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2015 Dallas Cowboys: Feels A Lot Like Deja Vu

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - 2015 Dallas Cowboys: Feels A Lot Like Deja Vu

Between now and September we will see a lot of predictions, projections, and straight up guesses on the success of the 2015 Dallas Cowboys. People will pick games, assume things, and we’ll see who is proven right. One thing that won’t be mentioned as often though is that we’ve seen this team before… in the past.

Present teams get compared to past teams all the time though, right? The 2007 Patriots were compared to the 1999 Rams and their Greatest Show on Turf. Six years later the 2013 Broncos were compared to those 2007 Pats, and we’ll see another team in the future that makes us reflect on Peyton and his 2013 Bronco bunch. 30 years ago this season, the 1985 Bears forged a defense that became the measuring stick for all great ones.

So to whom will the 2015 Dallas Cowboys be compared? Better yet, how can we even compare them to anyone when all that has happened this year is free agency? The answer lies within the 2014 Dallas Cowboys (and some handy NFL history). Examining the success from 2014 and what we’ve seen in 2015 gives us just enough to reference a certain team’s two year period…the 2005-2006 Indianapolis Colts.

2005 Indianapolis Colts

The fourth rendition of Tony Dungy’s Colts (and Peyton Manning’s eighth) was pretty nifty and featured some moves that I’d like to reference in a second:

  • They locked up their stud right tackle, Ryan Diem, to a multi-year contract before the season began.
  • They lost every preseason game.
  • They played the NFC West.
  • Edgerrin James rushed for 13 TDs.
  • They won their division.
  • They lost in the divisional round of the playoffs.

“Alright RJ, where are you headed with this?” Settle in and check this out.

2014 Dallas Cowboys

The fourth (full) rendition of Jason Garrett’s Cowboys (and Tony Romo’s [full] eighth) …wait, what? You’re telling me that Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning were around for the exact same amount of time (excluding Tony Romo’s partial 2006 and Jason Garrett’s interim 2010) on the Cowboys as Dungy and Peyton Papa John were on the Colts? But wait! There’s more!

  • They locked up their stud left tackle, Tyron Smith, to a multi-year contract before the season began.
  • They lost every preseason game.
  • They played the NFC West.
  • DeMarco Murray rushed for 13 TDs.
  • They won their division.
  • They lost in the divisional round of the playoffs.

“Ok you got me. That’s kind of cool. But so what?” So what? So what?! You want more? Fine.

This 2005 Colts team was LOADED. They even had eight Pro Bowlers. Among the 2005 Colts’ Pro Bowlers were: QB Peyton Manning, RB Edgerrin James, and WR Marvin Harrison (What number did Marvin wear? What was it? 88? Huh, weird.) Triplets.

The Colts went on an absolute tear that season and were even 13-0 before the San Diego Chargers stopped their streak. Their playoff loss to Pittsburgh in the RCA Dome will always be remembered for Jerome Bettis’ fumble and Ben Roethlisberger’s heroic tackle to set up a Mike Vanderjagt shank that left the Colts devastated. It was a heart breaker, and it was time to look forward to 2006.

The 2014 Dallas Cowboys had… any guesses out there? Anyone? Bueller? Yes! Eight! Among the 2014 Cowboys’ Pro Bowlers were: QB Tony Romo, RB DeMarco Murray, and WR numero double ocho Dez Bryant. Triplets again?

The Cowboys didn’t exactly start off with a 13 game winning streak, but we did have a six-game streak that woke people up. Much like the Bettis fumble, our playoff loss will ALWAYS be remembered for the Dez play.

2006 Indianapolis Colts

“I’m not going to lie to you, RJ. You’ve got me interested. But how do the 2006 Colts factor into this? I don’t get it!” It’s your lucky day, my friend. I’ve got the answer! The WORLD CHAMPION 2006 Indianapolis Colts have some nifty moves of their own that I’d like to share with the class:

  • Edgerrin James left via free agency to the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Marvin Harrison signed a long-term contract.
  • They played the AFC East.

