The Dallas Cowboys enter their Monday Night Football matchup with rival New York Giants feeling good, after what some called an upset win last week over the Cincinnati Bengals. But of course, since this is Dallas and Jerry Jones, there’s always some kind of controversy surrounding America’s Team.
Let’s get into the good news about the Cowboys first.
What more needs to be said? He’s been great through the first 18 games of his career. In fact, Parsons has been so good that he’s already drawing comparisons to Giants Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor. That’s a high bar for any player, especially at the linebacker position. You will hear multiple references to LT regarding Parsons’ play during tonight’s game. If I were a betting man, I’d predict at least one Parsons-Taylor reference per quarter.
Parsons is the best thing going in Big D right now, and if the Cowboys win this game, it’ll be on the back of his and the defense’s performance. With Daniel Jones at quarterback, there will be plenty of opportunities to make plays for Parsons and this Cowboys defense. All they’ve got to do is execute.
That was the question before Dak Prescott went down with a thumb injury in Week 1 against Tampa Bay. Prescott’s injury happened late in the game, and his team had scored just three points. Last week Cooper Rush started and played well, but some analysts made too big of a deal about his performance. He was good, but there’s very little tape on him besides the Bengals game, which the Cowboys won.
Rush’s second start against the Giants should look a lot different this week. It’s a 2-0 battle. The Giants are currently 2-0, and so is Rush in his NFL career. Something has to give unless they tie, which is a scenario that could play out between these teams.
In the Week 2 win over Cincy, Rush completed 61 percent of his passes, connecting with CeeDee Lamb seven times, leading all receivers. Dallas ran the ball 24 times for 96 yards, with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combining for four yards per carry. Dallas should be able to run, as the Giants are giving up over 119 ypg on the ground. The Giants’ pass defense has been a little more resilient, giving up less than 198 yards through the air. They’ll make Lamb a focal point and force Rush to go elsewhere in the passing game.
This game is going to come down to Rush making plays on offense. The world knows what Daniel Jones brings to the Giants’ side of this equation. Their offense runs through Saquon Barkley and should continue to do so. The Cowboys feature a two-headed monster in the backfield, but Rush will need to make a play or two at crucial points during this game. The fact that there isn’t a lot of film on Rush should be an advantage for Dallas. Now it’s up to Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore to use that to their advantage.
Señor Jones certainly hopes his coaching staff can take full advantage of Rush’s abilities. Jones came out recently saying he’s in favor of a quarterback controversy. The man paid Prescott $75 million last season and will pay him an average of $40 million over the next few years. Yet, he’s pulling for a battle in the QB room, similar to when Prescott replaced Tony Romo in 2016. Jones has never believed in Prescott and even said he overpaid him in a press conference following the announcement of Dak’s new deal. Prescott was sitting directly beside Jones when he uttered those words.
If Rush continues to play well and the Cowboys keep winning, Jones could get his wish. Knowing how Jones operates, he’ll probably make that wish happen by influencing his head coach, as he’s done so many times in the past. There’s a reason coaches like Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells didn’t last more than a few years in Dallas under Jerry.
McCarthy has since assured the world that there is no controversy over their QB1, no matter how well Rush plays. That sounds good, but if Jones is hell-bent on something, he’ll usually get it. That is unless second in command Stephen Jones steps in to keep pops from making a huge mistake. Stephen’s done it plenty over the past decade and most infamously in 2014 when Jerry “allegedly” wanted to draft Johnny Manziel. Dallas ended up with offensive lineman Zack Martin who’s still in the league as a five-time All-Pro.
You’ve got to love the Cowboys and the drama they bring weekly, not only in the fall. This franchise is a hot, money-making mess year-round. There’s a reason Jones’ franchise gets so many primetime games every season. It surely isn’t because they’re winning a ton of games.