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Dez Caught It…According to the NFL

One of the big issues on the NFL’s Competition Committee’s agenda this offseason was better defining what a catch is.

Kevin Seifert from ESPN’s NFL Nation tweeted the following this afternoon:

“The NFL competition committee appears to have unanimous agreement that controversial catch rulings involving Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson should have been ruled complete, according to Giants owner John Mara. So the committee is working on changing the rule to relax the “going to the ground” requirement.”

Pittsburgh Steelers TE, Jesse James, was not mentioned in this tweet, but one can only imagine that the AFC may have played out differently had Pittsburgh beat New England in week 15.

This does very little to soothe the pain Cowboy Nation still feels from the overturned catch in the 2014 NFC Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers. Tony Romo and the Cowboys could have been in position for their first NFC Championship appearance since the 1995-1996 season.

Hindsight may be 20/20, but ‘too little, too late’ rings more true with this ruling.

#dezcaughtit

4 Games In…3 Big Concerns

The first quarter of the 2017 NFL season is over; and while it’s still a very young season, there is much to be learned. These are my three largest concerns heading into week 5 of the season.

What’s going on with Dak?
His stats are actually pretty decent. Dak has 8 passing touchdowns and only 3 picks this year. I realize he only had 4 picks all of last year, but he only had 3 passing touchdowns through 4 weeks last season. I will take a 2:1 TD to INT ratio any day.
But something just isn’t right. He is having accuracy issues that he did not seem to have last year. There are times when it is difficult to decipher if Dak is throwing the ball away or actually trying to hit his target. This issue has been evident ever since he missed a wide open Dez in the season opener against the Giants. Is he losing confidence, going through a normal sophomore slump, or have we just replaced our all-time passing leader for a random 4th round pick? Time will be the ultimate judge, but it does make you wonder where would the Cowboys be today if he had the same issues last year. Would Dak be the Cowboys starting quarterback today, and would Phil Simms still have his job?
The Leary Effect
I’m completely sure Jonathan Cooper should have started over Chaz Green the first four games of the year. Cooper is simply better at left guard than Chaz Green. However, it doesn’t take a great NFL mind to notice our offensive line is not playing at the same level as last year. As sure as I am that Cooper is greater than Green, I am just as confident that Leary is greater than Cooper.
Was Leary the undervalued piece of our interior push last year? It’s hard to argue against that based off the first four games of the season. The only other change is La’el Collins replacing Doug Free at right tackle. Although Free brought a lot of experience to the table, Collins has handled his own against the NFL pass rushing elites.
DeMarcus Lawrence is the Defense’s Ride or Die
A significant DeMarcus Lawrence injury would provide a death blow to the Cowboys defense. Against the Rams, Goff was under pressure in different parts of the game, but Lawrence was the only Cowboy who registered a sack. DeMarcus has 7.5 sacks for the year, leaving the rest of the Cowboys with a grand total of 5.5 sacks. DeMarcus has been the only bright star on this defense outside of an injured Sean Lee. DeMarcus only needs 0.5 a sack to meet his season high sack total, and should easily have over 15 sacks this year. David Irving returns from his four week suspension against the Packers this week, and can give Lawrence a partner in crime. This will hopefully shift some of the attention on DeMarcus from offensive coordinators for the remainder of the season. Also, has anyone heard from our first round draft pick lately?

Dallas Cowboys 53 Man Roster 2017

These are the 53 players to make the cut for Dallas Cowboys for the 2017 NFL Season

QB: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Kellen Moore

RB/FB: Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, Keith Smith

WR: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown

TE: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim

OL: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, La’el Collins, Jonathan Cooper, Chaz Green, Joe Looney, Byron Bell

DE: DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford Benson Mayowa, Taco Charlton, Charles Tapper

DT: Stephen Paea, Maliek Collins, Brian Price

LB: Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Jayrone Elliott, Justin Durant

CB: Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Bene Benwikere

S: Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier

K: Dan Bailey

P: Chris Jones

LS: LP LaDouceur

 

Suspended: David Irving (DE), Damontre Moore (DE), Randy Gregory (DE)

