The Dallas Cowboys are off to a great start to the season at 2-0, with both of those wins coming inside the NFC East. That is something that would bring a huge smile to the face o any fan under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, Dallas is facing at least eight weeks without their two most impactful offensive players in Dez Bryant and Tony Romo.
So the big question is, can the Cowboys pull it together until they get back?
Jerry Jones whipped up a big old batch of Brandon Weeden Kool-Aid for “Cowboys Nation” to gulp down this week. He’s mentioned that you “won’t find a more skilled passer” and then praised Weeden’s strong arm. He conveniently left out the fact that Weeden is 5-16 as a starter. His strong arm, and skilled passing ability has led to a career completion percentage of 56% with 27 TDs and 28 Ints.
Please forgive me if I’m not a big believer in Weeden’s abilities. The good thing for the Cowboys and their fans is that they don’t need Weeden to be Romo. They just need him to make a few plays over the course of the game.
Many people outside of Dallas don’t believe in guys like Terrance Williams, Joseph Randle, Gavin Escobar, Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar, Cole Beasley and Devin Street, but that doesn’t mean they can’t perform. This will be their time to show what they can do. Sure, Dallas loses explosive plays with Romo and Bryant, but that doesn’t mean they have to lose production.
It’s not popular or sexy, but Dallas can control both lines of scrimmage. We know their offensive line is one of, if not the best in the league. Just ask DeMarco Murray who has rushed for just 11 yards on 21 carries thus far. As long as Dallas stays multi-dimensional with the running game and doesn’t put it on Weeden’s shoulders they have a shot to win every game.
In my opinion, the biggest reason the Cowboys can survive until their big guns get back is because of their defense. Guys like Jeremy Mincey, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Sean Lee have caused pressure and penetration on the opposition. This allows much maligned corner backs Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr to do their job without having to cover people for eight seconds.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has a young and hungry defense on his hands, much like ones he built under Lovie Smith in Chicago. By week five the defensive will be at full strength with Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain coming back from suspension. Rookie pass rusher Randy Gregory will be back from his ankle injury as well. That type of depth will allow this unit to be aggressive and cause havoc in the backfield.
I think this team really buys into what Jason Garrett has been preaching. He’s been a steady and collected coach throughout his tenure. His guys seem to channel that mood and when things start to get shaky they don’t panic. They pull together and make plays.
This team won’t be putting up 30 point per game. They will have to run it, control the clock and get some big plays from the defensive and special teams. They will have to win ugly, but they can absolutely hold down the fort until they are at full strength.
Photo from: Eric Hartline USA TODAY Sports
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