When the Dallas Cowboys walked away from week one as the only team to not score a touchdown, and lost their starting quarterback for several weeks in the process, it was easy to lose sight of just how many things went wrong for Dallas to start the season. With major offseason decisions like moving on from Amari Cooper and La’el Collins already proving costly, the team trying to defend a division title had little time to actually improve the roster after the season, and sit as the only 0-1 team in the East because of it.
A 12-5 team fresh off a playoff loss should be focused on maintaining its core and looking for any possible upgrades along the way. Instead, the Cowboys locked in several unproven starters while they searched for replacements to the big contributors lost off the 2021 roster. One such player is starting right tackle Terence Steele, who contributed to the Cowboys poor play on offense Sunday night with three false start penalties.
With penalties being an apparent point of emphasis for the Cowboys to clean up this year, and pressure firmly on coaches Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore to right this ship, Steele’s play could open the door for veteran Jason Peters to see the field at the same time as Tyler Smith. Smith held up well in his first game at left tackle, showing the Cowboys at least still know what they’re doing with first-round picks as he filled in for All-Pro Tyron Smith.
If the Cowboys are comfortable with Matt Farniok replacing the injured Connor McGovern at left guard, Smith can remain the left tackle and continue being mentored by Peters, a late addition to this roster. Jerry Jones did note on his weekly 105.3 The Fan hit that Peters can play right tackle, a possible upgrade over Steele as the Cowboys look for any fixes on offense for Cooper Rush.
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan said he was “really proud” of how Tyler Smith played Sunday at left tackle. Said he also liked what he saw from center Tyler Biadasz.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 13, 2022
On Jason Peters: “We’ll have a spot for him. He can play both tackles. There are all kinds of combinations there.”
By waiting for the season to start to address some of these issues, the Cowboys are playing a dangerous game in a fight to stay relevant until Prescott returns. The fact the offense looked overmatched even with Dak on the field can be addressed once he’s healthy again, and the line protecting him could look much different by then too.
Peters had his choice to stay retired or join a team he thought would be in contention, whether he was a starter or not. Sitting on the bench for a team that continues to struggle isn’t the outcome the Cowboys had in mind when they signed him, and though its just one game, the time to leave no stone unturned for the Cowboys offense is here.
Kellen Moore said if guys can’t cut down on presnap penalties someone else needs to play.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) September 12, 2022
Offensive tackle may be the only position where the Cowboys have a “someone else” for Kellen Moore and this staff to consider, but major concerns still loom with this unproven cast of receivers trying to execute an offense that was stuck in the mud for their first four meaningful quarters of the season.
This team’s best offense was running the ball downhill with Tyler Smith firing off the ball on the left side, and doing so with Peters on the right side along with tight ends Dalton Schultz and Jake Ferguson could still be their best look for Ezekiel Elliott as they look to lean on the run game even more against the Bengals this week.