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Jared Sandler: The Good & The Bad From Cowboys Loss To Giants

By: Jared Sandler

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I got up at 5:30 a.m. to re-watch the Cowboys game. With the baseball schedule, it’s tough to watch it all in detail as it happens so, for now and hopefully into early November, I’ll watch as much live as I can and then remain grateful for DVR. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts from the Week 1 loss to the Giants.

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

THE BAD…

*The idea, in general, is that this team’s strength is its offense while the defense is potentially a weakness. If this team wants to make the playoffs, that strength has to be a big time strength. The playoff teams who are a liability on one side typically get in because the other side is one of the best units in the league. All of this, of course, is just one game and not yet a 2016 trend, but this team has to be better at completing drives with a touchdown and not a field goal when they get inside the red zone. They are too talented to score touchdowns on just 33% of their trips inside the red zone, especially when all three tips took them inside the 10 yard line. If they had a better defense, maybe this is a different story.

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*The lack of offensive creativity continues to disappoint. After covering Scott Linehan during his time with the Lions, this just isn’t a surprise, as it is no longer a surprise to Cowboys fans who are more familiar with his work. The Cowboys have some unique and versatile athletes, yet, their offense has no imagination. Which ties in to my next thought…

*…Dez Bryant needs the ball. He doesn’t have to lead the NFL in targets, but he sure as hell shouldn’t be T-71 in targets in any given week like he was through Sunday…and there are two games that have yet to be played. Maybe he doesn’t have full mastery of the entire route tree, but you can’t tell me the Cowboys can’t find more ways to get him the ball. I don’t care if he’s getting double teamed. Do you not think other top-notch receivers are too?

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*Zeke was really underwhelming in his first game…which, by the way, is totally OK. However, it seemed like the only reality we considered when previewing the season was one in which Zeke is a super stud. I’d be willing to wager some money that he will become a very good NFL running back, but maybe that doesn’t happen right away? The reality is, credit needs to go to New York’s run defense and some blame should go to the Cowboys’ O-line, but Zeke wasn’t very good.

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*I thought Shan Shariff made a very good point this morning on Shan & RJ when he reminded folks that Zack Martin deserves some blame for his costly penalty during the last drive and that if it were Doug Free, we’d be ripping him, but because it is the All-Pro Martin, he’s getting a bit of a pass. Penalties are going to happen, but that was a very inopportune time for one.

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*The defense, in general, was fine. If you only allow 20 points you should win, especially with this offense. The late-game defense was not very good. New York’s last drive was really predictable…you knew they were going to run the ball. And while the Cowboys eventually forced a punt, they allowed the Giants to not only get a first down, but do some with a few biggish plays…biggish enough to push the Cowboys final drive’s starting point even further back.

GOOD

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*Dak Prescott was pretty good. Yes, I know his yards-per-attempt (less than 6) was not very good and, yes, I know he didn’t deliver a TD, but he also didn’t turn the ball over. It was his first ever game and he didn’t look out-of-place. This offense, as indicated above, needs to be better at finishing, but I’m not sure how much of that is on Dak. Some, sure, but not enough yet. We don’t yet know how many games he’ll start this year, but I liked what I saw in the first one.

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*It was nice to see Alfred Morris make a cameo, though I wish he’d have gotten more touches. Hopefully the Cowboys will embrace a dual-RB system a little bit more, especially if one is running a little better than the other. Most games, I’d hope, Zeke will be the better guy, but probably not every game. Yesterday, Alfred was the better back. He’s good enough to start on at least 10 teams. Keeping running backs fresh is important and the Cowboys have the weapons to really do this.

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*Maybe I’m crazy, but I think the Giants are a pretty good offensive team. There wasn’t a ton of pressure on the immobile Eli Manning, but I thought the Cowboys D unit did a nice job, for the most part.

DISCLAIMER: No definitive judgments should be formed after one week. These are just opinions to raise conversations with the understanding that it is just one game.

*At least we don’t have to wait until December for the first interception by a cornerback. A gift or not, Brandon Carr still made the play.

NO DISCLAIMER: Dan Bailey is always awesome.

*Dan Bailey. What a stud. I’d like to believe he’d have made that 62-yard try, but, let’s be real, he probably wouldn’t have. He’s just so damn good, though, and it would have been fun to see him try.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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