After two weeks of just about everything going their way against both the New York Giants and New York Jets, the Dallas Cowboys were knocked down back to earth after the Arizona Cardinals pulled off the upset in Week 3 last Sunday afternoon. With a lot of football left to play this season there's no time to mope around. They need to bounce back, and quickly.
Fortunately, this team is a heck of a lot better than the way they played in the disappointing loss to the Cardinals a few days ago. Even with the loss of Trevon Diggs for this season, defensively they are still one of the better units in the entire league. Offensively they have all the pieces, but as of yet haven't really figured out how to use them.
Today, we are going to take a look at a few internal roster adjustments the Cowboys should consider making that could not only help them get back on track, but help them to become even more productive from here on out. It may just be small little tweaks, but sometimes it's the small things that ends up paying the biggest dividends.
More Luke Schoonmaker, less Peyton Hendershot
It's time for the Dallas Cowboys to get a little more out of their second-round draft pick Luke Schoonmaker. Once thought about to challenge Jake Ferguson for the starting job as Dalton Schultz' replacement, the former Michigan Wolverine TE is seeing less playing time than Peyton Hendershot, an undrafted free agent last year. To hopefully get more production out of the TE position, Dallas would be wise to flip the script for both players moving forward.
No offense to Peyton Hendershot, who flashed as a rookie last year, but Luke Schoonmaker is the better and more talented player who can help Dallas' offense more from here on out. As both a blocker and receiver in the passing game, No. 86 has a similar skill set to that of Dalton Schultz, who was one of Dak Prescott's targets, especially in the red zone. With a banged up OL and with the red zone woes, more snaps for Schoonmaker could help the situation.
Work KaVontae Turpin back into the game plan
KaVontae Turpin is a type of player who has the capability to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball. Through the first two games of the 2023 season it looked as if the Cowboys were going to utilize his unique skill set on the offensive side of the ball, but against the Cardinals it's as if they forgot once again they had that type of weapon in their back pocket. It's something they shouldn't forget moving forward.
Whether it's splitting him out as a WR or in the backfield as a RB, No. 9 is a unique speed weapon who can create a lot of mismatches on the offensive side of the ball. With the way Arizona was applying pressure last Sunday, Mike McCarthy would've been wise to utilize that speed by attacking them horizontally to help out his OL and open up the offense. Just a few touches each game from here on out should keep other defenses from doing the same.
Make Hunter Luepke the short yardage/goal line RB
The Cowboys lost arguably their most important red zone threat from a year ago when they decided to part ways with Ezekiel Elliott. In 2022 alone he scored 14 red zone touchdowns in both regular season and the playoffs. To date, Dallas hasn't found somebody to fill that role. Both Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle seem to bog down inside the 20, which should lead the Cowboys to turn to Hunter Luepke.
The undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State didn't do much in the first two games on the offensive side of the ball, but was more involved in the disappointing loss to the Cardinals. While it wasn't as a short yardage/goal line back, the 6'1", 240-ish pound RB does fit the parameters for that role. He proved in the preseason he's tough to bring down with one defender, which is ideal when things become compressed in the red zone.