People like to say the NFL is king when it comes to professional sports in the United States, but that's not true. The NFL is king, queen, duke, duchess, prince, princess; whatever royal title you can come up with belongs to the NFL and no one else. Why do I say that? We're in the middle of the NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, and MLB Regular Season but somehow the NFL's schedule release is the dominating headline across sports.
What does the 2017 Dallas Cowboys Schedule look like?
I'm glad you asked!
The Giants In Week 1... Again?
I know what you're thinking...
I'm so excited about the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants playing in Week 1 Why are the Cowboys and Giants kicking things off again?!
This is the third year in a row, and fourth out of the last five, that Dallas and New York will start their respective seasons in the Lone Star State against each other. The only time that the dubayoo landed on the side of the Giants happened to be in quarterback Dak Prescott's debut, the 2016 season opener.
Another notable element to the schedule is the annual Thanksgiving Game.
The Cowboys will host the
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers. If you think this sounds boring... you're right, but the NFL is all-in on making things work with its new Los Angeles teams.
Something else that makes you scratch your chin -- if you root for the blue and silver -- is the fact that the Cowboys' Bye Week is the week following their matchup with the Green Bay Packers.
This was the case in 2016 (when Dak Prescott earned a great amount of attention for beating Green Bay at Lambeau Field), and it gives the Cowboys what will likely be a much-needed week of rest after their 2016 Divisional Round Rematch at AT&T Stadium.
When Will Tony Romo Come Home To Dallas?
Of course, there is a very new detail concerning a few Dallas Cowboys games in 2017. While Dak Prescott is now the unquestioned starter under center, his predecessor Tony Romo will be in the booth as the number one color analyst for CBS.
Tony Romo's first time calling a Dallas Cowboys game will be Sunday, November 5th when Dallas hosts the Kansas City Chiefs.
Romo and his partner Jim Nantz will also be on the call for the Thanksgiving Game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Of course, Tony Romo has already met with some criticism due to his taking of the job that belonged to longtime announcer Phil Simms. Romo's rookie season will be partially spent covering Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott's sophomore ones, as CBS owns the AFC rights and will get to do the games where their conference travels to Dallas.
No Time For A Post-Thanksgiving Nap
Things will get quite difficult and dramatic -- that's what the NFL and their ratings grabbing techniques are certainly hoping for at least -- after the Thanksgiving turn, though.
Post Turkey Day, seven days after to be precise, the Cowboys will host a Thursday Night Football contest against the division rival Washington Redskins. This will be a color rush game so you can expect those clean-looking fresh white jerseys that Dallas debuted in 2015... and an all-yellow get-up that the Redskins tried to get out of.
Dallas will then get 10 days of rest before traveling to New York for a classic December showdown against the G-Men.
One week after flying home from the East Coast, the Cowboys will have to keep migrating west... all the way. In back to back weeks, the Cowboys travel to New York and then Oakland to play the Raiders in the Bay Area for what could be the last time ever as the Raiders have an inevitable move to Las Vegas in the next few years.
Cowboys/Raiders on Sunday Night Football is Rare
NBC procured the rights to the current iteration of Sunday Night Football before the 2006 season began, coincidentally the year Tony Romo ascended to the starting quarterback position in Dallas.
In the 11 seasons since then, the Dallas Cowboys have only ever played an AFC team once on Sunday Night Football - September 11th, 2011 in New York against the Jets on the 10-year anniversary of September 11th, 2001.
Since then the Cowboys have played AFC opponents in primetime on Monday Night Football (Buffalo Bills in 2007) and NFL Network's Saturday Night Football (Baltimore Ravens in 2008, New York Jets in 2015) contests.
For the Cowboys and Raiders -- two of the NFL's premiere franchises -- to meet on Sunday Night Football is huge.
Many wondered in 2016 what type of ratings such a Super Bowl matchup could produce, and now NBC is going to find out... coincidentally Super Bowl LII is also on NBC.
Plenty of Primetime Games Will Feature the Cowboys
The NFL has a maximum number of times that each team can be featured on primetime.
The ratings-raising teams (Cowboys, Patriots, Broncos, Packers, etc.) all typically hit the maximum in a given year. In the least surprising thing to ever happen in the history of the world, the Dallas Cowboys have hit the maximum.
