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2015 Dallas Cowboys, Then & Now

Bryson Treece



Cowboys Blog - 2015 Dallas Cowboys, Then & Now

Five weeks and 1 day from now the Dallas Cowboys invite the Washington Redskins home for a Sunday afternoon brawl. It's well known that their season isn't bound for glory and from the looks of things, the Redskins aren't going to fair much better so I'm expecting a brawl. Just 2 NFC East teams duking it out in the final contest of the season for some modest bragging rights, at least. And I'm okay with that.

Two months ago I couldn't even imagine my Cowboys sitting at 3-8 on the year. I didn't expect Tony Romo to see any form of Injured Reserve. Getting hurt is more or less his specialty across an average season anymore but breaking the same clavicle three times? Surely not!

I knew Rolando McClain would be a slow starter because let's face it, he's a proverbial crapshoot in terms of focus and ambition most days. Sean Lee finally managed to complete a preseason without breaking so there was a net. Sure, McClain and fellow defensive teammate Greg Hardy were due to sit out the first 4 games but we drafted Randy Gregory, Damien Wilson, and Byron Jones just for that sort of situation. Next man up! Right?

DeMarco Murray took his 1,800 all-purpose yards to Philadelphia. Darren McFadden, the biggest 1st round bust currently in the league, was a Cowboy and expected to backup a very capable, if not promising, Joseph Randle behind an All-Star offensive line, and Lance Dunbar was also there.

Dez Bryant... the man of the hour. The ink on his brand spanking new 5-year, $70 million dollar deal was still wet and so were most of us! You get the picture; we were salivating over the wins and ultimate dominance of any team we faced.

And then reality set in.

After a lackluster - albeit winning - performance at home to open the season, the Cowboys traipsed into an Eagle's nest having already soured the first of our victory dances with Bryant and the foot that couldn't.

One pleasant surprise (maybe if you weren't paying attention that is) was that apparently while traveling north, DeMarco Murray left those yards from 2014 at the airport baggage claim, but it was a small consolation. Tony Romo was down. The who, what and how aren't important. When a bomb goes off, nobody cares how unless there's a threat that it could happen again, and it's not like he could break that clavicle twice in the same year, could he?

I bring it up because week 2 saw us fans becoming poor fans mighty fast the moment Romo got hurt. But hope dies hard so early in the season, especially when people began speaking of temporary injured reserve. We carried on with optimism and fight, and we cheered our team on in spite of Brandon Weeden being handed the reigns again. After all, Arizona just had a good defense last year, right? I watched the Falcons game on September 27 into the 3rd quarter full of every hope that they'd pull out a win after playing so well in the first half.

Funny thing about that... I saw the opening of the second half but was lured out back by family and friends to get married, and I returned a couple of hours later wondering What. The. Hell?

Mazel tov!

It was a particularly sour loss for me that day and only the beginning of a string of consecutive losses that were as heartbreaking as they were frustrating. Fast forward through the misery to the moments just before the week 12 contest in which the Dallas Cowboys introduced the Carolina Panthers to Thanksgiving Day football.

Dez Bryant was back. Tony Romo was back. Sean Lee was back again. Rolando McClain was playing with fire and Greg Hardy was just on fire. Joseph Randle had been cut and just arrested in Kansas. Brandon Weeden had been cut and was God knows where.

Romo's return ushered in the ways of winning to start the trip toward Super Bowl 50 and did so the very same day that Mike on @CowboysNation was enjoying the game live and in person, too. The turkey, cornbread dressing, and my grandmother's potato salad recipe filled the house with the most beautiful aroma and it was Thanksgiving.

Two weeks. Just 2 weeks, again! Disaster struck and this time we weren't leading the game by enough to hold out for the win. In fact, many have been arguing that we shouldn't have been playing Romo at all when it happened, down 3 scores to an obviously superior team. Tony goes down again. Same shoulder, same bone, same outcome. He's down for the count. Goodbye 2015 season.

We have 5 games left but aside from evaluating players to see who stays and who goes next year, the Cowboys have nothing but pride to play for. And barely even that.

People everywhere are talking about the Cowboys and what will come next. Me? I'm still mourning the loss of this season. I've supported Tony Romo and said it loud that he's my quarterback for years, but even I have to admit that the detractors around me have a point. He's getting old. He breaks down a lot. Like an old car, in a way, and old cars get replaced by shiny new ones. Romo will start for Dallas in 2016. I have no doubts. But it's time to get serious about the future of that position.

No college stars doomed to be polished well-known crap in the pros (i.e., Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel). No blaming Matt Cassel for losses given up under Weeden's watch. No throwing Romo under the bus by blaming our season his increasing fragility. Just executing a smart plan for the future of this franchise... something for which Will McClay is certainly the right man.

You see, week 17 against the Redskins will be a fight because it's the last time these Cowboys will get to hit something for many months. And with the year they're having, who can really blame them for taking what they can get?

Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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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