While the first week in Big D didn’t pan out as many had hoped for, it is only one week after all, and the Cowboys have 16 more games left in the regular season. Sure, the injury bug has already has taken it’s toll already on the roster, most notably the franchise quarterback position, but the season isn’t over just yet.
A 19-3 loss is obviously not a good look, but it could’ve been much worse except for how the defense played. The defense did everything it could to keep the game within striking distance, and the offense simply couldn’t hold up their end of the deal. Although this is the case, both sides of the ball had a couple players who’s stock has risen after week one, and some that have fallen. There might even be a player on this list who didn’t even play a snap in week one which came as a surprise to many.
Two players who’s stock is up through week one
This first one should not come as much of a surprise to anyone who follows the game, and primarily, the Dallas Cowboys, and we begin with Dallas’ own unicorn, Micah Parsons.
Parsons, was on the field for every single defensive snap in week one and did not disappoint. He had five total tackles, and two sacks on quarterback, Tom Brady. Parsons was a wrecking ball on defense and on multiple occasions was the reason why the Buccaneers ended up settling for field goals on multiple occasions, instead of scoring touchdowns. With the addition of two more sacks to his career tally, he joins a small list of players, five in total, in NFL history to have 15 sacks through 17 career games. The skies the limit for Parsons as he continues to evolve, and thankfully for the foreseeable future, he will be doing his damage with the star on his helmet.
The other player who’s stock has risen also showed some unexpected juice that some had questioned entering the 2022 season, and that is Ezekiel Elliott.
Did he have a tremendous stat line? No. However, at 5.2 yards per carry, he showed that he still has some juice left in his game. If the offensive play calls would’ve reflected this, then he probably would’ve been easily over 100 yards and maybe had a touchdown. The unfortunate part, however, was the lack of recognition of how well Zeke looked.
This tweet below sums it all up:
Two players who’s stock is down after week one
Onto the stock down portion, which could go to a certain offensive coordinator that was just mentioned. But, lets just stick to players that were on the field or in the case of Sam Williams, and Jalen Tolbert, not so much or at all. It’s not a good look considering both players were drafted in the second and third round of this past year’s NFL draft respectively.
Starting with the higher drafted player, who was actually active in week one, second-round pick Sam Williams.
Just last year in the best conference in all of college football, the SEC, Williams put up 12.5 sacks in 13 games. That stat is very impressive, knowing how much talent resides in that conference. It wasn’t like Williams was having performance issues during camp and in the preseason either. What is concerning, and the reason his stock is down after week one, is because the likes of Dorance Armstrong, Tarell Basham, and Chauncey Golston all played ahead of Williams. Regardless of the tantalizing prospects for his future, he has been relegated to basically special teams thus far which could be seen as a disappointment.
Speaking of special teams, at least for Sam Williams, he was able to get some in-game action in that facet of the game, whereas Jalen Tolbert was a surprise inactive in week one.
For Tolbert to be inactive was a disappointing start to his career. It’s not ideal obviously, but it doesn’t mean he’s instantly a bust. It appears that he isn’t fully healthy, and it sounds like the hamstring is still giving him issues. The hamstring problems have been an ongoing problem dating back to the OTA’s, as previously reported by ESPN’s Todd Archer:
A hamstring tweak limited Jalen Tolbert early in OTAs, but he caught a TD from Dak Prescott in 2-minute drill that had the QB happy. “In the passing game everything is about timing and spacing, so I did the right thing on the play and he was excited about it,” Tolbert said.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) June 9, 2022
The issue with hamstring injuries are that they fall under the category of “soft tissue injuries”, which as we’ve seen over the years with professional athletes can be a long-term problem. Hopefully this is more of a case of the Cowboys taking the cautious approach. Regardless of the approach, Tolbert’s inactive status is a major disappointment, especially due to the lack of depth at wide receiver, At one point, it seemed like he was going to be the number two wide out opposite of CeeDee Lamb. Being beat out by the likes of Dennis Houston who came in as an undrafted free agent isn’t a good look for Tolbert.
In week two versus the Super Bowl runner-up Cincinnati Bengals, expect Micah Parsons to continue to dominate. With more opportunities on the ground, Ezekiel Elliott could certainly start to look like the elite player he was just a short time ago. For the rookies, Sam Williams, and Jalen Tolbert, let’s just hope for both players to be active in week two, and for both of them to get some quality playing time as they continue to gain valuable experience.