Dallas will host New York, travel to Arizona, host Philadelphia, host Washington, and travel to Oakland, as mentioned, when the stage lights are the brightest. Contrary to popular belief, the Thanksgiving Day Game is not "primetime" as the game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. CST.
Eagles to Host Cowboys in Back-to-Back Season Finales
Last year that game featured the last drive Tony Romo ever commanded in the NFL, and the last touchdown that he ever threw. Hopefully the game will carry similar weight for the Cowboys in 2017 as Dallas had already secured the NFC's number one seed two weeks before earlier in 2016.
What do you think about the 2017 Dallas Cowboys Schedule? Which games are you planning on going to? Let us know!
Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?
A season after Jason Witten's retirement, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need at tight end. Replacing a future Hall of Famer is no easy feat so it's only logical that it would take longer than a season to feel good about who's in at tight end.
The Cowboys currently have two tight ends who could be pretty serviceable going forward. Fourth round pick Dalton Schultz did a very solid job as the team's TE2, specially toward the second half of the season. He turned into a pretty good run blocker and despite only racking up 116 yards in 12 catches, he's a guy the Cowboys' offense could use even more in the future.
Also on the team is Blake Jarwin, who functioned as the Cowboys' main tight end for most of 2018. His performance against the New York Giants in week 17 made us wonder whether or not he could be an important target on the Cowboys' offense.
These two could very well have more in them than what we've seen. With a new offensive coordinator in town, tight end is a position the Cowboys could start using way more. As Bobby Belt pointed out on Twitter a few weeks ago, Scott Linehan's offense doesn't benefit tight ends very much. Before we give a verdict on what Schultz and Jarwin can do, I'd like to see them work with Kellen Moore's offense.
One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.
Here's the thing. If the Cowboys are not taking a tight end in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, are they really upgrading what they already have? I'm not sure we'll be convinced about that if they draft a player for the position until the third or fourth round. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for the Cowboys drafting a TE in the second round, because I believe there are more pressing needs on the team. However, signing a veteran free agent might be the better option for upgrading the position.
Should a veteran TE be an option?
This year, there are quite a few interesting names in the tight end market. Veterans such as Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and even Antonio Gates will be looking for a new team pretty soon. I know, that would be "getting older." But it could also mean getting better. Building a solid TE committee with a veteran leading Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz could be the way to go for this football team.
Eifert is a great tight end... when he's on the field. Durability is his biggest weakness, as he hasn't played more than 10 games since 2016. The Cowboys could take a risk on him and constantly rotate him with Jarwin and Schultz. It may be a huge risk, but it could pay off big time. If the price is right, Eifert should be targeted by the front office.
The 2018 Oakland Raiders had a season to forget, winning only four games. Even still, Jared Cook's season was impressive. He finished the year with 896 yards and multiple 100-yard games. The biggest issue with Cook is his age. He turns 32 in April. But hey, he's literally coming off from a career year.
Jesse James is a younger guy who could also be worth it. He's not an a potent receiver, but he gets it done in the passing game and is one hell of a blocker. James could be a legit, cheaper option for the Cowboys in free agency.
There are a lot of names out there the front office could look at. Charles Clay was just released by the Buffalo Bills and Nick Boyle will be looking for new job after new arrivals pushed him out of the Baltimore Ravens' roster just to mention a few names.
We'll see what the front office's plans are soon enough, but right now, I'd say tight end is a need the Dallas Cowboys should at least try to address in free agency instead of the NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Cornerback
Unlike other positions on their roster, cornerback appears ready to off the Dallas Cowboys stability in 2019. However, that doesn't mean the team can just ignore it this offseason. There are still a few decisions to be made.
Thanks to a shrewd move in April of last year, Dallas will be enjoying Byron Jones' services at a bargain. They picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and will be paying him just $6.3 million next season.
That's a steal for a Pro Bowl corner, who generally make more than double that amount in a single year. But the Cowboys are still left the decision of whether or not to give Jones a long-term deal now or wait until he hits free agency in 2020.
It's easy to say that they should enjoy the discount and worry about it next year. But then you risk a second Pro Bowl trip and the lure of the open market. Byron's asking price could only go up.
