Cowboys vs. Panthers rookie report: Connor Williams struggles against Panthers front The Cowboys kicked off the 2018 regular season in rather disappointing fashion Connor Williams Jersey
, falling to the Carolina Panthers in a sloppy offensvie performance on the road. The offense was never able to get going until it was too late, the defense played well for the most part, but struggled to contain Cam Newton, and the team opened up with a loss as a result.Dallas saw a handful of rookies see action in the season opening contest against Carolina, including all four of the team’s first four selections of this past draft. While some struggled in game one, others showed that they could make an impact sooner than later.Fifth-round quarterback Mike White did not suit up, nor did sixth-round linebacker Chris Covintgton. Let’s look at which first-year players saw the field in week one.Leighton Vander EschThe first pick of the Cowboys 2018 draft class only saw the field for 17 defensive snaps in week one, largely due to the fact that the Boise State product has been limited with a groin injury throughout the preseason. LVE still managed to wrap-up Carolina ball carriers on three different occasions, two of which were solo.Rod Marinelli was able to get his first-round selection on the field alongside linebackers Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith on Sunday.LVE mainly saw the field when Lee or Smith needed a breather, but perhaps we’ll see more sets with all three on the field together as the rookie continues to recover from his injury and learn more of the playbook. While Vander Esch is far from a finished product, his athleticism could help the second level of the defense.Connor WilliamsDallas was elated when they saw Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams fall into their laps with the 50th pick this past April. The Coppell, Texas, native and former Longhorn was once seen as a sure-fire round one prospect going into his junior campaign in Austin; however, injuries and inconsistencies dropped his stock enough for the Cowboys to swoop in and grab him in the middle of the second round.Williams had an up and down preseason in August — showing his potential while also displaying that he is a rookie and has ways to go in certain areas. Sunday was our first chance, obviously, to see Williams in a game that matters. To make things more difficult, the Panthers have a front-seven that is loaded with talent along the defensive line in addition to their linebacker corps that features Luke Kuechly.Williams did not have a great game, often giving up quarterback pressures and allowing his man get to Dak Prescott for a sack. While there needs to be improvement in his pass protection, it’s important to keep things in perspective: Williams was going up against 6-foot-3, 315-pound Kawann Short.There are not many interior offensive lineman — especially one appearing in his first professional regular season game — that can stay in front of Short for a whole game. On the flip side, the NFC East possesses some beasts in the interior that Williams must be prepared for, such as the likes of Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Damon Harrison Authentic Joe Looney Jersey
, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Redskins rookie Daron Payne.With Travis Frederick out for an unknown time, the Cowboys desperately needs their rookie left guard to step up. Dallas inked former second-rounder Xavier Su’a-Filo for insurance earlier this week.Michael GallupPerhaps the rookie with the most excitement surrounding him has been third-round pick Michael Gallup. With the glaring need at wide receiver, Cowboys fans are hoping that the rookie out of Colorado State will provide a go-to target for Dak Prescott as soon as this season.The hype only intensified after the two connected on a beautiful 30-yard dime for a touchdown in the team’s opening preseason exhibition versus the 49ers last month. Despite the hype, Gallup finished game one with one catch for nine yards while seeing less than 50% of the offensive snaps (29 of 64) in week one.To be fair, though, Gallup was able to draw a pair of defensive penalties and Dak was far from accurate on Sunday, failing to lead an open Gallup for a potential big gain in the fourth quarter. There is still a lot of potential for Gallup to make a big impact this season.Dorance ArmstrongDorance Armstrong is one of many raw, physically gifted defensive ends on the Cowboys roster. The 6-foot-4, 246-pound end caused terror for Big 12 quarterbacks during his career for the Kansas Jayhawks, recording 15.5 sacks in three seasons. The 2016 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year has turned some heads during his young career in Dallas; however, a deep position group limited Armstrong’s snap count in his first game to 19 snaps, where he recorded two tackles.Despite the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory receiving a lot of hype along the edges of the defensive line, do not be surprised if this rookie sees more and more snaps as the season progresses.Dalton SchultzFellow fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz made the active roster as the team’s third tight end for his first professional game, though he only saw the field for two offensive snaps. Schultz struggled to adjust to the professional level during training camp, but with the question marks surrounding Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, and Rico Gathers for various reasons, the Stanford product may have a chance to show why he deserves more snaps.After that offensive performance, there are bound to be some changes, right? Perhaps tight end could be one of those changes.Which rookie impressed you the most in week one?FanPulse: Cowboys and Texans fans are both bad at predicting games, but both predict a win on Sunday Every week many of you here at BTB are polled on various things concerning the team and matters across the NFL. This is part of SB Nation’s new FanPulse tool. Sign up for the Cowboys FanPulse here to take our weekly surveys.One of the things each fan base is asked every week has to do with their upcoming game and the confidence surrounding it, from a point-spread perspective. Fans are asked how many points they expect their team to win or lose by. It’s interesting to see which fan bases have the best grip on their team so far this season.Cowboys fans predicted a loss for the first time this season, thankfully they were wrongHeading into last week confidence was pretty low for the Cowboys fan base (6%). It was no shocker all things considered when the fans predicted Dallas to lose Youth Kavon Frazier Jersey
, but it was the first time through four games that a loss was predicted.Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesAs you know the Cowboys defeated the Lions by a narrow margin which might make their fans all the less confident since they thought Detroit would win the game. Predicting games is a hard thing to do, and it’s not one that Cowboys fans are relatively good at. Week 1: FanPulse predicts Cowboys win by 6 (Panthers), Cowboys lose by 8Week 2: FanPulse predicts Cowboys win by 4 (Giants), Cowboys win by 7Week 3: FanPulse predicts Cowboys win by 6 (Seahawks), Cowboys lose by 11Week 4: FanPulse predicts Cowboys lose by 1 (Lions), Cowboys win by 2Cowboys FanPulse season record: 1-3Texans fans had gotten down on themselves, and they were even wrong thereThose that have made the incorrect choice in life in terms of which NFL team to root for in the Lone Star State have had a rough season so far. The Texans started off 0-3 and were staring a fourth loss in a row before Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich got a little risky.Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesWhile Houston ended up coming out on top in Indy, Texans fans had had enough before the game even kicked off. They were also winless when it came to predicting games prior to Week 4 because, well, they kept predicting wins.Week 1: FanPulse predicts Texans win by 2 (Patriots), Texans lose by 7Week 2: FanPulse predicts Texans win by 8 (Titans),Texans lose by 3Week 3: FanPulse predicts Texans win by 1 (Giants),Texans lose by 5Week 4: FanPulse predicts Texans lose by 4 (Colts), Texans win by 3Texans FanPulse season record: 0-4Both Texas teams are feeling confident coming off of winsConfidence is up for both the Cowboys and Texans, 29% and 21% respectively, and both fan bases are expecting a win on Sunday night. Barring a tie, which is certainly possible, only one can walk away victorious, so who will it be?Cowboys fans think Dallas will win by 4, and Texans fans think Houston will win by half of that amount. Maybe rooters of America’s Team are feeling a little bit more confident, but to be fair the Cowboys have twice as many wins as the Texans.The last time these two teams met the game went to overtime and was ultimately decided by three which is the average of the two predictions. Maybe we’re in store for something of that magnitude this weekend, hopefully we’re on the right end of it if that ultimately does come to be.While we’re at it as far as wishing for things to repeat, let’s hope something like this happens again as well.