For two weeks in a row, it was like picking names from a hat for the Dallas Cowboys roster power ranking. After two blowout victories in the Sinatra Series (trademarked by RJ Ochoa), Dallas dried up in the desert against the Arizona Cardinals.
Who can you pick from a performance like that? Have no fear. Despite all the bad coming from the loss, some Cowboys continued to play well and surprise.
Each week, the top six players from the game will be ranked.
Depending on how the Cowboys perform, there could be the same names or six different ones every week. It won’t be based on just the best players on the roster. This way, it gives players who might not be household names the ability to shine a light on their impact for the week.
Here are the top six players from Week 3.
5. CeeDee Lamb, WR
For your information, running back Rico Dowdle was considered for this spot because of the screen pass that went for a touchdown, but CeeDee Lamb continues to be too talented to keep off.
He might not have had his best statistical day and was criticized for not fighting for the catch more in the end zone, but Dak Prescott made a big throw to Lamb when he needed it most and got the offense going.
No. 88 had four receptions for 53 yards but had seven targets in his direction, and the longest reception of the day, as mentioned above, went for 32 yards.
Lamb has yet to score a touchdown and is currently 10th in the NFL with 273 receiving yards, but his connection with Prescott is unbroken and should carry through the rest of the season. I expect this to be the lowest position Lamb will ever appear on this list. Week 3 was just a fluke.
6. Michael Gallup, WR
Welcome back MG13 to the mix! Michael Gallup led Dallas in receiving, hauling six catches for 92 yards.
On a day where things felt uncertain on offense, it was great to see a signature Gallup game that hasn’t been around since 2021, before he tore his ACL.
The Cowboys are still waiting to get Brandin Cooks more involved in the offense, and this weekend would certainly be a great time to do so. If Lamb is going to be covered all game by rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez, then Gallup could be in for another big day.
4. Micah Parsons, DE
The same thing for Lamb could be said about Micah Parsons. It wasn’t his best performance of the season, and Dan Quinn didn’t mention his name when he talked about the top three performers. However, when the defense needed a stop or to force the Cardinals’ offense off the field, the Lion was the center of attention.
Parsons may be a force of nature, but that doesn’t mean he can stop an entire offense alone. When it came to defending the run, Parsons and the rest of the defensive line did their job. Aaron Schatz of the FTN Network pointed out Dallas has a problem with runs at the second level. They stuffed 28 percent of the Cardinals' carries for no gain or a loss, which was fourth in the NFL in Week 3. They ranked 29th in second-level yards per carry, those between five to ten yards downfield.
The bottom line is they need better play from their linebackers and secondary at stopping the run. The Cowboys defense has tons of talent. If any unit can make a 180-degree turn this week, it’ll be them.
3. Brandon Aubrey, K
The soccer player turned NFL kicker has made his mark in Dallas. Brandon Aubrey has been everything the Cowboys hoped he could be after signing him in training camp.
#Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey has been one of the NFL’s best overall kickers through three weeks.— Brandon Loree (@Brandoniswrite) September 25, 2023
• Kickoff grade - 77.3 (1st)
• # of Touchbacks - 20 (1st)
• Field goal attempts - 10 of 10 (1st)
• Points scored - 36 (T-1st among K)
It looks like the front office is 2 for 2… pic.twitter.com/OL2Jc2izA1
Not only is he tied for first in the league among kickers with 36 points scored and a perfect 10 for 10 in attempts, but his leg strength has proven to be a big asset. He has 20 touchbacks on the season, which is first in the NFL, and special teams coordinator John Fassel values the importance of not allowing the opponent to return kicks.
Brett Maher led the NFL in points mid-way through last season. If a Cowboys kicker can accomplish that two seasons in a row, the offseason worries around the position were for nothing.
2. Tyler Smith, LG
In his first appearance of the 2023 season, Tyler Smith looked to be as strong as ever. After sustaining a hamstring injury before the season, Tyler Smith returned to the lineup at left guard and was the bright spot of the offensive line.
Smith was playing between backup Chuma Edoga at left tackle, who saw most of his preseason work at guard, and Brock Hoffman at center, who was making his first NFL start.
Tyler Smith = strong and powerful pic.twitter.com/Ruq8u0InbG— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) September 25, 2023
That’s a tough assignment for anyone to jump into for their first game back, but Tyler Smith handled himself well. Just after one week of play, No. 73 has an offense grade from PFF of 84.4, second in the league among offensive linemen (minimum of 46 offensive snaps). It’s safe to say the gentle giant has returned.
1. Tony Pollard, RB
The Cowboys are calling on Tony Pollard to haul it a ton this season. Through three weeks, Pollard has the most carries among NFL running backs (62) and fifth-most rushing yards (264).
Between the 20’s, Pollard was the guy McCarthy relied on to effectively move the ball on offense. If the Cardinals played their safeties deep, as McCarthy mentioned after the game, there would be more room to run for Pollard against light boxes.
He had a season-high 122 rushing yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. The downside for Pollard and the red zone offense is that he hasn’t been able to score a touchdown since Week 1. If the Cowboys hope to win against the Patriots, who allowed Breece Hall to run for just 18 yards, they might need Pollard to haul a lot of their offense.