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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


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Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Safety Estará Ahí en el #58?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Draft Target: Washington Safety Taylor Rapp

Por fin estamos a menos de una semana del NFL Draft 2019. El evento que define el futuro de las franquicias de la liga año tras año está a días de distancia y los rumores comienzan a tomar velocidad. Para los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, la experiencia del Draft será un poco diferente ya que no cuentan con una selección de primera ronda. En vez de eso, tienen a Amari Cooper. ¿Lo vale? Sí. Pero, no se puede negar que el equipo estará en una posición complicada durante el Draft.

No sólo no hay un pick de primera ronda para los Cowboys, sino que no cuentan con uno dentro del Top 50. Estas son las selecciones con las que cuentan los Jones y compañía:

  • Pick #58 (segunda ronda)
  • Pick #91 (tercera ronda)
  • Pick #129 (cuarta ronda)
  • Pick #137 (cuarta ronda)
  • Pick #166 (quinta ronda)
  • Pick #243 (séptima ronda)

A menos que sean sorprendentemente agresivos, no habrá noticias sobre los Dallas Cowboys el próximo jueves. Más bien tendremos que esperar hasta el segundo día del Draft para ver que traman los Cowboys. ¿Qué podemos esperar sobre su primera selección?

Why Cowboys War Room Could Be Particularly Interesting This Draft

En este momento, parece que no hay ninguna necesidad más fuerte que la de un safety. Y parece ser que el talento disponible en la segunda ronda podría beneficiar a los Cowboys. Como cada año, es difícil pronosticar quien estará en la tabla y quien no, pero hablemos de varios safeties que podrían solucionar los problemas de Dallas.

S Taylor Rapp, Washington

Algunos ven a Rapp como el mejor safety en la clase de novatos, mientras que otros están convencidos de que no podrá tener éxito en la NFL. La mayor preocupación en torno al producto de Washington es su velocidad. En las pruebas que realizó sus resultados no fueron nada satisfactorios. Sin embargo, ha probado en el campo que es bueno contra la corrida y se puede encargar de su trabajo en cobertura. Es bueno al tacklear, y podría ser justo lo que los Cowboys necesitan.

S Jonathan Abraham, Mississippi State

Abraham se proyecta como un strong safety, que es lo que los Cowboys necesitan. De todos los prospectos, parece que Abraham es el favorito a irse primero. Sin embargo, no es perfecto y sus defectos podrían costarle una caída hasta la segunda ronda. Abraham falla tackleadas ocasionalmente, pero su juego físico y agresivo lo puede compensar. Si cae hasta el #58, Abraham no puede ser ignorado.

Cowboys Draft: Virginia Safety Juan Thornhill V

S Juan Thornhill, Virginia

Thornhill no es mejor que los mencionados anteriormente, pero quizá sea más probable encontrarlo si los Cowboys se quedan en el pick #58. En Virginia, Thornhill tuvo tres temporadas donde fue titular en más de 10 partidos. Es todo un play-maker, consiguiendo 13 intercepciones en su carrera colegial. Lidero a su equipo en tackleadas. Puede jugar en varios puntos de la defensiva e incluso llegó a alinearse como linebacker. Dudo que eso pase en la NFL, pero podría ser un buen safety dentro de la caja y en cobertura.

S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

Gardner-Johnson fue uno de los líderes en Florida durante toda su carrera. Jugó como safety y como cornerback, muchas veces actuando como "nickel." Chauncey no sería de mis opciones favoritas en este punto del Draft, pero es una que no se puede ignorar si los demás jugadores ya no están disponibles. Sabe romper jugadas y tiene potencial de convertirse en un titular a largo plazo.

S Amani Hooker, Iowa

En el escenario de que todos los mejores safeties ya hayan sido seleccionados y el equipo no prefiera atender otra necesidad, Amani Hooker merece un vistazo. En Iowa ganó el premio al mejor defensive back de su conferencia (Big Ten). Tuvo buenos números en sus pruebas y podría ser un buen strong safety dentro de la caja, donde se pone en posición constantemente para hacer jugadas.

Claro que los Cowboys podrían tomar otra ruta y no seleccionar a un safety hasta más tarde. Sin embargo, considero que sería lo correcto. Incluso pienso que si Taylor Rapp o su prospecto favorito está disponible en un punto de la segunda ronda, Dallas estará dispuesto a hacer un trade para subir y alcanzarlo.

