Week 1 is generally a week to be taken completely with a grain of salt. Everyone is rusty. Teams are discombobulated. New coaches are figuring things out. Old players aren’t up to speed yet. Hype and expectations are out of whack. Nobody has settled in. Lots of results in week one end up not making sense until about october. Some of these wins and losses are flukes. Some of them are omens of the actual truth. We don’t know yet. So generally, there’s no reason to panic or celebrate too hard after week one, even if your team shits the bed.

That said, I don’t know if any team had a worse week 1 than the Dallas Cowboys, and one of those reasons is absolutely a reason to panic.

The defense did alright. They held their opponent in check pretty well, clamping down and forcing field goals for The Tompa Brady Bucs. They didn’t manage a touchdown till late in the third quarter. So, if you are a proud defensive truther, you might be able to come away with some positive thoughts. The offense though? The offense was atrocious. Despite holding the Bucs to a single touchdown and 4 field goals, that touchdown late in the 3rd still felt like a nail in the coffin.

Dallas was abysmal on offense. The only team to not score a touchdown all week. That’s a New York Giants kind of stat. They got absolutely nothing going. Without Cooper Dak was forced to rely on the likes of CeeDee Lamb, who is not living up to expectations. The offensive line was a sieve. The playcalling was predictable. It appears the Cowboys are setting themselves up for another season of the exact same scenario that has held them back for two decades: bad coaching wasting good talent. The Cowboys lost a lot of good talent this offseason, but they still have plenty of talent left. They are consistently good at drafting. Yet since Romo they have constantly fallen on their own dicks in the coaching department. There were no adjustments yesterday. The Bucs claimed they knew what to expect thanks to last year.

And all of this was true before Dak busted up his thumb. That’s the real nail in the coffin. Week 1 jitters are common. Dallas could figure it out. Hell, you never know, they still might. But it was hard to not see Dak go out, hear he needs thumb surgery, and think to yourself: “Oh, Dallas is fucked. They are supremely fucked”. With Dak, the Cowboys have the best QB in the NFCE and are good enough to stay in the fight. The instant Cooper Rush took the field and started throwing the ball 10 yards away from the nearest target, you could just feel the air sucked out of Jerryworld. The best thing about Cooper Rush is his name. The worst is his game. The game they will rely on to win at least the next 4 games or so.

Dak is apparently not going on IR and could return in 4 weeks according to the oil goblin himself, which feels like a mistake to me. Last year we saw Russ miss 3 games with a busted middle finger and when he came back he looked wrong for about another month or more. That was a less important finger than the thumb. If they rush Dak back to sit behind that turnstile of a line (which is how he got hit in the first place) it might end up doing more real damage to the QB’s future than sitting him out a couple of extra weeks to give him better healing time. Once again, this would be exactly in line with Dallas. Talent ruined by mismanagement.

In the meantime, the other 3 NFCE teams won, so the division is now wide open. Dallas could end up in quite the hole by the time Dak is healthy.