5 Things That Have Gone Wrong For The Dallas Cowboys This Season

The Dallas Cowboys are 2-6 – only a game out of first place in the NFC East, but still in a very bad position near the midpoint of their season. There are some obvious reasons for the Cowboys’ struggles, but those obvious reasons can’t be allowed to overshadow the other big problems with this team. If you’re looking for places to bet on or against them each week, you can find the best sportsbooks at sportsbookaudit.com but for now, let’s take a look at the five reasons why their season has been a nightmare.

The Dak Prescott Injury
The biggest reason the Cowboys are in trouble for the remainder of their 2020 season is the long-term injury to Dak Prescott, who will miss the rest of the season and faces a very long rehabilitation program after having ankle surgery to heal a compound fracture and dislocation. Without Dak, the Cowboys’ offense is limited. Some people felt Andy Dalton would not be a significant downgrade from Dak, but recent bad performances against the Arizona Cardinals and the Washington Football Team indicate that is not true. Dalton isn’t nearly as good as Dak, so that alone hurt the Cowboys’ future plans.

The key point with Dak, however, is that while his absence hurts the Cowboys in their remaining nine games, it’s not as though he was able to compensate for this team’s flaws while he was playing. Dak won only one game this season in which he started and finished a game as the Cowboys’ quarterback. He started the game against the Giants, but after his injury, Dalton finished it. Dak’s only wire-to-wire win this season was against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, and that win was possible only because the Falcons’ special-teams unit improbably allowed a slow-rolling onside kick to roll 10 yards before the Cowboys recovered it. Dallas easily could have started the season 0-4 with Dak Prescott healthy. It’s not as though Dak overcame the other many flaws on the Cowboys. As stated before, his absence hurts the future; it didn’t improve the past.

The Andy Dalton Injury
Though Dalton isn’t nearly as good as Dak Prescott, he’s a lot better than third-stringer Ben DiNucci, who has to fill in for Dalton this upcoming Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Dalton was injured on a vicious headshot from Jon Bostic of the Washington Football Team. Dalton has been in the NFL for a decade, so rushing him back into action is not wise. The Cowboys are being smart by holding him out of the Eagle game. Given that Dallas has a bad record, the team might be best advised to simply take its lumps from this point onward, fall to a 3-13 or 4-12 record, and get a very high draft pick. The Cowboys have so many problems that they will need a top-10-caliber pick to improve their fortunes for 2021. They don’t know if Dak Prescott will be healthy in time for the 2021 opener, but they do know if they don’t make other big upgrades, they’re in trouble for next year.

Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan Changing The Defensive Scheme From 2019
The new coaching staff in Dallas, led by head coach Mike McCarthy, decided to change 2019’s successful defensive scheme devised by coordinator Rod Marinelli. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan wanted players to learn a new system with new points of emphasis. This has clearly not fit the talents of his players on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys gave up 39 points to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, then 38 to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3, then 49 points to the Cleveland Browns in Week 4. The New York Giants have rarely scored more than 13 points in any game this season, but they scored 27 against the Cowboys. Nothing about this defensive scheme is working. Everson Griffen, a high-profile signing in the offseason who increased optimism that Dallas would be able to become a Super Bowl contender in the NFC, has been a complete bust, so much so that he was just traded in the past week to the Detroit Lions for a minor amount of compensation. The Cowboys also traded another member of their defensive line, Dontari Poe, to clear salary and reduce their cap commitments in the face of everything which is going on.

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Tyron Smith Out For Season
The Cowboys have a future Hall of Famer on their roster, offensive lineman Tyron Smith. The hulking beast out of USC has been an anchor for this line at the tackle spot for several years. At age 29, Smith still has many years of good service to give to Dallas, and his presence gives the team reassurance that Dak Prescott can count on good pass protection. Smith being out is a massive blow for this team; seeing Andy Dalton get bruised and banged up in the loss to Washington over the past weekend showed exactly what happens when an offensive lineman of Smith’s caliber is removed from the equation.

Ezekiel Elliott’s Fumbling Problem
It happened at home against the Atlanta Falcons. It happened at home against the Cleveland Browns. It happened at home on Monday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals. Zeke Elliott keeps fumbling the ball in Cowboy home games this season. He keeps committing turnovers which enable opponents to score early-game touchdowns and grab a double-digit lead in the first half, which forces the Cowboys to have to scramble in second halves, throwing on nearly every down and risking their quarterbacks’ bodies. Elliott has shown how good he can be when everything is working well. He owns considerable physical skills, a great mixture of power and agility. However, no running back – regardless of his physical talent or raw potential – can play a lot of snaps when he continues to put the ball on the ground. Elliott has been a huge liability to the Cowboys this season. When you also realize how terrible the Dallas defense has been, Elliott’s mistakes have occurred in a context where the Cowboys have no margin for error.

In previous seasons, a good defense would have had Elliott’s back and would have bailed him out a few times. This year’s defense isn’t strong enough to do that, creating a perfect storm of misery – and losing – in Big D.

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