Eatman: Hey Dak, Here Are Your Cowboys in Their New Look

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Dallas, Texas – On the one hand, this marked the five-week comeback of the Cowboys’ starting quarterback.
On the other side, this seemed like Dak Prescott was being introduced to his brand-new and (certainly) improved football squad.
Dak’s eighth season with the Cowboys is true. But he has never—and let’s add a few more “never and evers”—played with a defense like this.

Dallas’ defense wasn’t this strong against the Buccaneers in Week 1. And Dak has never before in his career used a defense with this kind of dominance potential.

Ah, I see now. The Eagles, the squad that defeated the Cowboys last week, are not exactly the Lions. The league’s top offenses aren’t really the Lions’ strong suits.

They are still competent enough to score more than two field goals. They are a strong enough team to cause challenges for the opposition throughout the game. However, it was prevented by the Cowboys, who accepted the challenge they set for themselves after their performance against Philadelphia last Sunday.

Let’s face it, it would have taken something monumental to surpass Dak’s return as the game’s plot, but it did. That was how well the Cowboys defense performed on Sunday against a Lions offense that had scored 30 more points than the Cowboys offense earlier in the day (140-110). Although this game demonstrated that number doesn’t actually matter at all, technically, Detroit has still outscored the Cowboys this season.

Due to serious defensive issues, the Lions are 1-5. Due to their defense, which was able to completely take over a game on Sunday, the Cowboys are just 5-2.

After the break, there were five turnovers, including one that was recovered at the one-yard line just as the Lions appeared to be poised to take the lead. Even if the play may have been more “lucky,” it was still a play on the goal line, generating a force that resulted in a fumble and Anthony Barr’s quick recovery.

After that, making plays and/or applying pressure were the only factors in the turnovers. One of this team’s top receivers, Trevon Diggs, also happens to be a cornerback. On Sunday, he repeated the feat with a play on the ball that few corners are capable of. Additionally, Jourdan Lewis was selected as a result of the edge pressure Micah Parsons exerted.

Let’s also discuss Mr. Parsons. This guy was obviously angry about how last week’s game against the Eagles ended. He would be, of course. The Cowboys had a chance to leave the field and possibly steal a victory in Philadelphia, but the defense was unable to make the crucial stop.

An all-time spike in frustration, especially with Parsons, was experienced. However, despite the poor start on Sunday, it never seemed like the defensive players were pressing too hard or exerting themselves excessively. They still produced impressive plays despite playing within themselves.

None were bigger than Parsons’ error of pursuit of tight end Brock Wright at the 1-yard line, which led to a turnover on the following play.

Because of his versatility and ability to dominate on so many different levels, plays like that are what I believe make Parsons the finest defensive player in football.

It was for that reason why the game was engaging. Dak Prescott isn’t very accustomed to this team. The previous few games, with Cooper Rush filling in at quarterback, he has had a front-row seat. Dak was aware that the team’s four-game winning streak had been sustained by the defense.

But being in the thick of things is different than being on the sidelines. He will get used to this; perhaps in the second half of the game he realized what was going on.

In some games, scoring three points in the opening period will be problematic. With this defense, however, the game will typically still be within reach even after a half like that.

In that kind of football, running the ball will be prioritized more than throwing it away under pressure, going for it instead of punting, or kicking long field goals.

Once more, it’s a look we’ve been seeing for a month. Dak hasn’t used this fashion before.

I assure you that there will be many games that are more challenging than this one. Not claiming that Dak returning and scoring a few touchdowns in the second half will solve all of your problems.

But I’m willing to wager that his performance will improve. By the next week, the rust will have worn off and this offensive will continue to gel. They can rely on this defense in the meantime, which is something Dak hasn’t been able to do consistently during his career.

On this day, he did. And he’ll probably be able to in the future.

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