Dallas Cowboys: Just a tease or the real thing?
After the upset of the Saints, was this a tease or did we see the real Dallas Cowboys team stand up? What should we expect after this?
The Dallas Cowboys win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night has left many fans asking the question: “Will the real America’s Team please stand up?”
We know how this team has mastered the art of mediocrity and teased us with a sprinkling of impressive wins. Did we see the real team in AT&T Stadium last week or was it just a mirage?
Its been widely said that defense wins championships in the NFL. I believe the Cowboys’ defense checks that box. We knew the defense had been performing at a high level. However, no one truly saw this performance against Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Co. coming.
The look of stunned bewilderment on the Saints’ sideline was priceless and something we haven’t seen in a very long time. One can only hope the Cowboys can duplicate their performance. History hasn’t been on their side.
What was good
Obviously, the defense gets mentioned first. The total smackdown against a Goliath of an offense has been the buzz of the airwaves. Credit the coaching, the game plan, and the near flawless execution.
The offensive game plan. I’ve beaten up offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. He deserves credit for the scheme that allowed the offense to hog the ball and keep Brees on the bench. The plan allowed quarterback Dak Prescott to set a team completion record and keep the chains moving.
What was bad
Failure to come away with touchdowns in the red zone continues to be an issue. While no team will ever be perfect, success in the red zone is usually correlated with winning teams. This area must be improved.
Prescott’s poor pocket presence and inability to feel pressure are frustrating to watch. He backpedals into the pressure instead of stepping up. Prescott is who he is and isn’t who he’s not. He’s not a pocket passer despite the coaching staff trying to make him one.
The seven sacks put the offense behind the chains and made the defense’s job harder. The offensive line’s performance wasn’t their best. Which makes the defensive performance all the more remarkable.
What was ugly
Undisciplined penalties by defensive end Randy Gregory were dreadful. The roughing the punter call and lining up in the neutral zone call could have been the one or two plays that determined the outcome of the game. In addition, the unnecessary swipe at the face mask of Brees.
Gregory is a special talent that has to play like one. Critical calls such as those become magnified in the playoffs, where it’s win or go home. He must have better situational awareness and realize where he is on the field.
Prescott’s inability to protect the ball has been an issue and continues to hamper his success. He now leads all quarterbacks in fumbles. Giving the ball away in the red zone is especially egregious.
I want to believe that the defense can replicate its performance. However, offensive coordinators will be gunning for them. Perhaps the defense may very well go on a run like the glory teams of the 1990’s. Remains to be seen.
The offense and quarterback Dak Prescott must find ways to generate more points. The Cowboys have shown they can possess the ball and eat the clock. While defense may win championships, so does putting the ball in the end zone more frequently.
I’m cautiously optimistic at this point. If the Cowboys go out next Sunday and lay an egg against the Philadelphia Eagles, all the optimism and euphoria of this recent win be gone. What do you think? Please tell us in the comments section below.