Week 6 Preview: Dallas Cowboys looking to rebound vs. winless Jets
The State of the Cowboys
The Cowboys seem to have a confidence issue after some of the self-inflicted mistakes they’ve committed. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott wasn’t seeing the field well at times last week, despite the good performance overall.
Amari Cooper had a career game against Green Bay, but even the Pro Bowl wide receiver contributed to the mistakes with a costly drop that turned into an interception and created a 14-point swing early in the game.
The running game has been largely neutralized thanks to uncharacteristically bad play from one of the most talented offensive lines in the NFL. Cowboys All-Pro center Travis Frederick hasn’t looked nearly as good since returning from a year-long battle with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. With tackle Tyron Smith out and left-guard La’el Collins banged up, the offensive line is relying on depth pieces to keep Prescott upright and running lanes open.
The defense has also looked extremely suspect at times this season, even before the two-game losing streak started. The linebacking core of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch has looked nothing like last season’s duo that terrorized the NFL.
Both have looked off many times so far this season, but no game was worse than last week. “Van Jaylon” was victimized last week by a woeful Packers running game, much to the surprise of pretty much everybody.
The front seven was bullied as well, although injuries to nose-tackles Antwaun Woods and Tyrone Crawford can likely shoulder most of the blame. Defensive end Robert Quinn has been sensational as a pass rusher, and his ability to pressure the quarterback has allowed fellow defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence, more opportunities to get home as well. However, the interior line has to step up against the run in a major way if the Cowboys are going to right the ship.
Another potential concern is on special teams. Kicker Brett Maher has been mediocre in his role since joining the Cowboys, only making 57 percent of his attempts so far this season, and missed two attempts last week that could have made a real difference in the game.
The normally stellar punter Chris Jones has struggled as well, only averaging a dismal 33 yards a punt in last week’s loss. The Special Teams will have to improve as much as any other side of the ball going forward if the Cowboys want to gain momentum going forward.
Now to Sunday’s matchup versus the New York Jets …