Disastrous, downright disastrous. Dallas played against the Cleveland Browns in week 4 at home and really pooped the bed. Every facet of the game was questionable. Four weeks into the McCarthy era, it begs the question of: Are we rebuilding?
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The offense has put up some historic numbers over the first quarter of the season. Prescott has shined, throwing for over 1,500 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Against the Browns, Prescott threw for over 500 yards and did exceptionally well. Another shootout was a cause for his statistics in my opinion. Dallas has a wonderful three-headed monster at receiver and is a fast offensive team. But I wonder if those analytics are detrimental to a team that is so used to ball control. Cleveland was able to generate three hundred yards rushing and zero turnovers. Dallas was only able to generate eighty-five yards rushing but had a total of three turnovers (2 lost). Elliott has been downright horrible. Zeke has had three fumbles (2 lost) in the past three games. He hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards in a game this season. And Elliott hasn’t had more than twenty-two attempts on the year. Is the offensive line to blame? They do share some of the blame. Injuries have hurt upfront, but it shouldn’t be an excuse as every team has had its share. Maybe Dallas is negating the run game themselves by the early game deficits. Regardless, we have an issue with the running game which needs to be addressed. The Browns had the ball longer than Dallas on Sunday by a whopping seven minutes. For those who are counting, that is nearly half a quarter. The offense is putting up a lot of points but the early deficits and shootout storyline are getting old very fast.
Oh boy, the defense. The Cowboys defense has been lit up the last three weeks. They have allowed 38+ points to the last three opponents. Dallas has the worst turnover differential in the league at a minus 7. Ironically, Cleveland has the best with a +6. With only two takeaways, the defense is not pressuring opponents nor are they even looking to cause a turnover. For the most part, it seems as if the Cowboys are looking to make a tackle after a gain. Beckham Jr. destroyed Dallas on Sunday and the Cowboys made Baker Mayfield look like a future Hall of Famer. Against the Browns, Dallas was able to register two sacks, but it isn’t enough. They are allowing the third-most yards in the league and are allowing the most points scored in the league. Not only this, but they are allowing nearly 173 rushing yards per game. Let that sink in… 173 rushing yards per game. They need to get better and get better fast. The Cowboys allowed 49 points to the Browns. Cleveland did put up 40 against the Ravens last year if a Cowboys fan is looking for a glimmer of hope. But nearly 50 points? Cleveland hadn’t put up nearly 50 since they beat the Bengals in 2007 51-45.
Dallas is near the bottom in gross average punt yards. They have a middle of the pack kicker in field goal percentage and are near the bottom in extra point percentage. Dallas was able to go 2/2 in XP’s on Sunday and did not have a field goal attempt. Playing from behind played in Dallas’s favor in regards to kicking. But the return team is still a mess on kick offs and punts. Tony Pollard is the only name I need to mention here.
Never during his tenure did Jason Garrett have a team start 1-3. Think about that. As 8-8 as he was, Garrett never started 1-3. That is very telling in the first four weeks of the McCarthy era. Offensively the Cowboys are playing fast and are just slinging the football. Being down 20 points in the first half will do that to an offense. If the Cowboys cannot start off aggressive and help their defense with some ball control, then we are looking at a historically bad defensive year. McCarthy brought his man Mike Nolan in to revamp this defense. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the move as Nolan has never been an excellent defensive coach. The decision has shown to be a disaster up to this point. Prescott is playing like a $40 million dollar QB. Elliott is playing behind a questionable offensive line. Jaylon Smith looks to be trying to do too much. It’s near embarrassing to see this product on the field. Do we chalk this up to a four week preseason? I don’t think so. At this point, I believe this is what the team is. An old school AFC style offense that will just have to outscore opponents on the offensive end.
Statistical Source: ESPN