The disaster that was Week 1 has come and gone, and the Cowboys are now just a few days away from their matchup with the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals.
After a pitiful display last Sunday, plenty of things must change if the Cowboys want to be more successful this weekend against the Bengals. If Dallas does want things to change in their favor, here are three players they need to use more this Sunday against Cincinnati.
WR Jalen Tolbert
If you were reading the tea leaves heading into Week 1, Jalen Tolbert being inactive did not come as a big surprise. While the decision to make the 23-year-old receiver inactive may not have been surprising, it certainly was questionable.
Tolbert showed some flashes of real potential during training camp and the preseason, and from an outside perspective seemed to have good momentum to become WR2 for Dallas in Michael Gallup’s absence. Dallas’ coaching staff clearly felt otherwise, and the third-round pick couldn’t even get a jersey on opening night.
After the lackluster performance the Cowboys’ receiving corps put on display on Sunday, there is absolutely no reason Tolbert should be inactive in Week 2 against Cincinnati. Dennis Houston, KaVontae Turpin, and Simi Fehoko, the three active receivers over Tolbert, caught a total of four passes for 30 yards and did not show anything that made you believe they need a roster spot.
Even if Tolbert is not fully ready to take on the responsibility of being Dallas second wideout, he can’t be worse than what the Cowboys ran out on Sunday night. Tolbert is a skilled athlete with tons of potential and absolutely must be involved in Dallas’ offensive game plan on Sunday against the Bengals.
WR KaVontae Turpin
Speaking of wide receivers, it appears all the preseason talk about getting KaVontae Turpin involved in the offense was just lip service. In his first NFL game, Turpin did not touch the ball once on offense and played a grand total of two offensive snaps.
As late as early September, we heard from Kellen Moore that the Cowboys were planning to use Turpin as more than just a “gadget guy” and were interested in getting him seriously involved in the offensive game plan. One week in that couldn’t look further from the truth.
Kellen Moore said team is turning KaVontae Turpin into more of a receiver in comparison to just being a gadget guy. “He has been awesome.”— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) September 5, 2022
With Dak Prescott out, the Cowboys will need to find creative ways to move the ball on offense. One easy potential route would be finding creative ways to get the ball into Turpin’s hands.
With the current state of Dallas’ receiving corps, it’s inexcusable that Turpin did not touch the ball once on Sunday. Every time he has the football he has a chance to make something big happen, it’s up to the Cowboys to realize this and find ways to get him involved.
OT Jason Peters
At 40-year-old, the Cowboys aren’t going to get the All-Pro version of Jason Peters they saw in Philly for so many years. While he may not be able to produce at that level anymore, Peters still has some gas left in the tank, and his experience can help provide something the Cowboys are lacking on their offensive line.
If Peters is going to take someone's spot on the offensive line, the most likely candidate to lose their spot would be right tackle Terence Steele. On Sunday, Steele was the only player in the NFL who was flagged more than two times. The tackle finished the night being flagged four times, costing the Cowboys 25 yards on offense. Steele’s penalties played a big part in Dallas’ inability to find a rhythm on offense.
While the 40-year-old Peters may not have the athletic ability that Steele possesses at his advanced age, if he can just cut down on the mental mistakes and not get flagged it could be a big help. Last season Peters had just three penalties accepted against him during his 15 games with the Bears.
The Cowboys also could move Tyler Smith inside to left guard and start Peters at left tackle, but this would create more of a problem when Connor McGovern comes back if you have to then switch Smith back out to tackle again.
Overall, if you’re going to replace someone on the line with Peters it makes the most sense for it to be Steele. If Peters can cut down on the penalties he might end up being a better option at tackle than the 25-year-old.