Cowboys stock up, stock down going into Week 2: Dak Prescott blasts off, Greg Zuerlein torpedoes

Issues did not go how the Dallas Cowboys hoped they’d after they visited Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, but there was plenty of good to take away from it with out wandering into the harmful territory of “ethical victory.” Dak Prescott returned and regarded higher than good; hell, he regarded higher than nice. The two-time Pro Bowler looked better than the most effective quarterback to ever play the sport, who occurred to be on the opposite sideline. So whereas Brady received the win (most essential), discover was despatched that Prescott was again in enterprise, and enterprise is once more booming offensively in Dallas.

Moreover, the Cowboys protection noticed their mojo in takeaways — momentum that started final December — roll over into the season opener, with former second-round choose Trevon Diggs becoming a member of others like security Damontae Kazee and All-Professional go rusher DeMarcus Lawrence in giving the Cowboys further possessions. That stated, it clearly wasn’t all good, or they’d’ve gained, as an alternative heading into their Week 2 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers hoping to see these whose inventory dropped final week see a spike on Sunday, in order that they may keep away from an 0-2 begin to the season as they attempt to figure out the right tackle situation in the absence of La’el Collins.

Whose needle moved north after the common season opener? And whose dipped within the improper path??

Let’s discuss it.

Fill up: 

Dak Prescott, QB

To infinity, and past. Any questions you may’ve had on if Prescott’s well being at the moment are put to mattress, together with any hypothesis of potential rust in his first recreation again since happening with a season-ending fractured ankle 333 days prior. The 2-time Professional Bowler took the sphere in opposition to the GOAT and outplayed him at each flip — the one motive for the Cowboys loss being attributable to missed kicks that price Dallas 4 factors and uncharacteristic drops by CeeDee Lamb that not solely stalled a drive or two, but in addition gave Tom Brady an additional possession and landing for the Buccaneers

For his half, Prescott completed with 403 passing yards and three touchdowns in a masterful efficiency — each one among his yards being significant — made much more spectacular by it being his return to the sphere, and he is making my predictions of him being a frontrunner for both NFL MVP and NFL Comeback Player of the Year look very, very realistic.

Amari Cooper, WR

It appears to be a factor these days to query Cooper going into each season, however he as soon as once more shrugged them off. For whereas it has been CeeDee Lamb carrying the offseason headlines after a record-breaking rookie season, be not misled, as a result of Cooper remains to be WR1 in Dallas; and he proved it in Week 1. Cooper joined Prescott in placing a flamethrower to the Buccaneers secondary en path to catching 13 of his 16 targets for 139 yards and two touchdowns, and there wasn’t a single route he could not run that did not see him put the defender on skates. And, like Prescott, the actual fact Cooper did not follow for a lot of coaching camp as a consequence of damage really drives dwelling his worth to the membership.

Someday, this receiving unit will likely be led by Lamb because the definitive alpha, however that day is just not right now. For whereas the gifted teen continues to work by some youthful hiccups, Cooper already has it all figured out. He is a deadly weapon, the likes of which might make Danny Glover and Mel Gibson blush. 

Trevon Diggs, CB

Diggs has 4 interceptions in his first 12 profession NFL begins, and that is phenomenal as a standalone merchandise, however add in context and it turns into mind-blowing. The previous second-round choose has been solely fingertips away from having two or three extra INTs to his tally, and a type of near-misses got here on Thursday evening. After already selecting off the immortal Tom Brady earlier within the recreation, he got here a fingernail away from touchdown a second (and game-sealing) interception late within the fourth quarter when he jumped backwards at a 45-degree angle and practically despatched the Cowboys to a 1-0 report in jaw-dropping vogue. 

Excited for the brand new Cowboys season? We’re too! Follow along on the CBS Sports app and get the most recent insights from Patrik Walker, who’s on the bottom in Dallas. Plus, get the most recent Dak Prescott information and far more from our workforce of specialists. If you have already got the app, you might want to set the Cowboys as your favourite workforce for up-to-the-second information and evaluation.

A takeaway-starved protection previous to touchdown Diggs, he continues to indicate he is on monitor to be the subsequent premier cornerback within the NFL, and everybody received reminded of his trajectory in Week 1. 

Damontae Kazee, S

The protection place has perennially been an space of concern for the Cowboys, however there’s an opportunity they’ve it found out for the 2021 season, largely due to the addition of Kazee and probably Malik Hooker in free company to play alongside Donovan Wilson. With Hooker inactive for Week 1 as he closes in on his debut for the Cowboys, nonetheless, it was Kazee taking the sphere as starter and hoping to hit the bottom working — eager to regain his prime kind that existed previous to struggling a torn Achilles through the 2020 season. 

