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I have a rule- no Christmas music/decorations until after Thanksgiving.
Considering how hectic the NFL season is and the craziness that Thanksgiving Week can sometimes be, I broke my rule this week. I looked ahead and decorated over the weekend. I'm listening to Christmas music as I write this. And you know what? I HAVE NO REGRETS.
It was difficult for us to not make the same error with the Baltimore Ravens traveling to take on our Cowboys this past Sunday. Our 'Boys were 8-1, this was an AFC team, and Thanksgiving is only a few days away which means the all-important date with Washington.
If there was ever any doubt, the Cowboys win against the Ravens showed that they don't look past anybody. They truly are a day by day, week by week, game by game type of team. Here are my 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Win Against The Ravens.
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Dan Bailey Is The Greatest Cowboys Kicker Ever
This is not a bold statement, this is not exaggerating, this is totally and unequivocally true.
Dan Bailey made his 162nd and 163rd career field goals yesterday, and that is something that needs to be celebrated. The first of those two field goals tied Bailey with Rafael Septien for the most ever made by a Dallas Cowboys kicker, and the final lifted Dan to his own pedestal.
All of this happened on a day that saw NFL kickers miss a combined 12 extra points - Dan Bailey has never missed one. Cherish Dan Bailey.
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Ezekiel Elliott Is The Greatest Cowboys Rookie Running Back Ever
Lather, rinse, repeat. Sunday was a historic day for the Dallas Cowboys - we're not done naming why! - and particularly for rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott.
On Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Zeke surpassed Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett's franchise rookie record for rushing yards (1,007). Mr. Dorsett was on-hand himself to witness the accomplishment, because greatness is greatness to everyone... even Hall of Famers.
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Dez Bryant Is A Top 5 NFL WR Once Again
It had been an enormously long time since we'd seen the Dez Bryant that we've come to know and love. When was that, exactly? In my humble opinion Dez had not been Dez since (regular season-wise) Week 17 of 2014. Coincidentally, that was Dez's last multi-touchdown game.
On Sunday against Baltimore Dez Bryant found the paint twice. It's no secret that he's dealing with a lot of emotion after the tragic passing of his father last week, but Dez Bryant is playing some of the best football of his career.
There's no denying that the offense all benefits from each other: Dak from Zeke, Zeke from Dez, Dez from Zeke, everyone from the Offensive Line. The Ravens could not stop the Cowboys offensively, and a lot of the reason why is Dez Bryant.
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The Cowboys Offense Is In Seriously Elite Company
It is time to - heads up opposing defenses - take this Cowboys Offense extremely seriously.
Cowboys have gained 400 or more yards in eight straight games, matching the 2007 Patriots and 2013 Broncos https://t.co/CsPwRqWaFz
The Cowboys have eight straight games with over 400 offensive yards, a feat matched only by the 2007 Patriots and 2013 Broncos.
The 2007 Patriots, at the time, were literally and statistically the greatest offense to ever play. The only team that has ever been better than them, again literally and statistically, is the 2013 Denver Broncos.
Offensively the Cowboys simply cannot be stopped. They can't. Believe it.
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David Irving Is A Pretty Impressive Pass Rusher
All offseason long we begged for pass rushers, and a lot of us placed our hope in the speed and versatility of David Irving.
While Irving was only credited with one tackle, it was the constant and consistent pressure that he generated that helped the Cowboys limit the Ravens to the 'ol Dick LeBeau 17-point line.
Rod Marinelli's bunch isn't one that's concerned with stats and accolades; they're concerned with making the day you play the Cowboys the worst one you've ever experienced. Sorry, Joe Flacco.
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The Second Half Was Played Perfectly By The Cowboys
The Cowboys' gameplan is very well-known. They want to run the ball, drain the clock, and wear you out. They did that flawlessly in the second half against Baltimore.
Only stat I need for this game. Cowboys only needed 3 possessions in the 2nd half. Held the ball for 20:09 of 30 possible minutes.
This is four million types of insane. Three possessions in one half that allotted for over two thirds game time?! That is unheard of!
What's particularly interesting/amazing about this, is that those three drives were all extremely efficient. The Cowboys scored on each of those possessions: touchdown, touchdown, field goal. Amazing.
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The Cowboys Finally Beat The Ravens
Before Sunday, Dallas and Baltimore had squared off four times (the Ravens were established in 1996). All four of those contests ended with the Ravens as the winning team, including the last game ever at Texas Stadium.
TOO DA LOO SILLY STAT! The Cowboys have now beaten every active team in the NFL. This is an impressive mark for any NFL franchise, but it's one that was needed for one with such history as the Dallas Cowboys. Tracy Turnblad would be so disappointed, Ravens.
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Joe Flacco Is Misguided And A Ridiculously Sore Loser
I have a lot of respect for Joe Flacco. In 2012 he said he believed himself to be the best quarterback in the NFL and then he carried his Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
I also have a lot of respect for common sense and logic. Joe Flacco doesn't seem to have that these days.
That's right. Literally right after losing 27-17 Joe Flacco came out and said that the Ravens should beat the Cowboys. Yo Joe... you know who touches the ball every play, right? You my man. If you believe that - do it. The last time Cowboys Nation saw a Joseph this disconnected from reality in AT&T Stadium he went by the last name Randle.
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Dak Prescott Spreads The Ball Around Very Well
Dak Prescott connected with seven different receivers multiple times on Sunday. Seven! You know seven as in, the number of wins the Cowboys had two weeks ago (gosh this season is awesome).
