Dak Prescott

The Vent: Cowboys Embarrassed By Panthers

That was dreadful, absolutely terrible. Dallas Cowboys fans waited seven months to watch that train wreck to open the season? As Vince Lombardi once said, “What the hell’s going on out there?”

All of your fears about the Cowboys heading into the season turned out to be true. In the preseason, we thought it was just the backups who were getting their butts whipped. As it turns out, the starters weren’t immune to having their lunches handed to them either.

It all came back to haunt the Cowboys.

The offensive line had us worried because Travis Frederick wasn’t out there to anchor the group. Zack Martin hadn’t practiced in a few weeks and the unit hadn’t played together since the team left Oxnard. As good as the offensive line is, there were things to be concerned about. Those worries were validated with poor performance against the Carolina Panthers.

The offensive line gave up six sacks, had three holding penalties and failed to open up holes for Ezekiel Elliott until late in the game when the Panthers were giving up yards in exchange for keeping the clock running. Rookie Connor Williams in particular had a rough game, giving up three of those sacks, confirming the preseason criticism that he needs to work on his strength.

Williams was hardly the only culprit, Tyron Smith had two costly penalties and the rest of the offense underperformed as well. The Cowboys failed to convert on a single third down or cross midfield in the first half. It was putrid.

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Another fear centered on quarterback Dak Prescott. Was he the player he was for the first 24 games of his career, or were his struggles in the last half of 2017 a sign of things to come?

After one week, the Cowboys have to be worried. Prescott wasn’t very good on the day, missing too many easy throws. The biggest miss was to a wide open Blake Jarwin, who could have walked into the end zone if the throw had been halfway decent. The quarterback was a big part of the problem against Carolina.

And what about the defense; the unit that was going to surprise everyone this season? They couldn’t get off the field on third downs and allowed the Panthers to run for 147 yards. Rod Marinelli’s group was completely lost on the quarterback option with Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey for most of the game.

How can you prepare for the Panthers and Newton, yet botch their favorite play time after time. Sean Lee had one of the worst games we’ve ever seen from him, Jaylon Smith failed to show up and Damien Wilson got abused on the QB keeper all game long. The tackling from the linebackers was atrocious, as was the plan to rotate all six of their top linebackers. Taking your best players off the field for entire series, is the epitome of stupid.

The Cowboys were beaten in every phase of the game and it was a minor miracle they even had a chance at tying it late. Didn’t we hear the Cowboys were going to show some new offensive concepts? Didn’t the team say they were holding out on showing them in the preseason?

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The organization must be a bunch of fibers because we saw the same old, same old on offense. The game plan seemed to be exactly as it always was, run the ball into stacked fronts on first down, if the team lost yards, run it again on second and then try a screen or fake the jet sweep on third down.

Where is the creativity Cowboys fans thought we were getting? Where were the new play designs and concepts? The only exciting play we saw came on the option play to Elliott for their only points.

The Cowboys were dominated at every turn against the Panthers. The offense was hideous, the defense wasn’t good and the coaches stunk. It’s only week one and Dallas has made the playoffs each of the last two times they lost the opening game on the season. However, this feels like there’s too much to fix in one season.

We’re one week into a 16 week season, the Dallas Cowboys need to fix things, quickly. It was embarrassing to watch the Cowboys get whooped by the Panthers.

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Cowboys Desk Sr. Analyst at Sports Talk Line
Cowboys Desk Sr. Analyst on ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Let's talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
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Ben Grimaldi

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