Sullivan: Cowboys O-Line Not Playing Like NFL's Best Among Thoughts

Some of the thoughts that run through an oversized, bald head:

• These last two weeks, to the collective shock of each and all, the Cowboys have been in a position to win because of their defense. The defense has more than done enough to be 2-0. And that's two games down without DeMarcus Lawrence, who by all accounts is ready to emerge as one of the premier young pass rushers in the game. This is coming together better than anyone could have hoped despite the loss in the opener.

• So, I've been guilty of going along for the ride and not seeing what I am watching. And for that, I apologize. Means I've failed at what I'm supposed to do. The Cowboys do not have the best offensive line in the game. They may be paid that way, and that's been the prevailing mindset for more than two seasons now, it's just that, well, it's not true.

• The most recent example of this came on Sunday, which included eight quarterback hits, four sacks, six tackles for loss and a paltry 3.4 yards per carry on rushing attempts. That's pedestrian at best, and when considering those numbers, keep in mind that Prescott is one of the two or three most nimble maneuverers in the pocket on the planet.

• One more point here: While the reputation has been established, and he'll continue being tabbed for Pro Bowls and All-Pro status, Tyron Smith hasn't been in the area code of his play in 2014. Too many penalties, too many allowed sacks, not enough running holes. He still looks like the superior lineman on the field most snaps; it's more about consistency.

• Jason Garrett was on a roll, going for broke, as the saying goes, on fourth-and-1 with a fake handoff that saw Dak Prescott roll out and pass it to Geoff Swaim for a big gain in the first quarter. And then there was the onside kick in the third. He even let Dak throw the ball on third-and-7 late in the fourth quarter, although at least the sack forced Washington to burn its last timeout. Would still like to see more risks, more fourth-down attempts, maybe a trick play here and there.

• These last few weeks, I keep writing down the same three words on the legal pad I use when I watch the game: Dak run more. With his nifty first-down scramble called back on a Travis Frederick holding flag, his lone official attempt was the 6-yard touchdown score. There's no reason he can't be running six or seven times a game, which for my guess is 40 or 50 yards. Take advantage of your talents.

• Since we're on the subject, it's been a long time since a rookie signal-caller has impressed me this way. Zero turnovers in two games. Has improved tenfold since the preseason with his reads, having thrown several second and third looks against Washington. There has been nothing to suggest that Dak isn't ready, willing and able to be a starting quarterback in this league. Not later, either. Like right now.

• This week, painfully, is going to be 24-7 Ezekiel Elliott talk. Going to do everything in my power to avoid it since, you know, it's two freaking games. He showed much better burst and patience than last week and the fumbles shouldn't be an issue moving forward. Think of it as a learning experience.

• Stop running Lance Dunbar through the gut of the line and/or off tackle. Can't even fathom the thought process. Regardless, it's not working. Stop. Please. He belongs in space, always has. Running in the midst of three tons isn't his thing.

• The No. 2 wide receiver has all but evaporated, whether it's Terrance Williams or Brice Butler. Just one of Dak's 30 targets between them. It's really like Cole Beasley has emerged as an almost-every-down guy in the slot. Wouldn't be surprised if he caught 75 balls this season.

• When Tyrone Crawford had that late fourth-quarter sack, the exact words that left my mouth were, "Oh yeah, Tyrone Crawford is still on the team." Wasn't meant to be negative. It's just a stunning thought for how we believed he was going to contribute. Still a lot of football left, though.

• There are way, way, way too many fades thrown on football fields around this great land. It's not a high percentage pass in any way, and for whatever reason, quarterbacks seem to always thrown them with too much arc. Washington probably wins that game minus the existence of the fade.

• Morris Claiborne really played well. My guess is he's the highest-graded player on the defense, followed by Sean Lee. Justin Durant had one of the more impactful series imaginable on Washington's last drive, and Jack Crawford never shut down his engine.

• Not so much under the radar, but more like beneath Death Valley, Chris Jones has emerged as one of the better punters in the league. Scary thing is, by season's end he'll be fifth in franchise history for the most punts.

Check out Jeff Sullivan's column each week in Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. Find out more at DallasCowboys.com/star. You can also follow Jeff on Twitter, @SullyBaldHead, or email him at jsullivan@dallascowboys.net.

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