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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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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

Kevin Brady

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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.

The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.

After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.

So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.

What exactly is that role, though?

I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.

Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.

Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.

If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.

This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.



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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

Kevin Brady

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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.

Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.

Randall Cobb on Twitter

Randall Cobb on Twitter

https://t.co/9H9xfApFqe

In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.

This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

https://twitter.com/tae15adams/status/1108158105957920770

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb

Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.



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Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Malik McDowell, Michigan State

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.

McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.

None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.

2017 NFL Draft: Scouting Michigan State DL Malik McDowell - Slant Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.

Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?

"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.

On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."

nfldraft malik mcdowell 3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.

nfldraft malik mcdowell 4

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.

Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.



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