IR: Thomas Duke (CB), Rico Gathers

Practice Squad: Lance Lenoir (WR), Brian Brown (WR), Blake Jarwin (TE), Dan Skipper (OL), Nate Theaker (OL), Kadeem Edwards (OL), Richard Ash (DT), Lewis Neal (DT), Marquez White (CB), Jameill Showers (S)

Notable Players to Miss the Cut: Cedric Thorton (DT), Joey Ivie (DT), Marquez White (CB), Robert Blanton (S), Mark Nzeocha (LB)

GAME RECAP: Cowboys 7, Giants 10

Is this the rookie wall we all keep hearing about? For 12 weeks, we’ve been hearing non-stop about how Dak Prescott can’t be doing what he’s doing, that he can’t keep this up. After an average performance in Minnesota against a very good Vikings secondary, and whatever you want to call last night, is this it? Are the critics and history right? Twitter blew up throughout the game with pleads for Tony Romo. After the game, Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett both said they are comfortable with Dak Prescott as the QB of this team going forward. How true will that be if Dak has another catastrophic performance against a solid Tampa Bay defense this coming Sunday Night? Prescott finished the game 17 of 37 for 165 yrds, 1 TD, INTs and a Passer Rating of 45.4. That brings his rating vs the Giants to 58.6 compared to his rating against all other teams of 114.3. Is Prescott hitting the rookie wall or are the Giants his kryptonite?

giants-terrance-williams

The Cowboys offense missed a lot of opportunities Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. The running game was there most of the night and Ezekiel Elliott did his part rushing for 107 yards on 24 carries. However, the story is most definitely the play of QB1, Dak Prescott. Dak was awful. There is no way to sugar coat it. Poor decisions and poor throws throughout the entire game made it impossible to move the ball with any type of regularity. This team has been pretty consistent in 3rd down efficiency throughout the year, yet only converted one 3rd down out of 15 tries. There were also 0 red zone appearances. Now, this isn’t all on Dak, the Giants defensive front was getting to in the backfield on nearly every drop back. What has saved the offensive drives in prior weeks was Dak’s ability to use his feet. Last night, Dak had 1 rush for 1 yard. The ability to extend the play to find the open man simply was not there and the numerous stalled drives were a result.

giants-sean-le

The bright spot of this game was the defense, led by Sean Lee’s 18 total tackles. This defense provided 3 takeaways and held the Giants to 260 total yards, 61 of which were on one play. That one 61 yard TD pass to Odell Beckham Jr was the one mistake this defense made on the night. The Cowboys were playing man defense so Sean Lee followed the running back, leaving the middle of the field wide open. Brandon Carr couldn’t keep up and the Safety took a horrible line and whiffed on the tackle about 10-15 yards from scrimmage. Two mistakes, one play.

Dec 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Giants defensive end Romeo Okwara (78) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) in the 1st half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

This game was about as even as you can get. One minute difference in time of possession, 260 total yards of offense for both teams, 3 turnovers for both teams, 1 big play resulting in a TD for both. The difference? The Giants made a 39 yard field goal, the Cowboys 55 yard attempt hit the cross bar. Looking forward, the Cowboys now have to make a decision. Learn and move forward. Or sulk and continue the slide. Tampa Bay has something to play for and has won 5 straight. They will be poised and ready. Will the Cowboys?

Keys to the Game Scorecard:

  • Avoid mental mistakes. Mental mistakes this week weren’t penalties, rather poor execution. Dez fumbling the ball, Dak throwing 2 interceptions (1 was his fault) and a couple dropped interceptions.
  • Play your game. The Cowboys stuck to their game plan and Zeke rushed for over 100 yards. Poor execution by the QB1 was the game changer.
  • Pressure. Eli Manning was sacked 3 times for a loss of 26 yards. He fumbled one, which the Cowboys recovered and should have had more than the one interception. Defense played perhaps their best game yet.

