It was a rematch with none of the excitement of the original. The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a last-second field goal to start the 2021 season and got a shot at redemption this year. However, Dak Prescott and the offense looked unprepared and out of sync as they were easily handled by Tampa Bay.
Prescott finished with a porous stat line as he had 134 yards passing and an interception while completing just 14-of-29 attempts. To add insult to injury, he had to leave the game late when his hand was hit by Shaq Barrett. Jerry Jones revealed that the QB would need surgery and will be out for several weeks.
That’s obviously a devastating loss for this team. But, first let’s discuss the loss of the game. Prescott didn’t get injured until late in the fourth. The Cowboys would not score a single touchdown in this game.
Many are looking for places to blame, and too often that blame gets put on Prescott. However, No. 4 shouldn’t be the one to take all of the criticism.
Dak Prescott should not take the blame for the Cowboys’ poor offensive performance
Don’t think Prescott is absolved of all accountability. He was downright bad in this game. He made some poor decisions, forced too many throws, and looked nothing like the player we saw last year.
Having said that, it was hard to expect anything else thanks to the front office doing everything in their power to make life difficult for No. 4.
Jerry and Stephen Jones have recently become some of the most frugal front office leaders in the NFL and their desire to create cap space cost the team in a huge way. This offseason, the Jones family didn’t try to retain Cedrick Wilson and traded away Amari Cooper — for a mere fifth-round pick.
If that wasn’t bad enough, they released La’el Collins, making Terence Steele the starter at right tackle. They then added a tackle in the draft, bringing in Tyler Smith but made sure to stunt his development.
Rather than letting the rookie work at tackle, they kicked him inside to guard and banked on Tyron Smith holding things down at left tackle. This was a terrible idea since the veteran Smith hasn’t played a full season since 2015.
Predictably, Smith was hurt during the preseason and lost for the year. Dallas not only refused to find a viable swing tackle in the offseason but then drug their feet on signing one after the injury. They eventually brought in Jason Peters, but it was so late in the game that they had to put Tyler Smith back at left tackle and still have no swing tackle — until Peters comes back.
Jerry and Stephen Jones should have given Dak Prescott more wide receiver help
It wasn’t just the offensive line where Dallas drug their feet. They also refused to do much of anything at receiver, banking on James Washington as a cheap signing that they hoped could provide play beyond his pay.
Washington was lost early in the preseason and instead of being proactive — like Tampa Bay who signed Julio Jones despite having Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage — the Cowboys kept insisting they liked the guys they have. As we saw on Sunday, the guys they have aren’t very good. Even veteran CeeDee Lamb struggled to bring in passes.
At the end of the day, Dallas intentionally weakened their receiving corps and offensive line all in the name of creating cap space. Then, they refused to use any of that cap space to actually improve the team.
The result was what we saw against Tampa Bay — an offense where Noah Browns was the top receiver. This is the offense Jerry and Stephen Jones wanted. So, to blame Prescott for not being able to get passes off to subpar receivers when he barely had enough time thanks to a poor offensive line seems entirely unfair. This one is on the Joneses.