Offensive line was not supposed to be an area of concern in 2021, but it's the main topic of conversation around Cowboys Nation heading into Week 2. Head coach Mike McCarthy has yet to see his top three linemen in a game together since taking the reins in Dallas, and it won't happen yet for at least a few more weeks. The revolving door continues now with word, perhaps leaked prematurely from Jerry Jones, that Terence Steele will get the start in La'el Collins's spot on Sunday. And while the line held their own against Tampa, one cog in the machine may be cause for concern.
Elsewhere, Dak Prescott put up another 400-yard game, which puts him in rarefied air among quarterbacks. And DeMarcus Lawrence earned a big-time grade despite a quiet night stat-wise. We're revisiting the smartest move the Cowboys made for their defense in recent memory, and we're getting insight as to what happened on that long touchdown by Antonio Brown last week. We're also talking power rankings, a moratorium on "good" losses, coaches' conference calls, and Hall of Fame rings. That's coming up in the News and Notes.
Dallas Cowboys' Mike McCarthy: 'A challenge' when O-line is in flux again :: ESPN
Link Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La'el Collins have yet to play in a game together during McCarthy's 17-game tenure. "It's a challenge," the Cowboys coach said of the mix-and-match approach he's had to take from Day One. "Really, the health and continuity of your offensive line, if you look at it historically, equates to winning. That's something you pay attention to."
Jerry Jones: Cowboys to start Terence Steele at RT against Chargers :: Cowboys Wire
Link With Collins looking down the barrel of a five-game suspension, the Cowboys have a decision to make at right tackle. The man who signs the paychecks, though, has already made up his mind. Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday that Steele will get the start versus the Chargers over Ty Nsekhe, Brandon Knight, or a temporarily-reassigned Martin.
NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: Steelers, Saints soar; Packers, Titans plummet :: NFL.com
Link Taking the world champs down to the wire feels like a big step in the right direction for the 2021 Cowboys, but Thursday night's near-upset didn't move the power rankings needle. Dallas remains locked in at No. 19 according to the Network. Of note, though, Dak Prescott looks like an early MVP candidate, the new-look defense created four takeaways, and the Amari Cooper/CeeDee Lamb duo "just might be seen as the best 1-2 wideout combo in football by season's end."
Dallas Cowboys deserve credit for this epic defensive move :: The Landry Hat
Link It's already easy to forget that cornerback Trevon Diggs wasn't drafted until the second round last year. The Cowboys, sorely in need of secondary help in 2020, watched seven corners come off the board before selecting Diggs. But looking at that list of names now, it's clear that Dallas landed the best of the bunch.
'He should've had help:' Cowboys' Quinn defends CB Anthony Brown after Tampa torching :: Cowboys Wire
Link Giving up an easy 47-yard touchdown reception was not a good look for the Cowboys' veteran corner. But defensive coordinator Dan Quinn revealed that Brown played the correct coverage; safety Damontae Kazee adjusted to help cover Chris Godwin after Jourdan Lewis stumbled. That's what allowed the score, the costliest of the nine catches that Brown allowed on the night.
How did the Cowboys' offensive line hold up against the Bucs' fearsome front? Studying film for answers :: The Athletic
Link The Dallas offensive line "survived and did pretty well" against the formidable Buccaneers defense. Bob Sturm gives higher-than-average marks for four of the Cowboys' front five but is concerned about center Tyler Biadasz, who demonstrated pretty clearly that he is the weakest link on the line. "He isn't strong enough, can't hold his ground with leverage, and just looks overmatched," Sturm writes.
No more moral victories: Time for Cowboys to win a tough road game, prove their playoff potential :: Dallas Morning News
Link Sure, Dallas could start this season 0-2 and still win the NFC East, so it's not a must-win game. But if the 2021 Cowboys are to show that this year is, in fact, different, flying to the West Coast and beating an up-and-coming Chargers team would be an excellent start. And in typical Cowboys fashion, they have not made it easy on themselves.
Dak Prescott's 400-yard habit of performances puts him in elite company :: Jon Machota (Twitter)
PFF 90 Club: Highest-graded players | Week 1 :: NFL.com
Link Edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence logged the 8th-highest grade of Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus. Lawrence recorded just five tackles in the loss to Tampa Bay, but caused enough havoc for the Bucs' offensive line to earn a 91.4 score.
Hall of Fame ring ceremony set :: The Mothership
Drew Pearson, Jimmy Johnson, and Cliff Harris will receive their new Pro Football Hall of Fame rings at halftime of the Cowboys' home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on September 27.
NFL makes coach conference calls with opposing reporters non-mandatory :: ProFootballTalk
Link NFL head coaches have traditionally been required to participate in a conference call with media from their opponents' cities ahead of games. Starting this season, those calls are now optional for coaches. "The sessions traditionally have been valuable," Mike Florio writes, "with many relevant quotes coming when reporters who have no reason to tread lightly with a given coach [are] willing to ask pointed questions."