It’s easy to look at this team and find reasons for their 1-3 start. A new defense, injuries on both sides of the football, and what looks to be some talent deficiencies on the ball’s defensive side. And while all of that may be true, the reality is the Dallas Cowboys are 1-3 and, oddly, could have a better record if not for some costly turnovers or mental breakdowns.
With the news coming down the Offensive Tackles La’el Collins and Tyron Smith are heading to injured reserve and are done for the season, the Dallas Cowboys have another reason to hang their hat on if the final 12 games of the season don’t go as hoped. But it’s time to quit giving them outs.
On the offensive side of the football, they’ve got enough talent to overcome the offensive line’s play. With Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, their wide receiver group, and an emerging Dalton Schultz, they have an offense that can keep them in every game. At the beginning of this year, we’ve seen it when Brandon Knight and Terrance Steele had to start games two and three. The offense may have had a hard time getting going, but they still scored a ton of points when they had those two starting at tackle.
Injuries on the offensive line have definitely had an impact. However, the coaching staff needs to do a better job helping out their undrafted free agent tackles in the game. There was no excuse to leave Terrance Steele on an island against Myles Garrett during the Dallas Cowboys loss last Sunday. He shouldn’t have been starting in the first place as we saw Brandon Knight come in and play much more effectively.
While the offensive line talent isn’t as good as we thought it would be heading into the season, the coaching staff owns some of the blame for how they’ve performed and who they’ve put out there.Tyler Biadasz has been solid in the first couple of games of his career, begging the question, why wasn’t he out there to begin with? Brandon Knight is better than Steele. It makes you wonder if Connor McGovern is a gem waiting to be revealed to the world.
For years, we’ve given this team excuses after excuses as to why they can’t overcome injuries and poor play. The hiring of Mike McCarthy and the defensive staff’s overhaul was supposed to bring an advantage that helped the Cowboys overcome those injuries or deficiencies. The coaching staff has to do a better job moving forward, putting the best team on the field that they can. They also have to help their team schematically as well.
If the best players at a given position are rookies, then it’s time to get them out there and see what they can do. If the scheme, especially on defense, is too complicated for the guys they have on the field to execute, they need to make some adjustments that allow the defense to play faster.
In addition to that, the players have to not give the game away with penalties, turnovers, poor pursuit angles, and poor tackling. The defense, in particular, has to get back to doing the simple things well. When you’re struggling to make splash plays, you have to get back to making the plays that are there for you to make.
At 1-3 and tied with the Philadelphia Eagles in the win column, the Cowboys have an opportunity to make something of this season. Everyone from the players to the coaching staff bears the responsibility of turning this thing around.
All of that starts tomorrow against the New York Giants. A team that is struggling offensively and has improved defensively. The Cowboys have to get a win this week. They can’t afford any more losses if they hope to stay in contention for the NFC East. Things won’t get easier as the schedule goes along, so the Cowboys have to get a win where they are certainly the better team. A loss against the Giants, and there will be a lot of explaining to do from the owner to the front office, to the coaching staff, and the players.
The time for excuses is gone. The Cowboys must learn to overcome the trials they’re facing as a team. Every team suffers hardships throughout the course of the season. The best ones find a way to rally behind those tribulations and come together to play inspired football. It’s what the Philadelphia Eagles did in 2017 and what the Dallas Cowboys must now do in 2020.