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2015 Cowboys Season: Playoffs Or Draft Pick



Cowboys Blog - 5 Most Telling Numbers from Cowboys Losing Streak 2

As my great-aunt on my mother's side, Wilma Fingerdoo, used to say, “Whether it’s chocolate cheesecake or crap covered nuts, you have to eat what life gives you.”

Yes, I’m cheating and playing both sides of the fence. For the last two-plus weeks or more, the battle has raged on about the Cowboys continuing to play to make the playoffs, or tank the rest of the season for the highest possible draft pick.

Come this night, when our beloved Cowboys travel to FedEx field, the question of the playoffs and most likely draft position will more than likely be answered. A win and Dallas is one game back. A loss and we’re sitting at 3-9 with a firm hold on at least a top-five pick.

Myself? I’m still torn between both. Do I believe the playoffs are out of reach? Yes, I do. I have no faith whatsoever in Matt Cassel, or what the Cowboys offense can bring with him as the quarterback.

Cowboys Blog - Monday Night Will Define Cowboys Season

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Do I want the Cowboys to tank? Hell no. It doesn’t matter if it’s sports, raising a child, or cleaning toilets at Walmart to make a paycheck, one should always take pride in one’s job. Tanking is out of the question.

While I’m not opposed to letting the young guys get a chance to see what they may be able to bring, I also believe that you put the best players on the field who give you the best chance at victory. That’s the coach's decision not mine, not yours.

We may not agree with all the choices made from the Cowboys brass, but it’s our duty as fans to support the team come hell or high water, no matter the outcome.

Agree or disagree? Feel free to let me know your thoughts or feelings in the comments below.

Lifelong Dallas Cowboys and horse racing fan. You can generally find me at the top of a mountain or on a frozen lake. Born and raised in Idaho and for those still wondering, we do have color tv and cell phones.

  • Chris hearn

    Couldn't agree more! The draft is a crap shoot. I waste hours every week watching draft breakdown on these players coming up and I think the difference between pick 4 and 12 is small. The QBs in this draft are not very good. Trust the staff, develop players and let the 53 playing remember that they can win.

  • Randy Martin

    You are spot on! Every week we have to go out and take no prisoners. There were some good signs tonight and yet was a bit baffled by our inability to run behind what was supposed to be the best O-line in the league, against a vulnerable Washington defense. Though McFadden has had some good games and before this week, we ranked 7th in rushing, this line is not the same as last year. That would point to the difference being DeMarco and not the line. But I have maintained all season the loss of Bill Callan cannot be forgotten. Good things tonight….DeMarcus Lawrence played very well, Sean Lee looked awesome, there was a Nick Hayden sighting, and Jason Witten continues to show why he is one of the best TE's to play the game and why he is a first ballot HOF'er.

  • Will Adams

    I'd have to say its more about Bill Callan then is is not having Murray

  • Zac Fields

    I lose a lot of respect for any fan who suggests the Cowboys "tank" the season.

    If you tank a season by benching your star players in a deliberate attempt to lose games, you'd might as well fire the entire coaching staff after the season and, frankly, rebuild your entire roster.

    Think about it: Coaches hammer a winning mentality into these players' brains constantly. It's all about "never give up," and "finish the fight," etc etc. These players don't care anything about getting the #1 draft pick. They want to beat their opponents because that's their job. How can you ever trust the same players again once you've ended that mantra and basically told them it's okay to lose? And how much respect do you think these players will have for their coaching staff in that scenario? It's the kind of thing that kills a locker room.

    I also have game integrity issues with tanking. The league designed the salary cap and the draft order to achieve the highest level of parity in the league. Tanking circumvents that system and honestly if there was a way to prove it, I'd be 100% okay with the NFL stripping that team of it's first round pick for being caught tanking.

    Just my 2 cents. Win the games you can win. That's why we watch this sport.

  • Jess Haynie

    Maybe it's the business/accounting side of me, but I can easily get behind the tanking philosophy.

    Let's face it, nobody really cares about victories for the sake of victories. Wins are only worth what they mean towards building your entry into the playoffs. Once that's off the table, you're just costing yourself draft positioning.

