The Cowboys are going to have a much harder time against their NFC East rivals this season, with all three on the schedule before Dak Prescott is expected back.
Week 4: vs Washington Commanders and Carson Wentz
Wentz looked like Wentz in the season opener against a bad Jaguars team, having highlight plays and maddening inconsistency. He’s 4-4 against the Cowboys with the 2020 win being an ugly performance when Prescott was out.
Prediction: Cowboys lose, 27-10
Week 6: @ Philadelphia Eagles and Jalen Hurts
Predicted this to be a loss in my game-by-game preview before the season and now Prescott is going to miss the game. The Eagles now have a No. 1 wideout capable of elevating Hurts’ mediocre passing skills. Tough scene in the one venue that can’t wait to see a Prescott-less Cowboys offense come to town.
Prediction: Cowboys lose 27-13
Who will Cowboys tab to fill in for Dak Prescott? Eight potential QBs Dallas could consider - Eric Edholm, NFL.com
Do the Cowboys have enough on offense for any backup QB to succeed?
The ultimate mercenary QB, Johnson has suited up for a record 14 different teams, also spending time in the UFL, AAF and XFL. The dude just keeps his phone on at all times and awaits calls from desperate franchises.
Johnson also delivers. In four games (one start) last season for the Jets and Ravens, he completed a combined 57 of 85 passes (67.1%) for 638 yards, five TDs and two interceptions, taking only three sacks in that span. That, plus his ability to pick up a first down or two with his legs, could be attractive for the Cowboys, who are shorthanded in the blocking department. Johnson was in camp with the Broncos and played well, but was beat out by Brett Rypien for the backup role and is now on Denver’s practice squad. The Cowboys surely got a good look at Johnson during joint practices and in their preseason matchup, during which he completed 16 of 23 passes for 172 yards and two scores.
Could Dallas become Johnson’s 15th NFL squad? We won’t rule it out. He’s a pro’s pro who has proven he can step in at a moment’s notice.
Every defense the Cowboys go up against knows to take away CeeDee Lamb at all costs.
The 2022 regular season opener was supposed to serve as a coronation ceremony for Lamb in his ascension to WR1 in the post-Amari Cooper era, also currently without Michael Gallup, but it was anything but.
He finished with two catches for 29 yards and no touchdowns on 11 targets. To be fair, only tight end Dalton Schultz truly showed consistency in the passing game, but Lamb is truly finding out the hard way what comes with being “the guy” at wide receiver.
Heavy lies the crown.
“I think we’ve certainly got to step up and do better,” Executive Vice President and Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones said candidly to 105.3FM the Fan on Monday following the 19-3 loss. “The passing game goes hand-in-hand - the quarterback and the receivers. Certainly, we’ve got to be better there. CeeDee [Lamb] has got to improve and work his way into being the No. 1 receiver we think he can.”
There’s little question Lamb will find a way to bounce back, but the degree of difficult increases exponentially with the loss of two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott to a thumb injury that will sideline him for the next several games and, to be frank, Lamb and Prescott weren’t exactly on the same page in the opener anyway.
‘Inexcusable!’ Coach Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys: New Year, Same Penalty Problem - Connor Zimmerlee. SI.com
The Cowboys not cleaning up penalties or improving the roster this offseason has cost them dearly already this season.
In 2021 the Cowboys were the most penalized team in the NFL with a whopping 127 penalties, a trend they hoped would not carry over to the new season.
After just one game, it appears those hopes would not come to fruition, as the Cowboys were called for 10 penalties in the loss to the Buccaneers.
Of Dallas’ 10 penalties, four were false starts. For an offense that struggled to find any semblance of a rhythm, false start penalties are the fastest ways to kill a drive. Sure, a 10-yard holding penalty costs you more yards, but going from 1st and 10 to 1st and 15 consistently will make life for the offense difficult.
Cowboys right tackle Terence Steele addressed his four flags.
Said Steele: “I had three presnap penalties. It’s inexcusable. That’s something you can’t have. Coach puts a big emphasis on it.”
But Mike McCarthy’s “emphasis” obviously has not taken.
Now with Prescott set to miss multiple weeks as he is getting surgery, this Dallas offense simply cannot afford to be as heavily penalized as it was here. Oh, and if they thought struggling to consistently string drives together with Prescott was rough, well, doing so with Cooper Rush will be all the more difficult.
If things were going to go south for the 2022 Cowboys, it wasn’t supposed to happen this quickly.
Even with Dak Prescott on the field, the Cowboys only had a total of three points. This is mainly because of our offensive line. Terrible job by them last night. Dak and Rush both had to sprint on just about every play to get out of the pocket due to the amount of pressure the defense was putting on our line.
This will probably be a stressful few weeks for the Cowboys as they still try to figure things out. The Cowboys will have to go through the next couple of weeks trying to scrap up some wins with their backup QB and line that can’t defend.
Prescott stated that he sees himself coming out of this injury better than before. He knows that these next few weeks will be difficult and he will plan on just resting up so he can come back to the game with a winning attitude.
Cowboy fans’ expectations overall should be close to nothing after the loss last night. A very poor performance by our offense and now a QB that’s hurt. While our defense looked spectacular, our offense just couldn’t pull it together.
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