You’d suppose it is all smiles for the Dallas Cowboys after they pummeled Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers in Week 4 to go to 3-1 on the season, however not completely. For whereas they’re definitely happy to be on a three-game win streak after struggling a gut-wrenching two-point loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, the consensus emanating from the group is that they nonetheless “have a whole lot of work to do,” as quarterback Dak Prescott famous following the win on Sunday. He isn’t unsuitable, both, as a result of for as dominant as they’ve proven they are often, there are nonetheless tweaks to be made as they play out the primary 17-game season in NFL historical past.
They’re clearly on the right track although, as prolific on offense as they’ve ever been and regardless of the absence of Michael Gallup with harm, whereas the protection continues to roll over opposing quarterbacks with out the advantage of DeMarcus Lawrence — becoming a member of Gallup on injured reserve in the meanwhile. So many are stepping as much as get the job carried out alongside cornerstone gamers like Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper on offense, and what’s shortly change into one on protection in shutdown cornerback Trevon Diggs.
The latest iteration of the CBS Sports “Stock up, Stock down” sequence for Dallas has arrived, and it is chock filled with guarantees, potentialities and some gamers who must bounce again when the New York Giants come to city in Week 5.
[Note: This list is unranked.]
One other week, one other interception for Diggs. Solely that is not precisely true, as a result of now he is raised the bar by grabbing two interceptions in opposition to Darnold and, reality be informed, it is not the primary sport this season he might’ve walked away from with a number of interceptions. He got here scathingly near having a second in each the common season opener in opposition to Tom Brady and likewise in opposition to Justin Herbert in Week 2, however the overarching level right here is Diggs is actually one thing the Cowboys have by no means seen earlier than, and that is saying lots — contemplating it is a franchise that principally has its personal wing in Canton. for many interceptions by the primary 4 video games of any season (4), after which added a fifth for good measure.
He is on tempo to shatter the league’s document for INTs in a single season and even when he does not proceed at this insane tempo, he is already established himself as top-of-the-line shutdown corners within the NFL — it taking him solely 15 begins to take action. Diggs has been on this checklist each week to this point, and retains discovering methods to push his inventory larger, to the purpose it is leaving the galaxy now.
Gregory has gone from overcoming a mountain of adversity to changing into simply that to opposing NFL quarterbacks. His two sacks in opposition to Darnold had been extraordinarily spectacular, however. In wanting on the movie, he is not unsuitable, and that ought to terrify any QB he strains up in opposition to going ahead. You can make the argument Gregory might’ve sacked Darnold on 4 separate events, and he is been getting large stress earlier than Sunday, hurrying Brady and Herbert en path to his would-be blockers both being charged with holding penalties or holding him and never being charged with one. Seeing as a holding name creates unfavourable yards as effectively, Gregory is ok with getting that kind of disruption as effectively, however placing his arms on the QB is what makes his Cinnamon Toast Crunch style nice the following morning.
Now that he is gotten his first style of it in 2021, you may guess there are extra sacks to return, together with hurries, QB hits and holding calls to attempt to include him. He is again from his battle with the NFL, the NFLPA and likewise COVID-19, and he is as damaging as he ever was — if no more so.
Rumors of Elliott’s demise had been drastically exaggerated. For a 3rd consecutive week, he is been important to the success of the Cowboys offense, and so they’re now on a three-game win streak due to it. His newest haymaker was thrown on the chin of the vaunted Panthers protection — a unit praised for his or her skill to cease the run heading into Week 4. Elliott took them out again and beat them like a grimy rug on Sunday, dashing for 143 yards and a landing whereas gaining 99 yards after contact (4.95 per carry). In his final two outings, Elliott is averaging 4.2 yards after contact and whereas Pollard gives a dynamic complement when referred to as upon, having an important sport in Week 2 in opposition to the Chargers and strong video games within the two contests to comply with, Elliott has issued a robust reminder of why he is the RB1 in Dallas, and the Panthers protection will not and may’t disagree.
The 2-time NFL dashing champ has now amassed 356 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns in his final three video games, and all of his rabid offseason coaching is paying off in a giant approach. That is not a staff that wants Elliott to be the largest weapon on the sphere to win video games, however when they need him to be, he is consuming half the buffet and leaving tooth marks within the desk as effectively.