Sólo queda esperar este gran e impredecible evento. ¿Qué esperas del NFL Draft? Hazme saber en los comentarios o por medio de Twitter en @MauNFL.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Qué Safety Estará Ahí en el #58?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Cowboys Look To Be In For Brutal December Slate In 2019

Kevin Brady



Top Free Agent Defensive End Options for the Dallas Cowboys 1
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

All sixteen regular season games count the same. A win in September means exactly the same as a win in December. Just as a touchdown in the first quarter counts for the same number of points as a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

While factually accurate, we know these statements aren't totally true. Championship teams often "hit their stride" in November and December, as they close out divisions, clinch playoff births, and prove they can stay cool and claim victory when the pressure mounts to its highest peak.

Under Jason Garrett, and Wade Phillips before him, the Cowboys have developed the reputation of not "winning the big one." In particular, they've been labeled as a team that "chokes" in December. Tony Romo dealt with his fair share of December/January demons during his career, but overcame them towards his final seasons. Dak Prescott has yet to advance past the Divisional Round of the postseason himself, but the narrative around the Cowboys has seemed to change.

Now, due to their late season run and victory over the Seattle Seahawks last season, people see Prescott and the Cowboys as a team that can find ways to win. A team, and a quarterback, who may not be as prolific as some of the other top squads in the conference, but one that you can never count out. I'd argue this has been the case with Dallas for quite some time under Garrett, but it is only now the narrative has changed.

Their late season fortitude will be tested again in 2019, however.

The NFL released the official schedule for the 2019 NFL season earlier this week, with the Cowboys getting some favorable (and some not-so-favorable) draws. What jumped off the page immediately to me, however, is how tough their final four games will be. And, of course, how critical victories in those games will be to gaining an NFC playoff spot.

Among those four December games are trips to Chicago and Philadelphia, two playoff teams a year ago who present problems in different ways. The Bears, known for their talented defense and innovative play-caller, and the Eagles, the always tough divisional foe.

Dallas also gets two home games during this stretch, hosting the Los Angeles Rams week 15, and finishing out the year against the Washington Redskins. The Rams, of course, eliminated the Cowboys from the postseason a year ago, and are expected to be one of the conference's best again.

The Cowboys will face a first-place schedule in 2019, and will have to prove that they are playoff-worthy down the stretch in December.

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Dallas Cowboys: 3 Schedule Predictions Ahead Of Wednesday’s Release

Kevin Brady



Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Wednesday night the official 2019 NFL schedule will be released, and we will know the exact times and dates of each of the Cowboys' upcoming games.

We already know the opponents, however, and we know how the NFL typically likes to schedule games week to week. Based on both prior history and future opponents, here are 3 predictions for tonight's schedule release.

1. Cowboys Open Up With The Giants

I didn't say the predictions would be bold, did I?

The NFL loves to have the Cowboys open up against the New York Giants, and I see that being the case here again. Dallas/New York will always bring about solid ratings, but scheduling this game before the Giants (likely) fall out of contention is a smart move as well.

This game will be in Dallas at 4:25 eastern time, occupying that "America's Game of the Week" slot during the opening weekend. Because as much as everyone says they hate watching these NFC East games, the numbers bear out a different story.

2. Cowboys Play @ Saints Thursday After Thanksgiving

We know the Cowboys will play in an extra Thursday or Saturday night game this season. They always do.

Lately the league has liked to schedule them as the Thursday night game following Thanksgiving, and I don't see them breaking  that trend this season. Dallas has played the Vikings, Redskins, and Saints in this game the last three years, with the Cowboys/Saints game being one of the best of last year's Thursday slate.

Why not run it back at the Superdome this November?

3. Cowboys Close The Season With A Brutal December

This is broad prediction, so let's narrow it down a bit. I think the Cowboys will play three critical NFC games in December, at the very least. These games will include NFC East battles with the Washington Redskins (week 17) and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as a game at Chicago to face the Bears.

It's likely the Cowboys, Bears, and Eagles will be fighting for playoff positioning (or playoff births) down the stretch in December. Plus, anytime a combination of these three teams play, ratings will be drawn. I think they'll have Prescott battle Mitchell Trubisky and Carson Wentz this December, as he and the Cowboys look to clinch a consecutive playoff birth.

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