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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

Will Terrance Williams’ Run Of Bad Luck Continue?

Brian Martin



If Suspended, Will Cowboys Cut Ties With Terrance Williams?

To say that Terrance Williams has had a run of bad luck recently would be an understatement. First he breaks his foot, which kept him out of all of the offseason practices so far. Then, he ends up getting arrested on an intoxication charge, a Class C misdemeanor, on May 19 after crashing his Lamborghini into a light pole. Unfortunately for him, his bad luck could continue with training camp approaching because he could be looking at a demotion.

As things stand right now, I have a hard time seeing Williams being any more than the fourth wide receiver on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart. I have him behind Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and rookie Michael Gallup (in that order) right now, possibly falling even further. For now, I'll pencil him in at WR4 though.

I believe a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans wouldn't be too terribly upset if we don't see a lot of Terrance Williams in 2018. Fans have been unhappy with Williams for quite some time and many voiced their displeasure when the Cowboys signed him to a contract extension last offseason. But, he is still on the roster, which means we should probably expect him to stick around for at least one more season.

There is a cloud still hanging over Williams' head though. His intoxication arrest is still an open case and the league could decide to discipline/suspend him for breaking the NFL's conduct policy. That could impact his availability to start the season, which could ultimately determine where he exactly fits in on offense in 2018.

I know, it's a lot to take in, but that's how things stand right now and I don't things get much clearer when training camp gets underway. But, let's try to dive into this little deeper to try to determine what to expect from T-Will this year.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

As I mentioned earlier, I believe Hurns, Beasley, and Gallup are the top three Cowboys receivers this year. If that proves to be true, Williams is looking at demotion. He may be nothing more than an insurance policy in case of injury.

Terrance Williams does have something going in his favor though. He has the coaching staffs trust, which means he could reprise the same role we have seen from him in the past. But, that's where his potential suspension comes into play.

If Williams is indeed suspended, that would give more opportunities to other WRs on the roster to prove themselves, particularly Michael Gallup and Noah Brown. I think these are the two receivers who could have the biggest impact on Williams' offensive role this season.

Gallup will without a doubt receive every opportunity to prove he's ready to hit the ground running as a rookie. I think he will be successful, which is why I have him ahead of Williams on the depth chart to begin with. Noah Brown on the other hand is the wild card here.

I'm a big fan of Noah Brown's. I believe he can adequately replace Williams as both a receiver in the passing game and as a blocker in the running game, something the coaching staff really values about Williams. I think he has a chance to leapfrog T-Will on the depth chart, but he's really going to have to have a good training camp to do that.

Having said all that, I still don't know exactly where Terrance Williams will fit offensively for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, but I think his bad luck will continue. I think he should probably just be an insurance policy in case of injuries, but will have to wait to see if the coaching staff agrees.

Do you think Terrance Williams' bad luck continues?

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Star Blog

Alternate Universe: Where Would Cowboys Be With RB DeMarco Murray?

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Blog - Dez Bryant To DeMarco Murray: "Come On Home" 1

During the Spring of 2015 the Dallas Cowboys faced what most considered a difficult decision.

Following an unexpectedly successful 12-4 season in which the Cowboys won just their second playoff game since 1996, two of the team's main offensive weapons were set to hit free agency.

On one hand was wide receiver Dez Bryant, coming off of a career year and widely considered a top wide out in this talent-rich league. On the other hand was running back DeMarco Murray, also coming off of a career year in which he led the NFL in rushing yards.

Could the Cowboys afford to pay the somewhat aging running back in this NFL economy? Could they place a premier price tag on a wide receiver despite their run-first, ball control mentality?

Of course, this wasn't exactly an either/or situation, but the Cowboys did re-sign Bryant to a lucrative deal and allowed Murray to walk to Philadelphia.

Now Fast forward to 2018.

Neither Murray nor Bryant are on the Cowboys, Tony Romo is broadcasting for CBS, and Dallas has spent a top five overall pick on replacing Murray at running back.

DeMarco Murray announced his retirement from football last week, making much of Cowboys Nation (including myself) think back upon those Romo-era teams.

And it's really hard not to wonder, where would the Cowboys have gone if they decided to keep DeMarco Murray? Where would they be had they re-signed Murray, rather than spending a premium pick on Ezekiel Elliott a year later.

