Dallas Cowboys vs Giants: G1 Standouts, Notes, and Observations

Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys lost to the the New York Giants in Week 1 of the 2016 season. What stood out? Here are G1 standouts, notes, and observations.

The purpose of this article is to provide some insight into the most recent Dallas Cowboys game. Sometimes it’s obvious but often it’s more under-the-radar. In order to identify the standouts, notes, and observations we not only must review the game but also the coaches (All-22) film.

Beginning in Week 2, I will be separating this article into an “Immediate Observations” article (Monday Morning) and a “Film Review” article (Tuesday Afternoon). The point is to identify issues as quickly as possible, then research them with coaches film to verify or debunk said issues. Today, we combine it one.

Here are Game One standouts, notes, and observations…

  • Say what you will about play-calling but I liked what Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan called on offense. Keep in mind, if Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley had not dropped those TD passes, the narrative on the game would be completely different this week.
  • Don’t get me wrong, I think Garrett has major issues and generally support my brother in fandom, Dan Ruppert, of his condemnation, but I was happy with what the Cowboys exposed Dak Prescott to.
  • A telling moment in the maturation of Dak Prescott was when trailing 7-6, Prescott resisted the urge to force an endzone play and took the smart play by taking the field goal and the lead. Obviously, the Cowboys need to score more TDs than FGs when they’re in the redzone. But they can’t aim to do so at all costs. After dominating the ball for majority of the first half, the Giants easily took the lead with two big plays. A natural reaction would be to force plays to get a rebuttal TD. Dak and the Cowboys didn’t and they profited by taking the lead.
  • Shades of Cray-cray (yes, I am an adult man with children who just used “cray-cray”): Many are complaining about having sun issues inside a covered stadium. I, on the other hand, ask why are we not using the sun to our advantage? Why on earth are Cowboys unaware of the sun spots on the field? In this day and age we should know the time of year, the location on the field, and the subsequent blind spots. Then, we act accordingly. It’s a major advantage if simply one person was employed to study, analyze, and report it.
  • Dak Prescott moves through progressions as quickly as anyone in the league. He reads coverage and makes decisive decisions. He was impressive in his college tape review but to do so this quickly in the NFL? This is a whole ‘nutha level (channeling my inner Key and Peele).
  • Anytime your punter doesn’t debut until there’s 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, you have to feel happy about your starting rookie quarterback.
  • Anthony Hitchens is freighting in coverage. He’s an MVP for depth and versatility but not as a starter. Justin Durant should take all of the MIKE snaps. Durant wasn’t great, in fact, early review gave him a scratch grade, but he’s not the significant passing-liability Hitch is.

Related Story: Hitch Can't Replace McClain Alone

  • The Giants were cycling through man coverage, zone, blitz, etc.. to confuse Dak Prescott. Scott Linehan seems to have kept things fairly simple and didn’t overload his rookie signal-caller – and it paid off. Frankly, this was far better of a debut than I was expecting and Cowboys fans everywhere should be excited about the future…provided Zeke improves…
  • RB Ezekiel Elliott had a rough debut. It’s impossible to call a 20 carry, 51 yard effort anything but disappointing. Zeke didn’t run with patience or vision but shares the blame with the Cowboys O-line who failed to create opportunities. It was a tough day overall for the Dallas Cowboys running game and all aspects of it must improve going forward.
  • After a few tough hits, Elliott channeled his inner McFadden and just lowered his head and ran. He’s going to have to learn the patience that Alfred Morris has perfected. If not, he’ll never become the player the Cowboys expected when they selected him so high in the draft.
  • The Giants didn’t want Zeke getting outside and around the corner. The Cowboys obliged and focused on the middle. I have to agree with Dan Ruppert on this and seriously question the coaching/play-calling.

Related Story: How Good Must Zeke Be?

  • The Cowboys love their special teams coverage units. Make no mistake, they kept their two fullbacks for a reason and they round out, what appears to be, a dominant unit. Expect K Dan Bailey to kick more returnable kicks than usual because the Dallas Cowboys have every intention of pinning opponents back behind the 25 yard line.

More from Dallas Cowboys

  • Cowboys came out stunting on defense. Without a real pass-rusher on the roster, Rod Marinelli will have to do a lot of this.
  • Terrell McClain came out of the gates strong. It’s never been a question of ability with him but rather health. If McClain can stay healthy, he could be a big part of the 2016 Dallas Cowboys.
  • The run defense fell apart for the Dallas Cowboys defense when thee Giants focused on Tyrone Crawford. Most of the damage occurred when the Giants ran at the 3-technique and avoided Cedric Thornton and  Terrell McClain at the 1-tech.
  • DT Cedric Thornton was overpowered a few too many times.
  • Orlando Scandrick has been a good corner because he knows his limitations. He seemed to be believing the hype and was out of position – playing faster WRs far too closely. When covering Odell Beckham Jr in motion, he should have backed waaaaaaay up off the line because a jam would be impossible.

Next: More of the Same From Jason Garrett