This week I had a chance to Zoom chat with DallasCowboys.com staff writer, David Helman.
I got to ask him about some big questions surrounding the Cowboys and hear what an insider like him had to say about them.
After the Rams game last Sunday, many fans are already concerned about this team. The loss was a poor start to a season that many were thinking could lead to a sixth Super Bowl for the franchise. I asked Helman for his season prediction.
He was still confident in the team, the loss was not great, but he thinks they can bounce back.
“Everybody is freaking out and that’s fine; they didn’t look good on Sunday. The NFC East is still not very good, and I think the Cowboys are ultimately pretty good. I said 10-6 and win the East and I don’t feel as good about it as I did before Sunday, but I still think that’s realistic.”
The excitement of the offseason definitely got Cowboys fans hyped for the season. The new coaching staff, the addition of CeeDee Lamb, and multiple other players signed from the free agency was a lot of change.
Was the excitement an over-reaction?
Especially, when the team had a short pre-season and a new coach, who was setting up his program over zoom.
“The first thing you learn about the Cowboys is that it’s the biggest, most popular, most visible football team in the world. There is no lukewarm with the Cowboys, everything is either amazing or terrible. That’s how it is and always will be. So, yea people probably did get too hype, but that’s the expectation around here and I don’t blame them when you think about everything the Cowboys did this offseason.”
After Sunday’s game, many were asking what was different from last year. Jason Garrett is gone. However, if you did not know any better you would have thought he was still coaching on the sideline.
It was not just the fans who noticed the lack of change. Helman also agreed that the team did not look much different from last season.
“It’s not that they lost. Everybody knew they were going to lose some games this year. It’s that they looked like the exact same team from last year. After nine months of talking about all this dramatic change, they looked very similar. The passing concepts, shaky pass protection, obviously the defense, and the cornerbacks being so close but not close enough all looked the same.”
However, a big difference was the team electing to go for it on fourth down.
This barely ever happened in the Garrett era.
This call was divisive among the fan base, but Helman said he loved it.
“I thought that was great. They saw a favorable box on 3rd and 6 and they ran the ball to set up a 4th and short, so basically, they knew one play ahead of time that they wanted to go for it. That’s the type of thing we never would have seen from Jason Garrett.”
As for how the Cowboys can solve the loss of Blake Jarwin and Leighton Vander Esch, Helman said they’re just going to have to hold on.
“With Vander Esch, you probably hold on for dear life and Sean Lee hopefully returns from IR in a couple of weeks to help. Joe Thomas is a decent spot starter who can do the job for the time being. Between him and Lee coming back you kind of just hope for the best until Vander Esch can come back.”
“I really don’t know what they are going to do about the tight end position. It doesn’t look like they are going to sign someone from outside right now, but you got Dalton Shultz, Blake Bell, and Sean McKeon. Cole Hikutini is on the practice squad, however, I just listed four guys that have not done much in the NFL. So, unless they’re going to go get someone like Delanie Walker, which I doubt they will do, my best guess is to try and use more receivers and running backs to offset not having a true tight end anymore.”
Dallas plays the Falcons this weekend, and hopefully, we start to see some changes.
For now, we can use the excuse of last Sunday being their first game to explain the loss.
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