ARLINGTON, Texas– Before this game, Cowboys fans, coaches, players and anyone else that cares about this team, had every reason to be excited, and certainly optimistic about what Dak Prescott would be able to do.
And for the most part, I'm sure that excitement hasn't wilted after one game.
I was right there, too. Of course, I think Tony Romo gives them the best chance to win, but from everything we've seen from Dak in the preseason, he gave us some hope that this wouldn't be like last year.
One game into the 2016 season, and it's exactly like last year.
Hey, I'm not saying get ready for 4-12, by any means. And I know it's one game, and one game the Cowboys had plenty of chances to win.
What I am saying is that even though he might have a different style of play than last year's backups, the result, and some of the production throughout the game is the same, so far.
On Friday, during our daily podcast, Cowboys Break, the panel had a heated discussion about the Cowboys' coaching staff and if they would open up the offense with Dak. Would they trust him to go out and make the plays, risking that the rookie making his NFL debut might struggle now and then.
We saw it last year when Brandon Weeden took over. He has one of the strongest arms around, but when it came time for him to start, the Cowboys really didn't give him free reign. The result was solid plays for the most part, but a lack of execution close to the end zone.
And once again, that's what we saw Sunday against the Giants.
[embeddedad0]Now, before I get bombarded with tweets, emails or blasted in the comments section here, let me reiterate my stance on being aggressive. To me, throwing the ball down the field doesn't mean you're opening up the offense. In some cases, it's one of the safest plays in the book. Those throws to Dez Bryant where he's near the back of the end zone and has a jump ball with the defender isn't what I call taking a risk.
Again, that's what the Cowboys tried with Weeden, particularly in that Saints game last year. The shots they took were to the outside and deep, but nothing over the middle that could result in bad plays.
With Dak, that's what happened here, as he relied on the check-down passes. Jason Witten gets targeted 14 times? Beasley gets 12 targets. Together they had 17 receptions for a total of … 131 yards.
Too much underneath and not enough vertical, or at least deep crosses.
This is what we saw last year.
For the life of me, I can't understand Dez getting one catch for eight yards. Every star receiver in the league gets doubled, and they find ways to get the ball in his hands. The fact that he's so good after the catch, Dez should be getting bubble-screens, an occasional reverse or just a few slants over the middle. Instead, they only took shots deep with him, and even though he's a great jump-ball player, it's still not the highest of percentage plays.
And something has to give with the Giants' defense. While they were committing eight players in the box on many snaps, it's baffling that they could do that … and … cover Dez with a safety over the top.
These are things Scott Linehan has to figure out as the offensive coordinator. It's his job to get Dez the football, and if that can happen consistently, it'll probably open things up more in the running game, which wasn't very spectacular, to say the least.
Do I think Dak has something to him? You bet I do.
Do I think he's an upgrade over what they had last year? Yes, I do. Even right now when he's only started one game.
Something inside tells me the Cowboys are going to be all right with Dak Prescott, as long as he has to play.
But one game into this Dak era, and it might feel a little bit different than last year.
But so far, it's really not.