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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

Super Bowl or bust: The Cowboys’ dilemma

Dallas+Cowboys+Quarterback+Dak+Prescott+on+the+bench+during+the+losing+effort+against+the+San+Francisco+49ers.
Photo/Associated Press
Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott on the bench during the losing effort against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Dallas Cowboys went into their sixth game of the season against the Los Angeles Chargers with a 3-2 record. At press time find themselves in second place of the NFC East as well as seventh in the NFC. The Cowboys’ first five games left fans with more questions than answers.
Although the defense looks like one of the more dominant units in the NFL, the offensive struggles the Cowboys have faced are making fans wonder what the issue is with a team that on paper should be one of the best in the league. Unfortunately, the game against the San Francisco 49ers made it painfully clear what the team issues seem to be.
The Cowboys offensive struggles have been clear since the first game against the Giants this season. Out of the 40 points the Cowboys scored that night, it wasn’t until halfway through the second quarter that the offense finally broke through and scored a touchdown. Up until then the two offensive possessions the Cowboys had resulted in only field goals.
So far, the Cowboys have only scored nine offensive touchdowns all season and are projected to score under 31 touchdowns if things continue this way, which is a very worrying stat considering last year they scored 52 touch-downs despite not having quarterback Dak Prescott for six games.
The red zone seems to be a huge issue for the Cowboys considering they have only converted 40% of their red zone opportunities and failed to score a touchdown in their past five red zone opportunities.
As good as Tony Pollard is, he is not a power back the way Zeke Elliott was, limiting the Cowboys on their goal-to-go situations. However, this is not the main problem with the offense.
Going into the 2023 season, many critics and fans (myself included) claimed that this season is a make-or-break season for Dak, with many fans calling for the Cowboys to trade the eight year veteran or even release him after the abysmal showing he had against the 49ers.
Dak completed under 60% of his passes for the second time this season as well as throwing under 155 yards for the second time this season.
For a quarterback who has the offensive weapons Dak does this simply is not accept-able, which is heartbreaking to say the least since Dak has proven himself to be an exceptional human being as well as leader.
Unfortunately, he simply does not have what it takes to lead the Cowboys to the high-est level of play.
There have been two games so far where the Cowboys needed Dak to deliver, and when they needed him to deliver the most, he would deliver the ball to opposing defenses thus ending in interceptions. Dak ended up throwing interceptions on back-to-back-to-back drives putting the game out of reach for the Cowboys and facilitating the 49ers to remain perfect this season. Dak’s decision making has time and time again proven to be subpar.
Head coach Mike McCarthy had to simplify the offensive scheme for Dak, which at first sounded good but has now led to a very predictable brand of football.
Not only that but Dak seems to panic in the pocket unless he has over four or five seconds to go through progressions. If Dak does not see his first read open, he will automatically re-sort to a checkdown rather than going through his progressions.
Then there are the moments where he forces the ball to a receiver leading to the defense getting either an easy interception or showing fans why they are defenders and not receivers due to their inability to catch. That being said, I genuinely do not believe the Cowboys can win a Super Bowl with Dak at the helm.
The Cowboys’ best move might be to move on from the quarterback who has been the face of the franchise for the past eight years and bring in a veteran quarterback, almost like what the Rams did with Matthew Stafford two years ago.
Now, despite the Cowboys’ offensive woes there are very bright shimmers of hope coming from the defense and special teams. Led by Micah Parsons, the Cowboys defense looks like one of the better units in the league. The defense so far have amassed 15 sacks, seven interceptions, five fumble recoveries and 25 tackles for loss, as well as scoring a whopping three defensive touchdowns. Parsons is the heart and soul of this defense, with teams doing all they can to shut him down.
Parsons is currently viewed as not only one of the top defensive players in the league, but also one of the top players overall. It also seems like the Cowboys have fixed their kicker issues with the addition of Brandon Aubrey.
He has been perfect on field goals as well as extra points, except for one miss in his first ever PAT. Bryan Anger, the punter, has also been nothing short of amazing, averaging around 50 yards per punt. Special teams look good and that honestly is something I did not think I would say recently.
Overall, the Cowboys have the tools to be one of the best teams in the league, if not the best team in the league.
The biggest downside to the Cowboys continues to be their offense. If the Cowboys manage to fix the glaring issues they are facing right now offensively, I can see them making it to the playoffs and once again getting knocked out in the divisional round. Other than that, there will be no Super Bowl for Dallas until they get a new quarterback.

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