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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

Could a Former Division Rival be Cowboys’ LG Solution?

Brian Martin



Could Former Division Rival be Cowboys' OG Solution?

When it comes to prioritizing the Dallas Cowboys offseason needs, offensive guard is definitely near the top of the list. Opinions will certainly vary, but for me, solidifying the offensive line with a new starting left guard is the top priority for the Cowboys.

I know many of you will disagree and believe the Dallas Cowboys need to continue to upgrade their defense. But, this teams success or failure will be determined by how their offensive line performs. That's just the way the Cowboys are built, which is why they have invested so heavily putting this unit together.

Four out of five of the Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line is set in stone, but there is currently no one on the roster to step into the vacant left guard position unless you want to see the coaching staff give Chaz Green another try.

No, I didn't think so.

With the start of the 2018 free agency just a few weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly narrowed down some of the potential free agents they would be interested in bringing aboard if the price is right. Remember, they have turned into "bargain shoppers".

There are a few intriguing free agent options who I believe could step in to upgrade the LG position for the Cowboys next season, and not break the bank. One such option is a former division rival of the New York Giants, Justin Pugh.

Justin Pugh

New York Giants OL Justin Pugh

The former 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has spent five years in New York while playing out his rookie contract, but that time has come to an end. The Giants aren't likely to re-sign him, which means he will get his first taste of free agency.

Justin Pugh could step in and be an immediate upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at the left guard position in 2017. He has exceptional mobility. He reaches the second level with ease and plays with good body control and footwork. He is a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme like the Cowboys employ.

Pugh is also versatile. He has played both right tackle and offensive guard for the Giants. He of course would be asked to play between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith at LG with the Cowboys, but versatility to play another position is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, Pugh doesn't come without baggage. He has missed a total of 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants, including eight last season due to a back injury. This is definitely a huge red flag, especially for the Cowboys after dealing with the same issue with Tyron Smith.

But, this is why Justin Pugh will likely be in the Cowboys price range. Sportrac currently estimates his contract at 4 years at $23,983,847, which equates to $5,995,968 annually. I personally think that's a little low for someone of Pugh's caliber and versatility, but it certainly understandable when you take into account his recent injury history.

I personally think this is a longshot to happen because  the Cowboys would prefer to go younger and cheaper, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Do you think Justin Pugh makes sense for the Cowboys?

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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez



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

Sadly, we can't wake up on Sundays to NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are not on TV every week for us to watch them play. To make matters worse, we'll have to wait until September to get real football from our favorite team.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about until then! For the die-hard Cowboys fan, the offseason should be quite entertaining. Free agency will begin in March, and it should be an intense one for Dallas.

They need to handle a tight salary cap while trying to add a bit of help for this football team. Recently, Inside The Star Contributor John Williams wrote an in-depth piece about the Cowboys' cap situation and how they can manage to get things done, despite having little cap space right now.

Last season, I wrote a weekly Cowboys Wishlist about things I wanted to see for each game. Now there are no games, but I decided to write a special edition for this upcoming free agency.

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Keep The Rushmen

The front office will have one hell of a challenge trying to retain all of its free agents. The two most important ones may be their two defensive linemen. If they can keep them, DL won't be a top need heading to the Draft.

Lawrence is one of the biggest names in free agency this 2018, but the Cowboys should find a way to keep him from ever being available.

If they're able to franchise tag him, that'd be the way to go since he's only had one elite season in his four-year career and they may not want to sign him to a huge long-term deal and risk not seeing the same guy next season.

David Irving is a more polarizing player, with off-the-field issues. However, he's been a very disruptive guy and he has the chance to be a unique player. His talent is really out of this world. Keeping him and Irving would give this franchise a top defensive line for the first time in many years.

Anthony Hitchens 1

Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wish #2: Pay Anthony Hitchens

When healthy, Sean Lee is one of the NFL's top linebackers. He is simply an outstanding player who's always around the ball and seems to know where the ball is going before the opposing coach even calls the play.