“We really feel like we are able to beat you with the run, we are able to beat you with the move — no matter you are going to give us.”
Those words by Prescott following the win over the Panthers are ringing exceedingly true in 2021, as a result of the Cowboys are offering loads of proof to help them. They used a mixture of each in opposition to a Carolina protection that had a troublesome go at stopping Elliott, which led to Prescott having a giant day himself, however not in yards. For whereas the two-time Professional Bowler threw for under 198 yards on the day, he torched the Panthers with 4 passing touchdowns — to 4 completely different gamers. And for these questioning if his ankle is OK, surprise no extra, as a result of his 35 dashing yards saved the chains shifting on key drives and Prescott famous it was the quickest he is run in a very long time. He is taking part in top-shelf soccer in his return from harm and whether he’s blitzed or not, and whether or not the opposing protection performs the move or not, Prescott is wheeling and dealing heading into Week 5.
Fractured ribs? No drawback. Fractured ribs plus a tweaked hamstring? Cooper doesn’t care because if he “can run”, he is taking the sphere and never as a decoy, as most banged up receivers could be. The four-time Professional Bowler left the sport early for analysis and missed the second Cowboys possession in opposition to the Panthers, however he’d return, and with napalm strapped to his chest. Making an attempt to increase on a 2-14 lead atop the third quarter, Prescott hip-faked a move to the flat to provide Cooper the break up second he wanted to execute his defender with a double transfer that resulted in a 35-yard landing — reeling in a superbly positioned throw by Prescott that dropped in over Cooper’s shoulder as he fell into the top zone.
Cooper went on to guide the staff with 69 receiving yards, grabbing all three of his targets, to associate with that landing, and do not depend on him letting his accidents price him the Week 5 battle with the New York Giants, both. The Cowboys greatest wideout expects to be on the sphere, and meaning he is all the time just one transfer from breaking the sport extensive open, as he tends to do.
For a second consecutive week, Wilson pushes his inventory north on this checklist. That is as a result of, for a second consecutive week, he is delivered a key landing for the Cowboys and, not that it counts for additional factors on the scoreboard, his pizzazz in doing so positively provides type factors to his resume. In Week 3, it was Wilson hauling in a toe drag landing on fourth-and-2 behind the top zone to assist put off the Philadelphia Eagles. Six days later, Prescott discovered Wilson but once more, and this time he did his greatest Michael Jackson impression — spinning away from his defender to trot into the top zone untouched.
Probably the most gifted however regularly unsung heroes of the loaded Cowboys receiving corps, it looks like all Wilson does is make large performs when he is focused. And as Michael Gallup continues to rehab his calf on injured reserve, the onus has been on a participant like Wilson to step up and be one other weapon for Prescott. He is been simply that, as he was in 2020 earlier than Prescott was misplaced for the season. Wilson is one other instance of an uncommon suspect making different groups pay for considering he is simply one other man in a jersey.
Severely, how good is that this Cowboys draft class in 2021? The staff has but to get a daily season snap from injured beginning defensive sort out Neville Gallimore, former second-round decide Trysten Hill continues to rehab on the PUP checklist, and even veteran Carlos Watkins has now missed two video games with harm (knee), however due to the defensive rookie class, you would not know any of this was occurring in Dallas. That is as a result of gamers like Odighizuwa have been a revelation at their place, and that is saying the least. The third-round decide is off to a implausible begin to his NFL profession, and you may readily see how excessive his ceiling is. Often it takes a few years for defensive lineman to seek out their legs on the professional stage, however Odighizuwa has confirmed himself to be an exception to that rule — delivering two sacks and 7 quarterback hits in his final three video games alone.
Think about the very fact Odighizuwa is averaging solely 53.5% of the defensive snaps and also you’re shortly starting to see simply how precious he is already change into for the Cowboys. With Watkins set to return and Gallimore not far behind, this can be a staff that is gone from razor-thin depth on their line of defense to a humiliation of riches, thanks largely to Odighizuwa and others like Quinton Bohanna and Chauncey Golston.
