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3 Biggest Dallas Cowboys Surprises So Far

Mauricio Rodriguez

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As Cowboys Nation is still getting over the Dallas Cowboys 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, this week hasn't been that much fun. However, Jason Garrett's team is ready to take on the Arizona Cardinals.

And even though it hasn't been a perfect start to the season, there are some things that have surprised many of us. Today on Inside The Star we'll discuss the three biggest surprises of the season.

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Jaylon Smith Leads The Team In Tackles

There was a point during the offseason, when some of us didn't expect Jaylon to have significant playing time until midseason. Probably we just didn't want to get our hopes up. Fortunately, Jaylon is an animal and has been playing without problem.

He has shown explosiveness, and there's no doubt he will be able to improve a lot as the season continues. While he's been good, he isn't at 100% yet. Think about it, he hadn't play football in a long time after his devastating injury.

Once he is at the level he was supposed to be on coming out of Notre Dame... watch out.

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith leads the team with 23 tackles (per coaches film) through 2 games. Sean Lee has 21.

I think it's very surprising to see him lead this defense in tackles. At the end of it all, he was a player who probably wouldn't have seen that much action had Anthony Hitches been healthy to open the season.

Keep doing what you're doing, Jaylon.

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Sacks Machine: DeMarcus Lawrence

5 Takeaways From Cowboys Win VS Giants

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Pass rush? Is that a thing for the Dallas Cowboys? DeMarcus Lawrence sure is making a case.

Lawrence has had trouble remaining healthy for the team before, and now that he is healthy (and in his contract year) he is killing it at playing football and sacking quarterbacks.

Officially, #90 has three and a half sacks through two games. Benson Mayowa led the team with six in 2016. If DeMarcus keeps it up, the Dallas Cowboys may find a more than decent pass rush.

DE Damontre Moore is returning from a two-game suspension this Monday and when the Cowboys play the Packers in week 5, David Irving will also be back on the roster. Things are looking good for this Cowboys DL.

Lawrence is actually close to making history. Only two players in the history of the NFL have opened the season with three consecutive multi-sack games. If DeMarcus Lawrence sacks Carson Palmer twice this week he will become just the third player to do such a thing. And the first one since 1998.

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Jason Witten Is An NFL Leader

Yes, you read that right. 35-year old Gold Jacket Witten leads the NFL in a particular category.

Receptions. Now, I know it's early on the season but that is a very surprising stat. Witten leads the NFL with 17 catches so far. While so many people argue that ol' number 82 is too old to be a starter for the Cowboys, Jason is making a statement here.

Witten1 - Streamable

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

I'm sure most of Cowboys Nation is happy for him though. Jason Witten has given this franchise everything he's got.

Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz have just 13 receptions so far.

Jason also is the only player in the Cowboys roster not named Dak Prescott with more than one TD. Not saying that is necessarily a good thing, but Witten is very important for this football team and the fact that he's still contributing in such a way to this offense says a lot.

Keep balling, GOAT, keep balling.

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I know last week the Dallas Cowboys suffered a tough loss versus the Broncos... but it's time to move on. This team simply had a terrible day and were outplayed in every aspect of the game. It's time to focus on the good things and get ready for a bounce back win against the Arizona Cardinals.

Are you ready for some Dallas Cowboys Monday Night Football?

Tell me what you think about "3 Biggest Dallas Cowboys Surprises So Far" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Frederick Zachery

    September 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    I just want to know, who are the people arguing that Jason Witten is to old to be a starter?

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      September 24, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      They are out there, Frederick. Trust me, I don’t know why, but they are out there.

    • John Williams

      John Williams

      September 25, 2017 at 3:45 am

      Witten is still effective in the pass game, but his blocking ability has really diminished over the last couple of years. There isn’t a better option on the roster right now, but Witten isn’t perfect at this point.

      • Frederick Zachery

        September 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm

        Perfect? Ok, I’ll give you that but that can be said about anyone. The statement was “While so many people argue that ol’ number 82 is too old to be a starter for the Cowboys”. I just haven’t heard any. I know they are out there, I just didn’t think there were THAT many!

        • John Williams

          John Williams

          September 30, 2017 at 4:32 am

          I don’t think there is a better option for Dallas at this moment. Witten is still a great player in his own right, but struggles at times.

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.

Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.

Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.

The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas

Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.

The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.

Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.

Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.

Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Pues en Dallas, hoy dos  jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.

Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.

Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.

Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.

Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial" 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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Star Blog

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

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Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 2

Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.

The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.

Lock Down the Big Guns

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

@Randy81MossRetires, via Twitter

Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.

Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.

As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.

Adding New Talent

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 1

@brkicks, via Twitter

One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.

Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.

If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.

Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.

Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.

The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.

As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.

Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.



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