    That said, there's a difference between throwing games and simply not going ALL OUT to win. You can utilize bench players more and experiment with your playbook without intentionally sabotaging. Your remaining games can become an even better form of practice and development than the preseason; most teams will be giving you your best. What better time to evaluate some young talent and see whose worth keeping around in the offseason?

    The "integrity of the game" argument doesn't resonate much with me. Every year there are teams who benefit from having a bunch of softies on their schedule. Maybe they're in a weak division, or maybe they catch several teams with injuries or locker room problems. Maybe you're facing a team who habitually, year after year, doesn't spend their cap dollars because the owners are cheap. What's another team deciding not to try that hard during their last 4-6 games? Does it really imbalance anything?

    Realistically, does anyone feel that much better about a 7-9 season than a 4-12 season? Maybe a little, but what about the difference between having a Top 5 draft pick versus one in the 10-16 range? Which energizes your fanbase more?

  • Zac Fields

    Well there is a difference between deliberately trying to lose games and giving developmental players a harder look because you're mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Although when your hope is to lose football games, it's still a poor strategy from so many different vantage points.

    Integrity is a real issue. What happens if every team employs this strategy? I went through the NFL standings just now and counted 14 teams in a position similar to the Cowboys. Either their record is as bad or worse than the Cowboys or they were at least 3 games behind the division leader and not in realistic position for a Wild Card spot. How enjoyable would the next month of football be for everybody if 14 teams were "tanking," trying to compete for a better draft pick? What happens if teams started making this decision earlier in the season if/when it just became clear that they can't compete with the top teams and thus they're better off shooting for that top draft talent? Don't you figure at some point the fans would just get fed up and find something else to do with their time?

    And again, there is something to be said for losing your locker room. Not only do players have no desire to tank since they are paid for individual performance, but you're still mucking with their minds and their egos when you start giving them the message (overtly or otherwise) that it's okay to lose.

    Play Kellen Moore for a couple games if/when we're eliminated. Give Rod Smith some carries, etc. But do those things because there's a legitimate chance they might actually be better than the players they're replacing. Don't shut down Dez Bryant to shield him from injury, or Sean Lee, etc. That's the difference between tanking and just having a long-term perspective for your personnel.

    As for me personally? The Cowboys may be bad this season, but I am pretty damn proud of how they continue to fight. For me, that's a mentality that will take them to a Super Bowl very soon. Anything to jeopardize that "finish the fight" mentality that Garrett has instilled in this team is a dagger to their future prospects, as far as I'm concerned.

Star Blog

Should the Dallas Cowboys Trade for These 2 Oakland Raiders?

John Williams



Should the Cowboys Make a Trade for These Oakland Raiders?

The trade deadline on October 30th will be here faster than we know. It's the final opportunity that NFL teams will have an opportunity to make a significant upgrade to their roster. And if you're a frequent reader of the Dallas Cowboys, then you know that the Dallas Cowboys could use some help, especially on the offensive side of the football.

On Thursday, Marcus Mosher from The Raiders Wire on USA Today posed a hypothetical trade involving the Dallas Cowboys. In his scenario, he has the Dallas Cowboys trading for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper and thinks that Cooper could net the Raiders a top 75 draft selection.

Amari Cooper is a good wide receiver, but he's not a receiver I would trade a top-75 pick for. Cooper is a player that has a lot of talent, but has struggled with drops and inconsistency. Even now, with the Raiders he's having a hard time getting consistent opportunities.

Cooper's second on the team in targets, but third on the team in receptions behind a tight end and a running back. Cooper's also third on the team in yardage behind the two guys that I'd be way more interested in trading for; Tight End Jared Cook and Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson.

Yes, these guys are on the wrong side of 30, but they are guys that have been around a long time and can help your offense this season. Both would be upgrades at the position, even at their advanced NFL age.

Jared Cook - Tight End

You've heard the adage, "if you can't beat em, join em." Well, this is the reverse of that. "If he always beats you, acquire him."

