After six weeks of action, the Dallas Cowboys are sitting at 4-2. Although they are currently third in the NFC East standings, their chances of making the playoffs are looking very good at this very moment, which given the hand that the team was dealt after Week 1 is pretty remarkable. That isn’t saying that Cooper Rush didn’t do a stand up job by keeping the Cowboys in contention, it just means that the team as a whole exceeded expectations by getting to a 4-2 record without their franchise quarterback, Dak Prescott. Although Rush didn’t perform well vs the Eagles in Week 6, he played well enough in the other four starts where the Cowboys had a nice four-game win streak going.
Sure, it wasn’t all Cooper Rush that carried the team during the winning streak, but he didn’t put the Cowboys in a compromised position to lose games until the Eagles. It truly was a collective effort in all facets of the game to get each and every one of those wins. You would expect this, as Cooper Rush is the backup, and not the starting franchise quarterback for a reason. With franchise quarterback Dak Prescott back in the mix, you do not necessarily need a total team performance to win football games simply because of how good Dak is, although you would obviously like one.
Time to give Cooper Rush and the front office some flowers in handling the quarterback situation
Although it wasn’t obviously ideal to not have your franchise quarterback for five straight games, we did find out something that many had questioned when Prescott went down, and that is Cooper Rush is a quality backup quarterback. There is no debate about this. The Cowboys were criticized by many for not making a move to acquire a quarterback in wake of the injury to Dak. That was quite a fair criticism at the time because there were still many unknowns about Rush, even when he went out and won a game last year in Prescott’s absence. Five games, and four wins later, those criticisms were shut down quite profoundly. The front office deserves credit by trusting the quarterbacks they had on the roster to keep the Cowboys in contention while Prescott heals up and doing it without having to sign a free agent or give up draft capital in the process. Regardless of any initial knee-jerk reactions to the injury news to Dak, it’s really good to be 4-2 with a healthy Dak Prescott back in the saddle for America’s Team.
The defensive and special teams units combined are the best seen in Dallas in years
Another part of this equation that was discovered since Week 1 was how good both the defensive and special teams units are for Dallas. The Cowboys defense has not given up more than 26 points in a game all season long. The heart and soul of this defense starts up front where they lead the entire NFL in sacks thus far. Four players are among the top-31 in the NFL in sacks, led by Micah Parsons with six, and the surprise of the year, Dorance Armstrong, with five. This unit is also ranked in the top-8 in yards given up per game as well. Tip of the cap also goes to the secondary, which is led by Trevon Diggs as the pass defense ranks fourth in passing yards given up. The defense from front to back is as elite as it gets, and is by far the best unit that Dak Prescott has had the chance to play alongside since entering the league in 2016.
Let’s also give some credit to the special teams unit, which had plenty of question marks coming into the season, especially at kicker. A returning Brett Maher after a year away from the Cowboys has also been a pleasant surprise as he is currently playing the best he’s ever played since entering the league. He’s only missed two kicks, but both of those were from 50+, he’s nailed everything else so far in 2022. Bryan Anger also has performed well this year after coming off a career year and first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2021. The return game has finally found some long overdue juice with KaVontae Turpin’s arrival this summer. Turpin is getting ever so close to breaking off a big one and it’s only a matter of time until it happens as he possesses speed that not too many people on the earth can say that they have. Between both the defensive and special teams units combined, this is the most complete roster Prescott has ever had.
Can Dak Prescott play well enough for a much needed Super Bowl run?
With having the most complete roster in his career, Dak Prescott has a lot of pressure to lead this franchise to the promised land, and a promised land not seen in Big D since the 90’s. As elite as this entire roster is, it is starting to get to the stage of Super Bowl or bust. Or at least it’s Conference Championship game or bust. They simply need to move past the Divisional round since it hasn’t been done since 1995, and that’s quite a long time given the talent Dallas has had in that time. Prescott, even with the pressure of being the franchise quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, needs to get the job done . Anything less than at least a Conference Championship appearance will be considered another lost season among the many of those seasons since 1995.