Tony and Peyton got off to their fifth and ninth respective Colts seasons by losing their prominent running back to the jaws of free agency. Nobody panicked. They addressed that need in the draft with rookie Joseph Addai out of LSU. This team started off on similar fire to 2005 and had another undefeated streak snapped…this time by Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. They managed to overcome this, though, and would go on to have ultimate success in the playoffs beating the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card Round, the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round, the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, and the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. World champs.

2015 Dallas Cowboys

“I’m with you now, RJ. Bring it home.” Obviously the 2015 season has yet to be played, or even scheduled for that matter, but we can draw some interesting parallels here. What do we know so far about the 2015 Dallas Cowboys?

  • DeMarco Murray left via free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Dez Bryant has been franchise tagged.
  • We play the AFC East.

Look, I know that ultimately none of this guarantees anything. But it is worth looking back on and reflecting. The 2005 Colts had a heartbreaking divisional round loss to the Steelers much like our January loss to the Packers. They played the NFC West and AFC East in back to back years like we’re about to. They lost their pro bowl running back in free agency exactly like we just did. You know what they did next?

They won the Super Bowl.

Tell us what you think about "2015 Dallas Cowboys: Feels A Lot Like Deja Vu" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

Matthew Lenix

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Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys have what many believe to be the best running back in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. However, you can never undervalue the importance of depth at any position. When the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft came around, the Cowboys added another weapon to the backfield by selecting Tony Pollard out of Memphis.

If you’re looking for a dynamic player maker with the ability to take it to the house at any given moment, Pollard is your man. The former Tiger averaged a touchdown every 13 touches in college. That’s an absolutely insane statistic when you think about it. He also tied an NCAA record with seven kick returns for touchdowns. Long story short, he can get you six points at the blink of an eye.

The versatility in his game is outrageous and undoubtedly the reason why he was drafted. In addition to running for 941 yards on 6.8 yards per rush, he also had 104 receptions for 1,292 yards. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to be salivating about the possibilities with his new toy. Having a running back that can not only carry the load as a runner but also line up at receiver keeps the defense honest. You never know what angle the offense is going to come from.

This has to be a sigh of relief for Ezekiel Elliott. Now, the Cowboys don’t have to overexert him and can bring Pollard in on third downs if need be. Not just to give Elliott a breather but to change the pace of the offensive attack. You can hand the ball off, throw it to him or run jet sweeps when he is on the field. This sets up a potential combo at running back that could be the leagues very best shortly.

Speed, quickness, and agility are all wrapped up in the Tony Pollard package. The Cowboys now have a running back that can line up at multiple positions if need be. Also, this prevents a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the body of Ezekiel Elliott. This combination has all the potential to set the NFL on fire in 2019.



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CB Byron Jones Not Expected To Return Until Week 1 Against NYG

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Coming off what was clearly the best season of his career thus far, Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones underwent surgery to hopefully fix a nagging hip injury.

While he earned both his first All Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2018, his first season as a full-time cornerback, Jones still has a lot to prove in the upcoming season. Some still criticize him for his lack of interceptions, and there's no doubt his stellar play slowed down a bit towards the end of the year.

I'm willing to wager that the slight decline had a lot to do with his hip troubles, but nonetheless he must come up with his elite level play once again to earn himself a nice contract somewhere in 2020.

Oh, did I forget to mention it's also a contract year for Byron Jones? As it is for so many important Dallas Cowboys, it seems.

So when will Byron Jones be able to return to the Cowboys' lineup? Well, the initial date reportedly set by Jones and the team was late July, giving him a chance to practice and play a bit before the season opener in September. But, according to the Team Site this week, that date may be pushed back a bit, and we might not see Byron Jones until that season opening game against the Giants.