He’d just do that, making a pivotal takeaway when he compelled wideout Chris Godwin to fumble on the Cowboys two-yard line, recovered by cornerback Jourdan Lewis to offer Prescott a shot at mounting a game-winning drive. He practically did, too, nevertheless it was undone by Brady within the waning moments of the sport. Kazee, nonetheless, confirmed he is getting again to kind, and in brief order.

Inventory Down:

Greg Zuerlein, Ok

He’s not making any excuses, and that is good, as a result of there are no available. Now again from an offseason again damage that stored him out of a lot of camp, the veteran kicker wanted to be on his greatest habits if the Cowboys had been going to upset the Buccaneers, however he was as an alternative an issue little one like Junior Healy. Toss the 60-yard try apart as a result of it is debatable if Large Ben Healy ought to’ve made that decision within the first place, however once you line up for a 31-yard discipline aim within the NFL, you make it. And when your workforce finds pay dust with a landing and also you line up for a PAT, you make it — interval.

Sadly for Zuerlein, he missed each, and left 4 factors on the sphere in a contest whereby the Cowboys misplaced by two. He wasn’t the one motive they’re now 0-1, fact be advised, however he is arguably the most important. And with the club re-signing Lirim Hajrullahu as insurance coverage, he higher make sure that he is on the best aspect of the Cowboys confidence one week from now.

Anthony Brown, CB

You most likely knew that, in Spanish, the title “Antonio” means “Anthony.” On Thursday, that is the place the equality stopped, as a result of whereas Antonio Brown and Anthony Brown mainly have the identical title — in several languages — they are not on the identical planet when it is time to play American soccer. Brady realized this early on, focusing on the Cowboys veteran cornerback with one throw after one other after seeing him battle in opposition to the quickness and pace of the previous All-Professional. 

By the point it was all stated and executed, one of many Browns had completed the competition with 121 receiving yards and a landing on solely 5 catches whereas the opposite left with a protection grade of 49.3 and a tackling grade of solely 36.9 — per PFF. The Cowboys awarded Jourdan Lewis a three-year deal this offseason, drafted a number of cornerbacks and noticed Maurice Canady impress in camp and preseason in his return from 2020 opt-out, so an otherwise-capable Brown cannot afford many extra video games just like the one he had in Week 1, the place his cobertura was sadly basura.

CeeDee Lamb, WR

It is a title you will not see on this class usually, however the game-breaking wideout earned a spot right here this week. Lamb is a dynamo, lightning in a bottle, and a complete lot extra for the Cowboys however what he wasn’t on Thursday evening was constant. His aforementioned drops started early, failing to reel in two passes from Prescott on a promising opening drive that — as an alternative of possible ending in a landing — led to no factors for Dallas, after which a landing on the opposite finish by Brady on the subsequent drive. Lamb would discover some kind of groove at instances, ending with a few key grabs that prolonged drives and put him over the 100-yard mark, together with a pivotal landing catch, however he caught solely eight of his 15 targets.

So by the point he created the tip drill interception that led to a different TD drive by Brady (in the event you’re holding monitor, that is 14 factors that got here straight after a drives ended by Lamb’s drops), it was all of the Cowboys might do to not pull their hair out. Lamb is healthier than what he confirmed in Week 1, however his inventory is down a smidge, if just for a couple of days in what must be one other stellar season to return.

Blake Jarwin, TE

This is not the return to the sphere Jarwin hoped for. One of many higher playmakers on the Cowboys roster, Jarwin is coming back from a season-ending torn ACL suffered in 2020 and desires to select up proper the place he left off, nevertheless it’s a gradual begin for him heading into the Week 2 battle with the Los Angeles Chargers. The excellent news is he caught three of his 4 targets on a day whereby Prescott opted to key in on the mismatch introduced to Cooper, however Jarwin is not on the improper aspect of this text due to something he did or did not do within the receiving recreation. It is as a result of the workforce wanted him to make a clear block that will’ve allowed Ezekiel Elliott to problem a defender one-on-one in house — benefit Elliott — however as an alternative noticed him have to drag up brief to account for 2 defenders after Jarwin whiffed on his task. 

It resulted in additional factors left on the sphere by the Cowboys, who may’ve blown the Buccaneers out at Raymond James Stadium if they may’ve gotten errors like missed kicks, drops and a whiffed block hadn’t made Tampa Bay the higher workforce when, all advised, it would not seem they had been.

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