Cowboys fans have many reasons to feel good about Thursday night’s opener. There’s one reason for concern, however.
The Cowboys threw the ball way too much. Fifty-eight passes, against 18 runs. That’s more than 75 percent of the time throwing.
Quarterback Dan Prescott looked great. He looked better than ever. But it’s hard to imagine him or anyone else putting in that kind of effort 16 more times.
“We got — it’s easy to say, but as you know, to establish a passing game against a big time front, and they’ve got it,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “The Bucs have a big time defensive front. You got to go against that wall and you got to have a lot of one-yard runs that when you got a quarterback and you can make a play like that we’re able to make in the passing game, that’s going to be a challenge because you got to wear them down with that running game. It just didn’t go that way, but that’s the anecdote. The running game takes early patience.”
Like many things Jerry says, it takes a little effort to discern the point. Arguably, he’s acknowledging that the Cowboys didn’t have “early patience” with the running game. Whether that was the plan or whether it just happened isn’t known.
On their first drive of the game, the Cowboys went pass, run (four yards), pass, run (two yards), run (four yards), pass, pass, pass, pass, punt. The next time the Cowboys got the ball, the Bucs had just scored a touchdown. That’s when the running game went out the window, with seven straight passes that culminated in a touchdown.
Although the Cowboys passed the ball very well, they need more balance in their offense. Every team needs balance in the offense. Ideally, every offense needs to be so balanced that, on any given play, the defense doesn’t know what’s coming.
Yes, certain circumstances will scream out “pass.” In situations like first and 10 or second and seven or third and five, the most balanced offenses are in the best position to keep the defense guessing. For the Tampa Bay defense on Thursday night, there wasn’t a lot of guessing to be done.