So far, the Dallas Cowboys season hasn’t gone very well. Through seven games, they hold a record under .500 and aim to change that next Monday night when they play the 3-4 Tennessee Titans under the lights. With four losses of their own, there are many things the Cowboys need to change in order to have a legitimate chance of being on the playoffs come January.
The bye week came at the perfect time in Dallas after the most painful loss of the year when Brett Maher’s kick bounced off the field goal post to end the game 17-20 in favor of the Washington Redskins. The Cowboys made tons of mistakes throughout the game, the offense was inefficient, yet they still had a chance to take to overtime but didn’t. Ouch.
Enter the bye week, a perfect opportunity to get the team back on track and try to spark things up. And although Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan still are at the wheel, changes were indeed made to try to turn the ship around in Dallas.
Whether or not that will be enough to turn the 2018 Dallas Cowboys into a legit contender within the NFC East remains to be seen. However, I’m confident in saying this team will look very different when they host the Titans at AT&T Stadium on Monday Night Football.
Let’s start by the elephant in the room. The Cowboys engaged in a blockbuster trade that sent a first round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange of WR Amari Cooper. Now, let’s leave the “Who won the trade?” question for another time. Let’s focus on Cooper the player.
The “Dak-friendly” offense that allegedly didn’t need a #1 wide receiver proved to be a failure. The truth is that a big part of the problem offensively was the lack of talent at the position. Allen Hurns simply isn’t playing as expected, Tavon Austin is out with an injury and Michael Gallup has flashed but has lacked opportunities to prove his worth.
Amari Cooper changes that a ton. The impact he makes on offense will be felt immediately. His strength is route-running, which will help a QB that needs a receiver that creates separation not named Cole Beasley. I can assure you prior to the Cooper addition, the only scary threat on the Cowboys’ receiving core was Beasley.
Probably the most surprising situation for the 2018 Cowboys has been the poor play by the offensive line. After opening the season with many mistakes, penalties and more by a very talented unit, OL Coach Paul Alexander was fired days ago. Taking his place is Marc Colombo, and with him come high hopes in seeing this unit play at the level they were expected to in the offseason.
Tyron Smith, Connor Williams and La’el Collins have been very disappointing and despite one of them being a rookie and another being a veteran with a complicated injury history, they should simply be playing way better than they are right now.
Even though the change is recent, I expect Colombo to help this unit put on their best performance of the year.
If the offensive line keeps the pocket clean for Dak Prescott to connect with his receivers (among which will be two-time Pro-Bowler Amari Cooper) and opens running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ offense should be able to do enough to win the game at least thanks to the defense.
It won’t necessarily mean the Cowboys are suddenly a contending team, but I expect a big win against a Titans team that hasn’t been able to get going on offense. With this defense against a Marcus Mariota-led offense, this might end up with a similar scoreboard than the Jaguars game on week 6.