Big Picture: 5 Storylines For Cowboys & Dolphins

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The Cowboys and Dolphins appear to be heading in opposite directions. At 2-0, Dallas is one of the best teams in football after two double-digit wins over NFC East opponents.

The Dolphins meanwhile, have not only lost two straight games, but by a combined 92 points, which has historical significance to start a season.

The oddsmakers have the Cowboys to win by 21 points, but in the NFL, obviously, anything can happen. There isn’t a lot of tradition in this rivalry, aside from the Cowboys beating Miami in Super Bowl VI back in 1971. The Dolphins and Cowboys are tied in all-time series history at 7-7.

Here are five quick storylines for each team to get us ready for the action.

Miami

  • As of Tuesday, the Dolphins have not made a quarterback change, but it sounds as if first-year coach Brian Flores is heavily considering benching veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in favor of Josh Rosen. The move is certainly not surprising – not just because the Dolphins have been blown out in two games and have only scored 10 points - but the franchise traded for Rosen, a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2018 and will likely give him a chance to blossom this year. 
  • While one Fitzpatrick might be losing his spot, another Fitzpatrick is now out the door. The Dolphins traded safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers on Monday for Pittsburgh’s 2020 first-round pick. Fitzpatrick, the No. 11 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, was playing safety for the Dolphins but apparently wanted to move to a cornerback spot. When the two sides couldn’t agree on the right fit for Fitzpatrick, he asked for a trade and was granted that Monday night, sending him to another 0-2 team with the Steelers.
  • By losing their first two games 59-10 to Baltimore and then 43-0 to the Patriots, the Dolphins are statistically off to the worst start by a team in the Super Bowl era. The -92-point differential is the worst since 1961, when the Raiders were a -99. The Rochester Jeffersons were outscored by 116 points in their first two games of the 1923 season. Also, the 102 points allowed are the most by any team through two games since the Saints also allowed 102 in the 1973 season.
  • The Dolphins haven’t found consistency in any part of their offense, including the running game, where they have just four rushing first downs through two games. There could be another change in the starting lineup. The Dolphins started Kalen Ballage on Sunday, although Kenyan Drake got more time in the backfield, taking 37 snaps to just 21 for Ballage. Neither back has been overly effective as Drake ran for just 19 yards last week and has 31 over two games. Ballage has nine carries this year for only five yards.
  • The Dolphins’ best playmaker is considered to be receiver DeVante Parker, a former first-round pick in 2015. But in two games this year, he has just three catches for 75 yards – all occurring in Week 1 vs. Baltimore. Parker was targeted seven times last week against the Patriots with no completions.

Cowboys

  • The Cowboys will be without wide receiver Michael Gallup for 2-4 weeks after he underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus. Gallup is the Cowboys’ leading receiver through two games in both catches (13) and receiving yards (226). In his absence, the Cowboys will likely use Devin Smith, who scored his first touchdown in two years on Sunday with with a 49-yard catch. The Cowboys might be down two receivers if Tavon Austin (concussion) is out for another game.
  • Safety Xavier Woods could miss Sunday’s game with the Dolphins with an ankle injury that he sustained late in the game against Washington. Woods was in a walking boot earlier this week and team owner Jerry Jones said his status is “in doubt” for this week, but downplayed the reports that he could miss 4-6 weeks. His replacement could be Darian Thompson and/or Donovan Wilson, who ironically have been coming back from ankle injuries of their own.
  • Antwaun Woods is listed as “day-to-day” from head coach Jason Garrett with his knee injury. While Woods might be ready for Sunday, this could be a chance for rookie Trysten Hill to make his NFL debut.
  • More changes on the defensive line will include the return of pass-rusher Robert Quinn, who is back with the team after serving his 2-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. The Cowboys have until Wednesday to officially place Quinn on the active roster and will have to cut a player to make room.
  • Defensive end Taco Charlton has been inactive for the first two games and his frustration has been evident on his social media. However, both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett said Charlton is in the plans moving forward, but has tough competition each week to be active on the 46-man game day roster. It’ll be even harder now that Quinn is back in the mix.

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