Dallas Cowboys: #2. Kicking and Screaming
The front office should have conversations about bringing in someone to compete with current kicker Greg Zuerlein. Against the Vikings, Zuerlein missed a 43-yard field goal on Dallas’s opening drive. He finished the night two of three in field goal attempts and two for two in extra points.
Missing an opening drive field goal could kill the morale of an already depleted team. Kicking struggles are nothing new for “Greg the leg,” as he has missed four field goals so far in 2021. His field goal percentage for this season is at 77.8% and was at 82.9% last season.
Now those numbers are not the worst, but if he’s a kicker playing half the season indoors, they should be better. The biggest problem is Zuerlein is missing kicks in big situations.
The Cowboys could have won against the Bucs in Week 1 if he made all five field goals. His miss against the Patriots in Week 6 almost cost them the game if not for cornerback Trevon Diggs’ pick-six. In this week’s game, not getting points on the board early to build confidence in a backup quarterback-driven offense is a backbreaker.
There are not many kickers on the streets who are better than the option Dallas currently has, but it might make sense to keep a kicker on the practice squad as insurance. There is no spot used on the active roster, and it keeps Zuerlein looking over his shoulder if his struggles continue.
Dallas Cowboys: #1. Building a Team Culture
The Dallas Cowboys are building something special. Each player wants to be the best at their position and wants to be better for each other. Like mentioned before, when times are tough, the team steps up and finds a way to win.
This is the culture McCarthy was looking to build when he came to Dallas. One where each player and staff member rallies around each other, looking at the bigger picture.
Starter Dak Prescott could have made it public he was upset about not playing against the Vikings. Instead, as the team leaves the field, he runs up to Cooper Rush and gives him a big hug to support his teammate.
Even right tackle La’el Collins, who lost his job for this game to second-year tackle Terence Steele, never once complained about the call and was willing to help the team any way possible.
Championship teams are built on a solid foundation of team culture. That strength can help them fight through adversity like they faced in New England and now in Minnesota. There will be many tests down the road, but with everyone being able to count on each other, there is nothing the 2021 Dallas Cowboys cannot seem to overcome.