"As for Jones, all along the Cowboys have been targeting his return for the season opener, but hopefully at that. So, don’t expect to see much of Jones in training camp, and if so, certainly no more than individual and walk-through drills." - Mickey Spagnola

Ultimately, as long as Byron Jones is good to go when the regular season starts, that's all that matters, but the fear of rust when Jones returns is a real one.

It's tough to go from no live football straight to the meaningful games, but if anyone would be able to do it it would be the guy with the freakishly athletic traits. The guy who can get out of the bed in the morning and set athletic records at the Combine.

And, of course, that guy is Byron Jones.



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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

Matthew Lenix

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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

When the 2016 NFL Draft came around the Dallas Cowboys were in search of the heir apparent to Tony Romo. Unfortunately, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, Romo would find himself on the shelf again after suffering a broken bone in his back during a preseason game against the Seahawks. However, the Cowboys had an ace in the hole, in the form of Dak Prescott who they drafted in the fourth round.

The idea was the groom him for a few years before taking the keys to the car so to speak from Romo, but fate had another idea in mind. Prescott would be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the Cowboys most hated rivals to start the season, the New York Giants. Added to that, was the pressure of living up to Romo's stellar resume as the franchise's all-time leading passer. After struggling in a tough 20-19 loss, no surprise there for a rookie quarterback, Prescott began to take flight.

Over the next eleven games he wouldn't suffer a single loss as the Cowboys were sitting pretty at 11-1. What made this streak more impressive was the efficiency of Prescott. He threw 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions over that span. In the process, he set an NFL record for the most passing attempts to start a career without an interception with 176. This broke the previous record held by Tom Brady of 162. It didn't stop there, as he also set a rookie record for completion percentage (67.8), was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys would finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the franchise only winning two postseason games in 21 years, Prescott was definitely under the microscope. After the offense struggled to produce points in the first half and fell behind 21-3, Prescott lead a furious comeback. Helping the team storm all the way back to tie the game at 28 and again at 31. He finished with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first playoff start against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Even though the team lost 34-31, Prescott proved how much of a gamer he was as he basically went yard for yard and point for point with one of the NFL's elite signal-callers. It was clear the Cowboys were in good hands going forward.

2017 started off well as the Cowboys were 5-3 and firmly on pace for another playoff run. Unfortunately, All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott lost his fierce battle with the NFL over domestic violence allegations, and Dak along with the offense struggled. After a 9-7 season and falling one game short of a Wild Card berth, the pressure on Prescott heading into the next season was immense.

Once 2018 came about Prescott had more pressure than ever with Elliott back for a full season. After a slow 3-4 start the Cowboys traded for Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, providing the team with it's first true number one receiver since Dez Bryant. Putting even more expectations on Prescott to turn things around, and boy did he ever.

He would complete 71.6% of his passes in the final eight games of the season, and the Cowboys won seven to finish 10-6. Now, with another division title under his belt, came a playoff matchup with Super Bowl-winning Quarterback Russell Wilson.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were hanging on to a 17-14 lead. They faced a 3rd and 14 inside the redone with just over two minutes left. After dropping back a few steps, Prescott scrambled for 16 yards setting up a first and goal from the one-yard line. The team held on for a 24-22 victory but here's why that scramble was so important.

If the Cowboys don't convert that 3rd and long that would've set up a field goal attempt. Assuming it would have been successful, that would've only put them up 20-14. Giving Seattle a chance to more than likely win with a touchdown and an extra point or two-point conversion. Prescott essentially won the game with that 3rd down run. Proving once again there's no situation he can't handle.

He's set an NFL record for completion percentage in the first three years of a quarterbacks career at 66.1 percent. No quarterback has won more games than him since 2016 except Tom Brady. No one has more game-winning drives than him since he entered the league. His 13 primetime victories are tops in the NFL over the last three seasons. Simply put, Dak Prescott is a winner and doesn't fold under pressure, instead, he embraces it. There are no bigger lights in the NFL than the ones that shine in Dallas. With those lights come huge expectations and pressure, and it's clear this young man is made of the right stuff to handle it.



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