The Dallas Cowboys are currently 8-4, which is good for the top of the NFC East and 4th in the NFC. After a rather underwhelming November, there seems to be a lot of panic about how good the Cowboys actually are? While valid, the panic might still be overkill.
The issue with narratives is they often get too carried away. When the Cowboys’ offense was clicking, people naturally overreacted to how good they were. There were signs within all the positives that were concerning like high early-down run rates and below league-average use of play-action passes. However, when the offense is able to generate such efficiency on relatively elementary things like short dropback passes and dive runs, it’s kind of hard to really criticize it all that much.
Of course, now it’s quite a different story. The rushing offense hadn’t averaged more than 4 yards per carry for three games; in fact, if it weren’t for Tony Pollard’s long touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints, that would have been the fourth straight game. The rushing offense is currently all types of broken and in need of some rehabilitation. (As does Ezekiel Elliott’s knee)
Admittedly, Prescott hasn’t been as electric coming off his calf injury, but the struggles in the run game have forced him into bad situations throwing the ball. While his stats have looked largely fine for the most part (with the exception of the Kansas City game) the eye test does show Prescott struggled at times.
Defensively, the Cowboys have been rock solid. The Las Vegas game was a blemish on an otherwise good resume of performances that involve holding the Atlanta Falcons to three points, the Kansas City Chiefs to 19 points, and the New Orleans Saints to 17 points, a game in which they forced Saints QB Taysom Hill to throw four interceptions. The officials were largely suspect against the Raiders, but it’s hard to deny that the Cowboys weren’t shooting themselves in the foot at times allowing Derek Carr to pick apart their man and match zone coverage.
12 games into the season, fans can usually gauge what teams are good and why they are; naturally, narratives follow. Narratives are also time-sensitive making them vulnerable to change throughout the course of the season. As such, the perspective of players by the general consensus is vulnerable to being flip-flopped.