Talking of Golston, this is a man … OK, sorry, I could not assist myself there. All kidding apart, although, Golston is one other rookie third-round decide who’s hitting the bottom working however, not like Odighizuwa, he did not have coaching camp to arrange him for the trials of what the common season current within the NFL. He missed the whole thing of camp with harm and wasn’t activated for his first sport till Week 3, after the Cowboys ramped him up for his debut. He’d assist preserve the stress on Jalen Hurts (two, to be actual) however wasn’t in a position to land his first profession sack, occurring to rectify that in opposition to Darnold and the Panthers.
Golston joined Odighizuwa to have a celebration on the QB on Sunday, and likewise racked up 5 mixed tackles within the win. The rookie has proprietor Jerry Jones beaming, and he is one other notch in a draft belt the Cowboys are utilizing to spank their opponents with.
“We simply say ‘MAC’. It is the Mac Present. Mac goes in there and he provides us every thing.”
That is offensive coordinator Kellen Moore describing the offensive package deal that turns McGovern from an offensive lineman right into a fullback, and with nice success. The previous third-round decide (2019) has taken six reps as a fullback and two of these had been in the long run zone — Elliott scoring on each events. And on the opposite 4? Properly, the Cowboys working sport gained 28 mixed yards, and a mean of seven yards per play is nothing to shake a stick at. McGovern’s worth to the roster is skyrocketing as a result of he is not solely proven he can get issues carried out on the inside of the offensive line, however because the Cowboys strive to determine inventive methods to get him on the sphere with the return of Zack Martin and Connor Williams remaining the beginning left guard in a contract 12 months, all McGovern has carried out is nod and energy ahead — each figuratively and actually talking.
One other week, one other look for the electrical rookie on this checklist. Parsons is one thing hardly ever ever seen on the NFL stage, having a capability to do almost every thing on protection, and successfully. Within the first two outings with out All-Professional move rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, the first-round decide was tasked with taking the majority of his sport reps at defensive finish, and Justin Herbert needs the Cowboys hadn’t made that transfer. Parsons harassed Herbert all sport as much as and together with touchdown what could be a game-sealing sack within the fourth quarter, and he then set his sights on including Jalen Hurts to his “hit checklist”, earlier than placing arms on the Eagles QB as effectively.
In Week 4, Parsons was moved again to principally linebacker and did not bat a watch. Solely 16 of his snaps had been on the line of defense whereas 48 had been within the field, and he even logged three as a slot nook, one as a large nook and one as a free security — per PFF — touchdown one other sack within the course of and 4 tackles on the day. He is quickly changing into the Bobby Wagner in Quinn’s makes an attempt to design the Legion of Growth 2.0 in Dallas.
Man on Hearth is a legendary film, but it surely additionally completely describes how Kearse is taking part in on his one-year contract in Dallas. When beginning security Donovan Wilson initially went down with a groin harm, Kearse received his alternative to do injury and he is now achieved that mission to the purpose of being named starter on Sunday in opposition to the Panthers. And, but once more, the unheralded veteran security was seen flying all around the discipline and likewise being an emotional chief for the defensive unit.
Kearse had six mixed tackles in opposition to Carolina (t-1st), a QB hit and two tackles for loss within the Cowboys win. That is positively adequate to see his inventory rise that rather more over final week, when it was already on the upswing.
For the third straight week, roses land at Steele’s ft. Has he been excellent in his first three video games of La’el Collins suspension? No, he hasn’t, however he is been rattling good, and that may’t be argued. The previous undrafted free agent has now logged 87 snaps in move protection in his three begins, and allowed just one quarterback hit, 5 quarterback hurries and no sacks on Prescott — together with serving to to close down All-Professional move rusher Joey Bosa. Steele had a few missed assignments in opposition to the Panthers he’ll want to scrub up earlier than the Giants stroll into city, but it surely’s wanting increasingly just like the Cowboys have lastly discovered their definitive backup swing sort out, to the purpose that the return of Ty Nsekhe this week will price Steele exactly zero snaps.
The plan is for Nsehke, who’s coming back from a heat-related sickness, to function as backup swing sort out because the Cowboys proceed to permit Steele to start out at proper sort out. And so long as he continues to do effectively there, with two extra video games remaining till Collins returns to the membership, the Cowboys offense will preserve rolling alongside because it has been for greater than a month now.
