Cowboys stock up, stock down after Week 8: Cooper Rush gets the job done with help from cornerstone players

Dak Prescott was vetoed in his bid to take the sector towards the Minnesota Vikings with a calf pressure suffered within the Dallas Cowboys‘ harrowing time beyond regulation victory over the New England Patriots in Week 6, and that meant it was the Cooper Rush present at U.S. Financial institution Stadium in Week 8. The information of Prescott’s unavailability immediately made the Vikings favorites, significantly when contemplating the weapons Kirk Cousins has on offense and the way the Vikings protection was taking part in to that time.

In the long run, not one of the latter two factors mattered, as a result of the Cowboys protection largely performed lights out and gave Rush sufficient alternatives to beat some early errors and assist ship some late-game heroics. In this week’s iteration of CBS Sports’ “Stock up, Stock down” series for the Cowboys, it is time to acknowledge simply how dominant the protection has turn into, however not with out overlooking how the normally prolific offense did not let Prescott down with Rush on the helm.

So let’s discuss it.

[Note: This list is unranked.]

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A backup QB is not tasked with lighting up a scoreboard, however as an alternative to be prepared at a second’s discover and ship a win. 

That is exactly what Rush was requested to do, and solely 90 minutes forward of kickoff, because the Cowboys labored to the final second to find out if Prescott could be a go. Having ready all week for the potential of a begin towards the Vikings, it was Rush’s second to both shine or decline, and after a primary half of doing the latter, he battled by and did the previous — when it mattered most for the Cowboys. He wasn’t good, and he acquired assist from cornerstone gamers (which is what cornerstone gamers are paid to do), however racking up 325 yards and two touchdowns to just one interception after having tried solely three passes within the NFL prior is rattling certain adequate to lift your inventory.

From one Cooper to a different, it was the Cowboys greatest receiving weapon who in the end buried the Vikings.

Regardless of constantly battling a hamstring harm that noticed him depart the sport to do his personal rehab in real-time, Cooper returned to ship demise blows to Minnesota as if there was nothing flawed together with his leg in any respect. An outstanding 33-yard pinball seize helped arrange the Cowboys to land the go-ahead landing on the finish of regulation, with Cooper doing the honors on that as properly. With the sport on the road, Cooper let CeeDee Lamb know who the massive canine is within the WR room, then let the Vikings know that canine does not must bark when his chunk is so vicious.

One other week, one other massive play or two from Elliott.

It wasn’t his most dominant efficiency, speeding for 50 yards on 16 carries, however with out him on the sector, Cooper’s 33-yard landing leads to a area aim try by Greg Zuerlein to hopefully pressure time beyond regulation — Zuerlein having already missed one kick on the night. Elliott would have none of it. On third-and-11 from the Vikings’ 21-yard line, Elliott caught a brief go from Rush and broke not one, not two, not three however 4 tackles en path to a crucial first down. Rush and Cooper (sure, I understand how odd that sounds) took care of the remainder, however there won’t have been a relaxation to deal with if not for Elliott.

Wilson has turn into fairly the silent killer for the Cowboys.

Within the absence of Michael Gallup, the veteran wideout has turn into Johnny on the Spot, typically offering massive performs on the most pivotal moments in video games. It was no completely different Sunday, when Wilson supplied the standard increase to the Cowboys offense, but in addition as a quarterback. It is not the primary time he is been requested to throw a go for Dallas, however the composure it took to roll out, maintain his eyes downfield and ship a perfectly-placed spiral to Lamb was a factor of magnificence. And when he went again to his standard position as a receiver, all he did was give Rush a formidable 84 receiving yards on three catches — together with a 73-yard landing to open up the second half.

Talking of Lamb, the Cowboys ordered one other serving in Minnesota, they usually acquired it.

It is at all times a fantastic downside to have once you’re a staff with so many proficient wideouts that every needs to make the massive play, simply as fantastic as it’s to see it executed with no ego in anyway, however somewhat in a playfully aggressive style. So when Lamb conceded to the greatness of Cooper, it was as a lot a nod of respect as a willingness to do no matter must be executed to get the Cowboys a victory on any given week. And in addition to, it isn’t like Lamb’s day was quiet — his 112 yards (second behind solely Cooper) on six catches serving to to gasoline the Vikings protection.

Pay the person.

Gregory has been a person possessed since coming back from suspension and in the end a battle with COVID-19 in 2021. Regardless of not having All-Professional go rusher DeMarcus Lawrence to assist assure one-on-ones throughout the board, Gregory has feasted on opposing quarterbacks with a mountain of QB pressures and his 5 sacks by 5 video games performed only one shy of his career-best mark set in 2018. Contemplating there are nonetheless 10 video games remaining within the common season, there is a very actual chance Gregory turns in a double-digit sack season — giving the Cowboys two warfare daddies on the sting — simply forward of contract talks opening with the Cowboys within the offseason.