That's what Oakland Raiders Tight End Jared Cook is to the Dallas Cowboys. Point of evidence.

Game Winning Jared Cook Catch Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Uploaded by Kafin Walker on 2017-01-16.

That remarkable catch by Jared Cook still haunts me and many of you in Cowboys Nation. It was a perfectly thrown ball by Aaron Rodgers and Cook made an incredible catch along the sidelines that led to Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.

Jared Cook's Oakland Raiders team isn't going anywhere this season. They're already four games back of the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC is looking deeper than it has in recent years. The Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts are the only teams in the NFC with less than two losses. That means there are 14 teams with better records than Jon Gruden's Oakland squad. This week the Raiders face a Seattle Seahawks team that beat the Dallas Cowboys and lost by only a couple of points to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams.

Cook has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL this season and would be a veteran presence that the Dallas Cowboys could add if they felt like they could make a run at the playoffs.

At 31, Cook is averaging six catches and 78 yards receiving per game. He'd give the Dallas Cowboys someone they could run on post, corner, and seam routes to challenge safeties deep. Something that they're lacking from the tight end position at the moment. Cook is leading the Oakland Raiders in targets, receptions, yards, and is second on the Raiders in touchdowns in 2018.

No offense to Geoff Swaim, who's been surprisingly good this year, but Jared Cook makes this offense better. He allows you to make Rico Gathers your TE3, which would allow Rico to continue learning the game without the responsibility of being a primary target on certain pass plays.

Jared Cook is in the last season of his deal, so you wouldn't have to be committed to him beyond 2018. The perfect rental who could step in and play pretty quickly.

Jordy Nelson - Wide Receiver

I know this team is allergic to adding veteran players, especially veterans over 30, but Jordy Nelson is another name that they should take a long look at.

At 33 years of age, Nelson leads the Raiders in receiving touchdowns and is second on the team with 15.9 yards per reception. He's also third in receptions and second in yards.

His numbers -- 20 receptions for 317 yards and three touchdowns -- would lead the Dallas Cowboys in all receiving categories.

Nelson's still got some juice left and he's always been a good route runner with good hands.

Here are some highlights from Jordy's week three performance against the Miami Dolphins.

Jordy Nelson Can't Be Stopped w/ 173 Yards & 1 TD vs. Miami!

Check out Jordy Nelson highlights, racking up 173 yards receiving! The Oakland Raiders take on the Miami Dolphins during Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season. Subscribe to NFL: Check out our other channels: NFL Vault NFL Network NFL Films NFL Rush #NFL #Raiders #JordyNelson

Nelson doesn't have any guarantees left on the deal he signed this past offseason so if you cut him in the 2019 offseason, you'd get zero dead money added to your 2019 salary cap, but would get $7.2 million in savings.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Because of their age and the fact that they'd likely be one-year rentals, I don't imagine that you'd have to give up much more than a fifth round pick for either of these guys. And while I don't think the Dallas Cowboys would take a look at trading for either veteran, it's something they should do if they have aspirations of making the playoffs in 2018.

The Dallas Cowboys offense could use a boost.

What's the most you'd be willing to offer for either Jordy Nelson or Jared Cook?


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Star Blog

Cowboys’ Issues Are Deeper Than The Division Race

Kevin Brady



Are The Cowboys' Players Unhappy With Their Playbook?
Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News

Yesterday, Inside The Star staff writer Jess Haynie posed an interesting question: "could the wide-open NFC East help Jason Garrett's job security?"

The Dallas Cowboys started off their season a disappointing 2-3, but despite this rough start, they are right in the thick of things in the NFC East. The defending champion Eagles, who most expected to run away with the division, are now just 3-3. The lowly New York Giants are probably done at 1-5, and the Washington Redskins looked pathetic on Monday night, dropping to 2-2.

This division looks average at best, though I still somewhat expect the Eagles' talent to take over at some point and allow them to make a run. Still the Cowboys are alive, and if they can pull off the upset at home this Sunday, they may even be in first place come Monday morning.