Vander Esch made his presence felt in opposition to the Panthers, growing his inventory over a quiet sport in opposition to the Eagles that did not essentially inform the complete story of his impression. At this level, it is solely a matter of consistency for Vander Esch, however he is taking part in effectively, all issues thought of. And for Bohanna, a defensive rookie I named above who can also be doing nice issues alongside Odighizuwa and now Golston, it is about staying the course and persevering with to be spectacular on the defensive inside.
Hooker continues to be a gentle hand on the security place and whereas he is taking part in in rotation behind Damontae Kazee — who’s liable for two important takeaways already this season and a bone-jarring hit in opposition to the Panthers that was as authorized as driving by a inexperienced gentle — the previous first-round decide continues to make well timed tackles as he will get again to high kind; one thing Pollard is already working at, as he delivered one more strong complementary efficiency to Elliott’s bludgeoning of the opposing protection.
Brown noticed his inventory rise final week due to an interception on Hurts however, as famous then, his inconsistency in protection might once more be his downfall. Proper on cue, that is exactly what we see on movie from his matchup with the Panthers. It was a blended again of impression tackles and passes defensed, solely to see him drop an interception within the fourth quarter that might’ve nailed the coffin shut on Darnold — after Trevon Diggs had already picked him off twice within the third quarter. Darnold went on to guide the Panthers to a landing on that very drive, and Brown can solely stroll into Week 5 hoping he can lastly remove the “oh no” performs and begin stacking those that make Cowboys coaches smile, as a result of the return of rookie second-round decide Kelvin Joseph looms.
It is quickly changing into now-or-never for the veteran cornerback. If Joseph is available in and dominates after lacking video games because of harm, it’s going to be the cherry on high of a stellar 2021 defensive draft class and quickly push Brown to Quinn’s backburner — seeing as Joseph is Quinn’s draft man (together with Nahshon Wright).
Brown wasn’t the one one with a blended bag on Sunday in opposition to Carolina, which has change into uncommon territory for the now constant and productive Schultz. It is unclear what sort of gloves the previous fourth-round decide was carrying in Week 4, however take them out again and burn them with hearth. The primary referred to as fumble on Schultz really wasn’t one in any respect, so let’s blow proper previous that one. The second time the ball was placed on the bottom, nevertheless, was most definitely a fumble — the Cowboys getting the advantage of a the officers blowing the play useless because of ahead progress. There are many occasions when the officiating has gashed Dallas this season and in years previous, however Schultz dodged an enormous bullet, and it led to Prescott discovering Blake Jarwin to provide the Cowboys a 13-7 lead within the early second quarter.
Schultz bounced again with a landing and 58 receiving yards, however now that he is proven he is higher than the errors we noticed on Sunday, the bar is raised accordingly, and something lower than high quality soccer from him will decrease his inventory a bit — because it did this week.
Wilson cannot heal any quicker than his physique will permit, and that is only a truth. That mentioned, one other truth is that the longer he is sidelined, the upper Kearse’s inventory soars and, by default, the extra it pushes the inventory on Wilson in opposition to the wall. It is a nice drawback for the Cowboys to have, thoughts you, contemplating they entered 2021 with one more checklist of questions on how they’d look to enhance the protection place. Wilson had a breakout season in 2020 and the problem was to seek out others to dominate beside and behind him, however his harm thrusts Kearse into the limelight reverse Kazee, with Hooker in rotation.
The earlier Wilson can get again, the higher, for a security room that is now extraordinarily deep, but additionally for him as a person who’s been relegated to watching his beginning function inch additional and additional away with every passing rep. Because it stands, the combat’s on when he returns to apply, as a result of Kearse is as relentless as Wilson is on the subject of making performs — together with those that do not make the spotlight reel.
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https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/information/cowboys-stock-up-stock-down-after-week-4-trevon-diggs-playing-at-cosmic-level-randy-gregory-holds-court/ | Cowboys top off, inventory down after Week 4: Trevon Diggs taking part in at cosmic stage, Randy Gregory holds courtroom