Sunday Night Football featured Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting “America’s Team” in Dallas. The highly-expected NFC powerhouse matchup was a let-down, with the Cowboys’ offense appearing to be nonexistent. Not the start Cowboys nation wanted to witness, and it should be time to panic.
Not only did quarterback Dak Prescott have trouble finding open receivers, but he left the game in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury. Jerry Jones revealed Prescott would need surgery and will miss 6-8 weeks.
In the press conference, the Dallas QB shared his feelings on how hard it will be to not help the team. He also mentions not to panic. Well, Cowboys Nation, you need to panic. I understand it is only the first game of the 2022 campaign, but the team’s signal caller is a huge loss.
“Let’s not hit the panic [button] as if we just can’t do anything on offense. We have a great coaching staff. They’ll get back in there and they’ll find the things that we did well.”
Why Is It Time to Panic? The QB Situation…
Photo from thedallasmorningnews.comTo start with the obvious, when your franchise field general misses a long period of time, your season is typically in danger. Dallas does not have an experienced veteran to back up Prescott. Cooper Rush, who has played in 11 games in five NFL seasons, will take over the QB duties in Prescott’s absence. Will Grier bumps up from the practice squad to be the backup quarterback.
When Dak left the matchup, Cooper Rush completed seven of his 13 attempts. He is not the savior of Dallas’ season. He has an NFL win under his belt, but the Cowboys play three divisional games and the two Super Bowl teams for the upcoming five games. Yes, it is time to panic with the QB situation. That brings up the next issue.
Breaking: Jerry Jones has informed reporters that Dak Prescott needs hand surgery. pic.twitter.com/MM8jFSs5rN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2022
The WR Group is Concerning
Even with Dak Prescott healthy for the majority of the game, the offense could not get rolling. The wide receiver group made a poor first impression. This was the team’s first look after losing Amari Cooper and Cedric Wilson in the offseason. Michael Gallup did not play due to his knee injury.
Shockingly, third-round pick Jalen Tolbert was a healthy scratch for Week 1. A while back, he was projected to be the Cowboys’ No. 2 WR, but the coaching staff felt like undrafted rookie Devin Houston outperformed him in training camp.
After watching the game, CeeDee Lamb continues to drop passes that need to be caught. He reeled in two catches for 29 yards. He becomes WR1 after Cooper’s departure, and all eyes are on him to do the majority of the work on offense.
None of the route runners could get open and create space. Inexperienced NFL action exposed the Dallas offense in their first contest. This is a major problem moving forward. The Cowboys are going to be in more trouble if they cannot bring in a veteran wide receiver and if Tolbert does not see much playing time. If Tolbert continues to be inactive, it proves their third-round choice is a bust for 2022.
*trade Amari for nothing*
*bring back Gallup but know he'll need time*
*sign James Washington*
*draft Jalen Tolbert*
*don't do anything when JW gets hurt*
*don't activate Tolbert Week 1*
"omg what happened our plan was amazing these results don't make sense"
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) September 12, 2022
In the first drive of the season, left guard Connor McGovern left the game with an ankle injury. The offensive line suffered a massive loss after Tyron Smith’s hamstring injury. This moved first-round pick Tyler Smith to left tackle and McGovern to left guard. The good news? Jason Peters should be active in the future and will man the LT position and shift the rookie back to left guard.
However, an injury-plagued O-line with shallow depth adds another deficit. McGovern has a high ankle sprain and will a couple weeks. The best case scenario is that Peters is active for Week 2, so it creates breathing room and adds a veteran to the O-line.
Safety Jayron Kearse was taken out after spraining his MCL. Dallas loses a key playmaker and a key contributor to their defense. The injury will sideline him for a few weeks.
Told Jayron Kearse has a sprained MCL in his left knee. Generally speaking that is a 2-4 week injury. Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that Connor McGovern could miss a couple weeks with high ankle sprain.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 12, 2022
Is There Any Good News???
Although Dallas lost Kearse, their defense played well. Micah Parsons did not lose a step, sacking Brady twice and constantly applying pressure. Leighton Vander Esch led the crew with six tackles.
The safeties covered the backfield strongly, with Donovan Wilson intercepting a pass. Dan Quinn’s squad made clutch stops and only allowed one touchdown.
Tom Brady did not have his best game, and the Bucs’ O-line has some O-line troubles as well, but the Dallas defense did their job. If you were told that Tampa would only score 19 points, would you believe the Cowboys lose that matchup or even score just three points? No, it looks like the D is ready to make a statement and prove that last year’s overly-exceeded expectations is not a fluke.
MICAH PARSONS GETS HIS SECOND SACK ON BRADY 😤
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2022
With Prescott out, more pressure will be on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys will need to rely on their defense to do their job and not allow runaway victories for the opponents. Quinn needs to give the banged-up offense a chance to stay in the game and hope to keep their season alive.
Every team in the NFC East secured a victory, except for the Dallas Cowboys. Each team made improvements in the offseason while Dallas sat back and watched. Not only could this be a painful lesson learned, but the playoff hopes are most likely gone.
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