.
He’s a great player that can carry your offense if he doesn’t have the lapses that he had on Sunday. Ezekiel Elliott is leading the NFL in rushing through the first three weeks despite only carrying the football 48 times.
Among players with at least 22 carries so far this season, only Christian McCaffrey’s 5.9 yards per attempt are better than Ezekiel Elliott’s 5.7.
The Cowboys coaching staff appeared to make a better effort to get Ezekiel Elliott the ball and he had opportunities for big plays after the catch, but again the mental lapses hurt him and the team. I don’t think that’s something that will happen again.
This week when facing the media, Elliott took responsibility for his part in the team’s 24-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He’s a better player when thrown the ball than what he showed on Sunday and I think given the opportunities again, Ezekiel Elliott will rise to the occasion.
When you have a player as capable of taking a game over as Elliott is, then you have a chance to win a lot of football games. If the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff doesn’t shy away from giving him opportunities, then the Cowboys could find themselves in the playoff race at the end of the season.
13 Games Remaining
In a league where there are only 16 games in the regular season, teams don’t have many opportunities to send a message about who they are as a football team. After three weeks, many would argue that what we’ve seen is who they are.
The reality of the situation is there is a lot of football left to be played.
At 1-2, the Dallas Cowboys are still in the thick of the NFC East race, sitting just a game back. The Los Angeles Rams are the only undefeated team in the NFC at 3-0 and so the Dallas Cowboys are only two games back of one team at the moment.
Sure, the deficiencies in the passing game are troubling and it’s looking more and more likely that this is who the Dallas Cowboys are in the passing game. Yet, the possibility remains that they turn it around and begin playing much more efficient football through the air.
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I’ve been guilty of it too, but we need to be careful not to live in a world where we blow from one extreme to another. Yes, the Dallas Cowboys have some things to work on, but they still have some areas where we can feel positive about this team, even if it’s only a sliver of optimism.