What began as a year of hope for the Dallas Cowboys turned sour when Dak Prescott went down with an ankle fracture that ruled him out for this entire season — possibly beyond. To cope, Jon Machota of The Athletic asked Cowboys fans to tell what they would do to salvage the rest of the season. The answers gave fascinating insights into the minds of Cowboys fans everywhere.
The Cowboys’ difficult season
One could argue that the Cowboys season was a disaster before Prescott went down. After all, they lost three of the first four games. Despite Mike McCarthy’s Super Bowl experience, his weaknesses were already on full display. Much like they have for most of Jones’s ownership, the team looks drenched in mediocrity.
A large chunk of the optimism heading into the year had to do with Dak Prescott. Many looked forward to seeing what Prescott could do alongside the coach who brought Aaron Rodgers and Co. to the Super Bowl. But while Prescott performed like the star he is, the Cowboys’ shoddy defense canceled out whatever strengths they had on offense.
To add insult to injury, reports Cincy Jungle, Andy Dalton was taken out of a week seven game after a cheap shot from Washington linebacker Jon Bostic. Needless to say that the season is a disaster. Machota saw the reactions from all of this and picked fans’ minds across Twitter, asking what they would do to fix the season and salvage what was left of the year.
A new face at quarterback
Machota’s tweets might have been before Dalton was taken out, too. But one of the most common answers to it rings even truer after. If Dalton remains the backup, he has proven to be serviceable. However, fans who yearn for something more than mediocrity are already calling for stopgaps to ease the months, if not years until Prescott is better.
Some Cowboys fans want to see someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick take over the offense, according to The Spun. Fitzpatrick has made a career out of his journeyman status. Joining the Cowboys could be a situation he thrives in. However, if Dalton can play, Fitzpatrick might not be enough of an improvement, if any at all,
Moving on from Ezekiel Elliott?
One of the most common answers had to do with trading Ezekiel Elliott, reports NFL.com. While Elliott is inarguably one of the best running backs, he is also paid like one of the best running backs. As soon as he forced the team’s hand on a new deal last season, he landed in hot water. Now, with the team struggling to win despite opening up its pocketbooks, Elliott might be the easiest asset to move for some defensive help or, at the very least, some future assets.
Furthermore, with several other calls to trade away Amari Cooper, decimating the offense too much could have dangerous returns, even if the defense gets better. Being cautious and being smart are two different things. If the Cowboys aren’t careful, the former could come at the expense of the latter.
However, it would be a risk. Elliott, despite some struggles on the season, is the type of rusher that, overpaid or not, can pay dividends when and if the team eventually makes it as deep as they desire.
Selling the team
Of course, as long as there is Cowboys discourse, there will be fans who don’t believe success is possible under Jerry Jones’ regime. Jones isn’t getting any younger, but he isn’t getting any easier to work with, either. He might’ve inherited some first pieces to a dynasty in his early days. However, Jones hasn’t proven he can make a dynasty from scratch.
Furthermore, he’s remained steadfast that he will not sell the team any time soon. Fans have every right to be concerned for the Cowboys. But the right answer might also not be as simple as one or two changes.
For that, fans may need to pull back expectations and start getting patient. This year could be a long one, but the wrong moves could make that stretch even longer.