We’re entering Week 2 of the NFL season and already talking about the Dallas Cowboys in a must-win situation. Dem Boyz travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers in their home opener as Dallas looks to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2010.
The Cowboys chances of leaving LA with a ‘W’ are looking bleaker by the minute.
The injury bug is biting the Cowboys early and often this season, with a couple of key names on the roster set to miss significant time for Dallas. We found out Wednesday that defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence suffered a broken foot during practice and will be sidelined roughly half the season. Lawrence is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
If losing the team’s best overall defender and pass rusher wasn’t enough, the Cowboys also placed their other starting DE Randy Gregory on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive on Monday. Although Gregory has been asymptomatic, head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t sound too optimistic about having him back for Sunday’s game.
In Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys pass rush couldn’t get to Brady, recording zero sacks. It’s hard to see that number improving this week against the Chargers. If Gregory cannot play in Week 2 and Dallas’ best pass rushers are out, Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense should enjoy a Sunday fun day of epic proportions.
The offensive line for the Cowboys is also starting to resemble a revolving door. Just as the Cowboys get All-Pro guard Zack Martin back from his bout with COVID-19, starting right tackle, La’el Collins gets hit with a five-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It’s getting thin in the trenches for the Cowboys, and we’re just two games into it. Add wide receiver Michael Gallup to the mix with his calf strain that will keep him out until October, and it’s already looking like another dud of a season for Jerry Jones in Big D.
Seems like Dak Prescott is really going to be earning the $75 million Jones is shelling out this year as he may need another 400-yard passing performance this week to have any shot at avoiding an 0-2 start. But Prescott throwing the ball 58 times isn’t going to win this team many games. The running needs to be a bigger part of the offense. In Week 1 the running game was virtually nonexistent with Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard combining for 47 yards rushing on 14 attempts. A couple more performances like this and Zeke will officially be considered washed. I’ve said it for two years, but I’ll give Elliot the benefit of the doubt here. McCarthy must create some form of balance with this offense.
Of course, this is football and everyone is dealing with injuries, as are the Cowboys’ Week 2 opponents. It just seems like it’s always something with the Cowboys, and just when you see a glimmer of sunshine peeking through the clouds, here comes the rain again out of nowhere. I know this sounds like an overreaction, and with many other teams, it would be, I admit that. But the Cowboys have to find a way to win this game against the Chargers.
It can’t be only Dak who steps up and tries to carry the team on his shoulders. They need a team effort if they’re going to avoid digging themselves another deep hole this year, as they’ve done so many times before. I just don’t think they’re equipped with the tools to do it.