The Dallas offense may not be as dynamic through four games as it was a year ago, but the Packers know the Cowboys have playmakers at every level of that unit.
And it all starts with 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott, who despite already throwing three INT’s after just five all of last year, continues to impress.
“Command, play-making ability,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday. “He’s throwing the ball, and he makes plays when the drop-back phase breaks down.”
Prescott has the support of a great run game as well. Ezekial Elliott may not be on pace for his rookie number of 1,631 yards and 15 TD’s, but after facing him twice a year ago Green Bay knows the challenge in stopping him.
“Once he gets to that second level it’s hard to take down a running back like that,” said Packers defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois. “He’s a good running back, and he’s been a good running back since he walked out of Ohio State. We just have to make sure to stop him before he gets started.
That’s no easy task with three All-Pro lineman paving the way, but the unit hasn’t been as steady with two new starters.
“They had a real good offensive line last year, and they still have a lot of the same pieces,” said Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Three out of the five (return), so we’ll see what that means moving forward, but we’ll have our hands full.”
Wide Receiver Dez Bryant si always a handful for any secondary.
“The thing about him is when he gets the ball in his hand he’s dangerous,” said CB Davon House who’s on pace to play for the first time since week 1. “He’s elite, and then the jump ball. I mean when the ball’s in the air, he’s hungry to go get it.”
Bryant’s not even the Cowboys leading receiver. That’s 35-year-old tight end Jason Witten.
“He’s very crafty in running his routes,” said Packers safety Morgan Burnett. “He does a really good job getting body position. Sometimes you see him on film and defenders will be covering him up with real good technique, and he still finds a way to come away with the football to make plays for their team.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of role, if any, cornerback Damarious Randall has in helping to stop the Dallas offense on Sunday. He was pulled from the Bears game after giving up a touchdown on Thursday night, and then was told to leave the sideline reportedly because of his attitude.
“Just kind of growing up,” Randall said when asked what he learned from the experience. “And just being a little more professional.”
“The fact he was able to get up (in front of the defense) and let us know that he was wrong and he was going to make it right, that’s what we need from him,” Matthews added. Ultimately, his name is going to be called again.
That could be Sunday, when it’s all hands on deck to stop the Dallas offense.