After a season opener in which just about everything went the Cowboys' way, it sure does feel rosy around here right now. As Dallas looks to maintain their momentum in Week 2, which players should be feeling particularly good about themselves? And did any of them have reason to be disappointed in their Week 1 performance?
While this week’s Cowboys stock report will feel quite bullish following the big win, the tide didn’t lift all ships. Here’s a look at who’s up and who’s down ahead of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
LB/S Markquese Bell
The second-year defender has moved into a smallish linebacker role following the injury to DeMarvion Overshown and the release of Jabril Cox. Bell debuted in style, leading the team with eight tackles and making some critical stops along the way.
Bell wasn’t just a clean-up tackler but was active at the line of scrimmage, getting one TFL and hitting the holes with confidence. Considering he just made this switch within the last few weeks, Bell’s seemingly natural feel for the role is highly encouraging for his future value.
OL Chuma Edoga
Having to start at LG for the injured Tyler Smith, and even getting pulled over to LT for a few plays when Tyron Smith briefly went out, Edoga showed up well in reserve duty. Despite missing much of camp and every preseason game with a knee injury, Edoga’s veteran experience came through and the move to guard appears to be good for him.
Edoga was a third-round pick by the Jets in 2019 but has battled injuries over the last four years. Lacking the ideal size to play tackle in the NFL, his transition to the interior in Dallas was successful for at least this first week.
DT Osa Odighizuwa
Getting two sacks in one game is big for any NFL defender. But for a guy who only had six total over his first two seasons, Odighizuwa’s share of Dallas’ pass-rushing bonanza was especially noteworthy.
Of course, most games won’t be that productive for Dallas’ defensive line. But thanks to Micah Parsons’ presence, Dan Quinn’s guidance, and the overall talent of the defense around him, Odighizuwa has great odds for a breakout season. He looked faster than ever despite the wet field under him, and that is going to be a big problem for opposing offensive linemen who try to block him one-on-one.
K Brandon Aubrey
Missing his first extra point attempt, especially after Brett Maher’s disastrous game against Tamp Bay last January, sent Cowboys Nation into a social media frenzy. But Aubrey hit his next four, plus two field goals, to settle everyone down in his NFL debut.
Between the rain and the pressure of his first-ever NFL kick, Aubrey’s miss can be laughed away for now. The mental fortitude to shake that off and go six-for-six the rest of the night was ultimately encouraging. But with his longest FG only being 38 yards, how the rookie performs from long distance still needs to be seen.
TE Jake Ferguson
To be clear, this is not an indictment on Ferguson going forward. But we have to be fair here and note that his first game as TE1 didn’t go as anyone would’ve hoped. Ferguson was targeted seven times but only had two catches for 11 yards; glaringly low efficiency for the position.
The bad weather was certainly a factor, no doubt causing some of Ferguson’s uncharacteristic drops. He didn’t drop a single pass as a rookie, albeit on a relatively low sample size of just 22 targets.
Now with Dalton Schultz gone and and second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker behind him, Ferguson is feeling pressure on both sides. Week 1 will be quickly forgotten if he gets back to 2022 form, but he can’t afford to many down weeks given Schoonmaker’s presence.