There is plenty of blame to go around for the season opening loss to the New York Giants.
We can start with the underwhelming rushing attack from the Cowboys, and the stubborn play-calling that came with it. Ezekiel Elliott was running up the middle into a brick wall of defenders all day long. Give credit to New York for keying on the run, but also blame Dallas for not getting creative enough.
We can then look at the Giants rushing the ball effectively against the Cowboys, specifically on their last possession of the game. And how about those killer holding penalties? All are concerning at the moment, but what bothered me most on Sunday was just how average the passing game seemed.
Aided by disappointing showings from Dallas veterans, the team fell short through the air. Don’t get me wrong, it was clear Dallas had a somewhat conservative game plan on Sunday that Dak Prescott executed well. But that’s not to say the plan truly worked either.
His decision-making was on point, and to put it simply, he was throwing to the right guy on most of his pass attempts. Overall, Prescott looked good, not great. Either way, he played well enough to win. Watching this game did not give me the same feel as most of last year, which is a positive as well. Prescott is clearly better than Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden.
That being said, both play calling scheme and individual performances need to improve immediately in the passing game.
Where were the big plays?
When your longest gain of the game is a 21 yard completion to backup tight end (Geoff Swaim), there is a serious problem. Dallas needs to let Prescott take more shots down the field, and when he takes those shots, players need to step up. I’m looking at you, Dez Bryant.
Lets be real here. Bryant just hasn’t been the same without Tony Romo.
I get that he was playing hurt for most of last season, but he is healthy now. He needs to be the superstar wide receiver that this team paid him to be. He also needs to come down with that touchdown. Degree of difficulty was high, but Bryant prides himself on coming down with the tough ones.
Dak Prescott needs to know he can throw the ball up to him with one on one coverage, and Bryant needs to establish that trust.
Speaking of dropped touchdown passes, Cole Beasley let a would-be six points drop to the ground early on in this one. It also seemed like, despite his eight grabs, he should have had at least two others. Crucial drops plagued Dallas on Sunday.
Oh yeah, and Terrance Williams can’t make that mistake. He also needs to stop disappearing in games. He can look like a formidable second wide receiver for a game, and then disappear into the abyss for another two. Dallas needs to address the wide receiver two spot this off-season.
Bottom line here is any quarterback, especially a rookie for that matter, needs players to make big plays around him. It’s going to be a long season in Dallas if Dez isn’t Dez, and complementary veterans are making crucial mistakes.
It’s time to take some of the training wheels of off Prescott too. The passing game needs a big boost next week in Washington before this team finds itself in a huge 0-2 hole.