Cowboys: Pass-Rush, Running Game, and More


The Cowboys had good news and bad news on Sunday night’s performance. Excluding the injuries, here are three ups and three downs.

It’s Tuesday morning, and that means it’s officially time to offer the Three Ups and Three Downs for the Cowboys’ match-up against the New York Giants.  Not included, are the injuries to Dez Bryant and Randy Gregory . We will only cover how the team, or a specific player, executed assignments. So, without further ado, it is time for the Three Ups and Three Downs from Sunday’s game:

Three Ups

1. Tony Romo is clutch – Since 2006 no NFL quarterback has more game winning drives than Tony Romo. If that isn’t clutch, I don’t know what is.  With Tony Romo, every game is winnable for the Cowboys. No opponent is too big for this quarterback. Romo can elevate his play and do it by himself, or he can drive the bus and lead his team. The only critique I have for Romo is the timing and placement of his passes. Perhaps it was an off night, or perhaps it was limited practice time and therefore a lack of chemistry, but Romo was throwing behind his receivers too often on Sunday.

2. The running game is fine – As I’ve stated before, the Dallas Cowboys needed to get the running game going early against the Giants. That includes outside, inside, draws, and even screens and wheel routes. Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden did fine when they were asked to do that. They didn’t light the world on fire but they got the job done. What I didn’t expect was HOW MUCH they would use Lance Dunbar in the passing game. He added an extra element to the attack and the halfback passes on Sunday were absolutely on point.

3. The defense held its own – The Dallas Cowboys only had one sack, but they applied just enough pressure to make Eli Manning feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t just the line, but the secondary actually looked like it may not be a liability this season. From the J.J. Wilcox hit, to the handling of Odell Beckham Jr., this defense can hold its own and will surprise once Randy Gregory, Greg Hardy, and Rolando McClain are healthy and/or back from suspension.

Three Downs

1. Unprepared and undisciplined play- There were multiple things that showed just how unprepared and undisciplined the Dallas Cowboys’ starters were. There were the slightly off-target passes by Romo, late (almost) snaps, personal fouls, and rushed offensive adjustments that all indicated the team needed more preseason work together. Lucky for us they still came away with a win, and and have time to smooth things out before next week’s matchup. This all falls on Jason Garrett and staff.

2. Pressure, but not enough sacks – While the Dallas Cowboys were able to collapse the pocket and get consistent pressure on Eli Manning, it was not a good sign they struggled getting sacks. Obviously this should be fixed once Hardy and Gregory get back in 4-6 weeks, but the Dallas Cowboys have to find ways to get more sacks, now.

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3. Catch and run – This is actually a real blight on the defense. Everyone knows the Cowboys are a defense that likes to keep the plays in front of them, but there was some very weak tackling at times, resulting in far too many yards after the catch. The whole NFL saw this game, so don’t be surprised if teams start playing more dump and chase on the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have to tackle in the open field or this could be a devastating weakness in 2015.

So there it is, the first delayed reaction of the season. What do you all think were the positives and negatives?

Next: Cowboys Film Room: Week 1 Standouts, Notes, and Observations

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