It's always difficult to write about the Dallas Cowboys after a loss, even more so after they've played as sloppily as they did against the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon. But, I'm not going to let the 16-8 defeat keep me from doing my duty.
In all honesty, this game gave me flashbacks of the Dallas Cowboys matchup with the Denver Broncos last season. Just like against the Broncos, the Cowboys continuously found themselves behind the chains and unable to move the ball with much success. Ezekiel Elliott, the engine of the offense, couldn't even find much running room. Let's just hope that this isn't something that continues to happen.
Today, I want to bring back my weekly column The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. If you have forgotten or are perhaps a new reader, this is a column in which I like to try to identify some of the positives and negatives from the Cowboys previous matchup, in this case the game against the Panthers. It's not always easy to write, but I hope you enjoy it regardless.
From the outside looking in, you wouldn't guess that there was very much good to write about from the Dallas Cowboys game against the Carolina Panthers, and you are probably right. I really had to dig deep to sift through all of the bad, but the silver lining I came up with is the way the defense was able to battle for an entire four quarters.
The way the Dallas Cowboys defense played Sunday afternoon was far from flawless. There was plenty of mental and physical mistakes to go around, but you have to applaud the way they continued to fight throughout the game. In fact, I was pretty impressed with the play of the defensive line and secondary.
The Cowboys front four not only continuously put pressure on Quarterback Cam Newton, but they also pretty much contained the running game as well. DeMarcus Lawrence and Company are off to a good start and should only continue to get better. As for the secondary, they made things pretty difficult for Newton and his receivers in the passing game. I'm really excited to see how they progress.
I don't know about you, but identifying the bad from the Cowboys game against the Panthers was pretty easy for me. Of course you may disagree, but I think we should look no further than what happened on the offensive side of the ball. I personally place the blame on both the players and the coaching staff.
The playcalling by Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan was once again questionable. It's really getting tiresome to talk about, but I was reallly expecting to see more creativity Sunday, especially with all of the new faces that were brought in this offseason. Unfortunately, it was much of the same and that is simply unacceptable.
Quarterback Dak Prescott continues to hold on the ball way too long while trying to find an open receiver. This has been a problem of his since entering the league and will continue to be so until something changes. As far as the running game goes, both Ezekiel Elliott and his offensive line struggled to get things going. Since this is the driving force of the entire offense, it needs to be fixed as quickly as possible.
I was personally expecting some sloppiness in this game from the Dallas Cowboys, but that was mostly due to the fact the weather was supposed to be wet and rainy. I didn't really think they would come out and play the way they did, so there was quite a bit of ugly to sift through. What I decided to put in this section was the play of the Cowboys linebackers.
After being so highly touted for the majority of the offseason, the Dallas Cowboys linebackers certainly didn't live up to expectations. There were way too many times they were caught out of position or couldn't come up with the tackle. Sean Lee in particular might have just played his worst game since entering the league.
With several weeks to prepare for Cam Newton and the run/pass option (RPO) offense the Panthers utilize, Dallas' LBs looked really unprepared and failed to execute their assignments. Both Damien Wilson and Sean Lee gave up huge gains to Newton because of this. This definitely needs to be cleaned up before next week, because Shaquon Barkley is an entirely different animal to contain.