With Dak Prescott having surgery today on his right thumb, he is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, resulting in Cooper Rush moving up to QB1 for the Cowboys. Still, even before I knew Prescott was going to need surgery, I planned to make this and pinpoint how much of a struggle everything seemed to be last night.
The Cowboys did not look good outside of maybe the first drive that was promising that resulted in their only 3 points of the football game. The motto Jerry Jones was pushing this offseason about believing in the young guys fell by the wayside very quickly last night.
Let me start with the offensive line.
- Prescott was under pressure nearly every time he dropped back to throw the football. He was sacked four times and hit eight times.
- Maybe I am the only one, but the running game looked halfway decent. Ezekiel Elliott averaged 5.2 yards per carry, finishing with 52 rushing yards on only 10 carries.
- Then it seemed like a good idea for Kellen Moore to get away from it when the game was still within reach and let Prescott try to force the ball into an unproven wide receiver's hands.
- Matt Farniok struggled after Connor McGovern was hurt early with a high-ankle sprain, and Dallas has now become even thinner at the position; time for Jason Peters to try and get up to speed.
- Tyler Smith looked okay and will still learn as he goes, but the rookie was better than many on the OL.
With that said, let me transition to the receiving corps.
Look, the belief in the young guys motto that Jones talked about is not going to work. The Bucs weren't scared of anyone outside of CeeDee Lamb; they swarmed to Lamb and had zero concern for anyone else running a route.
Noah Brown and Dennis Houston are just not it. They are not going to make up the production that Michael Gallup could have brought them, and even though they will get him back, he is recovering from an ACL tear.
You could see the lack of connection with every pass-catcher who has never played meaningful snaps in the NFL. Also, James Washington is still hurt, but it would have been better than what they ran out there last night.
Time and time again, this could have been addressed in the offseason after trading Amari Cooper and letting Cedrick Wilson walk. I have no idea why I tried to talk myself into thinking a banged-up OL would give Prescott enough time to find the lack of firepower on the outside. Even more concerning is that Jalen Tolbert was not even active ahead of Brown, Houston, and Fehoko; I mean, how much worse could he have been?
The defense can only do so much, and again they struggled to stop the run last night but held Tampa to only one touchdown, and Micah Parsons did his thing.
They have to get better at stopping the run, it wears them down, and that was a result of the Bucs being able to get three points on almost every drive at least. Holding the Bucs to 19 points should be enough, but it is overshadowed by the banged-up OL and unproven guys out wide.
They kept hope alive early in the fourth after a Donovan Wilson interception at the 50, and guess what? The offense mustered two yards after an incompletion to Houston and then Brown.
The Cowboys are about to waste another year of one of the best pass rushers in football.
Micah is the best EDGE rusher in the NFL. https://t.co/jmdpXaP50m
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 12, 2022
Dallas did this to themselves; the roster had plenty of needs, and the only thing that was addressed was how great the young guys looked in the preseason.
How does a team go from the number one scoring offense to three points in the first game of the season the following year? Prescott can be blamed just as much as the next guy, but the lack of moves to get better this offseason showed up all night.
Outside of a few guys on defense, Brett Maher might have been a bright spot going 1-for-1, and I NEVER thought I'd say that; I hope he can continue to hit them because he may be the only points they can rack up this season.
I hope I am wrong, but if the offense couldn't do anything with Prescott, how do you think they will look with Rush at the helm?