A win is a win, right? Even though it would really be more accurate if we left win out of what the Dallas Cowboys did last night and instead say the visiting New York Giants and Eli manning lost and just leave it at that.
The Cowboys do get a mark in the win column and they need to collect as many of those marks in that column as they can. I hear they come in handy at the end of the regular season.
The game itself brought about some things that leave me cautiously optimistic going forward.
The Cowboys definitely look different on defense. There is no way you can come away from watching last nights game and not be impressed with the turnovers. If this turns out to be the only noticeable change in the defense, it’s enough. Opponents have been put on notice – Hold on to the football. Wrap your arms around it and hold on for dear life or we will take it from you!
New defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, has made his presence felt with his emphasis on turnovers and aggressive, opportunistic, play. That being said, giving up 31 points is not going to win you many games in the NFL. When Eli Manning got into a rhythm, the Giants moved up and down the field with ease. The Cowboys had no answer to the slant pass all night long. Should we be worried about that?
The Cowboys offense also went through some restructuring and tweaking in the offseason with renewed emphasis on the running game, a new play caller and more input from Tony Romo. With all that, the offense did not seem all that different. They looked choppy and out of sync for long stretches just as they have for several years now, even in the hurry up. The running game also continued it’s struggle.
First game jitters, I’m sure, played a part in the choppy flow of the Cowboys offense. That being said, Romo looked in command and the offensive line has improved without a doubt (I’m saying that even though Doug Free is still in the line up!). I’m jazzed about this because newly signed, former ProBowl Guard, Brian Walters, hasn’t played yet, which gives me hope for some sort of running game going forward.
While on the offense, the hurry up aspect looks like it could make a difference. Once the Cowboys get their timing down, it should speed up the rhythm and flow and help the offense look a little less predictable. The speed should also disrupt defenses as we saw a little last night when the giants had to blatantly fake injury at times to get a breather and make adjustments.
Last nights game was a must win game, in many ways, for the Cowboys, as much as a first game can be anyway. The Giants have run roughshod over the Cowboys at Jerry World since the inaugural game there in 2009. The curse needed to be broken, and it was. Also, with all the minor and major changes the Cowboys endured this offseason, to come out of the gate and lose would have been a set back of sorts.
I’m sure the Cowboys psyche is stronger than I’m giving them credit for, but a loss last night would have put a damper on everything they did to improve this last year. The win, however, gives those changes a footing, immediately making the majority of those changes seem like positive ones. Something to build on, something CowboysNation can get behind – something to believe in. Alleviating, at least temporarily, the doubt that springs from change.