THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys offense fails to show up in opener; Giants up next

Cowboys offense fails to show up in opener; Giants up next
The Cowboys need to get Ezekiel Elliot going. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys went winless in the Preseason (0-4) and have started the regular season winless as well (0-1).  They lost Sunday afternoon by the score of 16-8 to the Carolina Panthers and even though it was only a one score deficit, the game wasn’t that close.  

The main issue with the team was poor offensive line play.  The O-line gave up six sacks and couldn’t open running lanes for Pro Bowl Running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Dallas offense didn’t cross midfield until the third quarter and were held to 232 yards.  Quarterback Dak Prescott never had any time to get the ball to his pass catchers.  Prescott went 19 of 29 for 170 yards, no touchdowns, and a 2 point conversion. He was sacked on the Cowboys 15 yard line with about 1:30 left in the fourth quarter and was stripped of the ball which Carolina recovered and sealed the game.  Elliott was held to 86 total yards (69 rushing) but did get into the end zone for the Cowboys lone touchdown.

Another glaring concern was the lack of playmakers.  With the defense locked in on Elliott, none of the pass catchers stepped up.  Slot receiver Cole Beasley led the team with 7 catches for 73 yards, while $12 million dollar man Allen Hurns was basically a no show and  ended with only one catch for 20 yards.  A big portion of this problem is there doesn’t seem to be any production that will come from the Tight End position with departure of Cowboy great Jason Witten. Starting Tight End Geoff Swaim had three catches for 18 yards on mostly a short throws.  

The lone bright spot for the Cowboys is their defense was solid.  They sacked former NFL MVP Cam Newton three times and limited him to 161 yards passing.  In total, the defense held the Panthers to 293 yards and they went 4 of 12 on third down conversions.  The one glitch was they had a hard time containing Newton when he would scramble. He was the Panthers leading rusher with 58 yards which included a 4-yard touchdown.  

As terrible as the offense was, the defense kept the Cowboys in the game and if new kicker Brett Maher would not have missed his lone field goal attempt (47 yards) they might have been able to squeak out a win in a game they had no business winning.  Maybe Head Coach Jason Garrett is starting to rethink the decision to cut the NFL’s second most accurate kicker, Dan Bailey.

3 Players to Watch

  1. The entire secondary (safetys/cornerbacks). Playing against one of the best receivers in the league this upcoming Sunday (Odell Beckham Jr.) the entire defensive backfield will be interesting to see how they cover him.  Jeff Heath, Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown are going to have to bring their best games to the field.

  2. Cole Beasley (Wide Receiver). In the absence of former Cowboy great Dez Bryant, Beasley seems to be the only receiver willing to pick up the slack.  The 5’ 8 slot man looks like he is the only pass catcher on the same page as Dak and is always right where he needs to be.

  3. Brett Maher (rookie kicker). Has started the season 0 for 1 on field goal attempts and has some big shoes to fill.  It is curious to see how he deals with the pressure of kicking in the NFL.

Coming up

Sunday Night the Cowboys will play their home opener versus the New York “Football” Giants.  Kickoff is set for 7:20 pm central time at AT & T Stadium (AKA: Jerry’s World). They will be going up against two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning, his All Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and rookie running back sensation Saquon Barkley.

The Cowboys are going to need improved offensive line play to make things happen for Prescott and Elliott.  If they can open up some holes for Elliott to run through the defense will have to back off a bit and Prescott will have some time to find some receivers down field.  The Giants gave up 137 yards on the ground last week. Hopefully the Cowboys can exploit that.

For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas -3.  If you are going to bet on the Cowboys, bet them late this week because the line will probably go below 3.  




 

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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