How ’bout them Cowboys? Really, how about them? How can you describe “America’s Team” without sounding cynical, overconfident, or completely unsure? I honestly cannot answer that. What I can say, however, is this team has all the pieces to be and do something special…we just don’t know if they realize that. Here are our four biggest takeaways from today’s scrappy, somewhat sloppy, but still solid overtime victory.
Who Are They?
I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time covering the Cowboys. In fact, last year was the first time I really began to intentionally watch their games. One thing I noticed last year that really became apparent after Dak’s nasty ankle injury – and continued this year – is that America’s Team has zero idea who they are. They literally have no fluid identity as a complete unit outside of a few players on both ends of the ball. Until they are starring some sort of deficit in the face, they almost look like they are going through the motions.
They Have to Buy-In
I’m going to use an “If, Then” statement for this point because there is no other way to put it: IF the Dallas Cowboys actually buy into their system and their personnel, THEN they could have a chance of winning a Super Bowl. The problem is, following my last point of identity, nobody’s 100% bought in on this roster. If anyone is, it’d be offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and standout defensive back, Trevon Diggs. However, anyone with half a brain can tell you that’s nowhere near enough. From the first on the field to the last off the bench, everyone needs to buy in and play like they know they have the talent that they have.
Dallas possesses a duo that can be the best backfield in the NFL. Both currently have over 300 yards on the season and both can make their presence felt at any given moment in a game. Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard are explosive, strong, shifty, and are in a system that’ll give them over 100 yards a game at any given moment. However, Zeke and Tony have got to get more comfortable playing off each other. They have proved over the last few weeks that they can absolutely bruise and wear down opposing defenses with how balanced of an attack they have. They just have to act like they know what to do.
This defense is right where it needs to be and it doesn’t need to do much outside of some minor tweaks to perfect it. The Cowboys have all the pieces to have a top-tier defense in the NFL, but there seems to be an inconsistency of effort on their part. Today, the Pats gained 120 yards on the ground for the third time in six games. The problem with that? The other two times they did that, were against the Texans last week and the Dolphins in week one…both of those teams are 1-5 and can’t don’t possess the type of defensive versatility that Dallas does.
Dallas, now 5-1 (W5), is in firm control of the NFC East and sitting behind only Arizona (6-0) and Tampa Bay (5-1) in the NFC after today’s 35-29 OT win in New England. After the upcoming Bye Week, they face an extremely explosive Dalvin Cook who ran for 140 yards and a score, and the receiving core of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to combined for 206 yards and a score through the air this week. If that defense isn’t mentally tough all game, it could be rough, early, for the Cowboy’s DB’s and LB’s when they travel to Minnesota.