So, Jess fairly asks, could this help Jason Garrett and the Cowboys' coaching staff keep their jobs? After all, it's rare you see an owner change coaches after remaining competitive within the division throughout most of the prior season. And given Jason Garrett's relationship with Jerry Jones, it might take an awful season to see any real change occur.

Here's the thing: this team could win the division at 9-7, and it would still be time for changes. Incompetence of others does not mean that you are competent, even if you are competent in comparison to those others.

The Cowboys have players openly questioning play calls, alluding to lack of trust in the quarterback, and pretty consistent drama swirling around the locker room. Yes, some of that is the media created Cowboy drama we always see, but there is disfunction within the organization without a doubt.

As a franchise the Cowboys need new blood in the building. To be honest, they could use a general manager separate from the Jones family name, but that is very unlikely to ever happen. So we focus on the coaching staff, specifically on the offensive side of the ball where the Cowboys have struggled the most.

Dallas is 29th in passing yards, 28th in passing yards per attempt, and tied for 26th in passing touchdowns through five weeks. Plainly put, they're horrible, and bringing back an offensive minded head coach and/or offensive coordinator who oversaw this terrible passing offense is counterproductive.

Regardless of where the Cowboys stand within this average division, they need to look themselves in the mirror this offseason. They need to be seriously comparing themselves to teams like the Rams (and not by lying to themselves like Jerry Jones did), not the 1-5 Giants.

The Cowboys should be striving for more than just being the best of a group of average football teams, and if that means cutting ties with Jason Garrett, then so be it.

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Star Blog

Opposition Outlook: Versatile T.J. Yeldon Too Much for Dallas Cowboys?

John Williams



Opposition Outlook: TJ Yeldon Will be a Problem for the Dallas Cowboys

If you haven't heard the news yet, then let me be the first to tell you. Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back Leonard Fournette has been ruled out of this week's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jaguars. Don't let his absence fool you, though, T.J. Yeldon is a back that can hurt the Cowboys in many ways.

T.J. Yeldon was the Jaguars second round pick out of Alabama in the 2015 NFL Draft and was expected to be a featured back for them. That never really materialized and the Jaguars then went out and selected Fournette early in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Yeldon is now more of a passing game back for the AFC South contender, but with Fournette out, he's getting an opportunity in a full-time role. He's not at all the same back as Fournette, as Yeldon has much more ability in the passing game.

Already in 2018, Yeldon's caught 22 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, which is more than any Dallas Cowboys wide receiver this season. T.J. Yeldon's averaging 8.8 yards per reception to go along with his 4.4 yards per carry on the season.

He's averaging 90 total yards per game on 16 touches and a touchdown a game. Even when Fournette was active in weeks one and four, Yeldon still received 17 and 21 touches in those games.

He's not at all an afterthought in the Jaguars offense and shouldn't be as the Dallas Cowboys defense prepares to stop them in week five.

Here's how he ranks among running backs with at least 24 targets:

  • Tied for second in receiving touchdowns.
  • 11th in receiving yards.
  • 14th in reception percentage.
  • Eighth in targets
  • 10th in receptions
  • Fourth in yards per reception
  • Seventh in yards after catch
  • Fifth in yards after catch per receptions.
  • Sixth in receptions that led to a first down.
  • Second in drops.
  • He has the 10th highest quarterback rating among running backs when targeted.

T.J. Yeldon isn't the best back in the NFL, but as a dual purpose back, he's really good. He's 15th in the NFL in total yards and for two of those games he was sharing the load with a former top five pick.

The Dallas Cowboys have been really good against the run this season. They've allowed the 11th fewest rushing yards and their 3.4 yards per carry allowed ranks tied for second in the NFL. Where they've struggled is with running backs in the passing game.

Through five weeks this season, they've allowed running backs to go for 47.6 yards per game. In weeks one, two, and five, they allowed 66 yards receiving to Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Alfred Blue.

If there's an area where the Jaguars can exploit the Dallas Cowboys defense, it will be in targeting T.J. Yeldon in the passing game. Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and (hopefully if he plays) Sean Lee will be enough to slow him down and make Blake Bortles take chances down the field.

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