Prediction:

Cowboys: 35

Giants: 17

Result: WAY OFF

Cowboys: 7

Giants: 10

WEEK 6 PREVIEW: Cowboys @ Packers

 Game Time: 3:25

Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay WI

Line: Green Bay -4

The Cowboys travel to Green Bay Wisconsin this weekend as they take on the Packers at Lambeau Field. Lambeau has not been a friendly place for the Cowboys in the recent past, in fact, they have lost their last 5 meetings. Included in those 5 losses was the divisional round of the 2014 playoffs where Dez caught the ball only to have the head of officiating, Dean Blandino, overturn it (not that I’m still upset about that at all). Dez, however, is still nursing the fracture in his leg and is questionable to play this week. He was limited in practice and he could suit up as a decoy or in an emergency goal line situation. Dez isn’t the only starter likely to miss the game. For the Cowboys, Orlando Scandrick is still out with the hamstrings and Tyron Smith took the day off yesterday, but sources say he will be a go on Sunday. Green Bay has numerous players missing in action, including, TE Jared Cook, CB Sam Shields and RB James Starks. The Packers only carry 2 running backs and 1 full back on the active roster. If Starks can’t go Sunday, look for the Packers to pull up a scout team RB. The Packers are 3-1 this year, but with a combined margin of victory of 18 with wins over the Jaguars, Lions and Giants.

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The Cowboys have the top ranked running game in the NFL, the Packers have the top ranked run defense in the NFL. This will be another game where whoever wins the line will win this game. The offensive line will need to dominate again to keep the running game moving. This will allow Dak to keep his rhythm and more importantly, keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. This Sunday, the Packers will present Brett Favre his Hall of Fame ring, so to say that Aaron Rodgers will have some extra motivation this week goes without saying. The longer Mr. Rodgers is on the sideline, the better the odds of the Cowboys ending this 5 game losing streak in Lambeau.

I think we can all agree the defense played outside themselves last week vs the Bengals. Demarcus Lawrence played limited snaps in his first game back from his 4 game suspension. He will be given a full load this week and will need to be on top of his game this week as he chases down Rodgers who has only taken 8 sacks on the season. The Packers offense isn’t as high powered as we are used to as they have the worst passing and 12th worst rushing offense so far in 2016. These Packers always seem to play their best when the Cowboys come to town, however, so the D Line will need to get pressure on Rodgers in order to keep their offensive woes rolling.

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 11: Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys sacks quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter of the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Keys to the Game:

  • Time of Possession: this will be a recurring key for the foreseeable future. The longer the Defense is on the sideline, the fresher they’ll be to rush the QB and hold their coverage’s.
  • Rush Aaron Rodgers: This year’s stats aside, Aaron Rodgers is a top QB in this league and given time, can shred any defense. Force him to rush his throws and don’t let this be his revival.
  • Run! The league’s best will face off Sunday, who will win, Offense or Defense. The Cowboys need to take this opportunity to inform the rest of the league that they are the best rush attack in the league and will run the ball at will regardless of who is lined up against them.

Prediction:

Cowboys: 17

Packers: 10

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Top 15 DFW Sports Moments (gifs)

Over the years, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has seen its’ share of memorable sports moments.  Like other sports-centric communities, DFW has a rich history of both the good and the bad. Some of these moments evoke proud, happy memories of local athletic dominance, but others may stir-up dark, lingering emotions that you thought your therapist and $1,287 had helped you overcome…

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The Cowboys Top 5 Concerns Heading into the Season

It’s that very special time of year where every NFL city has a bullish outlook of the upcoming season. From coast to coast, fans believe the right moves were made in the off-season and this will be the year their team finally reaches the ever-elusive championship game. Unfortunately, that optimism can sink faster than the Titanic in the cold Atlantic. The Cowboys had a tough 2015 campaign… (Clears throat) Let me try that again, the Cowboys outright sucked in 2015. Last year, a lot of bad things happened and happened quickly to ensure the Boys had their worst record since the dismal 1-15 season of 1989. In 2016, the Cowboys are banking on the 2014 formula that had them one bad-call away from an NFC Championship. To repeat 2014, the Cowboys will need their risky off-season decisions to pay dividends, coupled with a streak of good luck on the injury front. I’ve listed the top 5 concerns that should keep every Cowboys fan awake at night heading into the season.

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