The problem is, he has a lot of trouble remaining available. Anthony Hitchens is a guy who's found the way to step up every time the General is out, and he's shown a great progression as a player year after year.

Lee will be 32 by the time the season starts, giving Dallas something to think about. Hitchens is a guy capable of starting and competing in the NFL. If the front office finds a way to keep him, they'll be getting closer to being less "Sean Lee-dependent."

Wish #3: Get Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas

When we talk about a potential big name addition to the Dallas Cowboys, we're usually a bit pessimistic. This team isn't one that makes splashes like this, but Earl Thomas to Dallas makes a ton of sense. Former Seahawks' defensive coordinator is now the Cowboys' defensive backs' coach.

With Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis (and maybe Byron Jones moving to CB), this team will have a promising secondary. Add Earl Thomas, and it will go from "promising" to "great" in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys could not only have a top DL, but a top secondary if they're able to get this veteran.

Let's hope the Cowboys listen to Thomas and they go get him.

A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Wish #4: Get Dez Bryant to Take a Pay Cut

When I started writing this, I wanted to add a "get this wide receiver in FA"... but I won't. A few weeks ago, I wrote a case in favor and one against Dez Bryant remaining a Cowboy in 2018. Personally, I would be fine with him parting ways with the team.

However, I'm aware of how hard it can be finding a replacement for a guy like #88. The biggest issue with Dez is definitely his cap hit. He hasn't justified the money he's being paid on the field as he should be.

If they can get him to take a pay cut, it may end up being the ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys.

It'll be a very interesting offseason, and here at Inside The Star we'll continue to provide you with content about it all.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason

Mauricio Rodriguez



Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys' 2018 Offseason

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Cowboys Nation rejoiced. By some, including myself, the product out of North Carolina was considered a steal by America's Team. Taking a guy who could contribute from day one for special teams and for the offense was something to be happy about.

At the time, WR didn't look like much of a need. Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley were staying in Dallas and Terrance Williams had just been re-signed (little did we know he'd fail to score a single touchdown in 2017) pushing the receiver position down the team needs list.

But the front office had landed a very productive slot receiver from North Carolina. On top of that, they found a guy to replace Lucky Whitehead as a return specialist. However, offseason hype took over a large amount of Cowboys' fans, writers and analysts and the expectations for Switzer were very big.

Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Naturally, he was compared to Cole Beasley since people started talking about him as an NFL prospect. His height, skills and playing style were similar and with the Cowboy veteran coming off from a big year in 2016, people were excited for what Switzer could do as a professional football player.

But it wasn't just about the rookie returning punts and kickoffs, it was about him contributing to an offense that already had a great slot receiver. Cowboys Nation was excited to see Switzer and Beasley on the field at the same time.

That never happened.

Switzer barely saw playing time in 2017 and when he was on the field as a WR, he was limited to running or faking jet sweeps. The coaching staff misused him and we didn't get to see him get a lot of snaps until the final week of the season, when #11 was injured.

And it was that same week when we saw what he was capable of. Switz showed how talented he is and how he can beat NFL defensive backs when he was asked to do so.

Cowboys Offense: More Hot Sauce Needed From Cole Beasley 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY)

With a busy offseason and a tight salary cap, the Dallas Cowboys' front office will be considering a lot of possibilities. One of them will be the future of Cole Beasley. Releasing him would free up more than $3M in cap space.

I know a large amount of Cowboys' fans prefer to see Dez Bryant gone over him, but we can't deny that there's already a clear replacement for Beasley in Switzer.

The Cowboys wanted Switzer to be a returner and a receiver for them, but if they're going to use him just as a gadget player on offense... was the fourth-round pick worth it? If you're not going to use one of them, why have two players who are very similar on your roster?

Cowboys Nation loves Cole Beasley, as they should. I for one wouldn't want to see #11 on another team. Even still, it's only fair to admit that it would make sense for Dallas if they were to say goodbye to one of their most beloved players.

Tell me what you think about "Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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