One thing is certain after the Dallas Cowboys were manhandled by the Atlanta Falcons: Chaz Green is no Tyron Smith.
The backup left tackle was torched early and often by Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn. By the end of the game, he had sacked quarterback Dak Prescott six teams, which was one away from tying Derrick Thomas’ 27-year-old record for most in a game. Green looked completely helpless up front getting beat by the same move swim move over and over again. The game ultimately turned into a free-for-all on Prescott, who only mustered seven points of offense while being treated like a punching bag.
“I mean, it’s unfortunate,” Green said after the game. “You have some good days. You have some bad days. This obviously wasn’t my best day. I take this on my shoulders and look at myself in the mirror. Just need to fix the things I need to fix. I’m going to get it fixed.”
If Sunday’s performance is any indication, Green has a lot of things to fix, and it could take longer than a week to fix them. In any case, the Cowboys can’t feel comfortable putting him on the line if he can’t hold his blocks. The Cowboys could find themselves without a franchise quarterback if Prescott finds himself dealing with that sort of punishment again.
Some of the blame for the loss has to go on Green. Even as a backup, you are expected to come in and perform the job when called on. It isn’t like Green was just signed by the team last week. He has been a member of the Cowboys organization for two years. There’s no excuse for a player to blow his assignments so badly when he’s in on every practice. He may not be the starter, but he knows how the offense works.
However, the Cowboys coaching staff should have gotten more creative to avoid leaving him out on an island to get victimized by Clayborn. They could have adjusted their formations to give him more help or reshuffled the alignment up front.
The Cowboys coaching staff looked equally as ill-prepared for the Falcons defense as Green. It was a nightmare from beginning to end, and Prescott was the one paying for it.
“We’re not going to leave somebody out to dry, for the most part,” said Prescott. “We’re not going to point fingers and say it’s Chaz. It’s whatever it is. We’ll go back and look. I probably could have gotten the ball out faster sometimes. We’ll go back and look at it and get better from it.”
There’s more than enough blame to go around than to simply pin an entire game on one player. Pointing fingers and pouting over Smith being unavailable isn’t going to help the Cowboys win football games.
For all of their flaws this season, at least the Cowboys got that part right.