Which player has thoroughly surprised you through the first quarter of the season?
Corey: The biggest surprise through the first four games for me is Robert Quinn. Quinn has only played in the last two games but he has wasted no time making an impact on this team. When the Cowboys traded a sixth-round pick for Quinn this offseason, I knew he could have an impact but he has by far been the best player on the defense in the two games he has played. He has three sacks, four quarterback hurries and 8 QB knockdowns.
Juwan: Weird timing with this answer but I’ll have to go with Dak Prescott. Before Sunday night, he was making a solid conclusive case that Scott Linehan was at the forefront of the offensive struggles last year. Even against New Orleans, Prescott suffered from inadequate play from his offensive line and wide receivers. I know being “a prisoner of the moment” can often harm objectivity, but Prescott had looked like a quarterback whose market was going to rise after this season.
EA: The biggest surprise has been La’el Collins. I thought it was maybe a mistake to give an extension to a player who hasn’t been that dominant on the offensive line. Through four weeks, he’s changed my mind. Collins has arguably been one of the best linemen in the NFL.
Which player do you need to see more from?
Corey: I am going to say Chidobe Awuzie is the player I want to see more from because him playing well is so important. A lot of teams are not going to challenge Byron Jones so that leaves Chido on the other side and quarterbacks are going to challenge him. One area of improvement that I see when I watch Awuzie is the ability to get his head turned around to locate the football.
Juwan: My original answer was DeMarcus Lawrence, but the film guys will argue to death about his contributions outside the box score. But I’ll stick on that side of the ball and go with Chidobe Awuzie. You could pick a couple of members out of the secondary, but Awuzie seems to be the one most targeted. I’m not asking for him to become the second coming of Deion Sanders, but this defense has sorely lacked the ability to take the ball away. Awuzie, along with Jeff Heath, has to take advantage of the opportunities they’re given in order for this defense to take the next step.
EA: I’ve got two players, Chidobe Awuize and Dorance Armstrong. Though Chido had that pick last week, his play has been erratic all year long. He needs to settle down and focus on his ball awareness because it’s allowing him to get beat badly. For Armstrong, he’s been a ghost. This guy had a lot of hype going for him in the offseason and so far it’s not translated well. For a talented player, he needs to make some flashes for me.
Should we still have confidence in the offense?
Corey: Absolutely. There is no doubt the Cowboys had a tough game Sunday night in New Orleans. I think there were several layers to the struggles starting with the game-plan. I think the Cowboys went into the game with a very conservative plan due to being on the road in a hostile environment and it backfired on them. With that being said, the Cowboys still had a chance to win that game. There were untimely mistakes by guys you wouldn’t expect to make critical mistakes. With the limited possessions the Cowboys got in this game, the game came down to four plays to me, which were the Jason Witten fumble, Ezekiel Elliott fumble, Cobb drop on 3rd and 2 and then Dak misfiring to Cobb in the end zone early in the game. I believe if any of those four plays got the other way, the Cowboys find a way to win that game.
Juwan: Yes you should. Because we follow this team so closely we often overrate how talented some players are. Devin Smith flashed a few games ago and Randal Cobb has been a nice replacement for Cole Beasley. However, they are role players designed to be compliments to a primary X and Y receiver. This offense has missed Michael Gallup. Given how great he looked until his injury, I’m not ready to discount Prescott or Kellen Moore until he returns.
EA: Yes, one bad game doesn’t derail a season. All teams have bad games. The key is not to make it a trend. It will be harder to overcome it now since the offensive line is banged up, but they can rebound. Just need to get back to the same gameplan they had in weeks 1-3. If we’re asking this question in four weeks, then sound the panic alarm.
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