THE COWBOYS REPORT

Dallas put the “D” in defense in win over Giants; Seahawks next

Zeke Elliot and the Cowboys got a nice win. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (1-1) beat their division rival the New York Giants by the score of 20-13 on Sunday night.  The final score might make it seem like it was a close game, but it was not. The Cowboy defense DOMINATED the Giants.  

Quarterback Dak Prescott got the team started off right with a 64 yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the third play of the game.  With the defense keying on Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott faked a handoff to him and hit Austin right in stride on a fly pattern down the left sideline.  Once they took that early lead, the Cowboys leaned on Elliott and played stout defense to lock up their first win of the year.

Prescott finished the game 16 of 25 for 160 yards one touchdown and NO turnovers.  He also kept the team moving by rushing seven times for 45 yards to go along with Elliott’s 17 carries for 78 yards and a 4.6 average per carry.  Elliott put the game away with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter when he ran up the middle for a 6 yard touchdown and a 20-3 lead.  The Cowboys had a great game plan and kept a good balance between run and pass plays.  

I am not sure what changed this week but the Cowboy offensive line played exceptionally well.  They opened up holes for Elliott to run through and did not allow the Giant defense record any sacks.  One small issue that could become a big problem later is, even without any pressure Prescott rarely had any open receivers.  Austin was their leading receiver and he only caught one other ball after the long TD. Free agent acquisition Allen Hurns had one catch for 9 yards and the tight ends were nowhere to be found.

The main reason for the victory was the Dallas defense was on top of their game.  They held rookie sensation Saquon Barkely to 28 yards rushing on 11 carries and held All Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to 4 catches for 51 yards on 9 targets.  The front seven were swarming all night and sacked Giant quarterback Eli Manning six times and caused one fumble, which led to a third quarter field goal.  The first score they allowed was a field goal late in the thirrd quarter before the game was out of reach and the only touchdown they allowed was late in the fourth quarter in garbage time.  

3 Players to Watch

  1. Tavon Austin (Wide Receiver), with only 2 catches on the season he is already the second leading receiver on the team with 79 yards.  The 5’8 veteran has great speed and can be used in the backfield as a running back sometimes.  Hopefully the coaching staff can figure out some more ways to get him in big play making positions down the field.

  2. DeMarcus Lawrence (Defensive End), this 6’3 lineman is probably the Cowboys best player on defense and is proving it too.  He has two sacks and three tackles for loss already this season. He will be an interesting watch as they will be going against four-time Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.  

  3. Sean Lee (Linebacker), Is the heart and soul of this team.  When he plays the Cowboys tend to give up 10 points less than if he doesn’t play.  He injured his hamstring late in the game versus the Giants but will need to be on the field to keep Wilson in check on Sunday.

Coming Up

Sunday afternoon the Cowboys (1-1) will be in the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington to take on the Seahawks (0-2) at 3:25 pm Central time.  Both teams are very similar in the sense that they both don’t have any stellar pass catchers on the offensive side of the ball and rely on their average defenses to keep them in games.

The Cowboys are going to need their offensive line to play the same as last week and keep opening up holes for Elliott to run through.  If that happens, hopefully somebody like Austin or maybe even Hurns can make a big catch down field to help keep the defense honest. On the defensive side, they are going to need to keep Super Bowl winning QB Russell Wilson from beating them because that is pretty much the only offense Seattle has.  This could be a problem because he can beat them with his legs just as easily as he can with his arm. If you can remember Cam Newton beat Dallas basically by himself in Week 1. All in all, it should be one of the better games on Sunday afternoon and I can’t wait to watch.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are Elliott and Wilson.  Both kickers might not be bad plays either.

For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas +1.5.  With Seattle being 0-2 and this game pretty much being a must win, I would take Seattle at any number less than 3.



 

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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