The Dallas Cowboys are now 1-1 after finding a way to beat the division rival Giants. While the team isn’t clicking on all cylinders, there are some things to like about this team after the first two games. The Dallas running game and defense look like strengths the team can lean on.
The passing offense, however, has been pretty ugly minus the one long ball to Tavon Austin against the Giants. If you take away that one play, Dallas only has 234 passing yards through eight quarters of football. The good news is Ezekiel Elliott looks hungry and despite playing loaded fronts, he’s still having success on the ground.
Zeke only has 32 carries but is 7th in the league in rushing with 147 yards. That’s a healthy 4.6 yards-per-carry. Elliott hasn’t got the workload that was expected, but the Cowboys will lean on him and the run game all season long. He looks as explosive as ever and the Cowboys need to just feed him the ball.
Elliott is one of the best players in the NFL and if he can keep up the 4.6 yards a rush, all he needs is more carries to help this offense keep the chains moving. Setting up Dak Prescott on 3rd and short looks like the only way to sustain drives and put more points on the board. Zeke looks like he’s starting to hit his stride. In the 4th quarter against the Giants, Elliott exploded up the middle, breaking arm tackles and then juked Landon Collins in the open field. Elliott finished the carry by dragging defenders for a gain of 19; he needs the ball more.
Along with the running game, the defense might be one of the best Dallas has had in a long time. The Cowboys are making plays at every level of the defense. The defensive line, the linebackers, and secondary have all stepped up and made their share of plays.
The defensive line is getting a ton of pressure. Cam Newton neutralized some of that pass rush with the read option, but Dallas just destroyed Eli Manning in week two. It’s also a deep group that will be getting back Randy Gregory and David Irving soon. The sacks totals could grow and penetration always disrupts the running game.
The linebackers look solid even though Sean Lee might be finally starting to slow against father time. Jaylon Smith is healthy and his speed on the field is evident. After shedding the brace he wore last year, he’s already racked up 14 tackles and a sack. Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys first-round draft pick, is the real deal and Damien Wilson has stepped up his play.
In the secondary, there has been some stellar play from cornerbacks Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown. They will also be getting back Xavier Woods in the near future. The Cowboys have only given up 366 passing yards through two games and just held Odell Beckham to 51 yards on Sunday.
The Cowboys might be forced to win ugly at times this year. Running the ball and playing solid defense may not be flashy, but it’s a winning formula. The Cowboys’ defense is going to be a strength and we know Elliott can dominate on the ground. With the passing game not being where it needs to be, the ‘Boys will need to lean on a dominant D and the running game.
Now you know Broe @broeham