For the first two months of the NFL regular season, the Dallas Cowboys were the hottest team in the NFL with its high scoring offense, an improved defense, and a huge lead in the NFC East. With their inferior competition in their own division struggling mightily, it appeared the Cowboys had a free invitation into the playoffs.
Riding a six-game winning streak with more beatable teams to come, the Dallas Cowboys were expected to feast on their opponents like a fat man eating at an open buffet. Except that, the Cowboys got full and lazy off of their immediate success and believed they were either untouchable, overconfident or a combination of both.
Whether or not it was the inflated ego of the players or lack of preparation, there are only five games remaining in the season and the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has to do a better job of preparing this team to win the NFC East and become a formidable foe in the playoffs.
With the Washington Football Team on their heels, the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff needs to focus on the NFC East crown.
Throughout Dallas’ eight wins this season, we have witnessed all of their star players perform at an extremely high level (at one point or another) against great and poor competition alike. Those dynamic performances are often credited to the individual player, but it was the coaching staff that put those players in a position to succeed. Think about the San Diego Chargers game on the road with an 0-1 record.
Remember this is relevant for a Dallas team that opened the season with so many question marks on the defensive side of the ball.
For every game Dallas has won where the coaching staff deserves kudos, the coaching staff deserves as much blame for games where they under performed – losses to the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders come to mind. The situational coaching has to change with this upcoming game against the Washington Football Team if Dallas is to win their division.
WFT has won four straight games with a convincing win over the Super Bowl-defending champs Tampa Buccaneers. WFT is ready to beat Dallas for the third straight time and put themselves in position to win their second consecutive division title.
Not to make excuses, but some of Dallas’ losses can be contributed to injuries to key players and Covid-19 related issues to said players and coaches at the worst times. Having said that, the coaching staff deserves blame for not giving Anthony Brown the help he needed against the Raiders.
Head coach Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn need to have a game plan that attacks WFT weaknesses from the beginning to the end. Besides being a familiar foe, WFT boasts a legitimate running game that is hard to stop and eats up a lot of clock.
That means TOP (time of possession) is in WFT favor either with a lead or with an opportunity to win the game in the waning seconds of a game like it did on the road against the Raiders. Man that walk-off field goal felt like a punch in the gut!
In other words, Dallas’ defense has no other choice but to focus on stopping WFT’s running game primarily. If that means loading the box with eight- and nine-man fronts to stop Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic, so be it. Of course, that forces Dallas to play man coverage and exposes them to a big play. I mean what other choice do they have?
So Dallas has to put the ball in quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s hand and make the journeyman quarterback beat them. It’s true that Heinicke is a solid starter and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but he will never be confused for Aaron Rodgers.
The timing of this game could not be at a better time because Dallas has reinforcements coming back with edge rusher Randy Gregory and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore. The former joins fellow “War Daddies” DeMarcus Lawrence and rookie sensation Micha Parsons-while the latter is the much-needed run stopper this defense needs. That ferocious quartet will be the deciding factor in the game. It starts with them.
On one hand, you can make an argument that this upcoming game is more about Dallas’ defense against WFT offense because of WFT’s ability to run clock with a lead. On the other hand, it is more about Dallas’ coaching staff developing a game plan that WFT isn’t ready for that catches them off guard.
If Dallas’ running game is non-existent, then unleash Dak Prescott with all of his offensive weapons.
Dallas’ coaching staff knows how to game plan when it is a must-win game because they did it on the road against the Minnesota Vikings with backup quarterback Cooper Rush-and Dallas’ defense allowed the Vikings to go 1 for 13 on third downs. That’s a game nobody saw Dallas winning! The same can be said against the Los Angeles Chargers and New Patriots-all road games.
This is important as Dallas plays three out of its remaining five games on the road to close out the season with four them against NFC East opponents that are going to give their best shot to beat Dallas-that goes for the 4-8 New York Giants, too. The coaching staff has to attack these last five games like they attacked other opponents en route to a six-game winning streak. .
Sidenote: Dallas will play another important game against the Arizona Cardinals at home in week 17. Depending on what Dallas does against WFT and the Giants, that game could decide whether Dallas stays at a 4-seed heading into the playoffs (where they currently sit) or gain a higher seed with a win. If Dallas can beat the hottest team in the NFL late in the season, it will definitely be a confidence builder heading into the playoffs.
Barring any injuries, Dallas will be fully loaded on both sides of the ball with all of its play makers in position to win these all important five games. The talent is there, and now is the time for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to take lemons and make some ultra-sweet lemonade! BOOM!