Of course, Dallas could then also have the option of using the franchise tag.
Keep in mind that Jones will turn 27 this September. Dallas could decide that it makes sense to play through the rookie deal this year, franchise him in 2020, and then reassess when he's about to turn 29 years old.
If they give Byron a long-term deal now then they'll have to pay him like one of the top corners in football. It may be wise to wait.
Another decision facing the Cowboys is if they think they can improve at the second starting position. It was an up-and-down year for Chidobe Awuzie, but he was playing his best toward the end of the season. Dallas could hope that a second year with Kris Richard's coaching, and just more general growth for a third-year player, will elevate Awuzie's game.
However, with plenty of cap space to work with, Dallas could pursue a solid veteran option and then allow Awuzie to play the nickel role. It would not only perhaps improve the CB2 position but also bolster depth overall.
Speaking of depth, Anthony Brown returns for the final year of his rookie deal. While never spectacular, Brown has been a gem as a former sixth-round pick with 29 career starts. He brings exceptional value and may even compete with Awuzie for the starting job.
While arguably the team's best young corner in 2017, Jourdan Lewis comes into this season with a lot of uncertainty. He fell out of favor last season, perhaps for not fitting the physical style that Richard likes. But he did manage to snag the game-clinching interception in Dallas' upset win over the New Orleans Saints.
If a scheme mismatch is the issue, the Cowboys could look to trade Lewis this offseason. He still has two years left on his rookie deal and was considered a first-round prospect by some in 2017. A cornerback-needy club might have more use for him than Dallas seems to.
If they did move Jourdan, the Cowboys might turn to Donovan Olumba to fill out the depth chart. He was one of their surprising performers in last year's training camp and spent the year on the practice squad. At 6'2", he has the size that the team seems to be looking for now in its corners.
More than likely, Dallas will ride with this group in 2019 with no big changes. I do think a Lewis trade is possible, especially with the Cowboys short on draft picks this year. But don't expect any major cap space or draft capital to go at one of the team's more solid positions.
With all the other work Dallas needs done this offseason, a little stability at cornerback is a luxury.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center
Even with Dez Bryant's release and Jason Witten's retirement, the loss of Travis Frederick last season may have been the most damaging to the Dallas Cowboys. The team looks forward to getting their All-Pro center back in 2019 while also having a reliable backup still under contract.
Just within the last few weeks, Frederick has provided encouraging updates on his status for next year. It looks like he'll be able to participate in all offseason activities, but the Cowboys would settle for Week One. There appears to be plenty of cushion for that to happen.
Travis' absence in 2018 was seen in various ways. Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times, second-most in all the league, after just 32 and 25 times the previous two seasons. Part of that is missing Frederick's blocking ability, but also the way he would assist with reading the defense and making pre-snap adjustments.
Dallas would've loved having Frederick out there to help Guard Connor Williams, who worked with Travis throughout the offseason only to lose him in late August. It was not an easy way for the rookie to start his career.
We also saw issues in the run game. Even while Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing, short-yardage situations weren't as easy as they used to be. The Rams were able to neutralize the Cowboys' rushing attack in Dallas' playoff loss, something that Frederick might have helped overcome.
This isn't saying that Joe Looney did a bad job. On the contrary, Looney was more than adequate and helped keep Dallas from suffering far greater damage without Frederick.
After Joe's work in 2018, Dallas won't blink at keeping him on the $1 million salary he's due next year. It's a bargain for a backup of his quality, and especially given his versatility as an option at guard as well.
Not only are Frederick and Looney locked in for 2019, but Dallas also still has backup Adam Redmond under contract through next season. He was added after final cuts last year to be Looney's backup and should return to at least help the team through July and August.
With these guys already in place, there's no reason to think that Dallas will give much attention to the center position during the offseason.
At most, a mid-round draft pick might be used on a player who could potentially replace Looney in 2020 as the backup. Joe's contract ends next season, and he could be competitive for starting jobs with other teams at that point.
With lots of other concerns throughout the roster, Dallas is fortunate to have so much security at center. All signs are positive on Travis Frederick's return, and that is a huge boost to the team as it looks to push forward from last year's playoff run.
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