Dallas Cowboys’ new rookie starter duo quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliot have been under an intense spotlight since the season began. So much so, the truth about the two has been overshadowed. The reality is that neither of them really matter. Well, at least as not as much as everyone thinks anyway.
First, congratulations are in order to the two players for having an amazing season so far and for lighting up the stat sheets. The Cowboys’ only blemish to date is their season opener and they are currently leading their division.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) November 6, 2016
However, we have seen shimmers of hope in the ‘Boys many times before in past seasons, so fan conviction and optimism is probably fragile right now. Granted, their worst nightmare of an injured quarterback in Tony Romo has already taken place, so they can exhale a bit. Customarily, Romo goes down with his usual seasonal injury closer to midseason (as he’s done the past few years), which puts him out for a minimum of six weeks. But, sometimes people outgrow tradition, and well, Romo exited back in Game 1, this time with a compressed back fracture.
— Troy Hughes™ (@TommySledge) November 7, 2016
With the starting quarterback ruled out, rookie backup Dak Prescott took the wheel and joined fellow rookie teammate Zeke Elliot, who was already starting. Fast forward to now. The Cowboys are a winning team. Naturally, people began to associate the success with the only visibly altered variables…Dak and Zeke. These two are being considered the keys that will unlock a championship run for Dallas. Contrary to this popular belief, the components these guys offer will not be enough to trigger the change that is so desperately desired by weary Cowboy fans. There is another hidden element that bears a much greater impact, but pay no attention to the players behind the curtain. The real game changers lie *drum roll please* in the defense. Under coordinator Rod Marinelli’s command, the Dallas defense will control the Cowboys’ fate.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 31, 2016
Let’s rewind and compare, shall we?
The last two times the Cowboys won the Super Bowl, their defense played a major role. In 1994, they had the Defensive Player of the Year in Charles Haley and in 1996 their defense was ranked third overall. Although pretty impressive thus far, the Dallas defense is currently only in 12th place. I know what you’re thinking, “Well, it’s all good because Dak and Zeke can hold Dallas down!” But, that would be incorrect, grasshoppers. Yes it is true, the last time Dallas made it to the playoffs they had a similar pair in running back DeMarco Murray and Tony Romo back in 2014. Murray rushed for crazy yards that season, almost hitting 2,000 and a healthy Romo had over 3,500 passing yards. But even with those numbers, the Cowboys were eliminated in the first round, with their defense ranked 15th.
— BigHeadSports (@BigHeadSports) November 6, 2016
Dak and Zeke are keeping the Dallas Cowboys afloat with their raw talent, but using the past few seasons as indicators, this just will not do. The Cowboys have proven that the only way they can truly go the distance is if every part of their team is ready for combat. So unless their defense continues to step up and join an already groundbreaking offense, Dak and Zeke will not matter. All of which will end this season like all of the rest have for the past 20 years, with disappointment and defeat.