Heading into Week 7, with a 4-2 record, the highly-anticipated return of franchise quarterback Dak Prescott is upon us. What a good time for his return as Cooper Rush, to his credit, engineered a 4-1 record, but at the same time looked a lot like a backup level player versus the Philadelphia Eagles this past week. A performance like Rush’s versus a then 5-0 Eagles squad proves how valuable a franchise quarterback is. Just because Cooper Rush isn’t considered to be a franchise-caliber quarterback, doesn’t mean he isn’t a decent player and shouldn’t be on an NFL team. It simply means that his ceiling as a talent is capped in comparison to a player like Dak Prescott. The Cowboys are very good in all facets of the game, but need their field general back in the saddle in order for the franchise to live up to their overall potential.
There were some positives and of course some negatives, but it’s now time to break down our stock up and stock down for Week 6.
Thank goodness for an elite defense because without it, things could’ve already been ugly even before the return of Dak
Starting with the positive, and just like every other week, it’s the defense. This elite defense played good football in Week 6, although the scoreboard would say otherwise. The total points scored by Philly is not indicative of a poor performance by the Cowboys defense. In fact, the 26 points scored by the Eagles is much lower than what it would’ve been if not for an elite Cowboys defense. Philly’s offense on multiple occasions were given a short field by the play of the Cowboys offense. When touchdowns should’ve been the more probable outcome given the quality of the Eagles offense, they ended up settling for field goals on more than one occasion.
They did get into the endzone twice in the air and once on the ground, but the defense held up admirably given the circumstances they were continuously dealt. From a statistical perspective, Jalen Hurts barely broke 150 passing yards, the trio of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert combined for just 133 receiving yards. The Eagles potent offense was held in check fairly well by the Cowboys defense as this unit in particular gave the rest of the team its best opportunity to steal a win from a very good Eagles team. Unfortunately, the Cowboys left Philly with a loss, but it most certainly had very little to do with play of this elite Cowboys defense.
Keep pounding the rock...its been working, and working well
On another positive note, the Cowboys running attack performed well once again when put into action. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for 24 carries for 125 yards with an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Elliott also scored a touchdown in the contest as well. Some of the best offensive drives from Dallas featured a more ground-and-pound approach which proved to be very effective when it was applied. Considering how well the run game has been in recent games, the focus should be more on grinding it out via the ground game, especially as Dak Prescott is getting back into game action. With Prescott back in the saddle for two games before the bye week, why force him to throw a lot when the ground game has been performing well. It would be wise to ease Prescott back, given the injury he suffered in Week 1.
The Cowboys passing game played a major role in the Week 6 defeat
With losses, come negatives and the passing game in Week 6 was abysmal. Cooper Rush threw for three picks on the night which proved to be very costly as it gave the Eagles a shorter field to work with. The defense played one heck of a game to even keep the Cowboys in a position to squeak out a win, but the passing game was the main cause for this loss. Some of those throws, particularly on the interceptions, are throws that an NFL quarterback shouldn’t make. Credit to the Eagles for playing well and making plays on bad reads and throws by Cooper Rush. Rush did one heck of a job overall since Prescott’s injury to steady the ship and keep the Cowboys on course for what should be a playoff run in 2022. Rush’s last start obviously didn’t go as planned, but we did learn one thing in Dak’s absence, that being Cooper Rush is a very capable backup NFL quarterback with a track record to back it up.
As we move forward to Week 7 versus a sneaky Detroit Lions team led by former Cowboys tight end Coach Dan Campbell, Week 6’s lost to a good Eagles squad shines the light on a major need for not only the Cowboys, but for all NFL franchises, the need for an elite quarterback. Without one, chances are you’ll be drafting early in round one looking for one. Thankfully the Cowboys have their guy, and guess what - he’s back! It should be a lot of fun to watch this team play out the rest of 2022.