Lance Dunbar, Gavin Escobar, Brice Butler, Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, and Dez Bryant all caught multiple passes. Take a moment and seriously think about that. It explains how seemingly unstoppable this offense truly is.
Part of why the Cowboys offense can't be contained is because there just simply isn't enough man-power to answer all of these threats. This isn't even a case of picking your poison. If you're a defensive coordinator against the Cowboys you're simply just picking which segment of the chain reaction you want to set off first.
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Jason Garrett Is Coach Of The Year
We're going to keep saying this until the NFL hands Jason Garrett what he's earned... the 2016 title of Coach of the Year.
This was one of the most emotional weeks in recent Dallas Cowboys History. Jason Garrett had to navigate his team through the emotional wreckage, turmoil, and honestly awkwardness around the aftermath of Tony Romo's press conference.
It's very difficult to watch Tony Romo on the sidelines, we all know that. Somehow though, Jason Garrett got his team to play through it and dominated one of the better teams in the National Football League. He's 9-1, got the best team in the NFL, and he deserves that title. Give it to him, NFL.
Ezekiel Elliott vs Byron Jones Part II: The Case For Paying Zeke
It's a debate that has raged on social media for some time now and it likely won't slow down as the offseason progresses and the Dallas Cowboys begin to hand out massive contracts to their top players. Pay Ezekiel Elliott? Pay Byron Jones? If you could only pay one, which would you pay?
This week fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer, Kevin Brady took to Twitter to poll the populous and his results were a bit surprising to me.
if you can only pay one it should be
The results inspired me to see what would happen if I put the same poll on my timeline.
Inspired by my teammate @KevinBrady88, if you can only pay one, which would it be?
On Monday, Kevin wrote a piece looking at one of the difficult decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys this offseason or next. If the Cowboys could only extend Byron Jones OR Ezekiel Elliott, who should they choose? Kevin, as am I, is a firm believer in Byron Jones ability and says the Cowboys should extend them, and I agree. But let's look at the other side of the argument.
To begin, the Cowboys should and probably will get both guys contract extensions either this offseason or next. It's not impossible with the cap continuing to increase at a rate of about $8-12 million per year that the Cowboys will have the space to get the deals done that they need to get done. Ezekiel Elliott and Byron Jones included.
Byron Jones settled in nicely at cornerback during his first full season at cornerback and knowing what we know about Jones, he won't be satisfied with a second team All-Pro appearance. Expect him to get better. However, if there's a single player that represents the current identity of the Dallas Cowboys, it's Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys made him the fourth overall pick in 2016 and haven't looked back in their plan to establish the running game. For his career Elliott has averaged 26.9 touches per game over the course of his 40 games.
Here's a look at what Elliott's per game and per 16 game paces look like through the first three seasons of his career.
As you can see from the table above, Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 131.2 total yards per game for his career. In his rookie season he had 1,994 total yards and he sat out the week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when the Cowboys had the NFC and home field advantage locked up. In 2017, Elliott sat out six games and still had nearly 1,000 yards rushing. In 2018, Elliott broke through the 2,000 total yard barrier after seeing a huge increase in his targets and receptions.
Ezekiel Elliott has been everything the Dallas Cowboys could have hoped for and more. With the leadership role he's taken with the team, he's a player that leads both vocally and by example. There are few players on the Dallas Cowboys that give as much effort as he does each snap. How many times has it looked like Elliott was about to get dropped for a two or three yard loss only to grind through tackles to pick up a four yard gain? How many times has he bounced off tacklers to get to the first down marker? Ezekiel Elliott is the human personification of dirty yards, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Elliott can't take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Elliott's is a game breaker who threatens the defense every time he steps on the field.
In 2018, Elliott led the NFL in yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. His 949 yards after contact in 2018 would have ranked 13th in the NFL in rushing, which was better than David Johnson's 940 yards rushing last season.
Not many running backs effect a football game like Ezekiel Elliott does.
Few players outside of the quarterback position are as much of a focal point for their offense while being an attention grabber for opposing defenses like Ezekiel Elliott is. In 2018, he saw eight or more men in the box on nearly 25% of his carries in 2018. Some of that is related to the Dallas Cowboys insistence on using two tight ends on 50% of their running plays (per Sharp Football), but the other aspect is related to how much they respect the Dallas Cowboys running game. Since the 2014, the Cowboys have been synonymous with running the football. DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, and now Ezekiel Elliott have been the faces of that running game behind the Cowboys elite offensive line.
Even in a down year for offensive line play from the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott still managed to lead the NFL in rushing for the second time in three seasons. Elliott made the Pro Bowl for the second time in three years as well. Were it not for the railroad job done by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2017, there's a really good chance that Elliott leads the league in rushing three years in a row and that the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs all three seasons.
Sure, the running back position is undervalued in the NFL and rushing yardage can be replaced, but there are intangibles to Elliott's game that are very difficult to replace. His ability to grind out the dirty yards, break big plays, create yards after contact, pass protect, be a threat as a receiver, and his leadership make him a player that is difficult to replace.
Yes, Byron Jones was really good in 2018 and deserves to get paid by the Dallas Cowboys as well, but you'd be hard pressed to find a player on the Cowboys roster who has been as consistent and dominating week in and week out as Ezekiel Elliott has been over the last three years.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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