ARLINGTON, Texas — The Cowboys welcomed in the New York Jets for their home opener on Sunday afternoon and walked away with a resounding 30-10 victory that saw the offense get rolling early and the defense carry their momentum from week one.
There was a lot to take away from yet another rout against a New York team. Here are 5 Takes, presented by Take 5 Oil Change.
1. Mike McCarthy was the biggest key to the offensive success.
It started with the first drive of the game – one that McCarthy wanted right off the bat after winning the coin toss – where the offense drove down the field in 12 plays by utilizing Tony Pollard in the run game, opening up passing lanes for Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb and making room for Jake Ferguson to punch in a goal line touchdown reception. As the game went on, McCarthy utilized multiple offensive weapons: KaVontae Turpin, Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn, Jalen Tolbert (more on him later) and even Luke Schoonmaker on the goal line. This offense is best when getting the ball out quick, and McCarthy once again put Dak Prescott in situations to do just that. It was an efficient and productive outing for the Dallas offense on Sunday afternoon, and it was attributed in large part to the man making the calls on the sideline.
2. Trevon Diggs has taken another big step.
Maybe that veteran help from Stephon Gilmore has paid off. Through two games, Diggs has given up just two receptions for 26 yards in coverage, and he looked at his best on Sunday in coverage against Allen Lazard and Garrett Wilson. The defensive line has been a huge contributor to the secondary having a smooth eight quarters so far, but even when Diggs has been tested downfield, there hasn't been any success. After laying down a pair of big hits in week one that we hadn't seen from Diggs before and after a couple of downfield pass breakups and his first interception in week two, it's safe to say that Trevon Diggs has taken yet another step in his ability in 2023.
3. Brandon Aubrey should be the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Have a day, rookie! Kicker Brandon Aubrey converted on all five of his field goal opportunities on Sunday afternoon from 35, 21, 55, 26 and 30 yards to become the first Cowboys kicker to make five opportunities since Dan Bailey in 2013. With such a huge performance, NFC honors should come his way following the week. Not only have the Cowboys found a reliable kicker, but they've found one with distance and consistency. Going into the preseason, I'm not so sure that would've been something that they could've expected by week two.
4. Redzone offense is a concern.
If I had to take away one glaring negative from the first two weeks, it would be the Cowboys' inability to capitalize in the redzone. On Sunday, the Cowboys scored touchdowns on just two of their six redzone trips as the run game was stifled in short yardage situations and the pass game became a lot less multiple inside the 20 than what we saw in the open field. It seemed as though the tight ends in the pass game were the only bright spot inside the redzone with Ferguson and Schoonmaker both notching goal line touchdowns, but in close games later in the season, the offense will need a lot more than that to punch meaningful points across the board.
5. Jalen Tolbert is here to stay.
With Brandin Cooks out with a knee injury, it was up to the supporting cast around CeeDee Lamb to pick up the slack in the receiving corps, and Jalen Tolbert proved to be a big contributor on Sunday afternoon. Although all three of his possessions came on one drive, we saw things from Tolbert that were impossible to fathom during a rookie season for the South Alabama product that saw him cost Dallas more than he helped them. We saw confidence in route running. We saw physicality after the catch to pick up first downs. More importantly, we saw a reliable depth wide receiver that can step in when needed, just like he did on Sunday.