The Dallas Cowboys lost for the first time this season on Sunday. Obviously none of us expected the Cowboys to march through their 2023 campaign unscathed, but we anticipated the road blocks happening against the elites. On Sunday, the Cowboys fell to a team that they were favored against by well over double-digits. Needless to say the loss picked at insecurities that we all have about the team based on recent and longstanding history.
Losing in the NFL happens but getting walked all over in the process is what makes it particularly maddening. Maybe this is how fans of the New York Giants and New York Jets spent the last two Mondays, but needless to say we do not enjoy this feeling.
It is time for our stock report following Sunday’s game and as you can imagine there are more arrows pointing down than there are up. But we will start positively because why not!
Stock Up: Michael Gallup
Michael Gallup led the Cowboys in receiving on Sunday with 92 yards. It had been a while since he put up that high of a number from a yardage standpoint.
How long are we talking about, you ask? Sunday’s performance was the most yards that Gallup has had in a game since the 106 that he churned out on Thanksgiving Day against the Las Vegas Raiders... in 2021. It was, of course, just a month and change later when he tore his ACL, incidentally against the Cardinals of all teams.
Gallup looked in proper form in the desert and like the player that we remember from that 2021 season, the one the Cowboys were confident in giving a second contract to. During a day of so much gross it was a pleasant surprise to see Gallup rocking and rolling.
Stock Up: Rico Dowdle
Only one Cowboys player reached the endzone on Sunday and it was none other than running back Rico Dowdle. Amazingly, the touchdown came on a screen pass of all things.
It was nice to see Dowdle utilized in the passing game as he is a dynamic player with the ball in his hands, however it manages to get there. We know that Tony Pollard is a dynamic player but the Cowboys definitely have an abled back on the field whenever Dowdle spells him.
Stock Up: Donovan Wilson
Honestly this is really just about seeing Wilson active and patrolling the secondary once again. He didn’t have the best game that we have ever seen from him, but it was hard to find much to be pleased with on the defensive side of the ball.
Stock Down: Jayron Kearse
I’ve been doing the stock report around here for several years now and cannot remember an instance off the top of my head where Jayron Kearse made an appearance. He has been outstanding from just about the first day that he stepped into The Star.
Unfortunately Kearse, and others, looked slow on Sunday and like he could not keep up with the Cardinals skill position players. He appeared really overmatched and to be pressing a bit. There is more than enough of a data set to not hit the panic button, but Sunday was not good.
Stock Down: Chuma Edoga
It feels unfair to put any blame on Edoga given that he has already overdelivered to this young point on the season, but on Sunday his job was to play left tackle and he did not do it all too well.
Many are likely wondering why the Cowboys did not kick Tyler Smith out to left tackle with Tyron not playing, but it appears that they don’t want to go down that path unless they know that Tyron is going to miss serious time. This is my assumption to be clear.
Also speaking of Tyron, many have wondered why he dressed and did not play and why he was not just inactive altogether. If I made another assumption it would be either that they wanted him to warm up to see how things went and/or that they had him as an “in case of emergency” option to play if they found themselves even more banged up in the group.
Stock Down: Terence Steele
With Tyron, Zack Martin and Tyler Biadasz all missing the game that made Terence Steele the most seasoned and veteran member of the offensive line. He drew the first penalty of the group, a false start on the third offensive play of the game for Dallas which was a 3rd and 6 that became an unmanageable 3rd and 11.
Steele would draw another false start penalty, and not to make a mountain out of two of them, that cannot happen when you are the anchor in terms of experience.
Stock Down: Stephon Gilmore
To be clear the Cowboys did not trade for Stephon Gilmore to ask him to be their top cornerback but rather a running-mate for Trevon Diggs, a reality we will unfortunately ever have a very small piece of.
But like we noted with Kearse, Gilmore seemed a step slow against the Cardinals and like he could not hang with their speed. He is obviously not young, but given his pedigree and that he has to step up in Diggs’ absence, there is an expectation that he unfortunately did not live up to.
Stock Down: DaRon Bland
There are a handful of situations this week where it feels unfair to label a player as stock down and DaRon Bland might have the biggest case to be made here.
The Diggs injury thrust Bland to the outside and now asks him to fill the shoes of one of the best defensive backs in the entire league. On Sunday that task appeared to be too tall and Hollywood Brown appeared to be too fast.
We have seen enough from Bland to believe that long-term things will click. Ideally this week was just a set of growing pains.
Stock Down: Redzone offense
Last week we chalked up the lack of redzone conversion to the Cowboys playing a bit of a conservative game given their massive lead against the Jets. That remains sound logic, but what we saw in Arizona certainly makes us look at it and scratch our chins.
Dallas finished 1/5 in the money area against the Cardinals which is obviously unacceptable. Blame is deserved for Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy as they are the headliners of how operations get going with everything on the line near the paint. It is difficult now to not believe that this is a legitimate issue that the Cowboys are facing. They can have the best defense in the world and a great ground game but if they can’t punch it in then they are going to play way too many close games.
Stock Down: Mike McCarthy
Obviously we just talked about McCarthy above this, but as the head coach (independent of his play-calling duties) he deserves a lot of criticism for this game.
Dallas had the look of a team that thought they could walk in and collect a win that they were entitled to. They looked sloppy and under-prepared and as if they bought all of the hype that the world threw at their feet over the season’s first two weeks.
It is true that it was just one game, but if the Cowboys are truly going to be competitive this season then this one loss may wind up being critical. The difference between 12-5 or 13-4 (using these records as an example) is staggering and this loss could very well be that. More than that this loss, as a result of this idea, adds to the pressure of needing to win the games against higher-quality opponents.
Losses are understandable and are inevitable to a certain degree. But getting completely and totally over-matched cannot happen again.