Ezekiel Elliott has rediscovered his game, which means the Cowboys have regained their identity - Jean-Jacques Taylor, Dallas Morning News
The Cowboys star running back has gotten off to an amazing start.
He worked hard this summer to be the best version of himself. He filled Instagram and Twitter with dozens of workout videos.. He altered his diet, lost weight and sculpted his body. He arrived at training camp at a weight he hadn’t seen since Ohio State.
The impact of his work is obvious. Against the Giants, he had five runs of 10 yards or more. He scored on a 13-yard touchdown run around right end, using speed to the edge then accelerating to hit the hole and sprint down the sideline and into the end zone.
A week earlier, he had a 47-yard run against Carolina - the longest since his rookie year. “He’s in a really good place,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said. “Right now, he’s awesome.” Elliott is running violently, punishing defenders with every carry, while falling forward.
He’s moving piles and forcing teams to commit defenders to stopping him, which helps Dak Prescott and the passing game. Prescott is now an elite quarterback, but no passer wants to throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game because it’s not a game plan for success. All you have to do is look at Prescott’s 4-11 record when he throws the ball more than 40 times.
Taking a look at some storylines for this big Week 6 matchup.
Patriots. Things almost went south in a hurry last week for the Patriots before rallying for a 25-22 win against the Houston Texans. Houston, widely believed to be in the running for a top-five pick in this April's NFL Draft, led 22-9 after scoring on the opening drive of the second half. With their backs against the wall, New England clamped down defensively and did not allow another Texans score and rallied to tie the game with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Henry that tied the game in the fourth. Then with 15-seconds left, Nick Folk booted a 21-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, to win it.
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones has looked like the next franchise quarterback in New England despite a few learning moments in his first five games. Jones was selected with the 15th overall pick last April and earned the starting job over Cam Newton this preseason. He just the second rookie quarterback to start for the Patriots since Drew Bledsoe in 1993, along with Jacoby Brissett in 2016.
Despite a notable amount of talent still on the roster, this is very much so a rebuilding year and a transition into the next era of Belichick's Patriots. Tom Brady has not been a part of the organization in two seasons, Julian Edelman retired this offseason, and the front office traded Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore away to Carolina for next-to-nothing. However, the signings of Matthew Judon, Hunter Henry, Jalen Mills, Kyle Van Noy have provided a solid foundation of veterans to mix with the youth on both sides of the ball.
Should the Cowboys be looking to replace Tyler Biadasz as the starting center?
It's hard to find too many issues with a team's that's rolling into a Week 6 after four-straight wins, but it was easy to see that the Cowboys had some issues with their snaps against New York. The struggles between Tyler Biadasz and Dak Prescott were evident enough that Jones was asked about it in his weekly radio appearance, and he said it's something he's got his eye on. "We've got to continue to be successful to make sure that exchange is as natural as Dak can make it and the center," Jones said.
Biadasz has faced criticism in the days since the game for a couple of errant snaps against the Giants, which Prescott had to reach to corral. A fumbled snap led to a second Dallas turnover in the final minute of the first quarter, though it's fair to say Prescott played a large role in that miscue.
"Yeah, that kind of rushed the whole snap to handoff mechanics and threw the ball away right there and just definitely can't do that," Prescott said after the game.
He likely wasn’t going to play this week anyway, but the La’el Collins lawsuit for an injunction is denied.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Tuesday that he didn’t see any reason to think that tackle La’el Collins would be available for Sunday’s game against the Patriots and now we know for certain that he won’t be back with the team.
Judge Amos L. Mazzant denied Collins’ bid for a temporary restraining order that would halt his suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Collins was suspended five games and has already served the first four games of the ban.
In his opinion, Mazzant writes, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, that “The Court takes no comfort in enforcing an arbitration award that upholds a punishment that, arguably, is not permissible under the parties’ CBA. But, just as the Court cannot embrace its own opinion as to the validity of Collins’ claims or the out-of-bounds nature of the NFL’s disciplinary decisions, the Court cannot disregard an arbitrator’s reasonable construction of the parties’ agreements.”
Five statistical takeaways from the Cowboys week five win against the Giants - Aidan Davis, Blogging The Boys
Looking at some of the biggest statistical takeaways from Sunday’s victory.
Dallas’ pass-rush is dominant. When DeMarcus Lawrence went down after week one, there was speculation that the Cowboys would be unable to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Well, after week five, it is safe to say the Dallas pass rush is just fine.
Coming into this matchup, the Giants’ offensive line had allowed the fifth least pressure per dropback at 16.8%. But in week five, the Dallas defensive line was imposing their will, getting to the quarterback on 45% of passes. Randy Gregory alone pressured the Giants’ quarterback nine times, the most of any player in week five.
Whether it was Daniel Jones or Mike Glennon, the Cowboys were making them uncomfortable in the pocket. While these efforts did not result in any sacks, the Dallas defensive line made the Giants backfield their temporary home. We should not be surprised about this performance as the Cowboys have done it all season. Of the 221 players in 2021 with more than 40 pass-rush snaps, three Dallas defenders rank in the top twenty of quarterback pressures. Osa Odighizuwa, Micah Parsons, and Randy Gregory have looked like men amongst boys through five weeks.
Reviewing more from the Cowboys-Giants.
Cedrick Wilson has done a great job filling in for Michael Gallup. Without Gallup in the lineup, the Cowboys are missing a vertical threat opposite CeeDee Lamb, but Wilson has fit in well with Kellen Moore’s plan to stretch defenses across the field. On Lamb’s touchdown against James Bradberry, Wilson’s route quickly drew coverage from the middle of the field, giving Lamb the space to get behind the Giants defense.
In their first game without Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys linebacker rotation is taking shape. Even though the drive ended in a Giants touchdown, the second quarter sequence at the goal line was an impressive series for some new faces to the Dallas defense. The Giants tried to read Micah Parsons on second down after he shot a gap and made a stop on first down, but Parsons along with Leighton Vander Esch kept the play from scoring. Rookies Chauncey Golston and Jabril Cox – who Dan Quinn wants on more third down packages – chased down Jones on a bootleg on third down. It was Cox that delivered the hit to Jones that led to him being carted off. Mike Glennon came in and handed to Devontae Booker on fourth and goal for the score, with starting RB Saquon Barkley also lost to injury in the first quarter.
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