If we're being honest, Elliott is a much more dynamic runner than Murray ever was. He brings more explosion and reliability to the offense, and is arguably the best back in football. Even when Murray was the league's leading rusher, this really couldn't be said about him.

There's not much of a chance that DeMarco Murray would still be a productive RB1 in Dallas heading into 2018. His play significantly dropped over the years in Tennessee, even behind their solid offensive line.

Of course the value of the running back position has been devalued as of late, making the Cowboys selection of Elliott a questionable one to some around the league. Paying the league's leading rusher what they would've had to pay him back in 2015, however, would have been even more questionable.

Plus, the Cowboys were able to replace much of Murray's production in 2015 with Darren McFadden, even if the team didn't win nearly as many games.

There might be an alternative universe out there where Tennessee's Murray and Derrick Henry-led backfield existed in Dallas, but Cowboys fans are certainly not upset about having Ezekiel Elliott in a Cowboys uniform.

Even if it took them a top five pick to seal the deal.

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Star Blog

Considering an Earl Thomas Extension, Age is just a Number

John Williams



Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When people consider whether the Dallas Cowboys should trade for Seattle Seahawks' Safety Earl Thomas, one rebuttal fans throw out there is his age, and for good reason. People get concerned about handing out contract extensions to players entering their age-29 season.

In the salary cap era of the NFL, it typically isn't good business to pay age as the team often doesn't get the value out of the player that the contract expects.

One position where I feel that isn't necessarily the case is at the safety position. Let's consider Earl Thomas' accolades for a moment and see if we can find some correlations.

Earl Thomas, in his eight-year career, has been to the Pro Bowl six times, missing out his rookie season and in 2016 when he only played 11 games. He's been selected to the NFL All-Pro's first team three times in consecutive years from 2012 to 2015.

So, let's go over to our friends at Pro Football Reference and see which other safeties have been to the Pro Bowl at least six times and have been selected as a first team All-Pro player three times.

Here's the list:

Considering an Earl Thomas Extension, Age is just a Number

The first thing you'll notice is the elite players on the list along with Earl Thomas. The likes of Rod Woodson, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Troy Polamalu, Aeneas Williams, and Charles Woodson. Those are just the players whose career extended into 2000s.

Then if you consider Ronnie Lott and Cliff Harris, that's some amazing company.

The players with an asterisk are the players that are in the Hall of Fame. Reed, Polamalu, and Woodson will be in the Hall of Fame. Cliff Harris not being in the Hall of Fame is still an NFL injustice that needs to be righted as he was one of the key cogs to the success of the Doomsday Defense of the 1970s.

I know Deion Sanders is on the list, and he's only there because he did play some safety toward the tail end of his career, but we know that it was as a corner that Deion made his money. The key though is that Deion's switch to safety at the end allowed him to prolong his career.

Removing Earl from the discussion for a moment, the average length of the careers of the men mentioned above was 13.41 years. The longest career was Charles Woodson at 18 years followed by Deion at 17 and Brian Dawkins at 16 years. The shortest careers were the 10-year careers of Cliff Harris and Joey Browner.

So, if Earl Thomas, having played eight years, played to the short end of the career length, he'd still have another two years left, this season included. If he played to the average length of those listed above, he'd have another five years left.

Considering that half of the players listed above all played longer than the average, there's a good chance that Earl Thomas has another six to seven years left in his career.

So, when we think about an extension for Earl Thomas, we have to consider the fact that for someone who has had the career that he's had to this point, he's going to be able to play at a good to great level for the life of a four-year extension.

Earl Thomas is an elite player and is on track to one day be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If the Dallas Cowboys could add that to their young and developing defense for the next four years, they shouldn't worry about his age.

Obviously, anything can happen, and people may point to him missing games in each of the last two seasons, but prior to 2016, Earl Thomas played and started 100% of his team's games. That's a six season stretch of being available for every single game.

For a team that is really close to contention and has the makings of an elite defense, Earl Thomas could be the missing piece that could put them over the top, much like Charles Haley did for the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty of the 1990s.

Don't let the age thing distract you from adding one of the best safeties in the NFL and one of the best players in the league. Earl Thomas to the Dallas Cowboys just makes too much sense not to do it, and for the All-Pro safety, age is just a number.

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