Good, Bad, Ugly: Cowboys coaching prep was abject failure in Week 1

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Raise your hand if you thought that was how the Dallas Cowboys were going to look for their season opener in Los Angeles. It wasn’t a great start for the Mike McCarthy era, whose team looked an awful lot like the teams from the Jason Garrett tenure in the Cowboys’ 20-17 loss against the Rams.” data-reactid=”22″>Raise your hand if you thought that was how the Dallas Cowboys were going to look for their season opener in Los Angeles. It wasn’t a great start for the Mike McCarthy era, whose team looked an awful lot like the teams from the Jason Garrett tenure in the Cowboys’ 20-17 loss against the Rams.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly for the Cowboys as they open up the season at 0-1.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Good” data-reactid=”24″>The Good

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott warms up before an NFL football game agains the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis )” data-reactid=”45″>Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott warms up before an NFL football game agains the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis )

On a rough night for the offense, it wasn’t hard to find positives in RB Ezekiel Elliott’s play. The star runner had 96 yards and two touchdowns on the game.

Elliott ran with the power and quickness that he showed during the last half of the 2019 season. The Cowboys also made an effort to use him in the passing game in the first half, but that inexplicably disappeared in the last 30 minutes. Elliott looks as though he’s primed for a big year.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The defense was lost for most of the game, but DE Aldon Smith came to play. In his first action since 2015, Smith showed glimpses of the menace he was when he entered the league. Smith helped create the Cowboys’ only turnover and had the lone sack on the defense.” data-reactid=”48″>The defense was lost for most of the game, but DE Aldon Smith came to play. In his first action since 2015, Smith showed glimpses of the menace he was when he entered the league. Smith helped create the Cowboys’ only turnover and had the lone sack on the defense.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Bad” data-reactid=”49″>The Bad

Injuries are a part of the game, but the Cowboys got hit with two big ones that will have long lasting ramifications. They also came at two positions the team could ill afford to have injuries.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="LB Leighton Vander Esch’s fractured collarbone is a tough blow as he was healthy and heading into his first season at MLB. With Sean Lee already out for the first three weeks of the season, the defense will have to find an answer as Vander Esch will be out for between six-to-eight weeks. Joe Thomas fills in for Vander Esch but it’s a drop in play.” data-reactid=”53″>LB Leighton Vander Esch’s fractured collarbone is a tough blow as he was healthy and heading into his first season at MLB. With Sean Lee already out for the first three weeks of the season, the defense will have to find an answer as Vander Esch will be out for between six-to-eight weeks. Joe Thomas fills in for Vander Esch but it’s a drop in play.

There was already worry about his fragility coming into the league and Vander Esch’s latest injury won’t do anything quell that talk.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Blake Jarwin’s season-ending torn ACL is a killer. The offense was counting on Jarwin to wreak havoc in the middle of the field and they have no TE on the roster who’s capable of making the same impact as Jarwin. It’s a crushing blow to the offense and now the team must regroup and figure out what to do at TE.” data-reactid=”55″>Blake Jarwin’s season-ending torn ACL is a killer. The offense was counting on Jarwin to wreak havoc in the middle of the field and they have no TE on the roster who’s capable of making the same impact as Jarwin. It’s a crushing blow to the offense and now the team must regroup and figure out what to do at TE.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Ugly” data-reactid=”56″>The Ugly

It was all ugly for the most part. The offense looked an awful lot like the one that so many complained about in 2019. There were too many first down runs and there wasn’t enough of the Cowboys taking their shots down the field.

McCarthy was applauded for keeping OC Kellen Moore, but it wasn’t a strong effort for Moore to start the season. There wasn’t enough pre-snap motion and the quick out, comeback route combinations were eerily reminiscent of the old offensive philosophy.

The defense looked ill prepared to play a Rams offense that utilizes play fakes and bootlegs more than any other team in the league. Also, the CB’s weren’t in the same zip code as the Rams WR’s on numerous plays. Mike Nolan’s unit was fooled all game and they were fortunate to only give up 20 points.

Where was the blitzing or the aggressive defense we thought we were getting from Nolan?

Dallas was outplayed on both sides of the ball in their season opening loss. Most of the game was ugly and the Cowboys need to fix things quickly before it gets even uglier.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi” data-reactid=”64″>You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

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