After an offseason of expectations and moves made in ‘Big D’, America’s Team did not show up in Week One, failing to score a touchdown in the loss to Tampa. Is there a level of concern for Dallas already?
Expectations Sky High
The Cowboys dealt with a whirlwind of emotions throughout the offseason, with players lost, players gained and a more competitive division to compete with in 2022. That was what the Dallas Cowboys went through in the summer, and as the season kept coming closer and closer, many people still had Dallas winning the East, including me.
However, the game did not go how Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy had planned for. In his first game back from his illustrious retirement, Tom Brady didn’t show out by any means, but he did do enough to secure the 19-3 win at AT&T Stadium to kick off his season.
So, what went wrong? Let’s break down the woeful offensive struggles portrayed by Dallas in Week One. Firstly, the loss of Amari Cooper, a true number one receiver, hurt the Cowboy offense immensely. I make the same connection with Cooper and CeeDee Lamb that I make with Kupp/ Beckham Jr. in LA. One is a bonafide number one, and the other perhaps has the capability of becoming one, or has been in the past, but is not one now. And that is what’s of utmost importance.
The Cowboys’ Offensive Issues…
With Cooper gone, it was certainly going to be interesting to see how Dak Prescott and the offense moved forward without him. Would running backs Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard step up? Would Lamb go for over 100 yards and make an immediate impact? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding no. No in every language.
Prescott threw for north of 140 yards, Elliot barely surpassed 50 on the ground, and Lamb wasn’t the leading receiver. Based on that, it was truly a very frustrating night for ‘America’s Team’. Not only that, but there was a cherry on top. Prescott went down with an injury late in the game, when it was essentially out of reach, and will be sidelined for a few weeks moving forward.
Cooper Rush: Formidable Backup Or Trade Looming?
The ‘Boys are now subjected to starting Cooper Rush, and while he shares a name with the reigning triple crown winner, Rush isn’t exactly on the same level as Cooper Kupp, talent wise. This poses a big problem for Dallas, as they have a quick turnaround and will host the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday, and a frustrated Bengals team at that. It’s becoming increasingly hard to see a possibility that Dallas does not start the season 0-2, and with the actual improvement that the rest of the division showed in week one, Dallas is in trouble early on in this new season.
I’ve seen reports saying that Dallas should look to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo or Cam Newton, and while I understand that the team may be in panic mode quickly, I’d pump the brakes on those ideas, at least for now. Giving Rush a chance with a playbook and coaching staff he’s gotten to know very well actually could be the right decision for this team moving forward. As Prescott undergoes surgery on his hand, give Rush a shot for at least two weeks or so, and if the team is still without a win, gladly engage in trade discussions.
Give Him A Shot
Additionally, I can’t help but remember the Week Eight contest in Minnesota from just a year ago when Cooper Rush led Dallas to an impressive 20-16 win on Sunday Night Football. Defensively, they were sound, and the backup Rush did just enough to put his side over en route to a 6-1 start to the season, by the way after losing the first game to Tampa Bay. (Sound familiar?) Without Amari Cooper this offense will struggle, however as I advocated for already in a different article, establishing Tony Pollard as the premier back could be a very interesting decision that might just work out for Michael Irvin’s Super Bowl pick.