Week one of football is in the book and the Cowboys came out victorious over their NFC East rival New York Giants. Though it’s only one week, let’s look at who’s stock is on the rise and who’s fell in week one.
In order for this defense to take the next step, someone has to emerge and get to the quarterback. Lawrence looked unbeatable against the outmatched Giants’ offensive line. It started with a sack before they could even get the Giants’ offense announced on Sunday Night Football.
Lawrence had two sacks on the night but he was a load to deal with all night long. He had five tackles on the night, two of them for loss, including this one right here:
DeMarcus Lawrence was phenomenal. Look at this play. pic.twitter.com/szjYVjHrLC— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 11, 2017
Any time you can record two sacks and be that disruptive, that’s going to help the Cowboys defense grow very quickly. Lawrence hit Eli Manning another two times and you could see that Manning was aware of his presence. Lawrence is in a contract year but if he keeps this up, he’ll make that money.
You can’t go after Bryant too hard for this game as he did have a really nice 35-yard catch and run. However, he gets to jawing with Janoris Jenkins, when Dez needs to get separation and make a play. The Giants put a lot of attention his way but he needs to quit hand-fighting and dominate his opponent.
This is how these things go sometimes because Dez will have a game where he’s not a huge factor then come back and play well. Also, Dez didn’t get much help when the offensive coordinator was forcing passes to him in the red zone. Also, Dez did this too:
Cowboys got the first down here with 8:30 left in the first quarter, but watch Dez Bryant at the top pic.twitter.com/h1NfaPx7Rr— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 12, 2017
If Dak Prescott sees that one, you best believe that this one may be headed to the house. While mainstream media is talking about a demise, you just wait until these two get connecting again.
Everyone from the coaching staff to Bryan Broaddus were thinking that Smith would split time with Justin Durant and together they would be one player. Not so fast, Jaylon Smith was on fire in his first game. Here’s his highlights:
Smith played 36 of 56 defensive snaps, Durant played in only two snaps. When Jaylon Smith was on the field, his presence was felt. He’s just that “dude” that makes the opponent feel his power. If he hits you, you’re going to feel that the next day. Much like Rolando McClain, without the off-the-field headaches. Smith isn’t even at 100% but check him out here:
Jaylon Smith on this play: "Did they count it as a forced fumble? ... Well, I'm counting it as a forced fumble." pic.twitter.com/F0YffKQjmb— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 11, 2017
You combine his presence with that of Sean Lee and you get the two guys who led the team in tackles. They had a combined 15 tackles of the 53 total Sunday night. Sean Lee was the best defender, no surprise, but when he was asked about his performance, Lee said “Yeah but did you see Jaylon?”
We’re not going to spend much time on this but Alfred Morris isn’t the guy for spot-duty backing up Ezekiel Elliott. He may be the guy to take the reins for Elliott if he were out for considerable time. However, as a backup, coming in for a play or two, he was dreadful.
Alfred Morris had four runs for 1 yard. He never got going, he couldn’t get to the hole or make anything happen. Darren McFadden was left inactive but after one week, that should change. At least with McFadden, you know he can pass-block and catch out of the backfield. Morris is great when he’s told he’s getting 20+ carries but for some unknown reason, he looks disinterested when he’s asked to be the backup.
This is shaping up to be a quality offseason signing. Paea has brought some power in the middle. He and Maliek Collins are going to make a nice pair and have you seen offensive line play around the NFL? It’s not just the Giants who struggle. Check out Paea right here:
Let's watch RE1 struggle to beat a TE. pic.twitter.com/1n2zPyM54r— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 12, 2017
Paea was bludgeoning the Giants up the middle, allowing his edge rushers to clean up. Stephen Paea is a natural fit in this scheme and having him back with his favorite defensive coordinator is a match made in heaven. He’s a huge signing for the Cowboys and you can expect him to continue to be an unsung hero on Sundays.
Again, it’s really hard to harp on a guy when he gets the win against a tough opponent. Dak Prescott finished up a decent game going 24 of 39, 268 passing yards, 61.5% completions, one touchdown, and a 90.5 passer rating. That’s a far cry from his last two performances against this team. The issue though was that he was still a bit off, we showed that deep ball where he missed the read. All quarterbacks are going to have struggles with the Giants’ secondary. Though this “Tweeter” is an Eagles’ fan, here is a compilation of some of Dak’s misfires in the game:
Dak Prescott is the most overrated player in the NFL pic.twitter.com/yUtGHawVoL— Ben Livingston (@bliv94) September 11, 2017
He didn’t have his best performance but he got better as the game wore on, something we saw from him last season. As much as the Eagles want it to be true, Prescott is not overrated. Now that Prescott got his first ‘W’ over the Giants, expect him to gain even more confidence. This week, against a tough Broncos’ defense, he’ll need to elevate his game to beat a phenomenal secondary. Plus, raise your hand if the quarterback of your favorite team takes care of the football...
After one week, you’re not going to get knee-jerk reactions over here. The Dallas Cowboys are 1-0 and now face a defense that is just as good as the one they just beat. The good news is that the Broncos also struggle on offense and the Cowboys will need their defense to be up to task.