Parsons continued his marketing campaign for 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the 12 months in bullying the Vikings.

The rookie first-round decide was a Visa card on Sunday night time, as he was all over the place the Vikings wished to be. Parsons racked up a team-high 11 mixed tackles, and whereas that itself is spectacular, much more so is the actual fact 10 of them have been solo. The subsequent closest participant in that class was security Jayron Kearse, who had six on the night time. Parsons is not merely a linebacker on protection, the title feeling too small for what he brings to the desk. The NFL ought to create a brand new class for a expertise like his: weapon.

It is over, solely it is not in any respect.

The historic streak of interceptions has come to an finish for Diggs, however you may wager he is nonetheless acquired a number of extra in him earlier than this season is all said-and-done. The previous second-round decide did not steal the present Sunday, which is uncommon, however when you watch the movie you will see he nonetheless form of did. An early penalty however, Diggs helped shut down a harmful Justin Jefferson, who was held to solely 21 receiving yards on two catches with solely 4 targets. It wasn’t the cleanest outing for Diggs, however it was nonetheless impactful.

Lots of what goes into the taking part in on the NFL degree is psychological.

Brown in all probability is aware of this higher than most, having to continuously fight some down moments which have seen him enable or almost enable massive performs — escaping one by Jefferson on an overthrow by Cousins — with massive performs in key moments. Brown shook off the near-miss on Jefferson for what would possibly’ve resulted in a landing and himself halted two third-down makes an attempt by Cousins and the Vikings offense, including 5 tackles to a largely stellar defensive outing by the Cowboys. With the return of rookie second-round decide Kelvin Joseph from injured reserve, the longer Brown can play properly, the more durable it’s going to be for the rookie to overhaul him in 2021.

What a pickup by the Cowboys.

When security Donovan Wilson went down with a groin harm that put him on injured reserve, Kearse stepped in and stepped as much as ranges few anticipated outdoors of himself and possibly defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Kearse has turn into a definitive starter for the Cowboys — be it as a security, a linebacker in massive nickel packages or each — ascending from a man who additionally helped out on particular groups (62% of particular groups snaps in Week 1) to at least one the Cowboys discover too beneficial to danger him there (zero particular groups snaps prior to now two video games and solely 9 complete because the opener). He is at the moment on a one-year deal, however it smells like a re-up quickly cometh. 

Honorable mentions 

Inventory down

While you’re doing all your greatest to impress the teaching employees as a way to hopefully increase your defensive snap rely, making egregious errors on particular groups will not assist your case. Anae had a brutal offsides penalty on fourth-and-five towards the Vikings after the Cowboys protection compelled a punt, and Cousins took benefit of it by main his offense to a area aim that made it a seven-point sport in favor of Minnesota. The Cowboys went on to win, however with factors at a premium in Week 8, this error would possibly’ve price Dallas a victory. Anae was waived Tuesday and if he clears waivers, the staff hopes to re-sign him for additional growth.

Up, down, spherical and spherical goes Vander Esch. His expertise is simple, however he is starting to look a bit misplaced at occasions, and it is in all probability as a result of he is not seeing the majority of the defensive snaps he did previous to Parsons being drafted. In what’s turn into a contract season for Vander Esch, and having now seen the staff launch Jaylon Smith, there’s plenty of stress on the wolf hunter to begin looking wolves once more. Vander Esch is an All-Professional expertise, as he is actually proven earlier than, however the time is now for him to begin displaying it once more. Lots of his sport relies upon momentum, so now he has to adapt to producing it with much less taking part in time than he is accustomed to. 

Issues aren’t going how Jarwin deliberate since coming back from a torn ACL suffered in 2020. He is now seen Dalton Schultz successfully turn into TE1, and he is now put at the least two unhealthy misses on movie this season so far as run blocking goes. Jarwin remains to be a doubtlessly deadly weapon for Prescott, however Schultz has turn into that as properly, and the potential of a returning Sean McKeon shrinks the margin of error for Jarwin that a lot additional. Now coping with a hip harm suffered in Minnesota, he’ll must get higher shortly to stop McKeon from reminding the Cowboys of how promising his camp was previous to harm.

Your inventory has to go down once you’re suspended for 5 video games, as a result of that is simply the way it goes. What makes it much more difficult for Collins is in how, at the least for now, backup deal with Terence Steele stays the starter on the best edge — the Cowboys now experimenting with Collins at guard and presumably inserting him at left deal with within the occasion Tyron Smith can’t play in Week 9 with a bone spur in his ankle. Spin it nevertheless you/they’d like, however it’s clear Collins is within the doghouse with the Cowboys and must get his top off desperately. Enjoying properly at a place he hasn’t taken reps at since school would do the trick and, sure, that is as difficult because it sounds. 

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