Following the Cowboys' 24-17 win over the Giants, there are reasons to be optimistic and a some to be cautious after Week 1.
A few reasons to be optimistic:
1.D-Murray DeMarco Murray, coming off a fractured foot, got better as the game went on. You had to love the elusiveness and ability to break tackles, which was evident in that 48-yarder he busted. After finishing the game with 131 yards on 20 carries, the Cowboys will definitely try to keep his touches up and the make-shift offensive line will only get better - they have to.
2. Big D It is doubtful Cowboys fans will argue with the fact that the defense set the tone for the Cowboys' big winWednesday night. After Romo threw the interception - and Tyron Smith committing the best penalty possible to prevent a TD - Rob Ryan's, AKA White Lion, defense completely shut down the run on the goal line and did well enough on a third-down pass to force the Giants to kick a field goal.
3. A Leader All-Pro tight end Jason Witten is undoubtedly a leader of the Dallas Cowboys and set a tone of his own that should have a ripple effect in the locker room after playing through the spleen injury. Sure he was cleared to play, but you know he wasn't 100 percent, but still managed to line up and go to battle. He finished the night with two catches for 10 yards, but he converted a first down on one of those grabs. He did his best Willis Reid impression that will now hold other players accountable for the rest of the season to play through pain.
4. Romo The Cowboys QB completed 75 percent of his passes last night including five that were 15 yards or more. He looked about as comfortable as he could be in the pocket with that Giants pass rush and a shaky offensive line. Of course he also showed his athleticism to get out of the pocket and make plays, which we know he can do, but sometimes gets him in trouble. Last night he was flawless in that area.
5. No. 85 In his fourth year as a Cowboy, Kevin Ogletree had his breakout game with eight catches for 114 yards and two TDs. The Queens native seemingly felt at home and on the same page with Tony Romo, confirming what the coaches already knew - this guy can play. His route running was impressive and his hands looked steady. With Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten drawing most of the attention, Ogletree looks like the replacement third WR Romo likes to find. Laurent Robinson, last year's third WR, had a big pay day with the Jags as the fourth option for the Cowboys offense. Maybe Ogletree, playing for a contract after inking a 1-year deal in March, will see some of that free agent money.
A few reasons to be cautious:
1. One Game First and foremost the Cowboys' 24-17 win over the Giants was just one game of a scheduled 16. It was a great momentum builder and even better division win on the road, but it's a long, grueling season and teams have to be hot late - not early - to make a long playoff run. After all that's the goal here: to win a Superbowl.
2. O-Line It really goes without saying but here it is anyway. The Cowboys' offensive line was responsible for four false starts last night and Tony Romo manages to receive all of the snaps from backup center Ryan Cook after Phil Costa was sidelined with a back injury in the first quarter. Four of the five players on Dallas’ offensive line were new to the position in which they started on Wednesday night as well with Smith and Doug Free who switch spots this year. Not sure how long Costa is out, but the line at least held up enough for the offense to rack up 450 total yards.
3. Drops The Cowboys' receivers did a great job of holding on to the ball, but Victor Cruz alone had three drops for would-be big gains. The Cowboys' secondary did play very well, but the dropped balls helped out a lot. I like how Morris Claiborne played last night and Carr was great. But I still am cautiously optimistic about the secondary for now since Dallas still has to face the likes of Vincent Jackson, Steve Smith, Brandon Marshall, a Roddy White and Julio Jones combo as well as the DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin 1-2 punch.
4. Schedule Getting the win on the road against the Giants was just one of the hurdles the Cowboys face in a tough 2012 schedule. The next big test will be against the Bears at home Oct. 1, Monday night. Then Dallas goes on the road to Baltimore - a place where the Cowboys have never won and a team they have never beaten. Other road games include: Carolina, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Washington. Oh, and Dallas also plays Pittsburgh and New Orleans at home too.
5. Injuries Of course everything is always barring injury. But the Cowboys already had two last night when Costa went down with a back injury and Felix Jones finished the game with rib issues. Dez Bryant has still not played a full 16 games in a season and Miles Austin seems to have hamstring issues every year. Also, Witten starts the season with at least a bruised spleen. If the Cowboys can slow down the injury bug or avoid it for the most part, then a playoff run could be in sight.