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Steve Spagnuolo: Stopping Cowboys not just about Dak Prescott

Dallas has good offensive line, skill position players

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott this. Dak Prescott that. Dak Prescott, Dak Prescott, Dak Prescott. With the New York Giants facing the Dallas Cowboys Sunday in the season opener for both teams, it seems like the majority of the focus has been on the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback.

We have written a ton about Prescott ourselves at Big Blue View. Like here. And here. And here.

Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo reminded everyone this week, though, that the Dallas offense isn’t all about Prescott. It’s about the great Dallas offensive line, running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris, wide receivers Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley and tight end Jason Witten.

“Look, we have to defend the offense and I think Ben (McAdoo) mentioned it the other day, this offense, I think it all begins up front. Those offense linemen --- that is a good line. You start looking around their offense and there are not a lot of weaknesses in my opinion,” Spagnuolo said.

While pressure and creative blitz packages are nice, Spagnuolo pointed out that the Giants have to defend the run first so they can actually implement those.

“With this team that we’re playing, it’s not all about bringing people. If we don’t stop them from running the football first, we’ll never get to the other stuff. We know people are talking about confuse the rookie quarterback. Well, the confusion in the rookie quarterback is more when you can get him behind schedule. If they’re ahead of schedule and all he has to do is hand it off and run his play-action passes, there isn’t going to be anything we can do to confuse that,” Spagnuolo said. “It’s going to be on us up front, on the second level, to keep them from dictating the game by running the ball. I think it’s going to begin there.”

As for Prescott, Spaguolo said it is “not easy” to prep for a quarterback who has never played a regular-season game.

“We are trying to dig for all kinds of information,” Spagnuolo said. “Preparing for a quarterback that is an unknown, it is a little tricky. I remember going through it, believe it or not, in 2012. RG3, we faced him when I was in New Orleans, he was with the Redskins and it was the first game he was going to play.”

Robert Griffin III went 19-of-26 for 320 yards and two touchdowns, and ran nine times for 42 yards as Washington won the game Spagnuolo referenced, 40-32.

Let’s hope the rebuilt Giants’ defense has better luck with Prescott and the Cowboys.